10 Ways a Tutor can Market Themselves

One of the most common questions I receive through The Tutor Website is ‘what can I do to market myself as a tutor?’ So, when I was invited by Hashtag Tuition to write a guest post for their site, I thought this would be a great opportunity to share my experience and provide an introductory guide to marketing as a private tutor.

Incidentally, this post also coincides with a new eBook that we’re hoping to publish in the next few months that takes a more in-depth look at effective marketing methods for tutors. To help get you started in running a successful tutoring business, here are my top ten ways a tutor can market themselves:

1. Word of Mouth Marketing

One of the most reliable ways to market yourself as a tutor is by good old fashioned word of mouth. It’s no secret that the best tutors, particularly in London, find themselves booked up months in advance through word of mouth referrals. By offering a truly valuable service, you’ll build up credibility in your local area and generate a steady business stream.

2. Register with a Tutoring Agency

One of the best things about tutoring agencies is that they’ll take care of a lot of your marketing for you. According to TES Connect, some online tutoring agencies have as many as 10,000 tutors registered with them. However, those that tend to be the most effective, limit the amount of tutors that they allow to register, ensuring that the quality of tutoring is consistently high.  Independent agencies can also boost your credibility as they employ a thorough recruitment process, which normally involves meeting tutors face to face, carrying out reference checks and applying for DBS certificates.

3. Spread the Word Amongst Friends and Family

When it comes to marketing, we’ve all got to start somewhere, and often, using the resources we have closest to home is the best strategy. We’ve all heard of the theory of six degrees of separation right? By telling people closest to you that you’re looking to take on new students, the chances are that it won’t be long before word gets out on the ‘friend of a friend’ chain and you’ll start receiving new business leads.

4. Tell Your Existing Students

Assuming that you already have some students on your books, why not tell them that you’re looking to take on new tutees? In many ways, your existing students are actually the best marketing network you have as they’re in constant contact with other students, who may be looking for your help. You could also consider introducing a ‘refer a friend’ scheme in return for a free lesson.

5. Have a Presence at Local Events

For some people, face to face marketing is a daunting prospect. However, it needn’t be a stressful experience. Perhaps your local community is having a networking event that you could hand some business cards out at? Or maybe your town hall hosts community groups that you could talk to for ten minutes about your services? The more people you can get the word out to in one go, the better.

And remember to ask them to pass your details on to anyone they know who might be interested in using your services.

6. Register with Tutor Directories

Marketing yourself online is one of the most effective ways to generate leads for your tutoring business. However, online marketing takes time and when you’re first starting out; there can be a lot for you to get your head around. That’s why creating a profile on paid online tutor directories like The Tutor Website is so beneficial. Tutor directories can be a great way to drum up new business and have students contact you directly. Before you register, do a Google search for private tutors in your local area and see which directories appear at the top – these are the ones that are likely to bring you the most students.

7. Get Yourself a Website

When it comes to building a website, you have two options: create one yourself, or pay a web design company to build one for you. If you decide to build your own, hands down, the best open source website builder is WordPress. For complete beginners, it might take some time to get used to, but the flexibility it offers is second to none. Investing in a website can bring you some excellent leads in the long term and is something that every serious tutor should consider.

8. Optimize Your Website for Search Engines

Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the art of ensuring that your website appears high in search engine rankings. Although there can be a lot to research in this field, it’s definitely worthwhile getting to grips with the basics. There are many resources online that can point you in the right direction if you’re just starting out, but what I will say, is that you’re best staying on Google’s good side as websites that adopt outdated ‘black hat’ SEO techniques, won’t survive long in the marketplace.

9. Be Active on Social Media

Nowadays, social media has become an essential part of every business’ marketing strategy and as a private tutor, you should embrace it too. Wikipedia currently lists 213 of the most popular social networking sites online (I’ve counted them) and this list is by no means exhaustive. Choose two or three sites that you’re familiar with and connect with people who may be interested in using your services. The more active you are on social media, the more engagements you’ll make.

10. Identify Gaps in the Market

My final piece of marketing advice is to take some time to properly research the private tutoring landscape in your local area. Who are the most popular tutors in your area? How do they market their services? Once you know how your competitors market themselves, consider what they could be doing better. Can you see any gaps in the marketplace that you can fill? Some of the biggest tutoring agencies in the UK grew their businesses by identifying ways to do things differently.

