In this post I’m going to show you how it is possible to generate a high income from online tutoring, being your own boss, and choosing your own hours. I’ll share with you exactly what I did to become a top-rated online tutor.
Online tutoring has unquestionable benefits. Firstly, It gives you full geographical freedom, letting you choose where you want to work or be a digital nomad. Secondly, you are self-employed meaning no boss! Lastly, you get to choose your own rate, meaning that over time as you gain more experience and qualifications, you can charge more. Moreover, and possibly the most rewarding part of it is that it allows you to make a difference in people’s lives. In fact, adding value to others is the most single important element of it, which will make you enjoy every single moment of your teaching experience.
There are countless online tutors, but the question is: how many of those teach creatively?
In order to stand out as a tutor you need to offer something different that students are willing to pay for. The majority of us are traumatized people from school in which we were bored to tears, afraid, or anxious. As a consequence it was clear to me I had to stay away as much as possible from a traditional approach. The world has evolved however we still get to see pretty much the same teaching models in school, and the reality is: it’s not as effective as it could be.
When I started online tutoring I decided that my classes were going to offer a component of coaching, so that students could get clear with their goals and I could share techniques that would get their learning to the next level without working as hard. I’ve coached hundreds of students and I can tell that the method has worked effectively with each of them. I’ve witnessed students becoming generally more fluent in as little as 2 weeks, just by removing their fear of making mistakes and making them feel comfortable.
My journey from $15 to $39 ph
I started teaching on a popular tutoring platform called Preply with a rate of $15 dollars per hour, however, my students kept growing so I raised my fee by a couple of dollars each time I was getting a few new students. I’d say I transitioned to a high fee in about a year. Of course, there are ups and down, due to seasons in which people tend to take fewer classes, like summer, Christmas, etc. In some instances, I’ve lowered it down when I wanted to get more students and then up it again.
Define your niche
Develop a method or technique that is unique to yourself. I see thousands of tutors with similar headlines: “helping you become fluent, speak like a native speaker, etc. That is indeed the goal of most students however, we need to consider that other thousands of teachers offer just the same. So the trick is really to come up with something unique that most don’t offer. Maybe you have a particular skill or talent, then that is a great way to use it creatively to offer something alternative.
Provide high-value classes every single time
Would you pay a high fee to someone who’s not providing you with the best possible service? The same goes for your students, to charge more you need to offer the best possible value for your students. Each class has to leave the wow feeling on your student so that they’ll be satisfied with their investment and keep returning to you. I’ve heard of tutors teaching up to 12 hours and in my opinion, this is nothing less than unacceptable. Teaching is demanding and it will take a lot of your energy. As a rule of thumb, I only teach a maximum of 5 classes per day, 6 on rare occasions so I can guarantee high quality for all my classes. Also, avoid back-to-back classes at all costs. It’s so important to get your break, move your body and disconnect for at least half an hour.
One aspect that really matters to me is building rapport with each student and that allows us to really enjoy our time together for both of us. Being confident and relaxed is key to giving good first impressions and making your student feel at ease all the way. Besides making the class more pleasant for your student it will be as well for you. If you experience anxiety before your class, try a round of deep breathing. That should help you to ground yourself. Don’t try to hide your real personality, let it shine. That’s what people really value in the end.
The student is in charge
I like to ask my students how they feel on the day and lead the class accordingly. That means I never have to plan my classes. This takes away the stress and burden of preparing materials ahead provided that you have a broad, deep knowledge of the subject you’re teaching and you have some safe materials to go to. As soon as I determine the mood and energy level of my student then I’ll come up with the right activity. In some instances, when I notice the student is eager to speak a lot, I just allow it to happen. I wouldn’t stop them only because I had a particular task for them in mind. So chances are you’ll spend the entire class talking about holidays, personal situations, a philosophy, black holes in the universe, the shopping you did, or your last adventure and that is ok! It is actually really valuable for the student to get genuine, spontaneous conversation and it will deepen the relationship between the two of you. Once your student trusts you it will all be more effective and enjoyable.
Homework is optional
Homework adds pressure let’s be honest. So at the end of the class, I give some ideas on what the student could work on rather than assigning them specific assignments. Even the word itself “homework” reminds us of boring tasks we were forced to do in school. So I really avoid that at all costs. Instead, I suggest my students exploit the power of short bursts of focus throughout the day rather than long hours of sitting down studying. Also because no one has the time for that. I’d normally suggest alternating these activities: watching a video about a favorite topic, reading an article about something they’re interested in, and listening to podcasts they’d normally listen to. Most students have busy lives with no time to dedicate to extra activities. In these cases I usually suggest using the time while driving or doing other chores to speak out loud or silently, making sentences using phrases or words we have learned.
Don’t panic if you’re not getting students
I certainly went through some periods in which I wasn’t getting any students myself and the initial reaction was one of slight anxiety, however, when that occurred I told myself exactly these words: take advantage to rest and do your things, because days will come in which you’ll be so busy you won’t have time for yourself. So I chose to focus on improving my own learning, resting, and having fun, and just as magic a few days later my calendar would get full again. A positive mind attracts positive circumstances.
Your student is accountable
The ultimate goal is to make the student accountable for their own actions. Their progress is their responsibility, not yours. You’re only giving them the tools to succeed and develop the potential they already have. You are a facilitator pulling out their own capabilities, identifying their strengths, and forgetting about their weaknesses.
Invest in your self-learning
I pride myself on being knowledgeable about many different fields including nutrition and wellness in general, natural remedies, yoga, psychology, coaching, and personal development. That means I have a lot to offer and I can provide really valuable information which makes your conversations more engaging. When students genuinely enjoy talking to you they’ll want to book more and more hours because they end up loving their class so much that they forget they’re learning and as a result, they learn! Most of the time the hour has finished and the student doesn’t realize it because they were so engaged that time flew and they didn’t notice. Ultimately this is exactly what you want!
In conclusion, online tutoring is a brilliant profession with lots of benefits, however, it’s not something you can expect to grow in a few days. If you are consistent in providing high-quality classes then eventually your fee will get higher and higher and you can expect a good income with only a few hours of work, but it does take time, dedication, and a genuine passion for making a difference to other people.
Whether you are a new or experienced tutor with curiosity about my method, feel free to subscribe to this blog to receive a notification as soon as my full guide will be published.
In the meantime, I’m happy to connect if you would like to.
Good luck on your teaching journeys.