How to launch a Tutoring Side-Business: A Basic Primer

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Tutoring is a great business opportunity that just about anyone can take. If you understand the basics of a topic and you’re willing to give it structure then you can launch (even if you’re still in the dorm room).

The following is a basic primer for starting a tutoring business on the side:

Step 1: Know the goal

Planning is a crucial element of any business:

·  How much will you charge per hour?

·  How will you conduct the tutoring?

·  What time of the day is available to do so?

Turn the tables and see what questions clients have when selecting a tutor. Address each of these questions and begin creating a business plan. Having a goal, such as charging $70 an hour for math tutoring aimed at adults between the ages of 21 and 28, will provide you with the insight as to how to approach the business (and do the complete research and development).

Step 2: Select the topic(s)

Anything you’re knowledgeable about has the chance to be the show runner for your tutoring business. However, you can always fall back on the basics and go with the in-demand topics, such as:

·  Math

·  Science

·  English

·  Test Prep

The remarkable thing about any of these basic topics is that you may be already well versed in them, especially if you’re currently in college. No doubt you will need to take a few classes for each so if you did well in the classes and saved your notes you’re already on the way to having the resources needed to make an entry into the business.

Action: Write a list of topics you understand the most then ask yourself whether it’s something you can accurately convey to others. Try to find one or two final topics for your tutoring business (at least for now).

Step 3: Choose the tools

You’re a busy college student (possibly living out of the dorm) so it may be unfeasible to physically meet with tutoring clients. That’s perfectly fine.

Online tools are your best bet because they give you the ability to do your tutoring without having to run around the town.

1.  Set a schedule

2.  Alert the client about the time

3.  Set up a virtual classroom

4.  Start going to work

Video conferencing apps are also great because they give you a one-on-one feel between the parties. You could also set up a whiteboard behind you to show off the examples or use the built-in apps in some programs that lets you do hand-drawn notes.

Other tools you may want to consider:

·  Dropbox (for sharing files)

·  Evernote (for note taking)

·  Google Calendar (for keeping track of your schedule)

·  Quickbooks (for invoicing and finances)

On the hardware side, you may already have the tools built into your computer – webcam and a decent microphone – but if not, you can always purchase these for cheap at a local store or at the campus store.

Step 4: Find the clients

The trickiest part of setting up a tutoring business is finding clients. No doubt there are plenty of them out there but it will take some effort to reach them.

There are loads of options for marketing a business but let’s keep it simple:

·  Develop a website (or portfolio) that’s locally optimized for your keywords and location

·  Print and distribute business cards and flyers to locations clients are likely to visit

·  Consider taking out an ad in the local paper

·  Get active on social media, be helpful, and solicit clients through a Facebook fan page

·  Talk with other students after class and see if they need help

Keep applying a variety of marketing methods, test each, and stick to ones that work. Over time, you will build a nice list of clientele.


Tutoring is one of the most ideal businesses you could start in a dorm. You already have much of the knowledge and most of the tools can be found for a very low rate. The challenge of finding clients will be about the only hurdle you’ll have (minus those first few sessions which may be difficult at first) but eventually, with practice, you’ll get better.

Is tutoring the right dorm room biz for you?

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