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.


12 Reasons to become a tutor

Why become a tutor?


Out of all the jobs out there, why are you considering tutoring? I was asked why I did it and I think this is the best explanation I can give.

Everyone goes to work for a reason. For most of us it’s to earn the money to pay the bills, for others it’s nothing more than to get out the house, meet people and pass the time of day:


Good income

Why tutoring might suit you

  1. Good income: I admit, tutoring isn’t up there with the wages of a solicitor, doctor or rocket scientist, but a good tutor can expect to earn a reasonable wage. Although any good tutor will spend an element of time preparing for the lesson, the wage can still be considered by most to be a respectable income.







Tutoring offers flexibility

  1. Flexibility: Most jobs offer either a reasonable income but very little flexibility, or the flexibility but little more than the minimum wage. Yet tutoring does both. This means that tutoring as a second job in the evening or weekend, is perfect as that is when there is the highest demand. There are also an increasing number of children been home schooled who require additional support in certain subjects during the day. Your diary is yours to set, you can decide in advance the hours you wish to work and there is normally an element of give within this week by week.



The ability to work from homeAs a tutor you can work from home

  1. The flexibility continues with capability to work from home. Providing you have a table and a room where you can be left in peace to work, tutoring is the perfect job to carry out at home. You will reduce your travel costs and time, consequently increasing your over all income. It also means you have all your resources to hand, so if you have planned one thing but the student requires something different you can easily adapt. To be honest I’ve never worked from home, I like to get out and about. I enjoy driving through the fantastic British countryside and visiting new places. But that’s just my personal preference. I also believe that if the student is in their own familiar environment it will make them more relaxed which reinforces a state of mind which will encourage them to remember what they are taught. It also helps already busy parents fit the tutoring into their existing routine.



Every lesson is different

Every lesson is different

  1. I was asked the other day if always doing the same thing with people gets boring. Yet I very rarely do the same thing more than once or twice a week. I work with children from as young as 7 up to adult. The range of support needed is as you would imagine huge. I admit, I play a choice of games in most lessons, regardless of age (if you read my book: The Essential Guide to help Parents and Tutors; Supporting children with reading and spelling, the reasons why would become apparent) but in every other respect every lesson is different. Every one of us is an individual. Consequently every person we meet will be different. Some will be chatty, some will be quite. Some will want to go back to the very basics of something; others may have got an understanding of the basics, but can’t get their head around some of the more complex ideas of the subject. I have shared lessons with cats, dogs, chickens (I would have to draw the line at pet spiders). I’ve sat on the floor of a house as the family has moved out. I’ve sat in the conference room in a rather stately home. I use a range of resources, depending on the wishes and needs of the tutee. I love this variety and this brings me nicely onto point…




You get to be creative

  1. Jobs where you can be this creative on a daily basis in the world of education, are very limited. I can’t draw and I’m not artistic but this job has definitely allowed me to be more creative than I have ever been in any other job I’ve had. I think of games and activities we can do to keep the learning on track but in a varied manner.




Meet fantastic people

At work the people often make the job

  1. Over the past few years I have met some really fantastic people. I’ve met a whole range of people who need tutors for a remarkable range of reasons, but without fail they have all been really lovely people. In fact I would probably say that it has been the people, which have made the job as enjoyable as it is and you are never in any doubt that the effort you put in is completely appreciated.




Enhance the knowledge and understanding of another person

  1. Another key element about tutoring is that you are able to enhance the knowledge and understanding of another person in a subject. Very often people will find a tutor because they don’t understand a subject or an element of a subject; quite possibly they will have exams coming up or just need the support to get through everyday schooling or life. When they find that understanding there is definitely a sense of pride and achievement, that you have supported them in finding this understanding.




Boost enthusiasm

Why become a tutor? You will boost enthusiasm, knowledge and confidence

  1. I think it is also fair to say that if someone doesn’t understand something, they normally don’t enjoy it either. This is one of the reasons outlined in my book, why I use an element of games and various other activities. If you can start to break down that feeling of dislike and resentment towards something, you are probably more susceptible to learning and acquiring new knowledge. Like I say, this is discussed in greater depth in the book, so I won’t dwell on it here. But seeing a new enthusiasm for something that they previously loathed and couldn’t see any point behind is I think a great feeling for both tutor and tutee.



The support can be life changing

The support you provide can be life changing

  1. Some people need a tutor’s support to get them through an exam. For some, this qualification could change their lives. It could give them the access onto a university degree course to qualify for the job that they dream of, take promotion, continue with their education or just keep up with their peers. Whatever the reason, for many people this support can be life changing. I once worked with a lady who wanted to return to University to undertake the training that she needed for a new job. Her first step was to go to the local college and sit a maths test to get her onto the access course. She failed and was told she wasn’t likely to pass. She got in touch and she asked for help. I’ve never seen anyone work as hard as she did that summer. At the end of the summer she retook the exam and passed. I have great admiration for her and what she achieved in those few weeks.


