Online tutoring is teaching or helping a student learn through a virtual environment.
Teaching online is a superpower if you can make it work for you. While the best way to get students online is still through referrals, the way that those referrals will evaluate you will be different. Most specifically, they’ll want to visit your website to get to know you.
Many of the challenges in online tutoring are in up-front setup — the way in which you’ll find and work with new students are just different, so it will take a bit of experimentation to get your bearings.
You’ll need to work your way through a few key problems:
When you’re just getting started with online tutoring, the easiest way to find new students is to get listed in online tutoring marketplaces and to post ads to places all over.
Unfortunately for you, on these platforms, your work is often reduced to one simple number: your hourly rate. All of your experience and successes with students — the stuff that makes you different — goes out the window.
This often leads students to shop based strictly on price, which undermines all of the work that you’ve done to set yourself apart as an educator.
In a nutshell — treat the internet as your playground, and use whatever means you can to stand out from the crowd. Students will find you and thank you for putting yourself out there.
When you’re not meeting students in person, it’s obviously more difficult to build rapport initially.
This especially creates a problem when building rapport is a requirement for winning the student’s business in the first place. It’s a mandate to break the ice when you’re nothing more than a face in a page of search results.
You’ll likely never meet your online students in person, which creates administrative headaches like scheduling and getting paid.
These issues are best confronted up-front before you’re dealing with a bunch of cancelled appointments or unpaid invoices (you’ll thank yourself later).
The best defense is a good offense — come armed to a new student relationship with a standard policy and procedure for booking lessons and getting paid.
In many cases, you don’t know your new clients personally or what their financial situation is. So, it is important right away to be able to establish guidelines for payment in a concrete fashion.
The easiest way to break the ice is to offer a free consultation, completely removing the risk to the student.
Remember that you may be introducing the student to an entirely new way of learning (online), so let them get their feet wet before charging them.
Once they’re officially a student, you can get creative to continue to build a deeper relationship.
Create your teaching happy place
Without the proper tools and preparation, online tutoring can be daunting — instead of just competing for students in your local community, you’re competing with every tutor, everywhere: on Facebook, Youtube and every marketplace under the sun.
But that challenge can be used as an opportunity to create your ideal learning environment and be insanely great at what you do.
What do you know about your students, and how they learn, that others seem to not know?
Teaching online is a superpower if you can make it work for you.