What subjects should I tutor?
Among the questions people ask when they are contemplating starting a tutoring business are “What subjects should I tutor” and “What grades should I tutor?”
Let’s start with the first question…What subjects should I tutor? The main considerations here are i) What subjects do you want to tutor? and ii) What subjects are you qualified to tutor? and iii) Is there a significant demand for tutoring in these subjects?
If you will be doing most of the tutoring yourself, you will obviously want to choose subjects that you enjoy tutoring. If you don’t enjoy your work, then your sessions will soon become drudgery, and that is definitely not a good thing for a start-up business. Start-ups thrive on passion and energy, so it essential that you enjoy what you are doing!
On the other hand, if you can hire other people with expertise and passion that you are lacking, then you can expand your offering to include other subjects.
The next consideration is the demand for tutoring in these subjects. Let’s face it, you are probably not getting into the tutoring business to lose money. Unless you’re starting a not-for-profit organization, where the main goal is to help people, then you will want to provide tutoring in subjects that are in high demand. The subjects that are in most demand are i) Math ii) English and then iii) Science. Of course this order may vary from school to school or from one program to the next, however it is fairly constant over the general population.
I am not saying that everyone should tutor mainly math because that’s where the money is. I am saying that if you are catering to a typical population, then the low-hanging fruit will be students who need Math tutoring.
However there are many situations where it might be appropriate for you to focus on other subjects instead. For instance if your expertise is French and Spanish and you want to do most of the tutoring yourself, then you should concentrate on these subjects. However you must also be realistic and determine whether or not there will be enough demand for these subjects to generate the revenue that you’re looking for.
The next question you will want to ask yourself is ‘What grades should I tutor?’ Although some tutors may be willing and capable of tutoring all grades from 1 through 12, it is more common for people to specify certain grades that they feel competent and/or interested in teaching. Some people prefer to tutor elementary and middle school children, while others prefer the challenge of tutoring only at the high school or college level.
You will need to ensure that the grades you are willing to tutor will allow you to attract enough students to generate the revenue you need for a successful business. Traditionally, the bulk of tutoring demand for core subjects tends to be at the high school level, because that is the point at which parents and students become concerned about achieving the required grades for entrance to college or university.
In summary, while you will reasonably want to focus on the grades and subjects that you have interest and competence in, at the end of the day you will need to offer a suite of grades and subjects that will generate enough customers to allow your business to grow and thrive.
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