Five Ways to Make Money as a Tutor

Do you need to make some money, but your coursework doesn’t allow time for a job? Think about tutoring. Before you dismiss it, there are more ways to make money doing it than most people assume. You probably have one or more skills you can tutor others in. Here are five, and I’ll bet you can come up with one or two more.

Tutoring high school students

This is probably the area of tutoring that first comes to mind. High school students need help in so many areas that it probably won’t be difficult to find a niche. Standardized test preparation is a big one, but every kid needs help with at least one subject—pick your specialization and have at it.

Math is probably the single most popular subject high school students need help with. Not everyone gets math, and not every teacher knows how to teach it in a way that kids can understand. If you have a strong math aptitude you can probably make something close to a living wage tutoring in just this subject.

Tutoring college students in courses you’re strong in

Are there one or more subjects you’re particularly strong in? Well, there are hundreds of students at your university that aren’t, and that could be a market for you.

The more technical subjects, like math, science and computers/information technology are hot areas, but if you’re an upperclassman you can also tutor lower classmen in the basics. Most freshman, for example, need at least some help with writing. And not everyone is good at history. You can tutor in any of these subjects.

Tutoring the general public in your areas of expertise

If you have skills like car repair or computer troubleshooting there may be a market for tutoring those who want to get some training. While it’s true that anyone could take a course in just about any skill they need, not everyone learns in a classroom setting. Some people prefer a less formal environment where they’re free to ask questions.

Good people skills will help here, since much of what people are looking for when it comes to tutoring is a person who puts them at ease.

Language tutoring

If you’re fluent in nearly any language, you can probably find people looking for a tutor. Recent immigrants who either don’t speak English or don’t speak it well, may welcome a tutor to help them. And if you speak French, Spanish, German or any of the Chinese languages, the job market places a premium on bi-lingual employees. People are looking to learn a second language all the time.

Yes, there’s always Rosetta Stone and their brilliant language programs, but not everyone can learn that way. One-on-one fosters conversational use of a language and you can help with that.

Tutoring computer applications

Are you really good with Photoshop, QuickBooks, Excel or any of the more popular applications? Want to know a secret? Not everyone is—probably most people.

You might think that knowing common applications is too ordinary for you to monetize but think again. Not only are there a lot of young people looking to get up to speed on these applications, but there are also a lot of older folks who would welcome any help they can get.

Not everyone can learn from program tutorials or even from YouTube how-to videos. In addition, many people don’t have the time or money to take a formal class that might be offered by a community college or other agency. Many people only learn effectively when they have one-on-one instruction. You could be the person who makes it happen for them.

How much should your charge for your tutoring work?

The best way to find out what the market is for tutoring is to check around with other tutors. Some may be reluctant to share information with a potential competitor so you may do better posing as a customer when you call.

Where to market your tutoring business

There are plenty of local places to market your service, and which you choose will depend on what your area of expertise is.

If you want to tutor high school students, the best place to market will probably be the high schools themselves. Parents look for tutors for their children and the search often begins at the school guidance counselor’s office. Make up some fliers then call the schools in your area. Better yet, arrange a meeting and pay them a visit. Get on the short list of the school’s referrals, and they can keep you pretty busy.

The same could apply if you plan to tutor college students. Check the channels at your school to see where you need to make contact.

You can and should market outside the schools themselves, especially if you plan to tutor non-students. Any of the following sources could work for students and adults:

Local sources. Many establishments allow you to post fliers on a bulletin board, and you should take full advantage of this. Grocery stores, schools and churches are some examples. One of the best places to post are laundromats. People will read the bulletin board while they’re waiting for their laundry to finish.

Neighborhood and apartment newsletters. Newsletters can be the perfect place to advertise tutoring. Some complexes may allow you to post for free since it’s a valuable added service to provide for residents.

Craigslist. Craigslist has largely replaced the local newspaper which is why you want to advertise there. People buy all kinds of goods and services on Craigslist, and tutoring is one of them. You’ll have to renew your ad every 30 days, but it’s free to advertise!

YouTube. If you have a strong local social media presence (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc) you may want to do a YouTube video pitching your tutoring service, and link to it from your various pages. It’s the closest you’ll get to doing a TV ad, and like Craigslist, you can do it for free.

Your own website. This won’t get you immediate business, but it can be a good place to link from your social media sites and even from YouTube. A website makes you look established and builds credibility. If you’re looking for the site to generate direct business, you will have to code your site very specifically. That means making sure that your tutoring specialty and the the local communities you cover will be included in the keywords and the site URL.

A good tutoring specialty—along with some solid marketing—should get you some tutoring gigs pretty quickly, and keep them coming for as long as you need them.

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I’ve actually been starting to review application materials (resumes, cover letters, application essays, etc) for students, so the marketing info you provided in this post is actually quite applicable to my fledgling business, too!

Good to hear that you’re getting some good use out of it Elizabeth!

Those tips are great. I used to teach piano to younger kids when I was in high school. The music teacher would lend me the room during lunch, and the great thing was I had no commute, and needed to spend that hour at school anyway. I got most of my students through recommendations from the music teacher.

That would be perfect!

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