Who can I ask? Safeguarding children when tutoring

Who can I ask? Safeguarding children

Who can I ask pinterest

 

If you work for yourself as a tutor there will be times when things will occur and you will wish there was someone you could ask for advice.

 

About a year after I started tutoring I started going to a young girl who lived alone with her mum and their three dogs.

The mum didn’t work. She had recently left her job on health grounds after a car accident whilst travelling there.

Whilst I was in the kitchen carrying out the lesson she would sit watching her soaps and doing her needle work. She didn’t like walking the dogs so that was left to the girl (aged 9 at the time).

Because of the mum’s aversion to walking the dogs and the daughter being at school all day the dogs weren’t getting the opportunity to go out and relieve themselves. Therefore, they would do this all over the living room floor.

 

When the girl came out of her lesson it would be her responsibility to clear it up.

Within a couple of months one of the dogs had a little of puppies. This meant there was now the mum, the daughter, the 3 original dogs and 2 of the puppies that they had decided to keep. All now the responsibility of the daughter to clean up after whilst the mum sat watching the TV.

 

I wasn’t sure what to do. I felt I ought to ask the advice of someone, but who?

The social services would probably be my best option but without any work colleagues to go to for guidance I felt completely lost.

 

That’s why I’ve asked Richard to join us at the Starr Tutoring Association so if you need someone for advice on safeguarding issues, there is someone there to turn to.

 

Richard is a genuinely lovely person with 20 years of hands on involvement working in Social Work and also experience of Child Protection work with adolescents, young adults, family work and asylum.

Richard currently runs a national service that supports local authorities in providing crisis intervention cases for children and families. He has worked with most London boroughs and notably undertook work in Haringey after both Victoria Climbie and Baby P cases to help stabilize the service.

 

If you want more information on what the Starr Tutoring Association offers, click here:

Good luck with growing your tutoring business, I wish you all the luck and success in the world

 

To pay or not to pay? That shouldn’t be an option!

To pay or not to pay? That seems to be the question!

 

Sadly, getting people to pay for the tutoring they have received can be like getting blood out of a stone.

When I started tutoring I was naive and presumed if I did the work, especially if I put my heart and sole into it, people would pay me what I was owed. (I have said on many occasions I had no business knowledge or experience when I started tutoring).

Now I have contracts in place which are given to new starters. These clearly outline what we charge and when/how we expect to be paid. We also have a clear cancellation policy.

The “Payment Policy” is available for you to use or adapt for yourself in the Starr Tutoring Association Membership Group. They don’t need to be long and formal. Maybe they’re better if they’re not. They just need to clearly get the message across.

You can download the “Cancellation Policy” here:

 

Cancellation Policy

 

Is it a sign of disrespect when parents don’t pay?

I think it is. It may not be personal but you wouldn’t expect any other service to be provided for free or to pay for it as and when you feel like it without some sort of consequence being applied.

 

When I first started tutoring I went to a family who paid cash.

It is quite amazing how many excuses one person can have for not having any cash on them:

I haven’t had chance to go the cash point

I left my purse in my boyfriend’s car

The dog has been poorly so I didn’t go out.

These were 3 of her most common excuses not to pay.

 

Recently I’ve been in discussion with a family over the payment terms. They started before the policies were created. She felt a month was a satisfactory length of time to pay. The invoices say 5 days.

 

These days I believe we are better off without families who don’t pay when asked the amount asked.

If you are struggling with people who don’t pay, fire them!

It’s actually quite therapeutic, even if terrifying!

At first the fear of the reduction in your income is difficult to overcome. However, they’re not paying you anyway so you have nothing to lose. It also means you can replace that family with another family who does pay you the amount asked and on time.

It took me along time to gain this attitude, but without it any company will drown.

 

Many tutors ask for payment up front. They may offer a discount if a group of lessons is paid for in advance. This is a great option as the family feel they are getting a bargain. You are not having to play catch up with payments each time/ week/ month.

 

Don’t let the question “To pay, or not to pay?” be the option for the families you work with.

Get policies in place from the start.  It’s never too late to start if you haven’t. If you don’t families with this sort of mentality will destroy your company and all the hard work you have put into it.

 

If you want help growing your tutoring company why not join us in our Facebook group “The Tutor’s Group” where you will find myself and other tutors to chat to. You will find motivation and support.

 

 

Don’t let a lack of confidence stop you

The importance of confidence

Life throws a lot of things at you and it will either boost or knock your confidence.

