Online tutoring

Start A Successful Tutoring Journey (A Complete Guide)

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    Looking to jumpstart your tutoring journey?  You have come to the right place! We believe that everyone has the ability to teach, and we are here to help you learn how. It’s common to think of ‘math’ or ‘languages’ when it comes to tutoring. Still, with the popularity of online learning, people can learn and teach anything online, from academic subjects to music, yoga, chess, fitness classes and more. On TutorOcean, the sky is the limit. You can tutor anything you’re passionate about.  

    With such a diverse audience of learners, tutoring can be a rewarding (and lucrative!) side hustle that you can quickly move to a full-time income. First, however, you need to roll up your sleeves if you want to succeed.

    We’ve put together 7 steps to help you set yourself up for success and start growing your tutoring business. So let’s jump right in.

    1. First things first. How to make tutoring?

    Whether you’re considering tutoring to supplement your income (a side hustle), make a living or start a tutoring business, the key is identifying how you can bring value to your students. 

    Start by thinking about your audience. Find a niche with demand but also not saturated with tons of tutors available. If that’s the case, it’s time to research your competition and see if there are any unmet tutoring needs that you could take advantage of.

    Another important aspect is your skill level. Recognize which areas you are knowledgeable about and the ones you need to improve. In addition, consider how comfortable you are teaching students at different levels. For example, are you ready to help university students with more complex subjects and assignments, or do you think your expertise better fits kids and high school students? 

    Although tutoring is a very competitive market, there’s always a way to differentiate yourself and make extra income, even with a full-time job. Sharpening your skills, staying current with the syllabus, recruiting new students and promoting your side gig are just a few of the tasks to help you succeed in your tutoring journey.

    2. How to get your first tutoring students?


    Let’s be honest. 

    1. Students don’t just show up at your front door looking for a tutor.
    2. (Most) Tutors are not marketers.

    So, how do you find students for your tutoring business? The reality is, whether it’s as a part-time teacher or building your own online tutoring business, you want to make money while teaching students from home, right? 

    You will be surprised how much you could make if you spend some time promoting your tutoring services, and there are easy and practical ways (aka marketing strategies) to help you with that.

    The magic of word of mouth: Start with your local community. Let your friends and family know about your tutoring services. You can do that in person or simply by sharing your profile on social media. If you have previous students, ask them to reshare your profile. If they had a great experience with you, they would be happy to help.

    Be part of a tutoring community: Yep, like us. TutorOcean is a marketplace connecting tutors and students from around the world. Sign-up is free!

    Creating engaging content for social media: Out of sight, out of mind, right? People are more connected than ever, and possibilities are endless when creating content for social media. So, share your knowledge, let your personality shine through, keep up with current trends and have fun! Your students will love it!

    Get listed: A great way to spread the word about your tutoring services and get more students to find you online is by posting your profile on online classifieds. Craigslist, Indeed, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace are just a few options where you can post about your tutoring services free of charge.

    Explore offline opportunities: Why not go back to the good old days and print some flyers and pamphlets? Hand out some of them in your neighbourhood, or stop by small, local businesses and ask to let your marketing materials at the checkout counter. You will be surprised how the entrepreneurship community supports each other.

    Pro tip: Don’t be afraid to let your friends and neighbours know about your tutoring services, and have your print materials always ready in case you see a good networking opportunity. 

    Write a blog post: Love sharing your knowledge? Start writing. You can write a blog post about the subject(s) you tutor or effective study tips, or how to quickly learn a new skill, and the list goes on. Email us at to learn how you can be one of our guest bloggers and engage with our learning community!

    Invest in your tutoring business: If you plan to make tutoring more than a side hustle, be ready to invest in your business. There are many ways to promote your services online and get great results (keep reading if you want to know more about that). Our tip here is to start small and go more significant as you increase your number of frequent students and sessions booked.

    3. Setting up the best tutor profile


    Searching for a tutor is an overwhelming task for students and parents, and you may have only a few seconds to capture – or lose – their attention. So here are a few tips to stand out from the crowd:

    The perfect headshot: Choose an image that you look professional and approachable. Pick a high-resolution, up-to-date picture, and give that great smile to ensure you’re making the best first impression! 

    Background image: Add a cover image relevant to your tutoring experience. Avoid distracting backgrounds and keep the focus on you and the subjects you teach. 

    Headings and descriptions matter: Be concise and summarize your skills and teaching experience in an authentic, creative description and headline. Just be yourself!

    Introductory video: Video production is more cost-effective than ever – you can shoot high-quality, 4K video with your smartphone. Create an engaging introductory video that summarizes your skills and knowledge. Don’t forget to show a bit of your personality and learning style. Students will love it! Pro tip: add captions to it, and potential students will get your message even better.

    Decide what subject(s) to teach: Have many passions and are unsure if you should teach math or languages? Choose a niche and become an expert on it. Students and parents may need help with complex assignments and projects, and being knowledgeable and skilled will build a trustful, long-term relationship with them. Check out all the TutorOcean tutoring subjects and you can always submit a request for new ones to get added.

    Decide the services you’re going to offer: Whether it’s teaching 1:1 sessions or providing help with challenging projects and papers, find a way to work around your schedule to optimize your available time and resources to get more students.

    Decide how much you should charge for tutoring: As a new tutor, you should consider setting your rate as competitive as possible. This will help attract students to your profile. As you build up your reputation with great reviews and experience, you can adjust your rate higher. Check out the average cost of tutoring sessions in different subjects and set your hourly rate accordingly.

