Once upon a time, private tutoring was a person-to-person kind of business. Teachers and graduate students with time to spare helped out neighborhood children with their studies, and received a modest 10-12$ per hour. Tutors mostly taught subjects such as mathematics, science, and English. The tutoring methodology remained the same month after month, student after student. Fast forward to the digital age and things could not be any more different. Online tutoring is revolutionizing the way tutors teach and reach out to their students.
A ROADMAP TO SUCCESS
1. Online Tutoring – The Opportunity ..................................................................................................3
2. Top Online Tools for Tutors and Tutoring Companies .................................................................4
3. Getting Started - Online Tutoring Platforms ...................................................................................6
4. Finding Students for Your Online Tutoring Business....................................................................8
4.1 Traditional Methods .........................................................................................................................9
4.2 Digital Marketing Methods ............................................................................................................10
5. Differences in Face-to-Face and Online Tutoring .......................................................................12
6. Additional Skills for Online Tutoring ..............................................................................................14
7. Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up Your Online Tutoring Business .......................................16
1. Online Tutoring – The Opportunity
Once upon a time, private tutoring was a
person-to-person kind of business.
Teachers and graduate students with time
to spare helped out neighbourhood
children with their studies, and received a
modest 10-12$ per hour. Tutors mostly
taught subjects such as mathematics,
science and English. The tutoring
methodology remained the same month
after month, student after student.
Fast forward to the digital age and things
could not be any more different. Online
tutoring is revolutionising the way tutors
teach and reach out to their students.
Today for a tutor with the right skills and teaching experience 'the world is a stage'. A tutor can be based
anywhere from Tamil Nadu (India) to Texas (USA) and remotely teach students in their home country or in
lands across the sea. Online tutors are using myriad online tools to aid the remote teaching process.
It’s not just your average school-going student that is seeking online tutoring services. Graduate and
postgraduate students as well as professionals are increasingly looking to improve their technical skills and
industry expertise with the help of online tutors. Apart from traditional school subjects, higher education and
management subjects such as logistics and supply chain management, competitive exam preparations,
business administration, accounts and finance, lean and six sigma, human resources, project management,
and language courses (especially TOEFL and IELTS coaching) are being tutored online.
Not surprisingly then that the average online tutor can earn anywhere between $10 to $100 an hour (or even
more) depending on their academic qualifications, experience, and technical expertise.
The private tutoring industry continues to experience exciting growth rates. In 2007, education research firm
EduVentures estimated the size of the tutoring industry at $5 billion to $7 billion a year. Just five years later,
a 2012 “Private Tutoring: A Global Strategic Business Report” by market research firm Global Industry
Analysts (GIA), estimated that the global private tutoring market will reach US $102.8 billion by the year 2018.
The online tutoring market is estimated to be worth more than US $12 billion.
As per the GIA study, 90% of the demand for private tutoring services is accounted by United States, Europe
and Asia-Pacific countries, mainly Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and China. India has emerged
as a leader in e-tutoring services at affordable rates (especially mathematics), with the US serving as its
biggest customer base.
The online tutoring industry is increasing rapidly because of the failure of the academic system to cope with
the needs of the students, and the desire of parents to provide the best possible education for their children.
Slashing of public school budgets in many countries has worsened teacher-studio ratios. In some countries,
the vast curriculum has made it necessary for parents to enlist the services of private tutors. Other reasons
for the explosion of online tutoring in recent years include poor school infrastructural facilities, unprecedented
competition (especially for coveted courses such as engineering), and the need for young tech savvy
professionals to constantly upgrade their skills.
In fact, despite the 2008 global financial crisis, private tutoring grew by 7% between 2009 and 2010. The
demand for online tutoring services will continue to rise as global conditions slowly improve and
unemployment rates decrease.
The growing number of online tutoring platforms and technologies has substantially bolstered the online
tutoring market by making it easier for tutors to reach students. Let us look at some of the web applications
used by online tutors and training organizations.
2. Top Online Tools for Tutors and Tutoring Companies
Online tutoring allows students to find the right tutor at the
right price, regardless of where the tutor is located. For
individual tutors and training organizations, online tutoring
throws open an immense business opportunity.
