Online Tutoring Guide
Running a successful tutoring business doesn’t need to be complicated, and can certainly be done with a very limited tech set up. But a little bit of tech can go a long way toward streamlining your business. And if you want to tutor online, you clearly need to embrace some tech.
Here are the exact resources I use, or have used, in my tutoring business, along with my reasons for using them.
Note: Some of the links on this page may be affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase. This adds no additional cost to you. Rest assured that I only recommend programs that I personally use (or have used) and love.
Not all tutors have websites, but I have found that having one is a great way to convey your professionalism to potential students and their families.
A big thank you here to Neta Talmor and No Hassle Website, without whom I’d either have abandoned the whole idea of having a website or at best would probably still be fiddling with this platform or that platform.
No Hassle solved my website worries by providing me with a low cost ($99, which includes 6 months of free hosting) WordPress website that was simultaneously plug-and-play and endlessly customizable. Since they specialize in websites for coaches, tutors, and online business owners, the No Hassle template was perfect for me.
Their instruction videos walked me click through click through the customization process, teaching me enough about WordPress and Divi along the way that I now feel comfortable making whatever changes I need to my website. And whenever I get stuck, No Hassle’s customer support truly lives up to its name.
My website certainly has room for growth (I’m not a design expert by any means), but I’m happy to have a place to direct families who are looking for a tutor. On my website, they can find testimonials, blog posts, resources, and a statement of my tutoring philosophy.
I love No Hassle, and it is hands down the website provider I most strongly recommend to other tutors and online business owners.
Scheduling and payments
I started my tutoring business doing only in-person tutoring. I accepted cash and check, and carried around a little receipt book that I dutifully filled out with each payment. I scheduled sessions manually, often through tedious back-and-forth email or texting. And unfortunately I sometimes drove all the way out to a student’s house only to find that they had forgotten about the session I had in my calendar. It was kind of a mess.
Thankfully, when I started tutoring online in 2017, I was pushed into professionalizing this part of my business. I started using Acuity Scheduling to book appointments and to accept credit or debit card payments. The automatic reminders sent out before each scheduled session dramatically reduced my no-show rate.
And once I felt confident enough in my processes, I transitioned to just giving out a direct link to my calendar. No more endless email back-and-forth to settle on a time that would work. My students can now just schedule themselves into my openings at whatever time works for them. Potential students can schedule a free consultation call.
One of my current goals in my private tutoring business is to offer courses and workshops on the tests that I teach. I’m in the middle of creating a course on the Logic Game section of the LSAT and have been planning out a series of super short mini-courses on a variety of LSAT topics. I believe that offering these courses will add another layer of professionalism to my business.
I’ve actually wanted to create courses for a while, and even had a Memberpress subdomain added to my WordPress website for a while. But ultimately, due to cost and ease of use, I have decided to switch over to a course platform called Teachery.
I find Teachery super easy to edit and customize. It has professionally designed course templates that I can easily adapt to my brand, easy payment set up, and no limit to the number of courses I can create. I can even create an affiliate program for my courses if I decide to do so.
Plus, I love the fact that by supporting Teachery, I am supporting a small business, run by Jason and Caroline Zook, two actual humans. With real human values and an ethical approach to business that I can get behind.
Online tutoring set up
I use Zoom as my video conferencing software for tutoring. I have found that, especially after the pandemic, Zoom is already familiar to most of my students. It requires very little explanation on my end, and I appreciate that my students don’t need to create an account through Zoom in order to join me in the tutoring room I have created.
For a long time, I was able to get by with just the free version of Zoom. For one-on-one sessions, that was fine. But occasionally on a consultation call, both parents would join the Zoom room from different devices. On these group calls, the free version of Zoom limited me to 40 minutes. Once my business could afford it, therefore, I upgraded to a paid Zoom plan.
Zoom has a built-in whiteboard that allows you to “write” on the screen, but it is unfortunately far too limited to be sufficient for tutoring.
So instead, I use an inexpensive whiteboard program called Bitpaper. This program allows my student and me to collaboratively mark up our study materials. We can use a blank screen and fill it with whatever text or diagrams are useful. Or we can upload pdf copies of materials and then mark them up the same way we would on paper.
Our notes are saved permanently, which means students can always revisit the lesson pages to review.