Improve your own knowledge

  1. I have found over the last few years that people will get in touch and ask if you do the “chunking method”, “partitioning” or the “grid method”. This was all completely new terminology to me when I started. I have found that my own knowledge has increased significantly over the past few years of tutoring in other subjects as well. Children will often say they need to write a report in another subject, can I help them. This then becomes an issue when you realise they have no knowledge on the subject, so between you it is necessary to find something to write. My history, geography and science have all improved dramatically.



You don’t need to be a qualified teacher

You do need a DBS check as a tutor but you don't need to be a qualified teacher

  1. When I first looked into doing a childcare and education qualification carrying out a full time teacher training course wasn’t a realistic proposition. I had three young children under 5 years old. But to be a tutor you don’t need to have Qualified Teacher Status although a background in education is beneficial. As long as you have good subject knowledge and are able to support others in gaining this knowledge, you have the basic qualifications. (Obviously a DBS check is paramount to ensure people are allowing suitable people into their home. Especially when working with children).



No bureaucracy

  1. Many teachers love their role in supporting someone’s learning, often for similar reasons to some of those I have mentioned above. But in schools there is an increasing amount of bureaucracy and paper work which detracts from time you can spend preparing and supporting the children with their education. At the time of writing this there is no such bureaucracy in the UK for tutors.





There you go. My own personal twelve reasons: Why I became a tutor. Everyone would probably have different reasons. I would be lying if I didn’t say there were days when it’s cold and dark and you just think “I can’t be bothered” but isn’t that the same in most jobs? Hand on heart I can genuinely say I love my job. It has given my kids and I some great holidays and experiences through the money I earn as a tutor. I like the flexibility of my days and the fact that no two days are the same. I love the people I meet and the fact that I feel the work I do is genuinely appreciated and making a difference to someone’s life.


If you have read this far you are clearly giving tutoring serious consideration!


If you need a hand to get going or maybe you have started tutoring and you are lacking inspiration and motivation, why not check out “The Tutor’s Tutor”.


The Tutor’s Tutor is a place where you will receive a new training bundle each month to help you to grow your tutoring business.

There are annual awards to be won which will prove to the world what a great job you do. It will inspire you and also others to be tutored by you.


It is a place where like minded people can join, share ideas, inspiration and motivation.


A place to grow and find the support you need in creating the business of your dreams.


For more information: click here


I look forward to meeting you there




Do you have a dream?

Do you have a dream?


It may sound obscure, but when writing the blogs, I am largely writing my ideas down for myself. It is hard to imagine that others will take the time to read them.


But I do have a dream, something I want to achieve in life.

The other day I revealed my dream to someone I knew was listening. Would they judge? I don’t know, but it was out there and now I need to make it a reality.


My dream is to change the face of tutoring in the UK!


When I started tutoring I was stepping out of my comfort zone. I lacked confidence and even the smallest step was a terrifying idea. So, I didn’t tell people I was tutoring….

I put a profile on a national website where I guessed I wouldn’t be known and waited to see what happened.


That was over 6 years ago. In that time, I have crashed through my comfort zone. I now try to shout from the roof tops that Starr Tutoring exists and this is how we do things.




Because I believe there are too many lazy tutors who reply on text books, printing out generic worksheets and conversation. I’m not saying that anyone of these are wrong, but I am saying they shouldn’t be used in isolation. Furthermore, they shouldn’t be the tutor’s only style of supporting someone’s learning. Resources need to be adapted to suit the learners learning style.


Students have the right to be supported in a way that suits their individual interests and learning style.


Tutoring shouldn’t be ventured into as “easy money”.


I want to make it common practice for tutors to make individual lesson plans with resources which have been given consideration and meet the student’s needs.


I know I will alienate a lot of people by saying this.

But that is fine, because I also know there are a lot of tutors who are amazing.

I know this because some of them work for me!


Now I want to shout from the roof tops about the approach we take to tutoring. The things I took for granted such as not using our phones in lessons, are actually not the every day norm. Providing resources, travelling to the tutee. What we do is special and it’s worth shouting about.


How do you see your future as a tutor?

The best tutors plan their lessons, they also plan their future


What are your intentions for your future as a tutor?

Whether it is to just get you through a short-term financial blip or start a movement that will change the face of tutoring forever. You need to know where you are heading.


Regardless of your goals you need to know what they are.


As the quote states in Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”

Alice:  “Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

Cheshire Cat: “That depends a good deal on where you want to get to”

Alice: “I don’t much care where”

Cheshire Cat: “Then it doesn’t much matter, which way you go.”


With no final destination planned, you will never know if you are getting closer or if you are heading in the completely wrong direction.


If you have a short-term financial blip, how much do you need to earn to get you through it? How quickly do you need to achieve this? Do you want students who will only be with you short term whilst they prepare for their upcoming exams?


