It doesn't matter how you came to be a tutor, whether you just fell into it or intentionally set out to be a tutor, your business will grow slowly unless you do one thing. Take Action! When I first started tutoring, I timidly put myself out there. I made a little effort to put signs out or flyers in the neighborhood. In my mind, I was at least trying. But in reality, I wasn't really doing much of anything to get students. Thankfully, someone took a chance on me and signed up for tutoring.
I look back at that timid behavior and shake my head. If only I would have put more action and hustle into the right things! Natalie Mangrum did exactly what I wish I would've done from the beginning. She took action after reading just one book, The Novice Tutor. Natalie reached out to thank me for the book and to share about her whirlwind business building. I was blown away at all the action she took. Natalie set ambitious goals and met them. Here's more of her story:
I began my tutoring business pretty quickly. A parent asked me to tutor his child and after considering what price per hour would be worth my time, I pitched it to him! He actually said yes! That’s how the online tutoring for my business began. I threw myself into researching tutor businesses and how they worked because I decided that if I could have a dream job, this would be it!
Another entrepreneur shared some great advice about being in business for yourself. She said to find something you love, become an expert at it, and network like a crazy person. And that’s exactly what I did.
During my research process on owning a private tutoring business, I stumbled across The Tutor House and was blown away by the resources available to private tutors, especially newbies. I bought Adrianne’s book The Novice Tutor and read it in one day. I chose a few of the marketing strategies that I wanted to focus on, I reached out to other private tutors whose information she had listed for advice, and I decided to get a website up and running ASAP- all of which were Adrianne’s ideas and suggestions from her book.
One Investment that Totally Payed Off
My website was up and running in a few weeks time with the help of an amazing videographer I found (totally worth the investment), and then I networked like a crazy person. Most of my clients have come from word of mouth or Craigslist, but the website has been very instrumental because once clients see it, they trust that I am legitimate, friendly, professional, and knowledgeable about the subjects I tutor.
The thing that resonated with me the most was reading other successful tutoring stories. One tutor in particular, Kelly Cavanaugh, had a story about how quickly she had filled her tutoring slots. I decided to set a goal of how many slots I wanted to fill in year one of the business, and I’m very close to that goal right now. Having a vision for the business is imperative.
Turns Out Tutoring Takes a Lot of Time!
One assumption about tutoring that I had was that it wouldn’t take up as much time as it does. Tutoring takes up quite a bit of time. The execution of a stellar lesson plan is the easy part. The “behind the scenes” stuff like assessing, planning, keeping up with paperwork, and accounting are more time consuming than I imagined. Because I assumed tutoring wasn’t very time consuming, I made the mistake of reaching out to other successful tutors early on thinking that they had the time to entertain my 7 million questions.
What nerve! Did I think other tutors were sitting on their porches sipping coffee and counting money? Such a novice mistake. I think I ruffled some feathers early on, but I’ve since learned to be more respectful of people’s time. When I have questions, I take the time to find the answers myself, rather than bug other professionals too much.
Business is Constantly Changing
The one thing that I am learning is that adjustments have to be made constantly. As business owners, we have to be innovative and we need to take the time to assess and reassess how things are going, and inform our practices accordingly. I’m still trying to figure out the best marketing tools. Next on the list: T-shirts! I plan to wear them when I go to Starbucks (which is at least 3 times a week) or whenever I’m out running errands.
The Future of Maryland Teacher Tutors
The future of MTT is honestly in God’s hands, but I want to be a good steward of this brain and vision He’s given me. My hope is that the business continues to grow quickly. I have only been in business for 3.5 months so by the end of the year, I may need to consider going into business for myself full time and leaving my 9-5. I do have one tutor who works for me as an independent contractor and in a perfect world, I would do the management aspect of the business and “hire” tutors to do the tutoring.”
One of the best actions that Natalie took was to create a professional looking website. She is exactly spot on in observing the benefits of having a website, “they see me as legitimate, friendly, professional, and knowledgeable about the subjects I tutor.” Natalie made an investment in her site and has since informed me since our original conversation that her business is growing. A website promotes you 24/7! I don't know any human walking the earth that would be willing to do that for you. If you need help building a website, please check out my free WordPress tutorial.
Reaching out to other business owners is a great tip, Natalie contacted the tutors featured in my eBook but realized that they were super busy. You can connect with other tutors when it's convenient for them inside of my private Facebook group, Just for Tutors.
When you purchase the book, you get access to our private group. All of the tutors featured in my eBook are members of this group and active participants as well. Getting support while you are learning the ropes of business ownership is key to you sticking with it when it gets hard.
Now, instead of employing just one other tutor, now Natalie has 5 other tutor working for her. She identified again that her business needed to change to welcome these new tutors and give them a larger presence in her business. It's exciting to watch Natalie continue to put action to her business.