Too often we stop ourselves from trying things because we don’t have the confidence.

But this can stop us from doing so many things that will help us to grow great businesses.

The more our business grows, it means the more people we can help.

I have never exuded confidence like some people seem to. I am quiet and often feel very socially awkward.

Yet sometimes it is worth taking a step book and looking at yourself as an outsider and you will realise that you actually have many reasons to be proud.

My maiden name was Starr and I was always proud to be associated with my mum, dad, brother. That’s why the company is now called Starr Tutoring. Associating myself with that gave me confidence. (It also helps that star is associated with greatness and success, but in all honesty at the time of Starr Tutoring that wasn’t even a consideration).

 

When I started tutoring I tried very hard to keep it to myself because I didn’t want people to judge me. That is not the way to grow a business!

 

I kept my prices very low. I didn’t have the confidence to ask for more, I didn’t think I was worthy.

That was counter-productive. People presume they largely get what they pay for. You pay peanuts, you get peanuts. Recognition of this forced me to put my prices up.

 

When I started the Starr Tutoring Association I procrastinated about if for over a year.

 

Was I really worthy of supporting others in growing a tutoring business?

 

I had had a book published

I had presented workshops

Starr Tutoring had been started from nothing and now I had more work than I could cope with.

We boosted the knowledge and confidence of a lot of people. We had made a genuine difference to their lives.

I had given advise to others informally on starting / growing their tutoring business

I had a team of tutors working for me.

For years I had read, learned and implemented what I had learned from others not just about growing a business but also about learning styles and techniques.

I had made mistakes but I had learned from them.

 

I had achieved a lot! Maybe I could?

 

If I gave it a go what was the worse thing that could happen?

I would waste some time (and money) but I would continue to learn along the way.

If I didn’t give it a go what was the worse thing that could happen?

People that needed support in growing and expanding a tutoring business would never get the support that I could offer them.

Maybe not trying to help was selfish?

 

I had to get my own ego out of the way.

Any lack of confidence that was holding me back had to put a side.

You only live once and whilst I am on this earth I want to make a difference. I want that difference to be positive and to effect as many people as possible.

 

Each question I answer, each blog I write, each resource bundle I create, will hopefully offer someone somewhere a nugget of information that will inspire them and help them to succeed.

 

Grow your dream tutoring business

If you want more information on “The Starr Tutoring Association” CLICK HERE

 

Don’t let your confidence get in your way of starting and growing your tutoring business. Have a go, you might enjoy it and you will no doubt benefit others in the process.

 

It’s all in the preparation

It’s all in the preparation

For just over 12 years I was married to a perfectionist.

We would move into a house that needed updating and he would set to work. He would spend hours preparing each room ready for him to decorate. I would be eager to get on with the stuff that showed rather than the bits that no one would ever see.

Yet when he had finished the room would be amazing, there wouldn’t be an imperfection anywhere. He always said it was the preparation that made all the difference.

 

Tutoring can also benefit from this logic.

There will always be a dramatic difference in the quality of a lesson between someone who turns up and bluffs their way through the hour and someone who has planned the lesson in advance, taken the time to prepare resources which are relevant to the child’s learning style, interests and needs.

 

If you ant to grow a successful tutoring business it will always be the tutor who is better prepared that will impress the parents more.

This will be the tutor whose reputation will grow quicker.

The tutor who has put more effort in will always see the benefits. They will be the ones who carry out a lesson where the imperfections are difficult to see.

 

This preparation can start long before you ever meet the family though. Think about who that person is that you want to tutor and when you are creating the marketing (Facebook posts, blogs, images, etc) for your business talk to that person. Think about the type of language you need to use, think about the type of image you need to create to capture their attention.

Be careful though not to get too caught up in the planning. The preparation that you never start the implementation of the action.

 

Below is the outline of the lesson plan that I use. Feel free to edit and use it as you see fit.

 

sample lesson plan generic

 

Get started as a tutor

It takes so much time to get things started.

 

When you start something (ie. Tutoring), you are keen for it to get started; for many reasons:

It’s a new adventure and enthusiasm is high

You are starting the business because you need the money

By tutoring you hope to genuinely make a difference to the lives of the people you encounter

 

I started Starr Tutoring in 2012 and now it is a business that goes far beyond what I ever expected it to be.

I am hesitant about posting this blog as I don’t want people to think I am sitting on my pity cushion, but instead to show you that it can be done. So, don’t give up!

