Since the beginning of the Corona Virus Pandemic there are a lot of parents who prefer to home-school their kids. These parents get their kids registered for home schooling at the Department of Education, then hire teachers to teach their kids at their homes.
Other learners who are not registered for home schooling are waiting for schools to reopen and even if they do, learners won’t go to school at full capacity as it was the case before the Pandemic, therefore there are more learners at home than ever before. Home schooling is slowly becoming the new normal.
If you have a teaching qualification and an appetite for helping others, then starting a home based tutoring business can be a worthwhile investment.
Decide Your Niche
Maybe you are good in several subjects that were your majors at University or maybe you have a specific subject that you excel at. Before you start your business, decide what type of tutoring you will offer. There are countless topics to explore in the world of tutoring.
- You could offer music lessons
- You could offer tutoring for English Classes.
- You could offer tutoring for primary or high school learners.
- You could offer tutoring for Matric Maths/Maths Literacy
- You could provide Matric Exam Question Paper Revisions
- You could tutor ECD Learners
- The list is endless…
As a tutor, you are a guide to help a learner grow a new skill, so the key is to think about what you would enjoy tutoring and develop a brand/market for that niche. You do not need to be an expert in all subjects; teaching is about fostering growth and helping learners learn how to tackle hard things.
It’s easy to brush up on concepts before conducting a lesson, but it’s much harder to know when to let a learner struggle with an answer and when to assist; when to take a break and when to push. No matter what, you should be competent and confident to tutor any niche you choose.
Explore the Competition
Before you can make decisions about your own tutoring business, you need to explore other tutoring businesses. Is there anyone you know who have a tutoring business in your area? What are other tutoring options in your area? Are they in-home or online? How much do they charge? Are there specific praises and complaints about the tutoring businesses? The more you study what is already available, you will have a foundational understanding of what your clients expect or want (and if you can see a place for your business to fill a void, even better!), and you will have obtained baseline information on the competition.
Develop a Business Plan
You have a niche, you have an understanding of the business expectations, and you have studied the competition. Next comes the business plan. Business plans can have different formats and information, but the function is the same: this is a practical plan that defines your tutoring business and outlines the goals and costs necessary to launch. Included in the plan is your elevator pitch, your company name, financial plans (what are your costs? How much will you charge?), marketing strategies, and the structure of your business (are you providing help online or in-person? Do you hope to hire others to work as tutors for your business?).
During the business plan stage, you should ask yourself any questions that may come up and have answers ready. What is your cancellation policy? What does registering a learner into your tutoring business look like? How will you communicate with parents/clients? Do you have any specific skills that set you apart from the competition? (For example, do you have experience working with learners with learning disorders? Or ADHD? Do you speak multiple languages? Do you have other advanced degrees?)
Business plans should include potential roadblocks and brainstorm possible solutions. They should not enhance or over-promise but become a practical tool you can use to make business decisions early on.
Put this plan in writing and do not be afraid to share it with others to receive feedback. A small business is important–it’s your livelihood and your baby– so a fresh perspective is needed. Have someone familiar with business finances look over your numbers or run your marketing plans by someone in your targeted demographic. Always trust your instincts and your research, but don’t be afraid to ask for advice from experts.
Create Your Business
This is the moment where you walk your idea off the paper and out of your brain. Register your business with CIPC and get your tax ID number and a BEEE Certificate if you need one. Set up a website (if you have enough start-up capital) and your social media presence. Print your business cards and decide what additional marketing materials you need to order ahead of time. Set up an email address, phone number, and bank account.
Discover Clients and Market Your Business
Once you have thoroughly planned and prepared your tutoring business, the next step is to market your business and find clients (parents). In the business planning stage, you examined your marketing tactics and costs, and in the creation stage, you prepared those advertisements and promotional materials. The last and final step is to employ those strategies and get the word out. It is important that you have systems in place to respond to inquiries and emails you receive.
Start advertising in your area. Make a pamphlet and distribute the pamphlet to houses in your area that have kids. Experiment with advertising and pay attention to where your competitors are or are not advertising. It’s not enough to start a business and sit back and wait for the clients to start showing up; you will need to hustle in those early months and spend some advertising money. There are numerous marketing resources out there depending on your audience and your vehicle (word-of-mouth, offering free lessons, Facebook ads, Google ads,). Think of ways to keep your business active and engaged on social media, and be ready to adapt and change as trends come and go.
How to Fund Your Tutoring Business
Starting a business is not without some start-up costs. It’s important to sit down with your business plan and itemize your initial business costs. What will you need to start a website, order business cards or promotional materials, run ads? Are you basing your business at home? Do you need to make any improvements to the space? No matter what the costs are, here are a few ways you can fund your business.
- Personal Finances
Maybe you’ve been saving or maybe you’ve received a lump sum from a generous sponsor. No matter what, mixing your personal finances with business finances is risky. If your business fails, you are out the money you put in without any chance of recovering that loss. It is an option to finance things with your bank or credit card, but you should understand your financial situation clearly before you choose this route. Also, the Small Business Enterprise South Africa offers free counselling and advice; don’t be shy and pay them a visit to see if they have any financing tips.
- Personal Loans
Again, anything personal is a risk, but a personal loan is one way to gain some immediate capital. Personal loans have decent interest rates and loans are expected to be repaid within three-five years. A new tutoring company may not qualify for a business loan, but you can always check with your bank.
There are many different types of grants available in South Africa that can fund your tutoring business. Grants require a fair bit of writing and can be highly competitive; however, if you are starting a tutoring business in a niche topic or in a needed area, there might be grants available. You can apply for a grant at NYDA (National Youth Development Agency), National Lottery Commission (NLC), DGMT (Douglas Murray Trust). There are many companies that offer grants for tutoring businesses; you just have to keep looking.
The Joys of Tutoring
Following these steps and helpful tips will help you start your world of tutoring. Working as a tutor isn’t for everyone, but the joy of learning with learners and seeing their excitement when they finally grab a concept or jump a school obstacle can indicate a true calling. A tutoring business is a fantastic way to put your own knowledge and education to use and create a business with flexible hours, a deep well of potential clients (parents), and opportunities to expand.