However, online tutoring presents its own sets of sets of
challenges, such as the lack of 'human interaction' and
difficulty in managing remote student sessions. Thankfully,
while online technology poses a problem, it also offers the
solution. There are several software applications, which
improve the learning experience and streamline the tutor and
the student interaction.
Here are 5 of software tools for improving and managing your online tutoring business:
Skype is a great free tool for video and voice chatting. The best part is that
almost everyone who has a computer or a smart phone has used Skype
at some point. The application offers multiple benefits for online tutors -
Schedule Skype tutoring sessions with students as per your
Share your screen, without giving control to the other person
Share files with your students
Take screenshots of the video session
Type messages during the video session
Use emoticons to add a fun touch to an online session
2. Online Whiteboards
Virtual whiteboards work pretty much like the physical whiteboards you
see in most training rooms. Everything that your write or draw on the virtual
whiteboard is visible to your students. Combining the use of a virtual
whiteboard and Skype does a good job of simulating the classroom
experience. IDroo, is one online whiteboard application which works perfectly in sync with Skype. There are
several free online whiteboard apps you can choose from, such as Sketchlot, AWW, PixiClip, Stoodle ,
Scribblar, and Realtime Board.
3. Cloud Storage - Dropbox and Google Drive
Free cloud storage services such as Dropbox and Google Drive allow you to store, update, and share your
training resources with students at anytime, from your home or office. These online storage websites offer the
following advantages -
As long as your students have an account, adding, updating and sharing content is a breeze. For instance,
students can submit their assignments on Dropbox and share the file with you by simply sending a link.
Share only the folders you want students to access
Easily share videos and images with your students
Students can access these shared files no matter which device they use
Collaborate with your students in real time. Google Drive allows more than one person to work on one
These websites also act as data backup for your digital training resources.
Apart from conducting online-personalized sessions through Skype, tutors and training organizations are
using YouTube to share educational resources for existing and potential students. Create your own YouTube
channel and upload videos recorded by you on your subject of expertise. The Khan Academy for instance
has uploaded 33,856 educational videos and has over 2,100,000 subscribers on YouTube. Apart from giving
anytime, anywhere access to educational content to your students, this is a great way of establishing your
online brand as a tutor and training organization.
5. Business Management Software
In addition, to enhancing the teaching experience, you can also use applications to manage the business and
administrative aspects of your tutoring business. Comprehensive business management software such as
Teachworks and TutorPanel can help you with the following -
Scheduling tutoring sessions
Managing training calendars
Automating session reminders
Reconciling training sessions and invoicing students
Automating billing and payment receipts
Business expense and revenue reports for a better understanding of your business
Using these and other online tools of your choice, is a great way to offer a consistently high quality experience
to your students, whilst making it so much easier to manage your business.
3. Getting Started - Online Tutoring Platforms
Online tutoring platforms make it easy for you to teach effectively outside the traditional classroom
environment. There are two types of online tutoring websites –
Those where you are teach academic curriculum to school and college students (such as Tutorvista
and eTutorworld), and
Those where you can market interactive online courses on academic, professional and lifestyle topics
( such as WizIQ and Udemy)
There are several benefits to enrolling with an online tutoring platform –
These websites offer one-on-one chat hosting as well as other technological tools to facilitate live
interactions with your students.
They provide you with information on international course curriculums
You can reach potential students across the globe at no additional cost
These platforms offer you a great opportunity to work part-time or full-time depending on your
However, there are some caveats. Many websites
teaching academic curriculum require a weekly
commitment on the number of hours you will work.
Depending on your time zone, you may be working
odd hours as many of the students using these
tutoring websites are from the US and UK. Also,
while most sites hire graduates for certain subjects
and grades, there is a strong preference for tutors
who have a Master's qualification.
Here are 7 online training platforms to help you
get started with online tutoring.
Tutorvista is one of the leading online tutoring
platforms with 2000 tutors from India, United States, UK, Australia, China and South East Asia. It boasts of
more than 6.5 million successfully completed online tutorials. They hire tutors to teach English, Math, Physics,
Biology and Chemistry from Kindergarten to the undergraduate level. Fill their contact form to apply as a tutor.
