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How can a tutor make more money? Finding students and creating courses

Many people start working as a tutor in their spare time to earn extra income. But often after finding a couple of students through friends or tutoring platforms you find that you earn less than you expected.
Why can this happen?
  • You have few students and it is not clear where to find them
  • Tutoring platform commissions take up most of your income.
  • The cost per hour is less than you’d like

How to find more students and increase the cost of lessons

You can look for students on your own by promoting your personal brand on social media.
But easier said than done, right?
Many tutors are social media savvy, but few have students lined up because of it. The thing is, your social media will only bring in students if they feel value in your posts or videos.
Talking about yourself and sharing student feedback is definitely important. But these posts won’t be shared with friends and almost no one will save them to their bookmarks. So posts about what a great teacher you are and how successful your students are should only make up 25% or less of your posts.

What should a tutor write about on social media

Create a habit of writing out your students’ questions. Every time you feel that your student didn’t understand a topic, something they found particularly difficult, write it down. And remember what it was that helped the student understand the topic.
These are the notes that will become the foundation of your content. Students will see real value in your posts, keep them for themselves and forward them to their friends when they have questions that your subscriber has already answered.
The format can be anything, you can be posts of pictures and text on Instagram, can be short vertical videos for TikTok, Reels or YouTube Shorts or long video tutorials on YouTube.
But even with useful and interesting content, it’s sometimes difficult to gain followers from scratch. To do this, you can share posts and or make joint videos with colleagues who also blog. If possible you can try buying ads from small bloggers or run ads on your posts. Which may seem like an expense, but in the long run it can bring you students that will pay back the investment.

What to do when there are more students wanting to take classes than I can take

When your schedule becomes overcrowded, at first you may gradually phase out who you’ve been taking classes with through platforms that take 40–60% of your income, devoting more time to those you’re taking classes with directly.
Next, when you see more students coming back to you than your schedule allows you to take, that’s a reason to raise your prices. Yes it can be scary because some students may drop out, but if you do it right, you can get more and still work just as much or even less. How to do it right:
  • Raise your price no more than 20–30% percent at a time.
  • Do not raise the price for current students at once. Warn them that you are taking on new students at the new price, and at the current price you will only train them for 1–3 months, after which the cost of lessons will increase.
  • Use the price increase to create motivational promotions, for example, for those students who come to the lesson with a completed homework discount for a lesson 10% off.
By repeating this process every 4–6 months or every school year, you will gradually grow in revenue. But how do you grow faster?
By only doing one-on-one lessons you are always limited by your schedule. You can free yourself from this by creating your own course and then your growth in the number of students and therefore income will no longer be limited.

How to generate income from online courses

First you should decide what kind of course you want to create, the course can be in a recorded format or in a live lessons format.

How to choose a course format

The main advantage of a recorded course is that you can record it once and sell it as many times as you like without spending much time on it.
But the disadvantage is that in this case you are competing with a large number of other recorded courses including free ones. So learners are often not willing to pay much for such courses. But if your content is really high quality and interesting, it can be a good source of almost passive income.
In turn, live courses are often a compromise for students between expensive one-on-one lessons and watching recordings. Because in these classes students can ask the teacher questions and having a schedule of classes motivates students to study systematically. Therefore, students are willing to pay more for these courses.
But the disadvantage of such courses is that you get income from them only by recruiting groups and conducting classes. And also this format is quite difficult to start with, because you are tied to an announced start date and you need to recruit a group of students by that date sufficient to make the course more profitable than if you spent time on individual classes.

Where to start creating an online course

You can start by creating a small recorded course that you can post for free on YouTube if it’s just video lessons or SubSchool if you want to attach practical exercises to the video. If the subject matter of the course allows, you can even record the lessons as vertical videos and post them on TikTok, Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. This way, students can get to know how you teach and by combining such a course with the social networking we talked about earlier, you’ll build an audience.
Having an audience will make it much easier for you to recruit students into groups for live lessons. And also after watching the free course students will be much easier to decide to buy a recorded course. This way you can gradually move from one-on-one lessons to creating courses, increasing your income while reducing your workload.

Features of creating a recorded course

When creating a recorded course, try to stick to the rule that one lesson answers one question or covers one specific topic.
For free courses whose videos you also post on social media, stick to a timing of 1–3 minutes for vertical videos and 10 +- 2 minutes for YouTube.
For paid courses with more detailed topics and more practical examples, 20–40 minutes is absolutely fine. But it’s important to stick to one topic per lesson.
For each lesson, create assignments to reinforce the material, so your lessons will have more value for your students.
After creating all the materials, try to put on all available platforms to increase the coverage and get maximum sales, but when specifying the price take into account the different commissions of platforms. For example, on Udemy you get only 37% of sales, and in SubSchool you get 82%. So if you want to get $100 per sale, you need to specify $271 and $122 on these platforms respectively.

Features of creating a live course

Despite the fact that in a live course you don’t need to record all the lesson material in advance, you should prepare the lesson program in advance. Create a lesson plan, prepare presentations and homework assignments, so the lessons will go smoothly and without schedule changes.
For announcement and registration of students you make a small site for example with the help of Tilda or Wix or just tell about it, in social networks and gather students in chat, and then hold lessons in Zoom or Discord. But if you plan to recruit more than 5–10 learners, it will be quite difficult to manage chat lessons and check assignments manually. You can also use SubSchool to organize your course and schedule and get additional students.