I have worked as a tutor for over three years now. I set my own schedules and create my own study programs because I am not affiliated with any of the numerous tutoring companies that have seemed to pop up overnight in the last couple of years. When people find out about my self-employment, they always ask right away how I got into it and how I have established a loyal client based. Read more to find out how to become a successful private tutor!
Have a proven background in education.
My credentials clearly show someone who has an interest in education and the knowledge base to successfully tutor students. I received very high scores on my ACTs, have a Bachelors in English, and a Masters in Secondary Education. I have never had to prove to anyone that I can tutor and I’m lucky enough to be good enough in math and most school subjects to tutor more than just English. Show your potential clients that while you may have a specialty, you are also capable of tutoring in a variety of subjects. While I prefer tutoring high schoolers on English and Language Arts, I have also worked with kindergarteners through college students in everything from Social Studies to Anatomy and Physiology (which is something I’ve never actually taken.) Become comfortable with saying “I don’t know but let’s research it.”
Advertise and gain clients.
When I decided that I prefer an individual setting to a large classroom, the first thing I did was create a Care.com profile. I starting contacting parents in the area who were looking for a daily tutor for their children and I had an interview less than a week later with a very prominent Pakistani family. I did a trial run for my first night and was hired on immediately.
Form a relationship with your client and students.
I was working one on one with a 5th grader and 8th grader every day for two hours. I saw them have meltdowns from overwhelming pressure and have days where the last thing they wanted to do was homework. They became comfortable enough with me that I could recognize a coming meltdown and give them a couple of minutes to calm down. Their parents noticed the bond we were forming and were happy to have a tutor who was not only profession and comfortable with subject matter but also someone who their kids genuinely liked. They recommended me to their friends.
Find a niche.
Succeeding as a private tutor is more than just having one client. I was lucky enough to begin tutoring with a client who had many close, wealthy friends with high school students. They recommended me to others in their community and soon enough I had another client, this time with 3 Pakistani-American boys ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade. The parents saw that I was respectful of their culture and soon I began working with two other Pakistani families who also had three boys. While I no longer work with the first family, I am currently working with three Pakistani families of boys and know that if I wanted to further expand my client base, I have many other Pakistani families I can work for. Another positive to working with clients who know each other is that they are understanding of my ever-changing schedule. If one needs to adjust their regular time, I can simply contact the other families and arrange for a change.
Take on individual tutoring assignments.
Besides my core group of clients, I also occasionally work with others who have been referred to me by others. I am no longer seeking more clients but I would never turn down someone who is asking for one day of help to write a paper or prepare for a difficult test. I cannot know what the future holds and taking these assignments helps me build a potential client base for the future.
So if you are looking into becoming a successful tutor, be able to prove that you will succeed, find that first client, build a niche (such as my specialty of Pakistani Muslim teenage boys), and continue building your reputation as a great tutor.