11 min read

How to start an online tutoring business
Grow your online teaching business by adding tutoring to your class offerings.

Did you know that families are always on the hunt for online tutoring classes? Parents are searching for 1-on-1 classes online for several reasons. Whether they want to help their learner who is falling behind or struggling in a subject, would like private instruction in specific subject areas, or have learners with unique needs, families are looking for high-quality tutoring for their learners taught by qualified educators.

If you’re considering adding tutoring to your class offerings, you need to know who you’re targeting. In this article, we will:

  • Explore the benefits of tutoring
  • Identify 3 concerns causing families to reach out to tutors
  • List who is searching for tutoring online right now
  • Explain how to start teaching virtual tutoring classes

Focus on the benefits of 1-on-1 learning

One of the main benefits of tutoring for families is individualized attention for their learners. A 1-on-1 tutor can quickly identify areas of difficulty for the student and provide targeted instruction to help the learner overcome these challenges.

Another key benefit of tutoring is that it allows learners to work at their own pace. In a group setting, learners may feel pressured to keep up with the rest of the class, even if they struggle to understand a concept. With a tutor, however, learners can take the time to fully grasp a concept before moving on to the next one. With this extra attention, you may help reduce frustration and anxiety for learners and their parents.

Tutoring can also provide learners with a sense of accountability and motivation. When working with a tutor, learners may be more likely to stay on task and complete their assignments, since they have someone monitoring their progress and holding them accountable for their work. Additionally, positive reinforcement and encouragement from a tutor can help boost their confidence and motivation to succeed.

Who’s looking for online tutoring?

Tutoring, just like learning, is not a one-size-fits-all solution. When you’re building your online tutoring business, you want to consider who is looking for tutoring and how you can best serve them. To do this, you need to know who’s looking for online tutoring and use your skills to fulfill a need. Let’s look at the top three reasons families reach out for individualized 1-on-1 learning.

Learners who are falling behind or struggling

“My child is falling behind. They need help to catch up.”

Tutoring can be a valuable resource for learners falling behind in their studies. In 2022, a report was released showing that “The typical American learner lost several months’ worth of learning in language arts and more in mathematics.” This learning loss report led to the growing concern that learners were falling behind in academic subjects. Since then, there has been an increase in families looking to bridge the gap caused during the pandemic.

But public, private, and charter schools aren’t the only ones affected by this.

Homeschooling parents often find themselves outsourcing subjects they’re not strong at teaching or areas where they cannot meet their learner’s needs alone. In both cases, hiring a tutor to teach these subjects allows the homeschooling parents or guardians to focus on their areas of expertise. 

Curious to know what type of tutoring classes parents are looking for? Find out how parents are finding math tutors on Outschool as well as what Lexile levels are and how parents are using them.

Learners who want non-academic private instruction

“My child wants to learn ______, but on a 1-on-1 basis.”

Another common group of learners looking for 1-on-1 classes are those who want private instruction but not necessarily academic classes. Their goals may include private music lessons, coaching budding actors, art lessons, language learning help, or any topic that a learner is interested in learning more about.

Maria, who started taking ukulele lessons during the pandemic on Outschool, was encouraged by her talented instructor, to enter the Unionville Music Competition. Thanks to her 1-on-1 lessons, she won 1st place entry in her category and is set to represent her hometown in a provincial-level competition, Ontario Music Festival. We would call that a win for tutoring!

Even Amir Nathoo, Co-founder and Head of Outschool, has spoken about the benefits of online tutoring.

“Unusual topics, presented in interesting ways for age ranges or environments where they’re not typically offered. That’s the real strength of both the marketplace model, where teachers are free to experiment in meeting those unique needs and the strength of the live online format, where it would be very hard to meet all those unique needs, kind of locally and whereas when you have the whole world at your fingertips, it becomes much easier.”

– Amir Nathoo

If you offer a non-academic group class, consider taking your current topics or lessons and adapting them to create a 1-on-1 class. Keep in mind that families are looking for all kinds of classes on Outschool, so think about what you are passionate about and build from there. 

For more insight on how parents find art classes on Outschool, the soft skills classes offered for learners, and how to ignite passion-filled learning, be sure to see what’s happening on Outschool’s parent blog.

Learners who are advanced or want to “get ahead”

“My child needs support above and beyond their peers in a subject they are very interested in or exceptionally skilled at.”

Have you ever offered a class for older learners and had a parent reaching out requesting if their 7-year-old can join? At Outschool, it’s not uncommon for learners and their families to search for classes outside their listed age range. (This is why Outschool allows you to choose strict age limits or flexible age limits on your listings.) Sometimes the age range has to be a certain age due to class content material or the maturity level of the learners in the group. However, when you’re working 1-on-1 with a learner, that does not have to be the case.

