Fear is the number one reason why people who want to start a tutoring business don’t. In fact, it is often the thing that keeps people from starting a business of any kind. Let me dispel two most common fears seen in potential tutor-preneurs: fear of the unknown and fear of failure.
Fear of the unknown.
At first you think tutoring sounds like a cool job. You make good money, the hours are flexible, and you get to work with students. It can be done in person or online on a computer. These are all good things. Then the questions arise: Is it hard to get started? How will I find students to teach? What if I don’t know the answer to a question the student has? Am I qualified? All very good and valid questions but nothing that can’t be answered and certainly nothing to fear.
Getting started takes no more than deciding what subject or subjects you would like to tutor. What are you good at, proficient in or are willing to brush up on? The years spent gaining your own education is great preparation for this business. Reviewing concepts of the subject before meeting with a student sometimes is really all it takes to get refresh yourself in a topic. (More about what subjects to tutoring is found here.)
There are many ways to find students. Let your friends know, post it on social media, sign up for students through Wyzant and more. One great way to get your feet wet is to volunteer at a school to help with homework or offer to tutor a neighbor’s child. It often just takes one to get the ball rolling. Many of our students come from referrals and those you help are usually more than happy to tell others about you.
The best way to get good at something is practice — which is actually doing the thing you want to do.
If you wait until you have all the knowledge and all the tools, it will never happen. The best tutors and teachers don’t know everything. There will be times when you are asked a question which you won’t know the answer to. And that is okay! This is when you use the computer and show your student how to look up information. You can turn just about anything into a learning experience. If it’s a complex math problem, you can solve it later and email them how it was done.
The fear of the unknown really is an illusion. As we move ahead and take steps toward our goal, we progress and get better and better. Doors begin to open. Things become clearer. You may be not the best at quadratic equations starting out, if you tutor math, but you will learn as you go.
Fear of Failure
You may be thinking – what if I begin my tutoring business, tell everyone I know about it, and then it doesn’t take off? The fear of failure makes us want to pull back and, unfortunately, it paralyzes us. You’d then be missing a great opportunity. Consider this…
What if you start your tutoring business and it succeeds?
If fear of failure is what is keeping you from starting, we recommend that you start slowly. Look for that one student, even if you are volunteering. Gain confidence and experience. Mistakes may happen along the way, but the idea is to fail forward. All mistakes are opportunities to learn. Mistakes teach us new approaches.
“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Henry Ford
Some of us are one step away from the best opportunity of our lives!
Check out our book Gateway to Tutoring: Start Tutoring Tomorrow! which will answer many of your questions and concerns.