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.

 

 

 

 

 

Flexibility

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…

 

 

Creative

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

 

 

 

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:

 

 

 

8 simple and cheap ways to market your tutoring business

Are you looking for marketing ideas that you can implement that are cost effective and simple?

When I started Starr Tutoring in 2012 my marketing budget was small, and even today there aren’t hundreds or thousands to spend regularly…

These are the 10 techniques that have proven best value for money and had the best return on investment. I know they won’t work for everyone, but maybe they will work for you in the form that they are in or with a bit of a tweak.

Fliers

I’ve always had quite a good return when I’ve done a leaflet drop. People will however, often hold on to the leaflets for a while before getting in touch.
I also always put in the leg work and deliver the leaflets myself and with the help of family members. This way I know they have been delivered and I get the exercise.
When I design the fliers, I ensure they are double sided. The advert on one side and then testimonials on the other. That way regardless of which way they fall onto the floor on the other side of the letter box there is something to catch the householder’s attention before it finds its way into the bin. Use colour and also use a suitably good quality paper.
Before sending the fliers out I know exactly where my ideal tutee will live. I know where to focus my leaflet drop. (I go into getting to know your ideal tutee in far more detail in the membership group).

Personalised stationery

Whenever I go to someone for the first time I give them a small gift. It contains all the stationery that will be needed in the lessons.
It doesn’t sound like much but most people love to be given something no matter what it is.
I started doing this after I realised that other tutors were turning up to lessons without any resources and much of the first lesson was spent trying to find the equipment that would be needed in the forthcoming hour. Presenting this gift also increased efficiency and scored “brownie points” with the parents.
The pens and pencils in this pack are personalised with the Starr Tutoring website details. This meant that if they ever found their way into the child’s school pencil case and then into someone else’s pencil case, my company name was spreading.

Word of mouth

This has to be the easiest and cheapest form of marketing.
Bad news travels fast but so do good news! If you go above and beyond what is expected, your reputation will spread and it won’t cost you a penny!
Never be afraid to ask for feedback either, most people are more than happy to write a comment for you to post on your website, your Facebook page, etc.

A Facebook Page

This links to the last point.
I’ve received so much work over the years via Facebook. People will often ask for recommendations of a good tutor. Having a Facebook page, lets the potential family have a quick stalk and learn something about you before drawing their own conclusions.
The Facebook page is also a free method (apart from any paid advertising you choose to do) of raising your all-important online profile.

 

Magnets on the side of the car

Your mobile bill board

When I first did this, I didn’t think it had been that effective and nearly took them off never to be seen again.
During a conversation I had several years after an incident that I realised how much money those magnets had earned me. I think they cost roughly £24 for the 2 when I got them.
I had been parked on someone’s drive in a lesson when the mum left with friends to go out for dinner. A couple of days later someone phoned and said they had been given my number by this mum and could I help with tutoring their son with Maths and English. The following day, the same thing happened though this time just with maths.

These two ladies have between them passed my details onto a further 8 families that I am aware of, there maybe more.

What I hadn’t realised was the reason I had come into conversation was because one of the mums had mentioned my car when they had been out at dinner and said her son needed help. The mum whose daughter I had been working with then started to say how well her daughter was, how much she enjoyed the lessons and how happy they were.
Just over a year ago, when parked in town, someone approached me and asked for my details. She didn’t get in touch again until 2 weeks ago. They had moved from the area briefly but were now back and could I support her 3 daughters!
On one occasion when I was getting petrol 2 people asked me for my business card having spotted the magnets on the side of the car.
(I don’t have them on the car at the moment as I have more work than tutors, but I know it is something I can easily call upon in the future if I need to).

Bags and T-shirts

Earlier I mentioned I gave each new starter a stationery pack. I often present these in a draw string bag which has the Starr Tutoring branding on them. They’re bright and colourful and definitely stand out. I accept many people will never leave the house with the bags. It only needs to be seen by 1 person who stays with you for a couple of weeks for the return on investment to justify itself.

 

Tutoring for Charity

This is something I tried for the first time last summer.
I dedicated 5 days over the summer holidays to offering tutoring lessons for a donation to our designated charity. We didn’t raise much but we did help a few people and we helped to raise the company profile.

I was interviewed by the local radio station about it. Consequently, we had many likes and shares on Facebook to help advertise it.

It had been an impulsive idea and the last minute. I know that if I had had more time, I could have inexpensively spread the word much further.
This year my plan is to create a times tables course to support parents in teaching the times tables through games. Each time a course is purchased I will donate it free to a family that needs the help. Parents can either nominate themselves or someone that they know. The more I can raise the profile of the course and sell it, the more people I can help in return.
If you’re interested let me know and I will send you more details once the course is downloaded in the next few days.

I hope these ideas have given you some inspiration.

If you are starting your own tutoring business or trying to expand your existing one why not join us in “The Tutor’s Group” a place where you will receive support inspiration and guidance in your journey.

The “Tutor’s Group” is the Facebook group for the “Starr Tutoring Association.”
I hope to see you there soon.

