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Struggling to earn a healthy income is a symptom many teachers face when they’re learning how to grow a tutoring business.
In some cases, many find a way to improve the situation and turn things around. However, some will unfortunately just accept things as they are…and suffer needlessly.
I often here several excuses such as..
“The economy is terrible”.
“My students keep quitting”.
“You can’t make a great income as a tutor”.
“There’s too much competition”
However, whatever excuses a tutor makes for not being successful, the reality is that it’s often down to mindset and bad habits.
I’m here to tell you that turning things around is achievable and it simply boils down to choice. All you have to do is develop different habits that will result in running a successful tutoring business.
Sound’s easy eh?
Well, before I proceed further, and in the spirit of honesty, I’m here to tell you it’s not that easy.
Simple perhaps, but not necessarily easy.
It’s because you need to work REALLY hard at this and demonstrate a great deal of discipline, at least until you develop these new habits, which will help turn your tutoring business around.
Shall we get started?
Here are 5 tips to help you turn around your tutoring business…
1) Assess the situation
While it’s important to have an end goal in mind, it’s essential to know where you’re starting from.
Start by calculating your monthly income from tutoring, and then work out all your expenses. You need to know how much you’re bringing in each month.
Also, assess the situation to see how prepared you are for any unexpected financial problems.
It’s amazing how many people are living hand to mouth and are just one or two paychecks away from bankruptcy.
Unfortunately, some just accept this situation because they just don’t realise how bad their financial situation really is.
So while having goals and dreams are important for your tutoring business, being honest with yourself and knowing where you’re starting from is an essential first step to getting where you want to be.
For many tutors who are struggling, it’s often because their priorities are all messed up. Some may spend a small fortune hiring a web designer to create a plush looking website, or spend too much on a monthly cell phone contract, and at the same time, not know how to pay the rent or mortgage at the end of the month.
You need to stop spending money on things you don’t really need.
Look at your liabilities and cut out all unnecessary expenses. Be ruthless when you do this.
So what’s unnecessary?
In short, anything which doesn’t help increase your income. Your essentials are rent/mortgage, utilities and food.
When you’re facing hard times, it’s amazing to discover what you can live without when you’re living on the lowest 2 levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
Another important priority is improving your mindset. And unfortunately this can often be shaped by other tutors you might know who are in the same position as you.
My advice is to stop hanging round these people as much.
I’m not saying cut ties completely, especially if these people are your friends, but you need to find a new crowd of people to associate with, people who live the lifestyle you want to live.
They don’t necessarily have to be tutors. They could be local business people, entrepreneurs or anyone else who is very successful in their profession. Being around these people can inspire and motivate you to turn your business around and become successful.
So you’ve assessed your situation in step 1, cut out all the unnecessary things in step 2, and now you need to create a budget for your tutoring business.
Try and get in the habit of limiting your spending.
The only expense that you should increase spending on is your marketing budget. Everything else should stay at the same level, until your income increases and you are well in the black.
4) Focus on marketing
As I’ve just touched on in step 3, your marketing budget should be the only thing which you should increase your spending on if your tutoring business is going through a bad patch.
In fact, it should be second in the list right after your essentials. Put aside some money every month into a separate bank account which you only use for marketing expenses. And spend every penny!
How much should you spend?
I can’t answer that for you.
But in my opinion, you should aim to bring in at least 4-7 students a month to have a growing tutoring business. I know this is hard to do every month, but you have to allow for students dropping off throughout the academic year.
How much you need to spend also depends on your conversion rate i.e. how many people contact you for lessons, or click on a link to your website, and how many of these people end up choosing you as a tutor.
You may need to spend more or less than other tutors, but it’s something you need to figure out yourself.
However, the main thing is to get in the habit of prioritizing your marketing BEFORE any of your other expenses.
5) Know the difference between busy and productive
I used to really struggle with this.
Do you know the difference between busy and productive? Or work smart and work hard?
You see, being busy is not necessarily a good thing.
..being productive means you can earn the same income in less time than other busy tutors.
Learn to understand which tasks are essential.
The way I do it is to create a list of 3 columns.
Column 1 = for tasks which are a priority and must be completed asap.
Column 2 = for tasks which are profit-generating and which will help your tutoring business grow i.e marketing
Column 3 = for tasks which can be put off to a future date.
It looks obvious, but it’s amazing how easy you can get bogged down in tasks which don’t actually help you and your business.
The best way to train yourself and learn better habits is through experience. Start by focusing on your marketing before you start your working day. Just 30 minutes every morning will make a big difference over the next weeks and months and help you find more students.
Also, try to cut down on your admin. I used to spend hours every month sending invoices, sending payment reminders, changing lesson times etc.
I now use the accounting software Xero which I highly recommend. It saves me hours every month by sending invoices at the click of a button and automatically sending payment reminders. In the time I’ve saved on admin, I can now teach several more lessons every month which has increased my income.
I hope you’ve found this article useful. If you implement these changes I’m confident these tutoring business tips will help you turn around your business and put you on the right path to success!