Sunday, June 11, 2017

How to find quality clients and set up an effective operation

So, you're convinced and you've decided to tutor during grad school. Now you need clients. In this and many subsequent posts, I'm going to share my experience of finding and managing high-quality clients.

There are really three main factors in being able to fully and completely nail your tutoring set up:
  1. Being among the best results-based tutors around.
  2. Being able to prove it.
  3. Having excellent personal branding and correctly targeted marketing.
This series of blog posts and the forthcoming Delphi Tutors video series are all designed to help you solve each of these problems. Heads up: shameless plugs for our company will be in this blog series here and there. This is because we genuinely believe our ethos and services can best help you to win far more effectively than many other tutor sites who would prefer to scrape off a few dollars in connection fees rather than truly being on your side to help you succeed. Of course, our various content series are available even if you decide not to join Delphi Tutors and we hope everyone can benefit from our material.

We really believe our advice is the best. Most of the founders at Delphi Tutors have highly succeeded with their tutoring businesses while getting Ph.Ds in top grad schools in several different countries. We largely did this by trial and error, and want to share the experience to help you optimize right from the start.

Getting all three of the above points right can be the difference between a moderately enjoyable time making $40-$50 per hour, 2-3 times a week, to making $100-$200 per hour with clients you really enjoy teaching most nights in your own space (or somewhere close by or even online). It's really about finding what's going to work best in your specific situation and taking all the opportunities that present themselves. More to follow soon...

#tutor #whyitutor #whydelphi

Monday, June 5, 2017

To tutor online, or not to tutor online - that is the question

It seems to be generally accepted wisdom that tutoring is best in person and one-to-one. My personal experience is that the real answer is... sometimes.

When I was in full swing with my tutoring business during grad school, I tutored many levels of math and physics to a wide range of people. I even tutored a guy in the air-force who needed to brush up on trigonometry for an aviation refresher exam! It was clear he didn't actually need to know the stuff to fly the plane, which we both found very funny.

I found that the question of online vs. in person depends mostly on the what and the who: What information you are imparting, and to whom you must provide it.  For example, I taught two twins age 15 together in person once (a giant error of judgement!), and also a high school student over video chat for many months. Both made excellent progress and in the process, I learned quite a bit about the best technical and payment solutions for online delivery.

There are just a few key concepts I found:
  • First, payment up front for online tutoring is essential, as quite a few of my clients have tried to sneak off with the last lesson.  This is especially true if the tutoring is international i.e. languages, mentoring, etc.  Luckily, many quick and reliable systems already exist. Paypal is most likely the easiest if you don't want to use an escrow service. However, offering escrow can protect your clients and build trust over time.
  • Second, get good equipment! A quality headset and microphone are essential if you're going to deliver a quality experience. Depending on your computer's built-in camera, a nice external webcam may also be a wise investment.  Try a test run with a friend before you begin with real students.
  • Third, if you're going to use Skype or similar nonspecialized software, supplement the experience with an online whiteboard using a touch screen or stylus.  Because you can save the board at key times to leave them notes to review after the lesson, they will feel like they are getting a lot of value from your tutoring.
  • Finally, if you're going to tutor a small group online, it's best if they are all in the room together rather than trying a multiple screen share. A friend of mine tutors Italian and this method has worked very well for her. Doing a group lesson with all students online at once seems so fraught with technical issues that it's sometimes not even worth it! Much of the value of a group lesson can be lost this way.  

I hope you find this advice helpful! Please comment about your experience below if you feel I missed anything important!

#tutor #whyitutor #whydelphi

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Getting through grad school - why tutoring is a great option!

We all know grad school is hard... we at Delphi Tutors went through it too! Getting a Master's or a Doctorate is a challenging commitment for many reasons, beyond just the academic challenge. Busy schedules combined with financial pressures are major stress-increasing factors that plague many grad students during their studies.

However, running a small tutoring operation alongside your studies and research can be an excellent way to earn extra money and gain entrepreneurial experience!  It is also very rewarding to help students achieve their goals and progress on a personal level.  I firmly believe tutoring to be the most time effective and flexible solution available to anyone in grad school hoping to earn a few extra bucks and enrich their time in school... but it must be done right!

In this blog, I'm going to share my experience with successfully growing a small tutoring operation during my time in grad school (4 years in the UK).  Giving only 1-2 hours a night, I doubled my income and had a very rewarding experience both watching my students grow and gaining the skills needed to run a small business, which greatly increased my options after grad school.  I've found these skills extremely helpful later in life as a serial entrepreneur; I've even found that carefully selecting students has helped me consolidate my knowledge as a researcher.

The tutoring business is rapidly expanding globally:

Tutoring is a $6 to $8 billion industry” - Eric Clark, president-elect of the National Tutoring Association

This series of blog posts is designed to share my experiences with growing a successful tutor business so you can too. A few simple concepts can optimize your methods and help you get the very most out of tutoring for your students and for yourself.

#tutor #whyitutor #whydelphi