With e-Tutorworld, you can interact with your students using an online whiteboard, voice and web chat. The
site covers Grades 3-12 (Math, Science and English) as well as AP and College Foundation courses. They
hire tutors from all parts of India, with a minimum qualification of a graduate degree. Email them at
[email protected] for more information on available tutor opportunities.
eTutor provides in-depth curriculum tutoring to students anywhere in the world. It offers e-tutoring services
for Maths, Language Arts, Science and Social Studies for students in Elementary, Middle, or High School. To
to be considered for a tutoring position you must have a Bachelors degree, experience in working with
students of all ages, and complete a lesson module available on their website.
Transtutors is a platform where students from different schools and colleges can get help on their homework,
assignments, projects and essays, as well as one-on-one tutoring lessons from subject matter experts. The
website assists students from grade 4 up to university and doctoral level programmes. You need to fill an
application form to sign up as an expert with the website.
The website provides interactive training
sessions on basic subjects such as
geometry, algebra, statistics, probability,
chemistry, biology, and physics, as well
as help for students studying for
standardized tests. They also offer an
'essay reviewing' service. Email them on
[email protected] for more
information on signing up as a tutor.
This is a great website if you simply want
to create and host interactive online
courses on the topics of technology,
business, language, music, and lifestyle
and wellness. While the website offers a free plan, if you are a training organization you may be better of
choosing the pro plan costing $57 a month.
Udemy is another great platform for teaching online courses. The website also offers a variety of tools for
delivering content online. For instance, hold live online sessions through Udemy's virtual classroom platform.
You can create and promote your courses on the website for free.
4. Finding Students for Your Online Tutoring Business
The online tutoring industry is extremely
competitive, as you are literally competing with
tutors from across the world. Apart from
enrolling with online tutoring websites, you
must actively promote your services.
The good news is you don't need big
advertising budgets to promote your online
tutoring business. Here are some easy ways
to reach potential students on a limited budget.
4.1 Traditional Methods
The traditional methods of advertising your business include local newspapers ads, posters, flyers, and
The key to any successful marketing campaign is finding the right target segment, which in your case are
parents and students. So if you are looking to place posters, handout brochures and flyers, where better to
reach your target audience than these locations -
i. Schools and libraries
Some schools may give permission to pin your flyer or poster on the school notifications board. Speak
to the school education counsellor to check if that is indeed possible. Otherwise, simply handout your
business cards and promotional material as students and parents exit the schools.
ii. Community Centres
Community centres attract local crowds especially around specific days or occasions. Visit the offices of
local community centres for permission to display / distribute your advertising material at the venue.
Check with public libraries as well. Most have bulletin boards for displaying local information resources,
and your online tutorial poster could be one of them.
iv. Local coffee shops and popular student areas
Identify coffee shops popular with college students. Also, identify markets that students frequent (for
instance for buying academic material, or for using services such as printing, Xeroxing and binding).
It is important to be creative in your marketing strategy. For instance, while advertising in newspapers and
telephone directories is often expensive, your local newspaper deliveryman may be willing to distribute
promotional flyers along with the newspapers at a nominal fee. Register your business with popular telephonic
directories. You can often do this for free.
4.2 Digital Marketing Methods
It is highly likely that most of your potential customers are already searching online for tutoring help. Here are
5 tips on improving your online presence to reach students and their parents.
i. Have your own website
A website that details who you are and what your offer is simply a business essential. You don’t have to
hire an expensive website designer. Use blogging websites such as WordPress to create your own
website complete with your contact information and customer testimonials.
Having created you website, the next step is to showcase your expertise. And what better way to do that
then blogging. You can add blog content on your own website as well as contribute content to blogs on
other websites. Familiarise yourself with the concept of 'SEO' of search engine optimization. Incorporate
SEO tactics such as using the right keywords and meta description to improve your website’s rankings
on search engines.
iii. Register with Online Directories
Registering with popular online tutoring
directories is a great way to allow potential
students to find you. For instance, if you
are an online tutor in India, register with
My Private Tutor to create a detailed
online tutoring profile and receive queries
from students anywhere in the country.