Key Takeaways

To help you build these marketing methods into a tangible plan, here’s a summary of the most effective actions you can take to generate more interest in your tutoring business:

  • Speak to people about your business; the more people who know about your services, the more likely you’ll be to receive a referral from a friend of a friend
  • Consider registering with tutoring agencies in your local area, they establish your credibility and bring you regular work
  • Make yourself known in your local community by attending local events. Get yourself some business cards and hand them out to people who may be looking for a tutor.
  • Leverage your existing student network by encouraging students to spread the word about your services
  • Improve your online presence by being creating a profile on The Tutor Website
  • Create your own website and implement an SEO strategy to help you get found in search engines
  • Choose two or three social media websites that you’re familiar with and aim to engage with people who might be looking to use a tutor in your local area.

What other marketing methods do you recommend as a private tutor? Which of those mentioned above do you see as being the most effective? Do you have any of your own strategies that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you.

If you’re thinking about becoming a tutor, why not register with Hashtag Tuition? It is in everyone’s interests to join. See why here! 

About the Author

Jamie Thomson is the founder of The Tutor Website, an online community for the private tuition industry. If you found this post useful, keep your eyes peeled for his new eBook about marketing for tutors, which will be available online in the next few months.

10 Ways a Tutor can Market Themselves

An Ode to Procrastination

It’s an intriguing concept, that of procrastination. So tinged with latent ambiguity, with elusiveness. It lacks intention; there is never any purpose to it. It creeps up on you, pulls a veil over your eyes and distracts…oh look a cute dog. I must hunt it down and eliminate it.

No one has ever seen this procrastination. But then, can one ever see an idea? Oh ideas, what are thee? So fleeting, popping like bubbles. Bubbles! So circular, reflected, soapy…where was I? Ah yes. Let’s get to the point. I hate procrastination. Filibustering, avoiding, flipping, changing, mooting, delaying, reassessing…infuriating.

I often spend my days searching for this mysterious procrastination. I dress up as a detective, ready to hunt it down. I spend hours doing so. And yet I always just miss its coat-tails. It’s one step ahead. I turned my search to the Internet. Yet that procrastination is so tricky! It laid traps! Through the maze of YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and the quicksand of ‘Buzzfeed’ it led me. Still I follow, glancing a faint flick of its tail. And then, it’s scent!

What is that whiff? Do I smell sweets, chocolate and that delicacy…pot noodle!?! Ah the cacophony! It’s like all my temptations rolled into one. But how? Whilst I mull this thought, I must visit the fridge to replenish my hunt. Procrastination is being so sneaky. It’s got into my head! I must not let it. No, I must resist. I must keep plugging on. I need a weapon!

I search and find my sword. Excalibur is buried deep in the stoney depths of my pencil-case, cast in pseudo-silver. I throw the lid aside. Behold as I do this, there is the beast before me! Oh but I can’t describe the sight. Is this awe or horror? I must draw it for future note. With my weapon, I fathom a conception of the creature. Flicks of the nib, specks of ink, a blurred mix of imagination and replication. I look up and procrastination has averted my gaze. When I look back over my masterpiece, I am aghast. I’ve sketched an exact drawing of…me (and a very realistic drawing of cat, must be my side-kick). Oh what has procrastination done to me!

Procrastination is a virus. It’s…infected me. I’m becoming it’s pawn. I am…I am….I am procrastination. Procrastination knows me better than I know myself. But alas, was it all a dream? I pinch myself to check.

….

Ouch!’ Oh crumbs, dinner time already? And I still haven’t started my homework! How?! What has possessed me all afternoon? Ah it’s okay, I’ll start tomorrow; it’s only due at lunchtime….

Don’t submit yourself to the viral, beastliness of procrastination. Or at least, procrastinate by reading our post 10 Ways to Study More Effectively (that actually work). Or even, book a fantastic tutor today to catalyse your learning process. Or better still, check out our Easter Gradebooster Courses.

SRB

An Ode to Procrastination

Interviews: 10 Ways to Succeed

There’s a lot of information floating around the Internet about what  to do during an interview. You’ll read a rule on one website only to discover the exact opposite on another. Here, we’ll simplify it all by giving you advice adapted from the techniques of one of the world’s top interview trainers.

