The time has come for every tutor interested in moving forward with their careers to make the switch to an online platform. It may be a daunting task, but it’s also highly necessary. What this new medium promises is more clients, higher sales, a more convenient lifestyle and a more lucrative form of income.
Kickstart your online tutoring business with these tips below and watch what a difference the online industry can make to your life!
Equip Yourself with the Right Tools
Audio – The key to perfecting your audio is ensuring you’re using quality equipment and to check how everything sounds beforehand. Test different settings, levels, angles and distances to find what works for your voice. Note that if you’re in a noisy environment, any noise will be picked up in your mic which can be distracting so be sure to eliminate any outside noises as best as you can.
Webcam – When you’re setting up your webcam, check that your camera is properly positioned. Other than straight on, some suggest that the most flattering angle to have your camera at is at forehead height and slightly tilted down, this way you can see your whole face clearly. Now, this is of course not the only (of even the most effective way to present a webinar). We suggest that introducing yourself to begin and then switching to a presentation is far more engaging for audiences.
Lighting – Your lighting can consist of natural light if you’re in a bright room, some lamps or light stands or an external lighting kit. Dark settings equal poor quality and poor vision so it needs to be plentiful regardless of the source. Three point lighting is ideal for shooting a single subject, where two sources are placed on either side and one above or behind the subject to eliminate shadows.
Know The Rules and Regulations
Every country has different rules and regulations related to online tutoring best practices. It’s important to check with your national tutoring guidelines for these policies, and any related qualifications that may need to be obtained before you launch your online business to ensure you’re practicing within the law.
Research the Competition
It’s no secret that things are different online. When it comes to tutoring – not all of the same principles can be carried over to an online platform. This is why it helps to do your research. There are thousands of online tutors from all over the world looking to target the same students you probably are too. Each will have different strategies for obtaining new students, and different approaches to their teaching methods.
Obviously, if you’ve been tutoring for a while you’re sure to have a few subjects that you like to focus on. What might help you become a more competitive force to begin with is thinking about expanding your reach. Do you have other areas of expertise that you might be able to explore online now that there’s a larger market for you?
It’s worth researching which areas of interest are most popular online and adjusting from there. Keep in mind that just because a topic is popular – it doesn’t mean it’s going to work best for you. Oftentimes the more popular a subject is, the more competitive it will be and so if you are looking at teaching a more niche subject it certainly might be more beneficial for you to pursue.
Organize Your Finances
Another factor that you might want to reconsider when taking your tutoring business online is how much you are going to charge. Online tutoring is a competitive market, but if you’ve got quality expertise and resources, you can charge whatever you believe is fair. In the US, a tutor will typically charge anywhere between $30-$60 per hour. Remember, this will also be dependant on whether you choose to host group classes, or private sessions (for which you can charge a little bit more).
Your expenditure will be determined by things such as which platform you choose to host your classes and connect with students, and what types of online marketing you will employ to source new students.
Now that your tutoring business is online, you’re going to need to devise a payment plan so that you can receive your hard-earned money. It’s too risky, unprofessional and unpredictable to simply give out your private bank details nowadays, so you’ll need something in place to protect you and your students financially.
Paypal is the popular choice for most online businesses because they are secure and trusted. They have systems in place that ensure both parties get exactly what was arranged. The only downside to the service is that they take a cut of your money – anywhere between 1.4% and 3.4% which really does add up.
Stripe is another option – with a set-up quite similar to paypal, but it operates without taking a large cut of your money, which is always a bonus.
As a side tip, you want to ensure you are always being paid before the session commences because it can be quite difficult tracking down rogue students after the session has finished.
Equip Yourself with the Right Software
Many online tutors turn to software such as Skype when they begin teaching online. It can be very useful for beginners looking for a simple, cost effective platform that simply allows you to connect 1-to-1 with students. The only issue with Skype is that it’s extremely limiting in terms of what you can do and how you can communicate which can make for a poor experience for your students. This means no file sharing, no screen sharing and no group classes. In order to get a decent service with Skype you need to be using several other services which can really add up and makes for a lot of wasted time.
Yondo is an online all-in-one video e-commerce software that specializes in online tutoring. Yondo allows its users to create online classrooms and sell live 1-to-1 sessions, webinar group classes with up to 1000 attendees and unlimited videos-on-demand. What’s so impressive about Yondo is the range of features it includes that are specifically relevant for online tutoring such as file sharing capabilities, an internationally mapped booking calendar, automated reminder and confirmation emails, instant messaging, session recording, screen sharing and built-in payment processing with Stripe – just to name a few. Yondo also comes with some great integrations such as Dropbox, Google Calendar and MailChimp, but the best part about this system is that is really is an all-in-one platform. It’s a system that has really thought about everything.
Set Up File Sharing
When taking your tutoring business online, you’ll still need to be able to easily share and exchange files with your students. Forms, worksheets, spreadsheets and homework will still play a large role in your business so you need to be using a platform that will allow you to do all of this.
Yondo have a wonderful file sharing feature that makes the process of exchanging documents with your students as simple as possible. You can simply attach your necessary documents to each 1-to-1 or group session for the students to download beforehand to ensure everyone has access to the same documents, which saves you a lot of time.
Google Docs is also another great tool to use for this because it was created with the sole purpose of making the process of exchanging documents online that much easier. You can even collaborate on a document at the same time!
As briefly mentioned above, something that might be quite new to you will be the online marketing involved with online business. Unfortunately, it’s not the same cheap and easy endeavour you might be use to, and it actually requires a lot of time and effort if you wish to be successful. There are many different avenues you can take that may include pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing, SEO optimization and sponsored posts.
Pay-per click is simply paying for online advertisements on search engines such as Google – to make your websites and landing pages more prominent to interested prospects. Social media marketing, involves buying targeted advertisements to attract interested prospects, posting your own advertisements via your own social media channels and creating useful content to distribute to prospects in order to create brand awareness (this is also known as content marketing). SEO optimization is ensuring that your landing pages and websites are seen by as many people as possible – organically (not paid), by using tactics such as keyword optimization, metadata and back-links. And finally, sponsored posts has to do with creating advertising content to share on relevant blogs with the same target audience as you, in hopes of attracting prospects.
All in all, it might seem like a lot of effort at first. Getting use to the online tutoring world can be slow to start, but it all gets easier from there. Once you are comfortable and familiar with your business model, your technology platform and your marketing techniques it becomes extremely easy to navigate. What makes it all worth it is the potential for an increased customer base, higher sales and an easier, less time consuming, more convenient lifestyle.