How to Become a Freelance Tutor
There are all sorts of freelance gigs that you can turn into a full-time business or do as a part-time job to make some extra money.
Rideshare drivers and delivery drivers are always in demand. Freelance writing, graphic design, and marketing jobs are easy to find online. People always need photographers, videographers, or party planners for special occasions.
If your passion is in teaching and education, there’s a different type of freelance job that you might want to consider:
Becoming a freelance tutor.
Not sure how to find tutoring gigs or what it takes to get started?
Here’s everything you need to know about what it’s like to be a freelance tutor and how to become a successful one.
What is it Like to Be a Freelance Tutor?
Working as a freelance tutor offers a unique opportunity to share knowledge, educate others, and make a lot of money in the process.
Freelance tutors instruct students of all levels, including elementary school students, high school students, and college students. They can be math tutors, science teachers, or even English language tutors for ESL students.
Freelancers can help students struggling to grasp European history, conjugate verbs in a foreign language, or perfect their writing and grammar skills.
As a private tutor, you can work from home and teach via an online chat such as Skype or Zoom. You can meet with students in person at their home or yours, at school, or in a public place, such as a coffee shop or a library.
Tutoring students is rewarding work, not just because it’s a way to help and educate a student in need. Freelance tutors have the potential to earn a great deal of money.
How Much Can Freelance Tutors Make?
According to ZipRecruiter, freelance tutors earn an average of $28 per hour. This rate can be higher or lower depending on where you tutor, what age level you tutor, and your level of expertise.
TutorMe.com reports that current students and/or teaching assistants that tutor earn an average of $25 per hour. For professors or certified teachers with a higher level of expertise, you can make $56 per hour or more.
The Materials and Equipment You Need to Be a Freelance Tutor
Some might say that to be a tutor, the only equipment you need is the knowledge in your brain. Besides an in-depth understanding of the subject matter you’re tutoring, there are also some tangible materials you’ll need to do the job.
If you offer online tutoring sessions, a laptop and a reliable Wi-Fi connection are a must.
You’ll also need access to a file-sharing system (such as Dropbox or Google Drive), so you can share notes, quizzes, lesson plans, or test prep materials with your students.
It’s also essential to have a professional email address different from your personal email. Keep all contact between students in one inbox and never have to worry about accidentally adding a client to a group email that’s not for them.
Depending on the age of your students and where you find tutoring jobs, you may need a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, a teaching certification, or experience in secondary education. Some tutoring websites require this.
If you find students on your own, the level of experience required will be solely up to your students or their parents or guardians.
No matter what your teaching methods are or what subject area you specialize in, every tutoring experience may be different.
As long as you understand the student’s needs and know how to guide and instruct on a specific subject matter, becoming a successful tutor can be easier than you may think.
Where to Find Jobs as a Freelance Tutor
There are a variety of online platforms where you can find tutoring jobs for tutors of all levels.
One option is to search online job boards such as Indeed and Simply Hired. You’ll find job postings for private tutors in various subject areas, and you can set up job alerts to receive notifications for new posts.
You can also find tutoring jobs on freelance websites such as Upwork and Guru. Some pay fixed price rates, and others offer hourly rates. Some are one-time jobs, and some are ongoing opportunities that you can do for an entire semester.
Care.com, which most people rely on to find nannies and dog walkers, also posts tutoring opportunities on its site.
Prospective tutors also can apply for jobs directly with prominent online tutoring sites. Keep in mind that some have more stringent requirements for tutors, and some hire tutors as employees (not freelancers).
The top tutoring sites to apply to are:
You can also find freelance tutoring jobs simply by talking to people you know.
For example, if you have friends or neighbors with school-aged children or see a fellow student struggling in a class you’re acing — offer your assistance! They may only agree to one or two tutoring sessions to start, but it’s a great way to get your business off the ground.
Find Jobs Through Word of Mouth
Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth referrals.
If you’re driving results and your tutees’ grades are improving, let your current students or their parents know that you’re available for more tutoring sessions. They might hire you to tutor more often or refer you to another student or parent they know needs help.
The better your track record of tutoring is, the easier it will be to find new students and make more money.
