Top tips for moving a tutoring business online
I can’t believe that as I write this the month of January is almost over. It’s incredible how fast the months go as you get older. Even when my insomnia means that the nights have gone slowly, making the days sometimes stretch forever.
In the UK we started the month strong, and then went into Lockdown version 3.0. As I’ve documented before that works for me. I honestly get more worried about the lockdown ending. My husband feels the same. But this time round my life is a bit different.
Since October 2020, I have been pursuing tutoring as my main business income (you can book online time with me here!). When the lockdown tiers came in at the end of 2020 I really only had 2-3 clients, all in person not online, and was still fumbling through how it would work.
However, right now I have worked myself up to a whopping 7 clients! Yay me! It’s fun and all online so no travel costs or time. Hoorah! Now I am in the swing of it, it is starting to not only make sense, but also work well!
I did have a minor meltdown about Wi-Fi and internet connections when I had a packed day of 5 sessions and they kept dropping out. But after my sob/scream at my husband he flicked a phew switches on my computer and moved the Wi-Fi booster – sorted. The sooner I can retire my husband from his engineering role and hire him as my technical support the better. Although he seems to be unwilling to take the position up. Unfathomable.
This brought me to think that it would have been great if I had someone who could have told me about some of the pitfalls and bumps to negotiate. And as a result what follows are my top tips for moving a tutoring business online!
8 top tips for moving a tutoring business online
- First, be kind to yourself. Me? I am not. I am hard on myself and I push push push myself too. Then I get starting anxiety, procrastinate and then have to complete everything in a rush. 0/5 stars. Would not recommend.
- If you want to invest in tech to support your sessions, only do it if you can afford it. I hate debt and can’t recommend you over exert your finances. Yes, investing in your business is great. A necessity. However, buying everything before you know you can use it to improve your sessions is madness.
- When you do buy tech, start small! I got a mid-range plug in pen and tablet from Wacom. I went for the larger tablet frame and spent £50 (then it went down to £35 in the Black Friday sales). It was worth it as since I have used them in every single online session.
- Play with your tech before going live. It is quite a skill to use the pen and tablet. When the pen makes contact with the tablet, it becomes like a computer mouse. But you don’t drag the pen like you would a mouse. I watched a number of YouTube videos to help me learn more, and played for a long time before I was confident to use it in a session. It is invaluable though as now I can write on my PowerPoints, use Microsoft Whiteboard and Zoom whiteboard and model answers and handwriting – which Infant Kids still need.
- If you are feeling flush, buy a Document Camera. Instead of having to scan or photograph texts, you can use your Document Camera to point to words, indicate what you need, and again model your learning. Mine was an unexpected Christmas Present, but just like the pad, I use it in every single lesson.
- Be assertive, but not aggressive, about collecting payments. We live in a modern world where people can transfer money to your account by BACS and online banking. I always put my bank details in my session confirmation email and mention timeframes for payment in my contracts. If someone has used the service you provide, they should pay. You don’t go into a Dry Cleaners and leave without paying, so it shouldn’t happen with your clients.
- Keep it pacey, especially with the younger lovelies. Engaging them in person is an art in itself. Doing it online, as all teachers are discovering, is a whole other ball game. Use the available internet and interactivity it provides liberally!
- Reuse your material. If you have clients who are at a similar stage, why not reduce your workload and recycle! One PowerPoint (or whatever programme) to rule them all!
Do you have any top tips to add to my list? Make sure to comment below and let me know!
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