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Setting Up a Home Tutoring Business

If you’re like me you’re probably asking yourself, “How can I make money at home?”.

I’ve ask myself that a thousand times because I have to move around a lot for my husband’s job and I have a child. I have always stayed at home with my son so I am looking for opportunities to work at home.

Let me share my journey.

In 1982 when I was a teaching assistant in the English Dept. at Duquesne University, I strolled over to the ELI (English Language Institute). It was a couple buildings away from College Hall where I taught. The waiting room was full of international students. They smiled when I walked in and some of them bowed to me. I could tell they were right off the boat because of the way they dressed.

I spoke to the receptionist and started to fill out a form to tutor. Sherry Goldman walked in with her glowing smile and my life changed forever. (Sherry was the director in 1982.) She introduced me to some of the students sitting in the waiting room. She served tea and we all sat around chatting, me wanting to know about them and their countries and them trying to communicate with me in that broken English sort of way. Like if you put a bunch of words in a Yahtzee cup and shook them up and spilled them out. However the words landed, that was their sentence. I listened.

Their passion came through to me. They traveled all around the world to study here, in my country. But there was a bear growling over their shoulder everywhere they went; and it was speaking English. The problem was: language, how to use it.  I understood their challenges. I thought to myself, “I can really help these people. They wanna learn!” After I left the ELI that day, my life changed forever. I realized that I really enjoyed being with international people. They were so honest and so eager to learn.
Later I realized that I enjoyed teaching them how to speak English. Since that day, I changed my graduate study to a MA in Applied Linguistics (teaching ESL). Ever since then I have taught ESL. In my book, "Get Them Talking! An ESL Tutoring Guide", I outline how to teach international people how to speak English. I also show you how to start a home tutoring business.  In my book, I can tell you how to teach English step-by-step even if you have never taught a day in your life. I also present all the details of running a tutoring business.

In my book "Tutoring: Complete Home Business Guide", you will learn:

How to set up your own home tutoring business. In this book I highlight how to start a home business which includes tutoring online and where to post your services for free online, free online tutoring referral services.  (This book is about tutoring in any subject.) These referral websites are sites where people go who are looking for a tutor.

Today on A WAHM's Buggy Life, I will speak briefly about online tutoring platforms because as a business you can reach more students if you do it online. You can make more money because several students can take your class at the same time. I limit my ESL classes to 6 per class because each one of them needs to interact with me in order to learn.

If you teach another subject, you can have a lot of students in a class. If each person pays $20.00 for your 45 minute class then you can make a lot of money. Twenty dollars for an hour or 45 minute session is a good rate, on the low side. If you tutor in person, you can easily get more, $40.00 hr. However, considering you can tutor more people at the same time online, it is more profitable. If you check your local craigslist you can see the average tutoring rate in your area.

Online Tutoring Platforms

There are numerous online platforms for tutoring. In both of my books I explain about the best ones. Since I published my books there is a new one called Bigmarker. Have you heard of it? It is already very popular. You can tutor online with it as well as teach classes or give seminars and many other things. On Bigmarker there is a community so you get some free advertising being on there.  As with all the best online platforms, it is free and there is video conferencing and a white board. The good thing with Bigmarker is it browser based. In short, your students need not download directly to their computers. It’s cloud computing!

In addition, it is popular so it may be a good marketing medium too. (I wouldn’t worry about marketing because after you join one of the free tutoring referral agencies I have listed in the book, you will get students. In addition, if your first students like you, they will tell their friends about you and that’s how you’ll get new students.) Anyways, check out the other platforms I list in my book. There are quite a few. Of course, there is Skype. But the newer ones offer more than Skype.

The White Board

In tutoring you need the whiteboard for uploading lessons from your doc files. You also need the whiteboard for displaying your images. It is very visual and useful for students because they can directly see your words in addition to hearing you speak. Therefore, any information that you want to emphasize, you put in a document and upload it to the whiteboard. In addition, you can include files that each student can download. You can even make the files available to the students before the class starts. That way, they will have read it before you speak. They can ask you questions during the class.

Scheduling Your Time Online

I suggest that you outline your class time and give a mock class ahead of time to a friend. I have learned over the years that students have lots of questions. I talk for 5 to 8 minutes then allow them to ask questions.  Then I talk again for another 5 to 8 minutes and allow them to ask questions. (It is better if they ask questions when they have them, not at the end. If you make them wait until your entire lesson is over to ask questions, they will forget.) If your subject proceeds from the least difficult to the most difficult, you will want them to grasp the early material or the basics before proceeding on to the more difficult material.

I explain all of these practical concerns in both of my books. Check out my book websites too.

Good Luck!
This is a guest post by Kimberly Davison-Fujioka, the author of Tutoring: A Complete Home Business Guide and Get Them Talking! An ESL Tutoring Guide.


  1. There are plenty of online jobs out there and tutoring is one of them. This is very helpful to those who want to set up one.

  2. I'm an online writing tutor working for an international tutorial website. I haven't thought of setting up my own home tutoring business simply because I'm not equipped with the knowledge needed to do that. I'll keep your tips in mind if and when I'm ready to start my own home tutoring business. Thanks for sharing!

  3. One of my friends tried this as a sideline but she didn't have the patience so she quited