Within the next few lines, I hope you will find some inspiration that will help you move your business forward as well.

 

In 2012 I was a single mum of 3 children. My oldest had moved back in with her dad (long story) and I was in a job I hated. We were still trying to finalise the divorce and I was at an all time low.

Previously, I had been an NVQ assessor and although I loved the job, it was impractical. I would often find myself several miles away at 3 o’clock assessing someone when I should have been walking up the school path to collect my own children from school.

One afternoon, on impulse I contacted the local college and asked about doing the PTLLS course so that I could do a similar role but based in a classroom.

 

That day changed my life.

 

Whilst on that course I made friends with a lady who was tutoring. She suggested I gave it a go. After several weeks of deliberation and advise from another friend I submitted.

One afternoon whilst my kids were at their dad’s I put my profile onto the first tutors’ website. It was very basic and I don’t think I promoted myself that well as I had such a low opinion of myself at that time.

But it was a start.

I had no business knowledge what so ever, so everything I did was on instinct. I would have loved a guiding hand at this point.

 

Another friend and I brainstormed ideas about what we would expect from a tutor if we had one for our own children. This was my building block for the business. I wasn’t thinking about profits and margins, I was thinking about what a parent would expect from me.

I genuinely think this is why things started to move so quickly. Unknowingly, I was thinking like my ideal customer.

 

I was relating to their wants and desires. Their fears and frustrations.

 

The next Sunday the children went to their dad’s for the afternoon I sat down and looked at how to create a website.

It had to be cheap because money was an issue. It also had to be very simple to create as I had no knowledge or experience in anything like this. The only experience I had was when I used Microsoft word for my previous jobs (even my degree, although a correspondence degree was predominately paper based). Other than  the only IT experience I had playing Tetris on my brother’s Sinclair Spectrum as a child.

 

By the time they came home that evening I had put together a very basic website on Vistaprint. (The very basic website I have recently put together is on WordPress as it has more features. But it still costs me very little as I try to do as much of it as I can myself).

Not a cost-effective use of my time?

I know, but I enjoy it and when I’m doing it, I feel as if I am being proactive in moving the business forward. Whilst I am moving forward I know I am making progress towards my goal.

 

Quickly, I realised that having my own website was a huge asset. I was able to say much more about myself, my teaching style and what I offered. It also meant that people could get hold of me for a proper chat for free.

 

My brother gave me advise on making the site more SEO friendly and getting it listed on as many free sites as possible.

This all started to generate momentum.

 

I then started creating fliers (these were very basic and I think the ones I produce these days are far more professional) which again helped people become aware of me.

Everything I did had to be cheap. I didn’t have the money to get things done professionally. In my naivety I hadn’t realised there were companies out there that helped with such things!

 

I bought magnets and stuck them on the side of the car so that everywhere I went I was telling people about Starr Tutoring.

 

Whilst in my day job I would use the quiet moments to sit and think how I could help the children I had started to tutor. This meant everything was tailor made and it helped to get the word spread about what I was doing. This wasn’t a one style suits all business that I had created.

 

I also created a Facebook page, initially it was just my own page but later I created a business one. I didn’t know what to put but it was there, it was a start. (Over the past few years this page has been invaluable for getting work. Facebook is a fantastic place for people to ask for recommendations. Once recommended the enquirer can have a quick stalk before deciding whether to contact you or not).

If you do nothing else, create your own business page. It’s free and I honestly believe that it could make a huge difference to your business.

 

I have recently discovered Canva (the basic package is free) which means you can add images to your posts making it look more professional. You might want to give it a try?

 

Building the business is a steady burn. Sadly, nothing happens overnight. I am now blogging more. Some of it is probably just regarded as noise but hopefully you will find snippets of useful information to help you grow your business. By doing this, you are also keeping the content of your website fresh so it is more likely to appear higher in the Google search engines.

It also shows that you know what you are talking about and gives people the opportunity to get to know you.

They can decide before they get in touch if they think you are going to work well together.

 

In the last few months I have also started the Starr Tutoring Association. It is a membership group for those who are starting tutoring or hoping to grow their tutoring business to find ideas. The ideas won’t be hugely expensive ones, they will be simple and cheap and achievable by all.

Grow your dream tutoring business

Like I said when I started tutoring, I would have loved someone there to hold my hand and guide me through the journey ahead.

The aim of the group is also so I can be that person for you.

If you want more information click here.

 

Good luck in your journey and whether you decide to join or not, if you want any help, please do ask.

 

Best wishes