1. Do your homework: 

There’s no excuse for being oblivious. You should know about the institution/company for which you’re interviewing. Know about the company to which you’re applying. Look up key facts and commit them to memory, they may come up during the interview. If you know who’s interviewing you, know them intimately (no, don’t be stalker…and popping up as a LinkedIn notification doesn’t really help your cause…)

2. The Golden Words:

‘For Example’ are the two most powerful words you could ever say during an interview. They show that not only have you answered a question but you’re also directly linking past experience/prior knowledge to it. In short, it kills two birds with one stone.

3. Eye contact:

Most people struggle with maintaining eye contact throughout an interview. Not looking at someone means you lose the opportunity to build a rapport with them. As such, it severely diminishes your chances. Eye contact when speaking displays confidence, but be careful not to stare/leer at your interviewer. It’s off putting (as is staring at that stapler instead…)

4. The Handshake:

No, you’re not Rocky Balboa going in for battle. Nor are you doing an impression of a somewhat wet fish. Quite simply, you need the goldilocks of handshakes. In all seriousness, better to be too enthusiastic than too lethargic. Wait for your interviewer to offer their hand to you, it’s a sign of respect. Crucially, look your interviewer in the eye when shaking their hand, it shows confidence.

5. Sitting down:

Wait to be invited to sit down: this will clear up any confusion as to where you should sit etc. If you’re seated in a comfortable chair, sit towards the front as you’ll be in a more commanding position (and, importantly, not seep ever deeper into depths of that particular sofa). It’s hard to take someone seriously if they’re being consumed by a chair. Sitting upright gives you a good centred position from which you can engage the interviewer.

6. Take your time:

Often people think that silence equals stupidity. In fact, the opposite is true. Listen to the question, compose yourself, take a breath, then answer. If you need a minute to think through an answer, then take it. Your interviewer will appreciate that you’re formulating your thoughts rather than spewing out the first thing that comes to your head. Even if you know the answer straight away, take a pause to consider how you’ll formulate it.

7. Listen:

Quite often, the person who interviews you will be your immediate superior if you get the position. If you don’t really pay attention to what it is they’re saying, they won’t want to have to spend time with you in the long run. Don’t get so caught up in your answers that you’re not listening. More often than not they’ll be helping you out.

8. Be ready to adapt:

Interviews can often go off the beaten track. Be ready to think laterally and make your answers relevant to what it is you’re interviewing for. If you can link questions together, you’ll show this ability and impress the interviewer.

9. Too fast, too slow. Too loud, too quiet: 

The pace and volume at which you speak will vary from interview to interview. Generally, try to match your pace with that of your interviewer. It cultivates a rapport between your interviewer and builds trust. With regard to volume, your interviewer doesn’t need to see your tonsils, nor should they wish you had a microphone. Speak at a neutral volume and make sure you’re speaking clearly.

10. Multiple interviewers:

Having more than one interviewer is actually quite a common occurrence, and most people panic as to who they should talk to when answering a question. Split your time between the two, and shift your eye contact. Slightly favour the interviewer who has asked the question you’re talking about. By looking at both interviewers, you ensure that everyone is involved in the conversation.

Remember, your interview is a conversation, not an interrogation. Relax, and talk with confidence. The fact that you’ve made it to the interview stage of a process shows that you are of genuine interest to them, so don’t panic.

If you’d like interview training with one of our coaches, including the world expert, get in touch via this link.

NS

Who are Hashtag Tuition? Find out here

Interviews: 10 Ways to Succeed

10 Essentials for Writing an Essay

You’ve written the title. Your pen is poised at the paper. You’ve chewed your pen lid copiously, itching like a stallion at the starting gate. And then, ‘oooh, doesn’t that cloud outside look like a rabbit!’ We’ve all been there. Writer’s block. In fact, most have this every time they write an essay. But here’s the secret (whisper it quietly)…essays are quick and easy. Once you follow these tips, you’ll polish off that beast in 2h max, maybe even less.

