Updated on: 28th June 2023
If moving online to teach your students during the Coronavirus pandemic felt like a breath of fresh air, you might be thinking about making a move to virtual teaching permanently.
Ideal for those already experienced or qualified in a specific field or subject, teaching children or adults is a great way to make money out of something you’ve already got! If a rewarding yet flexible job that uses your excellent communication skills and resource-planning know-how seems like the perfect fit for you, you’ve come to the right place. Here’s how to start your own online tutoring business in the UK.
Who Can Become an Online Tutor?
Depending on the level of study you plan to teach, you might find a degree in a specialist subject, or experience of working in a school helpful. However, in the UK, you don’t actually need any qualifications to become an online tutor – but it definitely helps to have some kind of expert knowledge in the subject you want to teach.
What Skills Do You Need to Become an Online Tutor?
As well as possessing a level of expertise in your chosen subject, there are a couple of other skills areas that you’ll need. For example:
IT skills – you need to be able to navigate around online teaching platforms, including knowing how to share documents and your screen with pupils.
Business skills – since you’ll be running your own business, having some business and financial skills will also come in handy. Make sure to keep up to date with our Think Big business blog for all the essential advice you might need.
Communication skills – teaching any subject involves being able to communicate complex ideas clearly to someone with little-to-no expertise in the field.
Creativity – one of the most effective ways to engage your pupils is to get creative with your resources and lesson plans. Your creativity and big ideas will serve you well!
How to Start an Online Tutoring Business in 5 Steps
Step 1: Choosing Your Subject and Level of Teaching
When deciding on your subjects and levels to teach at, you should consider what your own highest level of qualification is. For example, if you hold a French Masters degree, that would be an obvious choice for your subject as you’ll be well versed in that field and able to teach those at a lower level of study than yourself.
It’s important to keep in mind how much demand there is for your subject. For example, for most subjects, the highest level of demand for academic subjects is at SATs, GCSE and A-level study. There is also demand for tutoring at business level, such as field-specific workplace training in soft skills, marketing, and safety.
If you’re planning on teaching students under the age of 18, you should consider obtaining a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) certificate. You can request a basic DBS check for £23 here.
Step 2: Choose a Teaching Platform
Seeing your pupils face-to-face, especially if you’re offering 1-2-1 private tutoring, is a great way to form a connection and engage your students. It also means you’ll be able to gauge their responses to answers, so you’ll know if they’re understanding what you’re teaching them better.
That’s why video conferencing platforms prove to be a popular teaching platform, with big names like Skype and Zoom being amongst the favourites.
You can also offer your tutoring services through specific online tutoring websites, like Lessonspace and Bitpaper which might help you to find customers if you’ve not already an established tutor.
Step 3: Set Your Rates
Once you’ve decided on the foundations of your new tutoring business, you’ll need to think about how much you’re going to charge for online lessons.
Private tutors normally charge hourly rates, with virtual and digital tutors generally charging less than face-to-face and in-person tutors.
The best way to price your services is to check out your competition and see what kinds of prices they’re charging. Charging too much will mean customers will opt for cheaper courses, but charging too little might impact the perceived quality of your teaching – so it’s best to try and find some middle ground from your research.
Step 4: Marketing Your Business
Like any other business, you’ll need to market your online tutoring business to find new clients. Advertising on jobs boards, handing out business cards, and registering with a tutor directory are great ways to get established. Then, once your rave reviews start piling in, many tutors find word-of-mouth marketing to be their biggest way of getting new business!
Step 5: The Legal Bits
Launching yourself as an online tutor means you’ll need to set up as a sole trader. As soon as you can once you’ve started tutoring, you’ll need to register for Self Assessment and Class 2 National Insurance through the Gov.UK website.
You’ll then need to complete a Self Assessment tax return every year, so it’s a good idea to keep track of your sales, expenses and income throughout the year.
Congratulations! You’re now a professional online tutor ready to make a difference to someone’s education. Before you start making lesson plans, make sure you’re ready to spread the news at the drop of a hat with a shiny new set of business cards – after all, you never know when your next networking opportunity will present itself!