You can also respond to online tutoring
job requirements posted by students and
parents on the website.
iv. Google Places Profile
Be found by customers using Google with
Google Places, a free online local
business listing service. Your students
can also show their appreciation for your help using the +1 button, and share your Google+ content
across the web.
v. Email campaign
According to a 2012 McKinsey Survey, emails are 40% more effective at acquiring customers than social
media (Facebook and Twitter). Assuming you have an email base of your likely customers, you can
design and send thousands of emails for free or at minimal cost with email marketing software such as
Mailchimp, ConstantContact , AWeber and Infusionsoft.
It may seem difficult to juggle so many business promotion techniques all at once. Start with a few of these
marketing techniques and gradually incorporate all the promotional elements. Business promotion has to be
a continuous process. Be patient, and your efforts will pay off.
5. Differences in Face-to-Face and Online Tutoring
To succeed at online tutoring, it is important to recognize the difference between conducting face-to-face and
online tutorials. Here is a quick look at the benefits and drawbacks of both tutoring methods.
Compared to online tutorials, face-to-face (FTF) tutoring allows for more personalized interaction.
When you meet students on a recurring basis, chances are you will get to know more about them,
such as their family background, hobbies and career goals. When students feel at ease they tend to
be more communicative, which is essential for a successful tutor-tutee relationship.
In addition, during the FTF session it is easier to spot the non-verbal cues exhibited by your
students. A frown on the face, scratching of the forehead, or looking elsewhere, may indicate that
your tutee is perhaps not following the lesson. It becomes easier to identify when you need to change
pace or teaching approach to match the student’s level of understanding.
FTF tutoring is more suitable for if you are teaching certain lower age groups (e.g. elementary
school), or certain subjects (for example linguistics and art).
The main disadvantage of FTF tutoring is its inflexibility. Either you or the tutee has to travel to the
place of teaching for the session. Therefore, your potential to teach a higher student base and increase
your earnings is restricted by your geographical location.
Online tutoring presents its own sets of advantages and disadvantages for the tutor.
The biggest advantage online tutoring is the greater scope for work. You can teach students in
any part of the world. In addition to regular online tutorials, you can also provide real-time assistance
to different students on their homework and project assignments.
Online tutoring can be provided at a lower cost than FTF
tuition, which means more students can afford your services.
You are more approachable to your students. Apart from your
scheduled sessions, your students can easily request for ad hoc
tutorials from the comfort of their home. Your FTF students can
continue to seek tutorials online even if they move to a different
With young people preferring to interact more and more in the
online space, 'online tutoring' seems to be the more
appropriate way staying relevant to your students. You can
share online files, videos, infographics, and other multi-media
content in addition to the textual course material.
Online tutoring is not for everyone. For instance, the child is not tech savvy or does not have access
to a computer and internet at home.
Focussing on an online tutorial requires greater discipline from the student. The student needs
to keep track of the tutorial sessions, log on in time, and stay attentive all through the remotely
conducted session, which you have to admit, is not easy.
Regardless of its limitations, online tutoring is here to stay. If you want to succeed as an online tutor, you will
need to make some changes to your tutoring approach.
Here are some tips to improve tutee involvement during online tutorials –
Answer as many questions as you can orally.
Share the tutorial discussion schedule with your students in advance. Ask the student to email partially
completed work or question sheets in advance of the tutorial.
Ensure that your computer has a webcam to facilitate video discussions.
Use technology to simulate classroom teaching. For instance, online whiteboards.
Use applications such as Teachworks and TutorPanel to automate tutorial reminders for your students
and their parents.
When teaching younger students, it’s a good idea to schedule fortnightly or monthly online discussions
with parents. Building a relationship with the parents is an important part of the tuition process.
Online tutoring holds exciting possibilities for both the tutor and the tutee. The onus is on you to use the latest
techniques to make the session as engaging as possible for your students.
