I was asked recently by someone considering tutoring through WyzAnt how I am able to charge such a high fee (my current clients are paying $120 per hour!) and I thought it might be useful to share my thoughts on how to not only charge a high fee but on how to build a successful, consistent business as a tutor on WyzAnt.
You might be wondering, "Who is this guy and who does he think he is to give me advice on success?" Well, I admit I am not a millionaire and I may not the the absolute best tutor that ever lived, but I have had some relative success and if you want to know how then I suggest you continue reading.
My background: Currently I am one of the highest rated tutors in the Houston, TX area. I started with WyzAnt in October of 2010 with only a background check and some ambition. I started my rate at $40 per hour (so I was really only making $20 per hour) and now I make on average between $80-96 per hour (after the 20% WyzAnt receives!), I have over 210 perfect 5 star ratings, with no ratings less than 5 stars, and I have tutored almost 450 hours (at the time I am writing this.) I also attend classes at the University of Houston and I run an educational software business that I started a little over 3 years ago. So tutoring is not the only thing I do, but its education is a pervasive part of my life. Tutoring also gives me the financial stability and flexibility to pursue other goals without the stress of working a 9-5 job for very little pay.
Ok, enough about me! You just want to know how I do it right? Ok, fine, but first a little disclaimer:
Just for the sake of transparency, please realize that I do not do all of my tutoring through WyzAnt. This is a personal choice, however, as I was a tutor for several years before I came across WyzAnt. However, I honestly believe that if you follow a specific process that you can build an effective client base in 1-2 years solely on WyzAnt bringing in between $1000-1500 per week only working 10-20 hours per week.
Ok, now for the good stuff:
Whether you want to tutor as a profession or just make some extra income to supplement other sources, there are, in my opinion and in my experience, at least 8 key things that you must do if you want to be successful as a Tutor on WyzAnt. Follow these steps and I can virtually guarantee that you will be the next WyzAnt success story!
THE 8 STEPS TO TUTORING SUCCESS
1. Give a personal, informative bio on your profile. Mine is very personal, I discuss my struggles with math when I was young, how I overcame them and how that allows me to understand and help struggling math students. Give your credentials. Don't be too formal in the bio, don't treat it as a resume, but rather as a way to make people feel comfortable over the internet with someone they have never met. Be warm and friendly. Also list positive results with past students in your bio section.
2. In the beginning apply for every job listing within your field of expertise. Clients will likely not contact you directly until you have established as well rounded profile. Most of my jobs in the beginning came from contacting clients who posted jobs and introducing myself. Now that I have established credibility, I have about 1 person contacting me every 1-2 weeks with a legitimate request. I often have to turn clients down because I have too much work.
3. When you make contact with a client, first find out what their need is. Ask questions. Find out what they really want, and then explain to them how you can help them to get exactly what they are looking for. It may sound obvious, but if you don't address the specific issues they believe are important, it will be difficult to close for the appointment. You can almost literally ask what they are looking for then repeat back exactly what they said saying "Great - I know its going to be a good fit because I will help you..." They will be amazed at how you know exactly what they want! Sounds silly, but it almost always works! With practice you will become more savvy. Now, once they are ready to work with you, remind them about the policy that they must place a card on file before you can set up a specific time/place to meet or exchange numbers. If this scares them off, just let it go. This happened to me many times in the beginning. If they already have a card on file, then you can just set up an appointment.
4. In the beginning its a numbers game. The more people you talk to, the more opportunities you will create. Try an approach with at least 3 new clients before you change it. Learn from each person that you contact how you can present yourself and your skill set more effectively. This is a learning process and you will have to be your own tutor within it.
5. If someone doesn't respond or decides last minute to not work with you, just let it go. People are weird about meeting strangers over the internet (probably with good reason!) and it can be a challenge to make someone feel comfortable without meeting with them in person or even speaking to them over the phone. But don't let that discourage you! It just takes practicing this new skill until it becomes easy.
6. Ask for client testimonials. WyzAnt makes it easy for clients to give testimonials. One thing you can do is to ask for a testimonial and write exactly what you want the client to say so it makes it easy for them to just submit what you know will look good. Highlight how you helped them. Clients are more than happy to do this when you really help them with their courses, so don't be afraid to ask. But remember, people are busy and you are not the center of their world, so if you never ask, you will likely not get many testimonials. (This is something I only recently realized and in just a few months I went from only 1 testimonial to having 4 very positive, well-written testimonials. (Well, I may have helped the client with that - lol).
7. Maintain perfect 5 star ratings for every lesson (not 4.95, not 4.99 - 5!!) I tell my clients that if they are dissatisfied with a lesson to first bring it up with me before giving me a bad rating so I can address the issue. This only happened once and it was due to a mistake by the student's teacher that I got blamed for. I explained the situation to the client and let them know how valuable positive ratings are to me, so the client went back and changed the 4 star rating they gave me to a 5 star. Now I have over 200 5 star ratings so I show up near the top of most tutoring searches in the Houston area (with no ratings less that 5 stars!).
8. The most important thing is to make the parent (or whomever is paying you) feel like they are getting what they are looking for. Obviously make sure you assist the student to learn the information they are responsible for - but make sure you find out what each parent or student really wants at an emotional level and present/phrase things in a way that gives them what they are looking for. You can be the best tutor in the world, but if a parent or student feels that there is something missing then the tutoring relationship will be difficult to maintain. I suggest to read books on interpersonal communication and how to read body language. Employing these skills is what allows me to take my tutoring from the $50 per hour level to the $100 plus per hour level. Ok I know that is really just a restatement of number 3, but I'm just making sure you are reading effectively. No, I'm just kidding. My point is that this point is worth repeating. This one point stands out to me as the number one thing that will not only help you get the appointment and have the client ask for you to come back - but it will also lead to referrals! If you can get to the point where people are emailing you on the recommendation from someone they trust you have basically already got the appointment. Plus they likely already know how much you charge and are ok with it otherwise they wouldn't be calling. So that makes it even easier to close on the appointment.
8 simple steps- you can do that right?
I know you can.
I hope that you apply my suggestions here and become one of the top rated tutors in your area. I also hope that you will discover new and better ways to go above and beyond the moderate success that I have achieved thus far. All I ask is that you share your discoveries with others. We are all in this world together and when you assist others to be successful I believe your success will only multiply!