11 steps that have helped me grow a successful tutoring business
Nearly 10 years ago when I wrote my first profile and ventured into the world of tutoring, I could never have known what amazing things the future had in store.
Below I have put together 12 actions which I believe have led to the success of the business.
They are closely intertwined yet unique in their own rights.
If you are looking to build or grow your own successful tutoring business and change not just your life but that of everyone you support, I wish you all the look in the world:
Where do you want to be 5 years from now?
Step forward into your future. Where do you picture yourself 5 years from now? Maybe it’s having more time with friends or family. Working fewer hours, maybe it’s on a holiday that you’ve always dreamed of or moving into the home that you have inspired to for as long as you can remember.
If you don’t know where you are heading, how can you ever know if you have arrived or which direction you need to go in to get there. If you were travelling from Scotland to Cornwall, you would plan every step of your journey. So, why do people not plan their journey through life? There will be twists and turns in the road, but that is to be expected and when you have planned a head it is so much easier to adjust accordingly.
Plan your days and organise your time.
When you know where you are heading you will find it easier to each day ask: What do I need to do today to help me to achieve that?
Maybe you are looking for more students. What do you need to do to achieve this?
Maybe you need to think about what you need to do to get yourself out there and increase awareness of your business? You can have the best business in the world but if people don’t know about it, you will never get it off the ground.
Perhaps you have more students than you can cope with… What can you do to cater for this? Will you find another tutor to work with you? If so, what qualities do you want this person to have? Do you want them to reflect you or are you looking for someone different so that you can expand into other areas? The better you get to know this person in your mind and begin your search for support before you need it, the less likely you are to make a rash decision and regret it later.
Are there calls you need to respond to? Resources you need to create or source? Are there things you need to learn to help you conquer something that is proving to be a challenge right now?
Read, study, learn
No matter how long you have been studying your subject or running your business, you will keep coming across things you don’t know.
The world is alive with knowledge: YouTube, books, courses, Podcasts. The list is endless and much of it is free so use it. Embrace it.
Become the expert
The previous point brings us up to point number 4. Become the expert in what you do. When I started tutoring, I had a keen interest in dyslexia. I mentioned it in my first ever profile and it quickly became something that people recognised. I wasn’t “just” a maths and English tutor, I was a tutor that had a passion about learning styles, using a variety of methods, and concentrating not just on knowledge but also on confidence.
We had a reason to stand out. There was a reason people would talk about us. We would provide support to people even if they didn’t choose us as a tutor. We would willingly embrace opportunities to share our knowledge. Sharing our knowledge helped our reputation grow. It helped us to stand out and be recognised.
Whether your passion is your subject, growing a business, teaching/learning become the expert. Become recognised as the expert and share your knowledge with those who need it.
Sharing your knowledge leads me on to something I feel strongly about. Think of everyone who gets in touch as someone you can help. Don’t think of them as someone who can potentially help you to grow your business. See them as an individual.
If you help, people will naturally be drawn to you. It will again help you to stand out as an expert.
When I decided to do my due diligence to franchise the business, I was invited to meet a family with a local franchise. When we arrived it quickly became apparent that he was a salesman. He had little or no knowledge of teaching, maths, or English. His goal was to encourage the family to sign up for tutoring by their company.
If he had some basic knowledge and been able to share it, he would have provided a completely different impression.
Share your knowledge.
Many people fear that if they share their knowledge other people will steal it and use it themselves. But when you consider how many people need support if a dozen people used your ideas there would probably still be more children needing support than you could help.
Tell everyone what you are doing
The things I have outlined so far will, to a small extent, help you to grow your tutoring business.
When I was a teenager, one of my favourite films was “Field of Dreams”. The message Kevin Costner received was “if you build it (the baseball field) they will come”.
Sadly, it’s not like that with a business. You could have the best business in the world but if no one knows of it you will never succeed.
I recognise here I didn’t do what I’m suggesting, but I also know that had I have done the business would have grown far quicker.
