Looking to start an online tutoring business? Starting an online tutoring business can be an exciting and fulfilling venture. With the increasing demand for online education, the potential for success in this field is immense.
Online tutoring allows you to reach students worldwide, providing them with personalized education and learning opportunities.
Whether you are an experienced teacher or have a passion for a particular subject, starting an online tutoring business is a great way to share your knowledge and expertise with others.
In this article, I will cover the key steps you need to take to launch and grow a successful online tutoring business, from defining your niche and creating a strong brand to setting up your platform and marketing your services.
Online Tutoring in 2024
With the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating technology adoption for all stakeholders in academics and the online tutoring industry, modern education has entered a whole new sector.
A research report by Global Market Insights states that the global eLearning market is likely to exceed $375 billion in the next five years, growing at more than 8% CAGR between 2020 and 2026.
Although countries worldwide are working hard to adopt online education and remote learning rapidly, certain nations have embraced it more readily than others. ICEF Monitor, a market intelligence resource for international education, has mentioned the countries that have stepped up the game. They include the United States of America, India, China, Australia, Malaysia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and South Africa.
Apart from academics, these countries have implemented online learning platforms in various niches, such as online tutoring, language learning, fitness training, music teaching, and more.
Recent trends indicate that online tutoring continues to grow exponentially by virtue of its benefits for tutors, parents, and learners alike. It enables tutors to be self-reliant, set their availability, determine the hourly rates, and take as many or as few clients as they can comfortably fit into their schedule.
Whether a college student or a fresh graduate, online tutoring is a promising business idea you can pursue alongside your studies and earn additional income. After all, great teachers are always in high demand. In this article, I will help you learn everything you need to know to start an online tutoring business.
Why should you start an online tutoring business?
Becoming a tutor grants you a lot of job flexibility while also allowing you to serve your community. By tutoring, you improve students’ lives and help guide them toward academic success. Simultaneously, tutoring lets you manage your schedule and set your own rates. Best of all, you can work from the comfort of your home when you set up an online tutoring business.
As an online tutor, you can expand your reach to communities that may otherwise be unable to travel to a physical tutoring center. Thus, you can support both students and parents while accommodating dynamic school and business pandemic safety protocols. Not only will you become a source of hope to students, but you will relieve parents of pressure in an increasingly stressful time for families.
In addition, online tutoring has been growing in popularity over the past few years. The Business Research Company predicts that the online tutoring market will grow by 15.9% through 2026. The rise in revenue is largely due to COVID-19 and the online education movement. There will always be a high demand for educators (especially online ones) around standardized testing time and the end of semesters/quarters. Once you become a tutor, you will help fill that critical requirement.
For anyone who wants to join a growing market, now is a great time to open their own online tutoring business.
Although you don’t need a license to start a tutoring business, you must decide on a business structure beforehand. You can operate your online tutoring business as a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), or sole trader/proprietor.
Currently, sole traders/proprietorships and LLCs are the most common choices among tutors.
Education is an important requirement for starting your own online tutoring business. At the very least, you should have a GED or high school diploma. As you look into tutoring, you should consider working towards a tutoring certification as well. Doing so increases your credibility and shows parents that you are safe around their students. You can get these certifications from the National Tutoring Association or your state’s Department of Education.
There aren’t any other “official” requirements for starting an online tutoring business, but I do recommend some things. First, you need to decide what business plan to use for your online tutoring business. Unless you file official paperwork for becoming another entity, your business will remain a sole proprietorship.
Also, you must consider getting several kinds of insurance policies for your business. You should especially consider getting professional indemnity insurance, commonly known as “errors and omissions” or E&O insurance. It protects you from lawsuits directly related to poor advice that results in financial or personal damages to a client. It is ideal for a business like online tutoring because much of your work could be considered advising your clients.
How to start an online tutoring business?
Now that you’re acquainted with some of the important things to consider when starting your own online tutoring business, let’s look at the actual steps you must take to turn your dream into reality. Remember that you must never skip a crucial step; start slow and take your time to avoid delays in getting your business started.
Here are the steps involved:
- Find funding for your business
- Go with the right technology and software
- Decide on your rates
- Register your business
- Establish your presence online
- Work on your payment system
- Find clients and start marketing your business
- Grow your online tutoring business
1. Find funding for your business
Once you have a basic idea of your business’ mode of operation, you must start making a basic budget to estimate your starting costs. For example, do you need to buy any materials, teaching aids, hardware, or software? Will you be paying for a web host or website-building software? Don’t forget to account for business insurance payments, certifications, site/domain fees, and marketing costs as well.
2. Go with the right technology and software
Your classroom setup is going to play an important role in your success. Therefore, you should find an appropriate place in your house to conduct your online tutoring sessions. It should be away from the noise of the rest of your home and have abundant lighting and a clean, neutral background.
Along with your physical classroom, you must prepare an online classroom before you start tutoring. Make sure you have all the necessary equipment for the same, such as a computer, a strong internet connection, a webcam, and a properly functioning microphone. I also recommend purchasing a tablet/digital drawing pad and stylus to illustrate and share concepts with your students using virtual whiteboard software.
After acquiring the necessary hardware, you need to choose software for your online tutoring business. They include the following:
- Video calling software for scheduling meetings in advance, sending meeting links to your attendees via email, and sharing your screen.