Maybe you’re a student who wants to use tutoring to help you get through university and keep your loans/ debt to a minimum. If this is the case you are no doubt hoping your students will stay with you longer. The longer you can retain a student, the less money you will need to spend on finding new students and the more attention you can put into being the very best you can at tutoring.


Perhaps for you tutoring isn’t just a financial goal.

You have a passion and you want to help others feel the same as you do about the subject.


You (I hope) wouldn’t go into a lesson not knowing what your objective was for that lesson. Knowing what you wanted to achieve would be your starting point. Breaking your learning outcome down into small achievable goals/ activities would be common sense.


That’s what we need to do for ourselves.

We need to know where tutoring is going to take us and the route we are going to take in order to achieve it.

If you want to join other tutors for inspiration, ideas and support why not join us over in our Facebook group: “The Tutor’s Group





“It’s so different to being in the classroom!”

Very few children, especially younger ones would choose to have a tutor.

Some children learn differently to methods used in the classroom by teachers.

Yesterday I was talking to one of our new tutors about planning a lesson and the type of resources we use.


We spoke about the tasks we can use within comprehension: battleships, writing a diary exert, drawing and annotating a descriptive extract from the book.


We spoke about how in maths we can use a variety of games you can use: Snakes and ladders, pairs and solving clues, to name but a few.


How each task needed adapting for each child, but as you go to know the individual you can learn what their expectations are and what will work best for them.


I was asked if I had ever helped a child with handwriting. A few years back over the summer holidays I had worked with a lad where this had been the main focus.

The weather had always been kind to us. This enabled us to work outside and potentially make more mess!

We used different sizes of paint brushes and used water to draw shapes and letters on the patio and the side of the house. He used large cut offs of wallpaper and felt tips and markers to write larger than life letters. We used trays of rice and gloop to draw the letters to create a completely different sensory experience.

Put the writing on the wall

More recently, I’ve been working with a young autistic lad. He’s really lovely and I love the hour on a Friday afternoon. We are focusing on concentration, speech and his writing skills.

This time working outside hasn’t been as practical so we have had to adapt the situation.

Each week I take along a sheet of images to be coloured in. For example, one week it might be the letter “b” we are concentrating on. There will be: a large “b”, a bee, banana, ball, bicycle, bat and a book. We will both have our own copies to colour. As we colour we will talk about what we are doing, the colours we are using, what we are colouring.

Over the weeks it has been amazing to see his concentration improve as well as his speech and the fine motor skills needed for hand writing.

Next, we will have a sheet of words and pictures will have been muddled up. Whereas so many worksheets expect you to draw a line between the corresponding word and picture, we get the scissors and glue out. Cut out each word and picture and glue them back down together so that they match up.


Her response to this was:

“I love the fact that when you are asked to focus on something you address it from a completely different angle. It is so different to being in a classroom”.


I had never thought of it like this, but she’s right. Because I enjoy the lessons (who isn’t going to enjoy some colouring, cutting, gluing and chatter?) my enthusiasm rubs off. I can hear him when I arrive at the house shouting my name through the door.

He also dives into my bag and chooses what we are going to do. As he pulls out each activity he exclaims “Good job!”


He’s right I do have a good job. I love my job. Would I want to work in a classroom? No. “This is so different to being in a classroom”.



What does the Big Bus Tour ™ have in common with tutoring?

What does the Big Bus Tour ™ have in common with tutoring?


Yesterday was the bank holiday so mum, my youngest and I went for a day out in London. We used the Big Bus ™ as our transport to give mum the chance to go down memory lane.

Some of the buses had live commentary others had a pre-recorded tape.

Thinking about this afterwards it seemed that this is very similar to how tutors work.


If a student wants to achieve X, some tutors will have a predetermined set of work that they will work through to achieve that goal.

Other tutors will look at the individual involved and consider what would the best route to take be? What questions do they need to ask? They can and will ask if the student has any questions before they move on.


I appreciate that having a predetermined set of work is a lot more efficient. It can be easily reproduced and anyone who is recommended to you as a tutor will know exactly what to expect.

Yet, we are all individuals. We all learn differently. What is the best route for one individual may not be the best for another.


Yesterday we had to take several diversions due to road closures. This lead to generic music being played. These road closures are like metaphors for a child not getting something and needing to take an alternative route to get them to their final destination.


Will you just kill time and “play generic music” or will you talk them through the alternative route?


We are all different and we need to celebrate that fact. It needs to be embraced. As tutors we need to give the child the individual support they need to reach their personal goals and realise that sometimes a one style suits all approach, doesn’t work.


If you want to chat to other like-minded tutors about growing your tutoring business, why not join us in “The Tutor’s Group”. Our Facebook group, a place where together we can grow, learn, inspire and improve.


Any questions, please do get in touch and ask and I promise I will always do my best to answer them.