With 1-on-1 tutoring online, you can offer to create or teach a curriculum that may be advanced for a learner’s typical age group. This also allows learners who are used to mastering a subject quickly or without a lot of effort to feel challenged. Having a customized curriculum gives learners a chance to work on material they may not receive in a group classroom or allows them to explore new skills.

Learners with unique learning needs

“My child needs customized or specialized support, and a 1-on-1 environment works best for them.”

According to the NCI, “an estimated 15-20 percent of the world’s population exhibits some form of neurodivergence.” Educator Heather Cook explained that for many of these students, a traditional classroom may be overwhelming. Virtual tutoring offers the opportunity to meet with a learner 1-on-1 in their home environment, on their time, and without the distraction of other learners.

Families with neurodivergent learners know that Outschool is a platform where they can find educators to meet their individual needs. Co-founder Amir Nathoo spoke with Debbie Reber at TILT Parenting about how educational alternatives, like online learning at Outschool, support individuality and learners of all types

Learn more about how to welcome neurodivergent students to online learning communities, including a tutoring setting. For more insights on how to include neurodiverse learners in your Outschool teaching business, read about how Heather designs inclusive classes for neurodivergent learners.

How to design your online tutoring classes

Now that you know who is looking for online tutoring, it’s time to sit down and discuss how you can take your unique skills and expertise and use them to grow your online tutoring business.

Identify your passions

If you love playing D&D (Dungeons & Dragons) and want to teach others how to play, do it! If you enjoy painting, drawing, or making pottery, there is someone out there who would benefit from learning from you. Remember, online tutoring can be the perfect solution for anyone looking for individualized attention, no matter the subject.

Find out what the learner is really looking for

Communicate with families about what their learner needs. Decide ahead of time if they are looking for academic help, need specific skills taught, or if they want to learn a new craft. For example, if you offer a class on drawing, find out what subjects the learner enjoys and focus on that. It could range from still life to anime or even characters in their favorite video game.

Be specific about the topics you plan on tutoring

While math is a general term that families search for on Outschool, there is a huge difference between teaching multiplication tables and the Pythagorean Theorem. Make sure that you are clear in your class listing as well as when families reach out. Also, focus on what you’re good at or have experience with. Families looking for 1-on-1 attention are often looking for an expert in a specific subject matter or teaching type.

Address the parent’s concern

Often, families will reach out to you ahead of time regarding your tutoring classes. They want to make sure that you can help their learner catch up, get ahead, or dive deeper into a topic. If you’re creating a class focused on what can help a learner jump two reading levels, count to 100, or get an “A” on that upcoming exam, make it clear. Parents want to know what value you are offering and what their learners will walk away with.
Curious to know what parents think are the greatest benefits of hiring a tutor? Check out this parenting article on the pros and cons of tutoring on the Outschool blog.

Adjust the material to the learner’s level

With a 1-on-1 tutoring listing, you can offer your class to learners of all ages. However, you cannot use the same materials for a 5-year-old learner and a high schooler. Instead, take the time to find curriculum, games, activities, and learning tools by your learner’s level and ability. Be okay with adjusting once you’re in class as you may need to tweak the material as you go along.

How to market your tutoring classes

Once you have figured out who to offer classes to and what subjects to offer, it’s time to get your classes out there. Let’s look at three tips to help you get started.

Use keywords

Set up your listing so families looking for tutoring can find your classes. If you aren’t familiar with SEO (Search Engine Optimization), take some time to familiarize yourself with the importance of keywords and choose words or phrases for your class listing that align with potential search queries. Keep in mind, that the most important keywords are those that describe what you’re teaching and explain how you can solve a problem for your audience.

Test multiple class types

Don’t be afraid to list multiple class formats for your tutoring classes. Try a one-time class for families to get to know you and your teaching style. Include a multi-day 1-on-1 option for learners who have an upcoming test or set timeline to achieve a goal. Offering ongoing classes could help you win at tutoring by allowing learners to stay with you for as long as they need the help. Use different class types to see what works best for you and your learners.

For more insight on creating classes on Outschool, take a look at how classes work on Outschool.

Market yourself

Don’t limit yourself to just listing a tutoring class and hoping families come across it. Instead, begin actively posting your new tutoring classes on social media, share them with friends and family, and spread the word. Once you do have a learner or two, work hard to be the best tutor you can be so that their experience speaks for you.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to start growing your online teaching business with 1-on-1 classes?

For more information on online tutoring, check out these articles:

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