6. Additional Skills for Online Tutoring
Whether you are tutoring face-to-face or conducting an online session, the basic skills required to tutor are
In-depth knowledge of the subject
Familiarity with the course structure
An enthusiasm to teach
Ability to deploy various resources effectively
Good communication skills
Being able to ask the right questions
Listening to the students
Flexibility in approach to match the needs of the
Ability to encourage students
Ability to provide constructive feedback
However, a tutor who is adept at teaching in a
classroom environment may not necessarily be
successful at conducting online tutorials because
online tutoring presents its own set of unique challenges. An online session requires a great deal of planning,
in terms of both the session content and the execution. Here are three additional skills needed to be
successful at online tutoring.
You need to plan every aspect of your session. Here are some suggestions.
Provide clear guidelines to your students, including course objective, teaching methodology,
frequency of sessions, and assessment process
Provide administrative support to students/ parents; for instance, you could provide a weekly schedule
for topics, and send email/ text reminders with the session time and date.
Plan how you intend to conduct each session. For instance, the method of communication (email, chat
or video) will vary with the topic as well as the needs of the individual student.
Use necessary technology to improve the learning process
Incorporate end-of-session assignments to reinforce the discussion
2. Use latest technologies
Be willing adapt the latest technologies to make the learning process creative and interactive. Take the time
to explain to your students how the technology will be used during the tutorials. Change is the only constant
and nowhere is that more obvious than in the field of e learning. Online tutors, who fail to use new technologies
and be innovative, will not survive for long in the business.
3. Be Responsive
The lack of face-to-face contact has to be substituted by greater communication between you and the student
Check your e-mail once daily (at least).
Respond to emails and texts from students promptly
Respond in a professional, but in an easy to understand language
Have someone else deal with your messages if you are away
Organize your messages for easy reference
7. Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up Your Online Tutoring Business
Setting up an online tutoring business is no small feat. There are so many aspects to consider. Are you using
the right online tools? Have you made enough efforts to market yourself? Are you prepared to handle the
challenges of online tutoring?
Uncertainty and doubt are part of the process of running your business. As you acquire students and conduct
more online tutorials, you will discover answers to most of these questions.
However, it is important to avoid certain
mistakes when starting out.
Mistake 1. Spending too much money at the start
You have to be careful with your money initially. All you need to get
started are a laptop or computer with a webcam and a good headset.
Instead of expensive gadgets, download free online tools (such as
Skype) to interact with your students. To begin with, enrol with online
tutoring platforms free of cost. Spend on print advertising after you
have some money flowing in.
Mistake 2. Unclear terms and conditions
When you run your own business, time is money. Should sessions be
prepaid or paid on completion? Will you levy cancellation charges for
last minute session cancellations? Will you refund money if the
student fails to achieve a certain grade in the subject? These are all aspects of your business you need to
think about and document as part of your 'terms and conditions'. Share these with the students and parents
before commencing the tutoring classes.
Mistake 3. Failing to price your tutoring services correctly
Tutoring is a highly competitive business. When you are starting out, it is common to feel pressurised to set
a price lower than that of your competitors. However, competition is only one of the factors that should
determine pricing. You possess a unique set of competencies, skills, experience, and qualifications. Consider
those as well. On the other hand, overpricing could lead to failure of the business. Study the market and target
audience to avoid overpricing your services.
Mistake 4. Failing to define a niche
While you may feel confident in being able to teach anything, it is important to define your expertise. Perhaps
you can teach multiple subjects such as Maths, Literature and Science, but if your core qualification is in
teaching English, then use that as a marketing point. The more you work in a certain area, the more you are
able to help students. As you gain experience, you also get to charge a higher price.
Mistake 5. Failing to invest time and effort in online marketing
Today every business needs to have an online identity, which means having your website, blog, and social
media pages. More young people are browsing and 'shopping’ online. As alien as the concepts may appear
initially, familiarize yourself with website design and search engine marketing. Get reasonably priced
professionals to help with your website, through freelancing websites such as oDesk and Elance.
There is undoubtedly a lot to learn in the online tutoring business. As you start your career as an online tutor,
you are unlikely to have all the knowledge and skills necessary to act as subject expert, coach, assessor and
a proficient user of online tools. We hope that this report has given you more than a few insights to get started,
on what could be a very exciting and rewarding journey. Wishing you every success in your online tutoring