Online tuition is one of the best ideas for a home business. An online tuition business allows you to start with minimal investment, and you are pretty much free to decide your work hours, how much you want to charge, or what subjects you want to teach. Apart from these merits of becoming an online tutor in India, it is the immense market opportunity that makes this business attractive.
Here are a few facts and statistics which support the business opportunity for online tuitions in India:
- The private education market in India is estimated to be worth $40 billion by 2015
- India currently has a shortage of 1.4 million trained teachers.
- There are 250 million students in India and around 33% of them go to private schools.
- India is a major source of online tutors for the whole world.
- The present generation of students has grown up using laptops and smartphones and is extremely comfortable at using online tools.
- Parents are increasingly willing to pay a better price for personalised tutoring from qualified tutors.
Although the online tuitions business is extremely competitive, a qualified, experienced, and professional online tutor can find ample work opportunities teaching Indian and international students. Taking a cue from the 5P's of marketing, here is a strategic look at how to start your online tutoring business.
Product - What are you going to teach?
Before you begin working as an online tutor, you must decide what tutoring services you want to offer. Here are a few questions to guide you -
- What subjects can you teach? - Having a degree in your chosen subject is the best proof of your qualification as a tutor. To teach math to high school students, having a degree in mathematics will make it easier to find work. On the other hand, if you have a degree such as B.A (pass) you can target the lower academic classes from 4th to 8th standard and teach a variety of subjects such as English, Hindi, Math and Social Sciences. If you hold a higher educational qualification such as an MBA or an engineering degree, you can help students prepare for competitive exams.
- Will you also offer face-to-face tuitions? Depending on the time you have available, as well as the local demand for tutors, you may want to provide both in-person and on-line tuitions.
- What differentiates you from the competition? Looking back at your academic qualifications and professional experience, what qualities set you apart from the competition? List those qualities as your USP (unique selling proposition) when you market yourself as an online tutor.
Place – The ‘where’ and ‘how’ of your online tuition business
You will need a clean and quiet space from where you can conduct the online tuition sessions. Ensure that the room from where you conduct the online tuitions has proper lighting so that your video image is seen clearly by the student.
To conduct online tuitions, you also need a reliable computer or laptop with a webcam. Buy a headset for ease of speaking and hearing during the online tutorial. You will need a broadband with a minimum download/ upload speed of 512 kbps for ensuring good quality video calls and chat.
One of the reservations against online tuitions is that it does not offer the same learning experience as an in-person session. However, you can circumvent this drawback by using online tools and apps that make the sessions interactive for your students. At a bare minimum, use an online whiteboard such as iDroo, Sketchlot, AWW, PixiClip, Stoodle, Scribblar, and Realtime Board, and cloud file sharing services like Dropbox, or Google Drive. As your business grows you can use online apps such as Teachworks or TutorPanel to automate various aspects of your tutoring business; e.g. session reminders, generating invoices and tracking expenses.
Pricing – How much will you charge?
Determining the 'price' of your online tutorial services is one of the most confusing aspects of starting the business. One way to ascertain how much to charge is to research the tuition prices at online tutoring websites in India. Parents are willing to pay higher for tutors with experience and the right qualifications. However, since you are just starting out, have reasonable expectations on how much you can charge clients.
To incentivise enrolment, you can offer promotional pricing. For example, " Get 15% off on monthly tuition costs by enrolling before 1st December 2016", or "Refer a friend and get two online tuitions for free."
Encourage students to pay upfront; " Get 10% discount on online classes by paying two months fee in advance". Offering a free demo online class may be a good idea because you are yet to build a reputation as an online tutor.
Promotion – Tell others about your business
Registering your business with My Private Tutor is an excellent way to start. Create your tutor profile on our website, and describe your qualifications and experience, as well as the subjects you offer. Students interested in working with you will message you directly. You could also proactively apply for tuitions jobs posted on My Private Tutor.
Social media marketing may seem daunting at first, so focus on one or two social media platforms that you currently use. Facebook is one of the most used online promotion platforms for small businesses. Follow the step-by-step guide to launching a Facebook business page, and share the page with people within your social circle. If you have the budget, create a Facebook advert to reach your target audience.
When promoting your business on social media, remember that content is key. Create content (images, posts, videos,live sessions) that are informative and entertaining. Consistent posting of content and quality of content are important for attracting social media followers, and to encourage sharing of content.
People – How you deal with people is important
How you deal with existing or potential clients, must be an important part of your overall business strategy. Before taking on a new student, spend some time assessing their academic goals and if you are the best person for the job. Once you start, give regular feedback to the students/ parents on the progress made. Maintain some flexibility in scheduling the online sessions so that the students feel they have your full support.
Starting an online tuition business is relatively inexpensive, but not any less challenging than any other entrepreneurial venture. Given the rapid changes in the industry and the customer feedback that you have, keep tweaking the different elements of your marketing mix until you are satisfied with the results. Be professional and clear in your communication, and market yourself adequately to achieve your business goals.