 

How marketing for your tutoring business is like a game of “Guess Who”

Focusing your marketing is like a game of “Guess Who”.  You probably remember the game from your childhood. You have a board with rows of faces ready to be eliminated as you try to work out who your opponent’s person is that they have chosen.

When you are deciding who it would be appropriate to send it out to, the more you can ask questions and eliminate those you don’t want to tutor the more effective your marketing spend will be.

Some of the questions you may need to ask as you try to find your ideal market:

What does this person need support with?

It’s pointless sending out a generic message to all those looking for a tutor; at the very least you need to state the subject(s) you are able to support.

Is your speciality a language, a science, maths, English, humanities or something completely different like a musical instrument, dance or craft?

 

The next question you might apply is:

What level of support does this person need?

Initially keep this fairly focused. You can always branch out at a later date. The more precise you can be the fewer resources you will need to source/ create.

When I first started tutoring I stated I could support children in Key stage 1 and 2 with Maths and English. This was already 4 lots of resources I potentially had to create. I quickly expanded onto Key Stage 4 which then as a matter of course quickly incorporated Key stage 3. Now I had the potential of having to create 8 separate sets of resources and as no 2 people are alike the odds were that was a minimum. I used to sit up into the early hours of the morning creating resources which were appropriate to the needs of that child.

Make life easy for yourself and stay focused. The more focused you can be, the more likely it is that the resources you create can be used for more than one person.

Over the years this catalogue of resources has proved priceless, but when I first set out I was making life very difficult for myself….

Just by focusing in on these 2 questions I have vastly reduced the number of people who will pay attention to my marketing.

 

Where will the lessons take place?

I have written an e-book on this, highlighting the benefits and disadvantages of the available options. It can be downloaded via the knowledge centre and it is also available via “The Starr Tutoring Association”.

If someone is looking for a tutor to come to their house and you are intending to work as an online tutor, this is not someone you need to appeal to in your marketing. Considering this question when focusing your marketing will save you time and ensure the people who do get in touch are definitely relevant potential tutees.

 

Another question to pose is:

If someone is travelling (you or the tutee) how far would they be willing to travel?

It seems obvious that if someone needs to travel you do not need to create a national advert.

 

Like with the game “Guess Who” there are so many questions you can ask to narrow down to that one person who counts. I will go into them in far more detail in the training bundles in the “Starr Tutoring Association”.

As you write your post/ profile/ etc. answer these questions as you speak directly to the person you want to tutor. The more you can do this and explain how you can help them in doing so the more likely it is that the right person will be in touch.

If you want more information on the “Starr Tutoring Association” click here for more details.

 

 

Shocked!

Untitled design (7)

I was having a chat with a parent the other day after a lesson and I was amazed by what she said.

So, I’d like to share the conversation with you.

They had been away for the weekend with friends and somehow the conversation came up that both families had tutors for their children.

So they inevitably began to share notes.

The mum I was speaking to mentioned that I’d started going to them when their oldest daughter was in year 9 so that I could get her ready / through her GCSE’s.

I went to their house and took everything with me for the lesson that would be needed (from resources to stationery, etc.). We used a variety of resources and the older daughter had always seemed to enjoy the lessons.

I now go to support their younger son. He’s in year 5. We the structure is the same as above but when necessary I will ask the school for support on what they feel would be favourable to cover in the lessons so that we can complement each other.

The mum stated that she didn’t know where my phone was but she’d never seen me use it (I keep it in the car, but the relevance of this point will become evident in a moment).

The other parents seemed surprised by this.

Their daughter went to a tutor’s house once a week for maths support.

The tutor was also a piano teacher and all the lessons took place in her home.

It was the responsibility of the parents to provide anything that would be needed in the lessons.

Print out their own resources or provide any relevant text books. Stationery would also be provided by the family as needed.

The tutor would often make / answer calls during the lesson and it was the norm for the next tutee to turn up during this hour and start to get themselves ready for their piano lesson, which inevitably disturbed the concentration / train of thought /conversation that was occurring at that time.

I was amazed!

I know we all have different expectations from what we deliver as tutors and what parents should expect. However, we both agreed that if that family is paying for your time they should have complete access to it. Your time should not be shared with our phone and other people arriving and getting prepared for their lesson.

There should be certain standards that tutors have to adhere to in order to prevent the reputation of the majority been destroyed by the minority.

I pride myself to the effort we put into our lessons and the quality of the service we provide, though I sometimes think we take the things we do for granted.

From time to time we should all stand back and address what we do. Praise ourselves for the fantastic things we offer and consider if there is anything within our service that we could improve upon.

That way we would know that every family was getting value for money and every child is getting the very best tutoring that they deserve.

I’ve recently started the “Tutor’s Group” an online membership group where those starting out as tutors, or wanting to grow their tutoring business can go to for support and guidance.

I am keeping the price minimal as my aim is to help increase the quality of tutoring in the UK. Make parents aware of what they should expect and support as many tutors as possible in reaching these standards.

If you want more information on “The Tutor’s Group”  please do get in touch.