1. Understand:

Essays require you to be in control of the material. Your clarity of thought manifests into your clarify of prose. Or at least, your ability to waffle constructively (a sign of a great essay writer). The first step is understanding your title, what it means, what it is hinting at. Start with a piece of paper and just brainstorm ideas. Even if you don’t reach the right understanding, you’ll at least have a clear interpretation of what you’re trying to argue.

2. Plan

Great plans come from great understanding. Take all those different threads and start to weave them together. Decide your argument.Then choose the arguments on both sides that you want to employ. Next, start to see the links between them and how your essay can flow.

3. Skeleton

Your essay has to flow. Don’t be all creative with your structure. Keep it rigid. We suggest this:

Intro: Set out the framework of the debate and what you will argue.
Major Argument: Your big point, theory or contention. It should bind your whole essay together.
Counter Arguments + their rejection: See point 6. for more details. The trick is to mention and dispose of the other side’s points.
Connecting secondary argument : Another big point that backs up your argument, maybe just supports.
Maybe tertiary supporting argument: Same as he above, if you have time.
Conclusion: Bring everything together and add some perspective. Don’t just repeat what you’ve said prior.

4. Read Around

If you have time (and mostly you will not) investigate the topic. Reading books can be too time consuming. Instead, read articles, journal pieces or academic summaries. It’s by knowing the nature of the beast that you’ll be able to conquer that essay. Otherwise you may miss the key point that disqualifies (or maybe enhances) your whole argument.

5. Writing style:

Here are some pointers taken from our previous post: 10 Rules of Writing. Succinctness is a sign of a writer in control.

– Short and punchy sentences
– Using connectives to start sentences
– If you can cut a word or sentence out, do so
– Don’t use stale imagery
– Don’t use analogies are used to seeing in print
– Enliven your vocabulary (or buy a thesaurus)

6. Straw-men:

This is a great way to knock down the other side of the argument. Caricature their argument, make it seem extreme and attack its exposed flaws. Make it seem simplistic. You always want to criticise an opposing argument in the context of why yours is better.

7. Paragraphing: signpost

Your structure still needs clarity. Start every paragraph clearly by saying what you are trying to achieve in that verse. Don’t make it simplistic, something like ‘Yet now let us establish this to reject that’ or ‘Furthermore, this is disputed due to x fact’ will do perfect.

8. Argue!

Be opinionated. Take a firm stance (even if it’s a balanced one) and attack from that perspective. Have that fiery side in your essay, your points and counter-arguments will benefit no end.

9. Evidence:

Empiricism is a weapon. Like your straw-men arguments, evidence is yours to be interpreted and used as you wish. Your points cannot exist in the ether, they have to be backed up.

10. Revise: Heuristics for checking

We all make grammatical or rhetorical errors. Try reading your essay backwards or in a different font. Your eyes may be used to reading what you’ve composed so it’s good to look at things from a different perspective.

Take a break before finishing your essay. Leave it for however long you can (not an excuse to procrastinate) and then reevaluate critically. Do you need that paragraph? Can I cut you those superfluous words? Does my argument flow?

And if all else fails, our tutors are brilliant at working on essay-technique. Make an enquiry today!

SR-B

10 Essentials for Writing an Essay

Ten Tips for Tutoring Teens

With the exam revision season drawing ever closer, here are ten ways tutors can make sure their teenage tutees get the most out of any session. 

1. Take a break:

In reality, most school lessons consist of around 25 minutes teaching time in a 40 minute lesson, with the rest being used for settling down, handing out work etc. This means your tutees are used to short lessons, and will need to pause in a 1 hour tutorial. 

Try and coincide short breaks where you talk about something else as you come to the end of a topic/question.

2. Talk to them:

Teenage tutees are often more self aware of their needs than younger learners. Use this to your advantage and find out what it is they could be better at. This is especially important in the pre-exam period. However, it is crucial that you do so in a constructive way.

Find the areas needing improvement and plan your tutorials accordingly.

3. Use the syllabus:

Making a tutee aware of what it is their course actually covers is invaluable, as this is often left out in school. Using the syllabus will also help act as a checklist.

Having a physical tick by a topic will motivate your tutee.

4. …and the mark scheme:

In the pre-exam period, students will often struggle to gain the extra marks they need in humanities subjects. Clearly explaining different sections of the mark scheme will help them understand what they need to do to improve.

Consider going through an essay and mark it with your tutee.