Think you can’t get buy a house while self-employed? Check out: How to Get a Mortgage for Freelancers
How to Market Yourself as a Freelance Tutor
Want to turn your freelance tutoring gig into a profitable business?
Here are different ways to market yourself and advertise your services that can help you launch a profitable tutoring business.
Advertise on Social Media
As a new startup, one of the best ways to market your business is social media. Begin by creating professional social media handles separate from your personal profiles.
Post regularly about your tutoring services, links to blog posts you’ve written, or announcements that you have openings for new students (or are expanding into new subject areas).
Create a robust, professional profile on LinkedIn as well. LinkedIn is an excellent place to detail precisely what you do and post reviews, evaluations, and testimonials from current and former clients and colleagues.
Building a network of colleagues, friends, and clients on LinkedIn also makes it easier to grow your network and connect with new, potential clients.
Market Your Business Through Freelance Platforms
The good news for tutors is that it’s easy to find freelance tutor jobs online. Freelance platforms, such as Upwork, aren’t just a place to find new jobs — they’re also a great way to market your business.
Freelance platforms allow clients to review your work, and those reviews become public on your personal profile page. The more positive reviews you have, the more exposure you’ll receive.
Positive reviews and high ratings also help attract new clients, so you can focus on tutoring rather than on searching for new gigs.
Use Traditional Marketing Techniques
Traditional marketing techniques like posting flyers or signs can also benefit your business, especially if you’re just starting out.
If you prefer to tutor in person, ask local schools (or your own school if you guide your peers) if you can hang flyers around campus.
Ask school counselors and advisors if they can store a few of your flyers in their offices. That way, they can easily pass on your contact information if they encounter a student that could use your help.
Bonus Tips for Marketing Yourself as a Freelance Tutor
No matter where you decide to advertise, there are two things to consider regarding how and what you advertise.
Make it Clear What Subjects You Tutor
If you focus on a single subject area, such as math tutoring or English tutoring, make that clear in your marketing materials. There’s no need to field phone calls and emails from prospective tutees looking for help in science or history if you aren’t an expert in those areas.
Tutors that offer varied areas of instruction within one subject matter should advertise that as well.
For example, if you’re skilled at teaching English, you may want to break that down into multiple English categories, such as:
Keep Track of Your Success
Keeping track of your tutees’ successes is also a way to measure your own success:
If your track record is impressive, advertise it!
By tracking your students’ progress, you’ll have data to show future students how much your services have helped other students to improve.
You may also consider making up your own business cards for advertising. See: How to Choose a Design for Your Freelance Business Cards
How to Plan for Tax Time as a Freelance Tutor
As a freelance tutor, you’ll be an independent contractor, which means you’re a small business owner. You’ll have to work on running your business as much as you have to focus on the tutoring that you perform.
Here are some things you’ll need to know to conduct your business properly:
Pay Taxes Quarterly
Employees that receive W2s file and pay taxes once a year. Business owners and independent contractors that aren’t traditional “employees” have to pay taxes four times per year.
As a freelancer, you will not have an employer to withhold IRS and state taxes for you. Instead, you’ll have to save a part of each payment to pay those taxes out of your pocket.
To avoid penalties and late fees, the IRS generally requires you to make quarterly tax payments throughout the year. You can receive a refund or apply your overpayment to next year’s taxes if you overpay.
Depending on where you live and work, you may have to pay city business taxes as well.
Save Your Receipts
Save your receipts whenever you buy equipment, software, or office supplies for your tutoring business.
Business expenses are deductible at tax time. As long as you have receipts to prove your purchases, you can deduct those expenses from your gross profits and reduce your taxable income.
If you work from home, you can also make deductions for the portion of your home that you use as a home office.
Track Your Mileage
Tutors that travel to see students in person should also track their mileage to and from tutoring sessions. Any mileage you put on your car in order to tutor is a business expense that’s deductible when you file your taxes.
The IRS sets allowable mileage rates each year. The current mileage rate for 2022 is 58.5 cents per mile.
Whether you build a business teaching English as a second language, tutoring students in algebra, or helping college students struggling in economics, freelance tutoring is rewarding work.
With these marketing techniques, expertise in a particular subject matter, and a passion for education, you can turn freelance tutoring into a profitable full-time business.
Looking for more ways to make your freelance business a success?
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