- Virtual whiteboard software for writing and drawing on a digital whiteboard. Popular ones include IDroo, Scribblar, and Ziteboard.
- Document sharing software for sharing documents while editing them and making comments simultaneously. Google Docs and Google Classroom are two popular options.
- Other business software such as accounting software, project management software, and scheduling and booking software.
3. Decide on your rates
Since you are your own boss, you can set the rate you charge for your services. Rates vary a lot from tutor to tutor and generally depend upon your education level, the subjects you teach, and your students’ learning requirements. They tend to fall somewhere between $20 to $80 per hour.
Tutors who charge the highest rates teach in-demand subjects that require significant experience and expertise, such as high school and college-level maths and science. Although hourly rates are usually lower when you tutor online rather than in person, online tutoring does help you save on travel expenses and space rent for tutoring.
While deciding on your pricing, you should first research your competitors’ rates and then take your anticipated business expenses into account.
4. Register your business
Registering your business is usually optional. Online tutors who choose to operate as a sole proprietorship or partnership needn’t do anything to register their business. Sole proprietorships are easy to set up and come with relatively simpler taxes. However, they do not have liability protection; thus, you are personally liable for any debts your business takes on.
Many tutors feel that establishing a Limited Liability Corporation (LLC) is a great option as well. LLCs offer limited liability protection for their owners and are less complex than corporations. Every state has its own rules for starting an LLC, and you don’t necessarily have to register your LLC in yours.
Even if you choose to run your tutoring business as a sole proprietorship, I advise separating your business finances from your personal finances. The best way to do so is to create a business checking and savings account. These accounts make it easier to track your profits and losses and can help you out with paying taxes.
5. Establish your presence online
As an online tutor, you must have a strong online presence. For that, you can do the following:
- Create a striking and impressive website to add credibility to your business and can build hype for your services. There are user-friendly and affordable website builder tools for you to set up a functional site within hours.
- Use social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to promote yourself. Make sure your account includes crucial information such as the subject areas you can offer tutoring for and a link to your website. Encourage parents and students to leave testimonials on your Facebook page, which will improve your credibility.
- Create a Yelp page to encourage more clients to leave reviews. It can help direct new potential clients to your services.
6. Work on your payment system
You need to have a good payment processor and both the software and hardware you required to use it. If you plan to run a fully online tutoring business, you must be able to take cards and/or send invoices to your clients. If you plan to meet some clients in person, you need to have a card reader – whether that’s a physical POS system or a QR code that links to your payment processing software.
Payment processors such as Square include appointment scheduling features to help you handle all aspects of appointments and payments within the same platform. Square allows you to send invoices to your clients to collect payments, ensuring that you get paid on time. Similarly, there are many different credit card processing companies to choose from.
7. Find clients and start marketing your business
To have a successful business, you need clients, and to have clients, you must identify your niche. Consider your passions and the experience you already possess. Common subjects for tutors include English, science, maths, standardized test prep, and general study skills. Test prep is a particularly lucrative option for tutors because many parents will pay generously for long-term prep sessions for their wards seeking top scores for college admissions.
After identifying your niche, it is time to start marketing your business. The business plan you prepared earlier will come in handy here. Although your strategy doesn’t have to be set in stone, it does need to consider your current network and intended audience. Below are some methods you can follow to market yourself:
- Email marketing – If you already have an extensive personal network, let them know about your new business. Reach out to family and friends with information about your tutoring services using email marketing software such as Constant Contact or Mailchimp.
- Social media marketing – An effective way to gain new clients with social media is to create content that anyone can view or download for free. Upload or link some of your best learning resources and put up a few videos to show how you prepare for a tutoring session. Doing so demonstrates your personality and teaching style and helps build your reputation, making you appear more approachable.
- Post in-person flyers – Put up flyers with tear-off tags on bulletin boards in places that parents of your niche students are likely to frequent, such as schools, libraries, churches, daycare centers, and gyms. Of course, you must always get permission from the authorities before posting your fliers.
- Offer free consultations – Try allowing new potential clients (including parents) to meet with you for a free initial consultation.
- Share customer testimonials – After you’ve started tutoring, ask pleased clients for positive customer reviews and them to your advantage. Word of mouth has a long-lasting impact, so make good use of it in any possible way.
- Business cards – Although they may seem outdated, business cards are still an excellent way to share your contact information with potential clients. Try to spice up your card with a QR code or a visually appealing design. You can also take advantage of services that let you create digital business cards people can add to their phones with a simple scan.
8. Grow your online tutoring business
Once you become an established tutor, you may want to grow your business to include more subjects and teach even more students. You could consider opening a physical tutoring center or working certain hours at schools on a contract or free-trial basis.
If you have taken on as many clients as you can handle but still wish to help more students in your community or want to tutor in a subject you aren’t qualified for; it’s time to consider hiring your first employee. It may sound intimidating at first, but it can certainly be rewarding if you do it properly.
Tutoring from the comfort of your own home is a dream job for many people. With minimal startup costs and limited steps to get started, it can be a highly rewarding and profitable small business.
That said, as with all new business ventures, you must approach your online tutoring business with an effective strategy in mind. Take your time, decide on a niche, collect all the essential tools, and work hard to earn a positive reputation in your social network. I hope this article helps you build a thriving online tutoring business in the years to come.