Tutor from home: A guide with industry suggestions

by Jacob Hallman

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot how to tutor from home and actually provide a learning service that students will love. I also spent some time reading two classic marketing books: Persuasion by Robert Cialdini and Contagious by Jonah Berger.

This post shares the knowledge of these two authors and more, filtered through everything I know about tutoring online.

4 Questions For You To Ask When Searching For Tutoring Platforms To Tutor From Home

  1. What is their specialty and does that align with yours? There is so much competition in this industry that very few companies actually try and tutor every single subject.
  2. How much do they charge in fees or pay you hourly? There is no industry standard here, and the rates can change over time. Good tutors are like gold to companies, so negotiate after a few weeks esp. if you’re in a rare subject and paid hourly.
  3. How much traffic do they actually get? If they have good BBB ratings, Glassdoor reviews, and high DA scores, it will be competitive to secure work there. If they have a smaller online impression, it will be easier to establish an account.
  4. Can you find work yourself? If you want to go FT and live in a developed country, it would be better in the long run to find your own clients if you can afford to earn little to nothing at the outset. For everyone else, tutoring platforms are best.

This link will help answer some of these questions above: https://www.reddit.com/r/tutor/comments/abcsh5/comprehensive_tutor_company_list/

9 Marketing Tips That Set Your Online Tutor From Home Service Apart

  1. Sell a high quality sandwich at a steakhouse. You can do this be seeing what other tutors in your subject are offering, then do that even better and do it with some creativity. Ex: Your sandwich has Kobe beef and lobster tale on buttered Brioche, but your competitor offers high-quality steak.
  2. Promote your service offline at public libraries, friends, and schools and always follow the 80-20 rule when in conversation. If more than 20% of talk time is about what you offer, it’s too much.
  3. Make your selling point crystal clear. If an 8-year-old couldn’t see the benefit of working with you and feel excited about that, then it’s too complicated.
  4. Decide what kind of influencer you are with this short quiz: https://platformuniversity.com/quiz/ (I’m not affiliated with this site) PRO TIP: To avoid spam, use reddit@mailinator.com for the email address prompt at the end. Then double down on this influencer personality by positioning yourself as such to your students.
  5. Advanced bid offer. Find a big project, and make a bid that is exaggerated but not so ridiculous as to be unacceptable. Then follow up with a message that says even though you have many ratings (if you do), you are currently not too busy. Then mention either a better price or faster delivery than you initially offered. Just make sure you can deliver on your promises!
  6. When negotiating fees, remember there is an obligation to give, an obligation to receive, and an obligation to repay. However, there is also an obligation to make a concession to someone who has made a concession to us. Make it your goal to end the transaction with the student feeling good to facilitate ease of future cooperation together.
  7. Use humor with a bait and switch technique: You flunked out of college after you accidentally blew up the lab, but not before you had an affair with the professor running the lab and the dean found out. You tried to transfer credits to a community college to save the degree, but then the school closed due to financial difficulty. Actually, there is no blown up lab, no affair, and no community college. But you are a hell of a student accounting tutor for the past 3 years with a 3.0GPA.
  8. Turn the student from a customer into a collaborator by asking good questions about the project. Make requests for context, syllabi, reading materials. This shows you want to understand their need clearly. Here’s a link for how to optimize this approach: https://blog.studygate.com/index.php/2018/03/07/market-yourself-to-students/
  9. Humans are phenomenal suckers for flattery. Find ways to compliment your student and their ability to learn.

And above all, remember the golden rule of online tutoring: there is no convenience a student will not resort to to avoid the real labor of thinking.

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