5. Keep it simple:

Often tutors fall into the trap of overloading a teenage tutee with too much in one tutorial, simply on the grounds that the student is older. All this does is confuse students.

Choose one or two relevant and related topics to cover in a tutorial (with a short break between the two). 

6. Encourage them:

Teenage tutees need just as much as praise and encouragement as younger learners. This is often forgotten by tutors.

A supportive environment is still essential for effective learning.

7. Keep the parents in the loop:

Of course, this is a key part of any tuition done with Hashtag Tuition, but with teenage tutees, parents will often take a step back.

By informing parents of progress you create an extra route for encouragement.

8. Use past papers, but not too much:

There’s a huge temptation to rely on past papers when tutoring for exam support. They can be effective, but also cause setbacks. Past papers can highlight areas that need development, but at the same time can demoralise a tutee if they struggle to tackle a question. 

Instead, select a few relevant questions to do at the end of a tutorial, and then tell your tutee they are from a real paper. This will create a sense of achievement.

9. Have a warm up activity:

Warming up before introducing a topic is important. Again, tutors will often skip this out assuming that it’s not necessary with teenage tutees.

A simple introduction to build confidence at the start of a tutorial will lead to a much more effective session.

10. Be realistic, but not nihilistic:

There’s a fine balance to be struck here. Often schools teach to an acceptable minimum, and while you should definitely not do the same, circumstances can dictate the amount of progress. 4 hours of tuition can’t get a student from a D to an A*, however good our tutors are. You must be able to adjust the level of your tutorials according to the level of your tutee.

However, you should encourage and help your students achieve beyond their perceived potential.

Think you could be a great tutor? Find out here why you want to join Hashtag Tuition today http://www.hashtagtuition.co.uk/network/why-be-a-tutor

NS

Ten Tips for Tutoring Teens

Eton: A Four Letter Word

There are two Etons. There is the school itself; a bastion for the highest educational standards. Then there is ‘Eton’, as exists in culture. This ‘Eton‘ stands for elitism, of inequality, of arrogance, of undeserved privilege and frankly, of intense animosity. This distinction was the conception of Eton’s own (outgoing) headmaster, the brilliant Tony Little. He’s the man who’s changed and is still changing the perception of Eton.

Tony Little went to Eton and onto Cambridge. Same old story, eh? Well you’d be mistaken in thinking Mr Little was a stereotype. His father worked as a security guard at Heathrow, his mother as a secretary at a local hospital. He won a scholarship to study at Eton. As such, Mr Little has unique perspective on educational inequality.

Why do people despise Eton despite rarely going and seeing what goes on for themselves? The concentration of ‘OEs’ in the most powerful positions is worrying, I admit. Yet it should serve as a motivation to assess what’s going wrong elsewhere. The archaic uniform serves as a divisive tool at times between ‘Eton’ and the rest of society. I personally think that the uniform, despite the tradition it encapsulates, will be gone soon. Perception is everything, as Mr Little has embraced.

What one forgets amidst all the cries of elitism is that Eton retains the highest educational standards. On almost every front it is one of, if not the, best in the country. Many have asked what causes this success and whether it can be replicated. It can, but not easily. It’s the culture of excellence which drives Eton. An unquestioning desire to do things better than anyone else. It’s pride. Be it the architecture, the achievement of its students, the calibre of its staff or simply the community; Eton has a magic to it. The community is important. Behind all the pomp and glamour lie those who keep Eton ticking over. They too believe in the magic of Eton. It’s the little details that matter. Go to Eton’s School Hall and be amazed at probably the most impressive school auditorium in the world. You’d be forgiven for not noticing the one brilliant man who runs, curates, invigorates the whole place. School Hall is just a building. What makes it special and so glowing is the spirit of a certain Mr.W (he never wanted acclaim, just definition) driving, noticing the little detail and being unflinching in his desire for excellence. Champions like Mr.W make Eton.

Panel Event Nov.2013: How to Avoid another Financial Crash
School Hall: Panel Event Nov.2013: How to Avoid another Financial Crash attended by 650 people from 30 schools.

