4 Ways to Take Advantage of a Slow Tutoring Season
When schools empty out for the summer, often times a tutor’s work calendar empties out with them. Vacations, summer camps, and students looking to simply take a break can result in lost business and costly cancellations.
What then is a tutor to do to keep business moving forward in these leaner times? Here are four suggestions for turning a slow season into an opportunity to ultimately strengthen your business.
Ramp Up Your Recruiting Efforts
The obvious solution to the problem of a diminished client list is to go out and get more clients. Depending on your locale, this can be easier said than done. Thankfully, there are some tricks of the trade that can help put your tutoring business ahead of the competition.
- Consider using free trial sessions to attract new potential clients. While you may not be getting paid for your time in the initial sessions, you will more than make up for the lost income from the introductory sessions if they help you land a few new clients.
- Register with a free tutoring database like the Knowledge Roundtable to help clients find you. If you aren’t in the places where people are looking for your services, don’t expect your client list to grow (…more on this later).
- Explore out-of-the-box tutoring side hustles like online tutoring, creating teaching materials, or working remotely with international learners. Just because the kids in your area are on vacation, doesn’t mean that kids everywhere are!
Expand Your Expertise
A valuable way to expand your tutoring reach is to add some new courses and content to your repertoire. It makes sense, the more subjects you can offer, the more potential client needs you can serve!
Start with an assessment of what it is you feel you can tutor comfortably. Honesty counts! If you attract a client with promises of skillsets you don’t have, the word-of-mouth alone could be enough to put your business into a rut.
Next, look at the tutoring services that are in highest demand in your area. Reference tutoring databases like the ones offered here at the Knowledge Roundtable. You should be able to get a good idea of what subjects are in the highest demand as well as which ones already have the biggest glut of tutors prepared to compete for business.
If you can expand your expertise in an area or two that has high demand but a limited supply of qualified tutors, you could see some sizable growth to your client base and start turning a slow season around in a hurry!
Focus on something new and unique to offer
Sometimes it is hard to stand out from the pack. If you feel like your tutoring business is getting lost in the shuffle of local competition or a limited potential client pool, consider changing your pedagogical approach. By offering unique services based on educational best practices like problem-based learning, creating makerspaces, participating in innovation challenges, or promoting mindfulness techniques, you can turn your tutoring sessions into uniquely effective learning opportunities that clients can’t find anywhere else.
In the summertime, these more contemporary approaches to learning will also make it easier to attract and hold the attention of students who would rather be anywhere else than learning with a tutor.
Of course, you should always discuss these options with clients (new and old) to gauge interest before putting them in play. For some clients, more traditional methods will always be the preference; you have to respect that view if you hope to keep them as paying customers!
Step Up Your Marketing Game
Being the best, well rounded, and most avant-garde tutor in town doesn’t matter if no one knows you are!
When times are slow, dedicate the free time caused by cancellations or vacationing clients to marketing your tutoring business. As a rule of thumb, during a tutoring lull you should be working as many hours (or more) as your average tutoring week during the busy seasons.
Start by registering with a searchable tutoring database, but don’t stop there! Adding your tutoring business to other consumer-focused sites like Yelp, Google, and Foursquare could further increase your visibility. Encourage your satisfied clients to add some positive reviews and prospective tutor-seekers will have extra reasons to reach out and give your services a try.
Taking the initiative to create your own website and blog is another way to up your online presence and build a positive reputation. Showing that you are a committed and reflective educator can go a long way in endearing yourself to prospective clients. Showing your commitment to promoting learning and growth will always be a positive! Don’t forget to add your website address to promotional materials like your business card or online profiles to ensure people can find your work and insights!
Finally, take advantage of cost-effective old media! Keep an eye out for advertising opportunities in local papers, community centers, event programs, and town newsletters. Often times, for less than the profit from a single tutoring session, you can get a print ad that will get your business in front of potential clients that aren’t seeking out help online (this describes more people than you might think!).
Slow times can be scary for tutors. This summer (or any dry spell in your tutoring calendar), turn the free time into a chance to proactively step up your game. While it may not mean quick profits in the short term, making calculated and targeted improvements to your business will pay off big in the long run!
How have you taken advantage of tutoring lulls? Share your best tips and advice with our readers in the comments below and on social media!