When I started tutoring, I had zero confidence. I feared that if people found out what I was doing they would laugh and mock. They would predict my failure and I would live up to their expectations. I had just failed in my marriage. I had been told I lacked confidence and ability. So, I kept my business as quiet as I could. Fortunately, news still spread, and the business grew. Now I tell everyone. I don’t try to keep it quiet because I recognise that by not sharing what we do I’m not providing people with the support that they may need.
Building a business is never going to be easy. You will have to work hard. There will be days when you can’t be bothered. But bother because it is often those days when you make your biggest breakthroughs. If you promise yourself that you will make up the time another day, the odds are you won’t. Spend just 5 minutes doing it today, keep nudging forward. When you look back in just a few days, weeks, months you will be amazed at the distance you have come, the mountains you have climbed, the hurdles you have overcome.
Hard work does pay off even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time.
There will be times when you will be busy but not productive. Each day create a list of things that you must achieve that day to help you to achieve your goals. Stop throughout the day to ensure that what you are doing is taking you towards your goals. Don’t get so busy in the day-to-day stuff that you loose sight of the bigger picture. There are days when I have to remind myself that although tutoring is the thing I love I need to stop and take stock of my numbers, my marketing, respond to emails from interested parents or those enquiring about joining Clara James as a tutor, Brand Associate, Franchisee. As I have a huge fear of using the phone these are things I often put off “until-tomorrow”
Delegate or persevere
That leads me on to number 9. There will be things that you won’t want to do or just don’t have the ability to do. You have two options here; delegate or persevere. Sometimes it is cheaper and easier to ask someone else to do it. I have had a really lovely lady doing payroll for me for a few years now. I know that everyone will be paid exactly what they are due, the Tax and pensions will be right and for the sake of less than £20 a month, I have peace of mind. Other things it is easier and more cost effective to preserve with and do yourself especially when your business is young. That way when you are at a stage where you want to take on someone to do the work for you, you know what you want doing. You know how long it should take them. Your expectations will be more realistic because through experience you will be in a far better position to judge.
What would the best tutor in the world do?
This is something I always ask myself. I consider if I was employed by myself to support my kids what would I expect as a parent? By asking myself these two simple questions, I am in a good position to judge whether what I am doing is good enough. Sometimes I know I fall short. Perhaps I’ve had to prepare it in a rush or as I log on or knock on the door, I remember there was something they had asked last time that had completely slipped my mind…
I berate myself but it also gives me the opportunity to ask what I can do to make sure this doesn’t happen again. What can I do to improve? What can I do today that will make be a better tutor than I was yesterday?
Ask for help
I was once given the analogy of a football team. If you were to go on the pitch alone to play against a team, any team (even your local Saturday morning kid’s teams) you would probably loose because you can’t be everywhere do everything yourself. You can’t be in goal and attacking all at once. It’s just not possible. You will need help at times along your journey. You may look initially on sites like Fiverr or Upwork to find people to do occasional jobs for you.
There will always be things you don’t know. Like I stated earlier there are many places you can go to for help. You may consider getting a mentor, an accountability partner. This maybe a generic business mentor or someone who has been there, grown a tutoring business, made the mistakes and learned and grown from them. Anyone who is top in their field has support, they have a whole team of people to support them, advise them, help them to achieve their goals. You may not be in a position to have a big team yet but be open to the idea of accepting the support when it’s time.
I hope these ideas have inspired you no matter what stage of your tutoring journey you are at.
If you are looking for support in becoming or growing your tutoring business, we are here to help.
The Clara James Tutor’s Group is an ideal place to hang out with other tutors and share ideas and ask for support. Each month a new training module will be provided to help you to grow your tutoring business.
Maybe you want to start your own tutoring business under the Clara James Brand, and you want every bit of support that you can get your hands on. If so, the Franchise Opportunity maybe just what you need.
Maybe you’re not ready to go all in just yet but you want our help. You want to be associated with a brand that has an established amazing reputation. The Brand Associate opportunity is fantastic offering you training, ongoing support, and the ability to gain credits as your business grow to help you to subsidise the cost of a full franchise in time if that’s what you decide to do.
Let’s talk, every great journey starts somewhere so get in touch and no matter what the outcome is, I promise we will always do our best to help.
Contact us now to get your journey started