It’s very easy to forget the men and women behind the scenes who are integral to making Eton. Try accusing them of elitism. It is
a meritocracy. The students all attend because they are über talented, subject to strict entrance tests. Mr Little recently admitted on Radio 4 that he would turn down ludicrous sums of money from those who wanted to ‘buy a place.’ The teachers are amongst the most gifted in the land. They come from all walks of life, defined by their brilliance and dedication. Are they elitist for wanting to be the best? And why do Etonians achieve so much? It’s because they leave confident and assured of their talents. They have been ‘educated’ in the proper sense, their talent having been led out and honed. For sake of analogy, Eton offers everything an Oxbridge education does, just for longer and from an earlier age, maybe even to a greater degree. Think how powerful that is.

Of course, whilst the composite parts may not be elitist, the end result might be. Eton gives such an unfair advantage. Yet, why bemoan Eton for its effectiveness? It should be a benchmark to be aimed towards. Now there is a financial cost, you may say. I agree. Whilst an Eton education costs £30k+ pa, I’d say it’s actually worth more like £100k+. An Eton education is an incredibly valuable investment. Yet I think if we isolate the culture that lies beneath and inject it into the state sector, we may be part of the way there to bridging inequality. Drive and high standards are what count. Or at very least, why are we not investing more in state education?

Eton is trying to bridge the gap. What has Mr Little done for this? Let’s break it down to both a micro and macro level. On a micro level, he’s massively increased the number of scholarships. Sixth form entrants come in from the state sector and are, without fail, exceptional. Almost 1/3 of students are now on some sort of bursary. Eton are trying to become means blind, requiring US university type investment to achieve this. Beyond that, Eton sponsors the new Holyport College, the London Academy of Excellence and several other schools. It runs a free Summer School for talented students from disadvantaged backgrounds. It also opens its brilliant speaker programme up to other schools. I’m proud to say that I played my part in this, having organised two landmark events for 650 students, with 30 schools attending each. It is by breaking down these barriers that Eton can start to share the culture which drives it.

Yet it is Mr Little’s overarching project which is even more awe-inspiring. It’s his crusade to change the perception of Eton beyond the four letter word. In the press, in speeches, in print, his all round approach is to make Eton a more open institution. The new Tony Little Centre is a testament to that. It’s through this clear dialogue that we can tackle educational inequality. He knows, and I know, that once you come and see Eton and what it is all about, you may well change your mind about ‘Eton.’

Floreat,
AB

Who are Hashtag Tuition? Find out here

Eton: A Four Letter Word

10 Rules of Writing

“Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it. Our civilization is decadent and our language, so the argument runs, must inevitably share in the general collapse. It follows that any struggle against the abuse of language is a sentimental archaism, like preferring candles to electric light or hansom cabs to aeroplanes. Underneath this lies the half-conscious belief that language is a natural growth and not an instrument which we shape for our own purposes.”

So begins George Orwell’s Politics of Language. This blog post is not the greatest example of how to write properly. We do not intend it to be. Yet writing with clarity is essential. Here are not only our tips, but our rules. To not follow these would be simply egregious.

1. Use Guiding Words: e.g. Moreover, however, although etc. ‘These turn the reader’s head in the direction you want the reader to look.’ [Antonin Scalia]. Put these at the start of the sentence.

2. Use Short Sentences: make your writing easy to read and punchy.

3. Simplify: No superfluous words. If a word/phrase can be removed, do so.

4. Eliminate: Never use a long word where one could use a short one.

5. No Jargon: The key is to avoid words that would cause people to look at you funny if you used them at a party.

6. Depassify Never use the passive where you can use the active.

7. Unconventional: Never use a metaphor, simile or figure of speech you are used to seeing in print.

8. Spicy: Do not use stale imagery or a lack of precision.

Examples:

Dying Metaphors e.g. The iron resolution

Verbal False Limbs: e.g. Be subjected to

Pretentious Diction ( we fall foul of this one): e.g. [insert most of Hashtag Tuition blog post vernacular here [whoops, there we go again]]

9. Paragraph intelligently: The first line should signpost your answer.

10. Be Interesting enliven your vocabulary [or buy a thesaurus], vary your sentence length and mix up your sentence structures.

Scrībe,
AB

References:

G.Orwell (1946), Politics and the English Language
A.Scalia and B.Garner (2008), Making Your Case: The Art of Persuading Judges, Thomson/West

10 Rules of Writing