    4. First impressions matter. Master the initial tutoring interview


    Keep in mind that the moment students or parents decide to look for a tutor, they realize that they have a problem and need professional help to solve them. Therefore, being prepared to answer critical questions is essential in building rapport and, potentially, getting a new student. Some questions you should expect are:

    • How long have you been tutoring?
    • Your experience with kids/ high-school students/ university students, etc.
    • Your credentials and expertise.
    • Your teaching style.
    • Your tutoring process.
    • Your fees, discount packages, services and cancellation policy.
    • How do you measure and communicate progress (and failure)?
    • How do you keep parents up to date on progress, additional work between sessions, etc?

    5. Master your tutoring toolkit


    Before starting an online session with a student, you must get familiar with the technology you will use and how it works. Students will feel more satisfied and confident when they have a great experience with your tutoring services. When a student enjoys the process they are more likely to book more sessions with you. 

    Make sure you spend some time playing around with the tool you plan to use and test the features you will need to interact with your students during the session. Here are some of the main features you should get familiar with:

    • Real-time video and sound quality.
    • Live chat.
    • Interactive tools, like a whiteboard, a code editor, text editor and file sharing.

    Access the TurorOcean demo class and get to know our Virtual Classroom. Learn how to leverage our free collaborative platform with advanced whiteboard technology features built specifically to make teaching easier.

    6. How to leverage your tutoring supplemental income: Free marketing tools


    As you start tutoring, your goal is to have more students booking sessions with you. Although you can attract learners locally, the potential clients you can reach globally are immensely more significant. And the only way you can do that is by promoting yourself online.

    Being part of a global marketplace (yep, like us!) is the first step to having students from around the world find you online. But in such a competitive environment, you may need to push yourself a little if you want to achieve new heights with your tutoring business.

    When you think about promoting yourself online, it doesn’t mean it needs to be expensive. There are many free tools to help you grow your tutoring business and get the job done. 

    We’ve put together a list of free resources to help you get started.

    Logo Maker – Hatchful: If you want to make a great first impression, consider a logo for your tutoring business. It will not only make you look professional but also will increase your brand identity as you grow.

    Hatchful is an online app created to help entrepreneurs make a professional, high-resolution logo in seconds. You can even download the ready-to-go assets optimized for social media, business cards and merchandise. 

    Graphic Design – Canva: It’s no secret that social media has become the main marketing channel for small businesses to promote their products and services online. Therefore, creating custom, eye-catching visual content is essential to keep your followers engaged and boost your tutoring business.

    Canva allows you to create visual content from scratch or use one of the thousands of templates available on the platform. Its free version includes editing and publishing tools, font pairing, a comprehensive image library, professional templates, and more!

    Email Marketing – Mailchimp: Email marketing will not only allow you to occasionally communicate with your students but also promote your tutoring services. After all, you never know when students may be struggling with a subject. 

    Reach previous, current, and potential students by sending beautiful, easy-to-use email templates. With Mailchimp, you can connect with customers and create from regular emails to automated email marketing campaigns. 

    Social Media Management – Later: Ready to take your social media profile to the next level? Start growing your online presence by learning from your audience with social media management tools. 

    The free version of Later allows you to plan, analyze and publish your content in a few clicks. The main features included are a visual planner, autopublish (even for Instagram carousel posts), hashtag research, and analytics.

    Pro tip: Switch your personal Instagram account to a Business account and unlock powerful tools to grow your tutoring services. It’s Free! Learn how to get started on Instagram Business here.  

    Business Listing – Google Business Profile: Formerly known as Google My Business, it allows you to provide details and photos of businesses for free, and it’s a great way to get people to find you when searching for tutoring services. Your business information may appear in various Google services, including Google Search, Google Maps and Google Shopping. Set up your Google Business Profile by clicking here.

    7. Boosting your tutoring profile: Getting your first student reviews

    Student reviews

    What is one of the first things you usually do when looking up a new product or service online? We’re sure that reading reviews from consumers like you is part of your decision-making process. The same happens with students and parents when they search for a tutor.

    Getting reviews from your students will help build your online reputation and credibility for your tutoring business. More than that, reviews and testimonials will directly impact your rates. There’s no magical number here, but the more positive reviews and experience you have as a tutor, the more students will seek your services (meaning you can adjust your rates higher).

    Here are a few tips on how to get more reviews:

    • Simply ask students to leave a review before ending a tutoring session. While some may not leave a review, most will be happy to write about their experience with your services. 
    • Remind them. Students tend to be immersed in their notes and absorbing the content they’ve just learnt that they may forget to review the session. Sending a simple follow-up message should do the trick and get them to write about your tutoring services.
    • Be genuinely open to feedback. You can always reach out to your students and ask for feedback on your session. If they haven’t had the learning experience they were hoping for, you can have an open conversation and discuss how you can do better next time. We’re sure the 5-star review will come after the next session.

    Although you do your best to deliver the best sessions to your students, negative reviews may occur. The best approach is to make it right. Acknowledge the matter and provide solutions if your student is open to that. You may be surprised by how positive the situation can turn out.

    Ready to take your tutoring to the next level?

    At TutorOcean, we help you monetize your knowledge, whether as a part-time tutor or building your own online tutoring business. Our free virtual classroom is equipped with advanced whiteboard technology features built specifically to make teaching easier. Want to know why tutors love teaching on our platform?

    • Ways to earn: Bring your own students and reduce your platform fees by 50% on each session. Learn how much you can earn with TutorOcean.
    • Set your own hourly rate: Monetize your expertise and set or change your own tutoring hourly rate at any time.
    • Ultimate flexibility: Choose your hours and accommodate your tutoring schedule around your personal life.
    • Teach anything, from anywhere: Empower learners of all ages visiting us from 100+ countries to reach their learning goals.

    Signing up is completely free. Start a successful tutoring journey today!