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

 

Boosting your income in the summer holidays

What will you do this summer?

 

It’s mid-July and within a couple of weeks schools will break up, people will go on holiday and work as a tutor could decline along with your income.

 

Some people will have policies in place to state that a holding fee is required to secure the spot for when the schools go back in September.

 

What can you do to boost your income over the summer?

It has been said when work is low you need to drive your marketing budget up. Marketing is an investment and good marketing will bring the work back in that you need.

 

Here are 7 things I have done in the past to support my “Summer months income”.

 

Tutoring for Charity

This cost me a couple of days but it did a fantastic job of raising awareness of the company and helped to raise money for a local charity as well.

A local business lent a room for me to use for a couple of days last summer for free.

I put a couple of adverts on Facebook and mentioned it to the local radio station who were happy to interview me about it. (It was all very last minute, so this is literally all the marketing I did).

People were then invited along to have an hour’s tutoring. Instead of charging the regular fee, they were invited to put a donation in the tin for the charity instead.

I was really impressed with the support it received and the fact we had a few new leads was an even bigger added bonus.

 

T-shirts

 

1 Million Times Tables Challenge tshirt

Whilst you are out and about over the summer why not wear t-shirts or carry a bag that states that you’re a tutor of… and why not stop you and ask for your card/advise/ availability etc.

I’ve recently done this with the 1 Million Times Tables Challenge and the t-shirt has cost me approx. £8. If I sell 1 challenge as a result of it, I will have made a profit.

 

Get back in touch

typing

Has anyone been in touch recently that you haven’t been able to support because you were too busy. Maybe there’s someone you tutored in the past but had to stop for some reason. Maybe you should send them a short email and tell them you’re available if they need your help.

It won’t cost you a penny but it could bring you in some summer income…

 

Free Resources

Please don’t get annoyed with me for recommending everything you do is for free!

What I have learned over the past 6 years though, is that by giving things away which have a minimal financial cost to create you will attract more people in return. They will learn more about you and decide whether they like you and your style. They can decide in advance if you are the right tutor for them. By the time they get in touch with you they are already smitten and it is far easier to convert them into a regular tutee.

 

Ask for references

 

Ask the people you have been to recently for testimonials and flaunt them all over Facebook, Twitter, your website, etc. If you’re good, tell the world and again it will help potential new tutees find confidence in you. This again will bring you in new work over the summer when your regular commitments might be on holiday.

 

Courses and e-books

 

free download for tutors

Could you create a course or an e-book containing the information that you tutor? I have done this in the past offering support with spellings, reading and maths. Although it has never made me a huge income it has helped to set me up as an expert in the field.

In the 1980’s film “Field of Dreams” there is the well know quote:

“If you build it; he will come.”

Sadly, this isn’t entirely true in business. It’s more a case of build it and then market it like mad, then people will come. (I have never put enough effort into marketing these, but I know if I did what a difference it would make).

 

Recently, I created the 1 million times tables challenge [CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS] and I am promoting it like mad. Now I have set myself a huge target and I know I need to be proactive to achieve it. But I also know that although it will cost me money to promote it, I will also earn a lot of money from creating it.

 

Finally, I’ve mentioned clothing; why not use your car as an advert?

 

Your mobile bill board

I regularly have magnets on the side of my car promoting Starr Tutoring. I think this cost me approximately £12 each to buy but the number of people who have got in touch as a result of seeing them. One evening I had my car parked on someone’s drive which sparked a conversation with a friend of hers. That was probably 4 years ago now. Because of that 1 conversation I have supported at least 10 more children with their maths and English!

 

I hope these ideas help.

I have focused on ideas which are cheap and easy to implement. They can all be adapted according to whatever you tutor.

But don’t forget, the best thing you can do to get the work in, is to be the best tutor in that subject in your area.

 

Why not join our Facebook group “The Tutor’s Group” where you can chat with other tutors for inspiration and ideas?

 

Or if you want more focused support on building a great tutoring business why not check out “The Starr Tutoring Association

 

Grow your dream tutoring business

 

Either way:

 

 

 

What would the best tutor do?

What would the best tutor do?

 

Could this thought help you grow your tutoring business?

I’ve just finished creating the resource bundle for the “Starr Tutoring Association” membership group.

 

It’s been eye opening.

 

When I first decided to make this bundle, I thought I would be able to mention every resource that I use.
It soon became apparent that I actually have a huge number of resources that I use.

Why?

Because over the past 18 years I have learned that there are a huge number of benefits to using a range of resources. (I won’t go into this in detail as I talk about it in other blogs).

When I started tutoring, I had no idea what was expected of me. A friend and I brainstormed what we thought would be expected from a tutor.

That was over 6 years ago.

In that time, I have built up a team of tutors and a successful tutoring company.

The main thing that has changed is when I first started I asked: “What would be expected of a tutor?”

 

Now I ask: “What would be expected of the very best tutor?”

 

Could this thought help you grow your tutoring business?

This is the philosophy I run the business by and it seems to work. We always have a waiting list and the feedback myself and the other tutors receive has been amazing.

For that I am truly grateful to them.

 

The tutors at Starr Tutoring are amazing!

 

So, in answer to question: “What would the best tutor do?” these are what we do at Starr Tutoring:

  • Every lesson is tailor made for the needs of the individual child
  • It is planned in advance and the parents are given access to this plan if required
  • We always travel to the tutee so that we can offer a face to face service in an environment where the child is comfortable and relaxed
  • We offer praise and encouragement
  • Building confidence is as important to us as building knowledge. We believe these go hand in hand anyway.
  • We approach every lesson with a smile
  • Politeness and customer service is paramount
  • We take our shoes of when we go into someone’s house. Trivial but shows we respect them and their property.
  • We take the time at the end of every lesson to talk to the parents about what we have done and the progress that has been made.
  • Each week we send an email out (to anyone that wants it) offering techniques on how to support a child with English and maths at home.
  • We also acknowledge that everyone learns differently and has different interests, so the resources that we provide reflect and embrace that.

Although this isn’t everything we offer it’s a start.

But the philosophy of ensuring the resources suit the needs of children from 5 to 16 and adults as well, with a range of interests, learning styles, strengths and weaknesses has created a huge library of resources.

 

The images show just some of the 10 resources I have placed in the resource bundle.

      

My goal is to support other people in building successful tutoring businesses.

 

There is a huge demand which is constantly growing for great tutors. I can’t support as many people as I would like individually.

 

That is why I created the membership group.

My intention is that it becomes the best online support group for people who are wanting to start or expand their own tutoring companies.

 

I have kept the price down to just £27/month so that it is accessible to all.
There is no commitment to stay and you can cancel your membership at any time.
If you want to join us, click on the link below:

 

 

I have made a lot of mistakes over the past 6 years since I started Starr Tutoring but I have learned from them.
I have made a lot of costly mistakes in that time, hopefully I can prevent you from making the same ones.

Learning and reading, growing and improving have been forefront in my mind.

I want to be the best tutor there is.
I want to help you share that position with me.

 

Work together to be the best tutors

In the membership group you will, amongst other things: receive a new training bundle each month and have access to experts on special needs support and safe guarding children.

I will pass on to you everything I have learned so that tutors who are passionate and care are the ones who are found by the parents seeking support.

To join a growing movement of exceptional, committed tutors click on the link below: