Can You Make Money Tutoring Online?
A common question that a lot of people ask is, “Can you make money tutoring online?” The short answer is yes. The next question is usually “how?” The slightly longer answer, but key requirement for a successful online tutoring business is...
Get some students!
When I launched my online tutoring business back in 2012, I wanted to create a business that wasn't dependent on others. I'd spent several years working for someone else, following their rules and their way of teaching, so I chose to do things my way. The goal was to be in control of who I tutored, how I tutored them and how I got paid. I discovered that there were two main ways to get online students:
The first one is to find them yourself. I've already talked a lot about how to do this by building your own tutoring website, having a payment processing service like Selz and marketing your services on places like Google, social media and tutoring directories. This is the way I decided to run my business and I've been able to tutor online full time for the past four and a half years.
2. Tutoring agency
The other option is to sign up to a tutoring agency. This is effectively a large market place where you (and many other tutors) can advertise your tutoring services on their website. The agency displays your profile on their site, students sign up and can search for a tutor they would like to have lessons with. The agency then takes a commission for every student you teach, using their tutoring platform. The big advantage of using an agency is that there are lots of students who sign up and search available tutors, so the marketing is done for you. Depending on which agency you join, another benefit is that you have access to their teaching software, which can include an online whiteboard, video chat (similar to Skype) and other features to help with your online tutoring.
In the past, I've avoided working for tutoring agencies because of the large commissions that many of them take (some as high as 25%). The competition from all the other tutors signed up to the agency can also make it difficult to stand out from the crowd and I've been put off by other terms and conditions you have to abide by in order to teach on some platforms. With that said, there are tutors who have successfully used agencies to get online students and this option might work well for you too. To make sure you have the most useful information to help you build your online tutoring business, I'm going to join some of the most popular online tutoring agencies out there and share my results with you.
My first tutoring agency is called 'Teach Me Now'. Watch the step by step video tutorial below to learn how you can sign up to the Teach Me Now agency.
Location of agency - Dubai
Sign up cost – Free
Commission taken by agency – 15% of all lessons taught
Tutoring prices – Set your own price (Ranges from less than $10 per hour to over $100 per hour)
Documentation needed to apply – None
Profile details needed – Personal and educational details, an 'about me' description and a profile picture (optional but recommended)
Overall, the sign up process is quite simple and you don't need to send or upload any documentation (like teaching certificates or CV) to join. It's free to advertise on the site and you have access to their software to teach students who contact you through Teach Me Now. This includes a virtual whiteboard where you can upload and collaborate on documents and video chat, which is similar to Skype.
Teach Me Now takes 15% commission on every lesson you teach but you can add this to your hourly rate to cover this cost. Doing this would mean the student has to pay a higher fee for your lessons and you might not get so many enquiries if your rate is too high. The only currency currently accepted on the site is US dollars so their payment provider (Payoneer) charges a 2% fee to convert dollars into other currencies when you transfer money to your bank account. You'll need to pay a $3 transfer fee if you're happy to receive dollars. You also need to make at least $100 to pay yourself instantly. If you make less than $100, you have to wait until the end of the month to receive your payment.
How the lesson works
I'm interested to see how the lessons work in terms of scheduling because students pay for the lessons on a pay as you go system. They top up their account with credit, pay by the minute and can stop the lesson at any time. All the lessons I currently teach with my own students are pre-paid and scheduled for a minimum of 1 hour with a 24 hour cancellation policy in place. Teach Me Now students also get the first 10 minutes of their lesson free and a review system encourages students to give you a star rating that is displayed on your profile. It seems like a very flexible set up for the student but I am curious to see how this will work for tutors who want to maximise their available working time.
My Teach Me Now profile is now live so I'll post an update soon to let you know how I get on. If you want to receive regular articles and updates about tutoring online, sign up to my newsletter at the top of this article and I'll send them straight to your inbox.
Can you make money tutoring online with tutoring agencies? Let's find out...