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Desperately Seeking an Income

Okay, I’m not desperate, but I really would like a job, and I would really like it to be in education.  I just found out there is serious need on this island for specialized tutoring.  The good news is, it is in my field.  The bad news is, I have no idea how to go about starting my own business.

I need space.  I need advertising.  I need to set fees and terms.  I need a record/bookkeeping system.  I need a crash course in Business Marketing! Is there anybody out there who has a brain I can pick?

Where do I even start? Can I just begin by tutoring in my own home? That would effect my insurance, wouldn’t it? How about a public place like a library? Can I use those facilities to earn private income? And where do I go to find answers to all of these questions?

I have a valid, certified teaching license, but it is not for the State of Washington. Does that make a difference? Anybody can tutor, right? Wouldn’t it be up to the parents to decide if they were comfortable with the teacher’s educational level and capability?

The only thing I know for certain is I want to work with kids and make a difference in their lives. Right now that isn’t a school district option. I have considered asking the church for space, but we aren’t even members there yet.


  1. You will probably have to get some kind of public liability insurance to teach in your home. You may even need some kind of business licence (in Australia we have to register for an Australian Business Number) but I wouldn’t know about US law. I don’t know if you’d be allowed to use a public library for business. Anyone can tutor and yes, it is up to the parents to decide if you’re qualified. I would suggest as a first step, do up some fliers and do a letterbox drop in your area. Anywhere within walking distance is best for this kind of advertising. I have tutored from home for years. It’s very rewarding work. If you have any more questions, feel free to ask!

  2. Quilly, I would start with Google. I did that for you, Googling “How to be a tutor:”

    There seem to be several good sounding articles on some of the aspects you mentioned.

    I’ve been retired for nine years now, but I was a professor of business at San Jacinto College. One of the courses I taught was Entrepreneurship. Start with a vision and then work up a semblence of a business plan. Unless you are going for a loan a formal and correct business plan would not be needed for your tutoring. It will show you how much money you could make, how many students you would need, your fees, location, etc.

    Adi and I tutored for a while. We were free. Our students were deficient in reading. Adi, our beagle, and I are a registerd therapy team. We were certified by the Delta Society who provided a very large liability insurance for us.

    My main problem was that I felt inadequate in tutoring although the students became able to pass their state reading exams. At our college the business club which I sponsored tutored. They received formal training in tutoring given by the school district.

    Start with reading a few of the Google articles. Then get a first course Small Business Management book from the library. This all won’t take too much time. Be sure to work out the financial part. Learn the aspects of the ‘Income Statement’ and plug your business into one. You do want it to be worth your while.

  3. I see you got some really good answers there. I hope you find a way to start this “business”. I guess tutors are needed everywhere. There´s a shortage here too.

  4. Many one on one tutors go to their students homes. I don’t think you need a license to be an individual tutor but you should check the laws for Washington. You don’t need a special license for your own business but a separate checking account is good. Then just keep good records of earnings and expenses. Look into getting Quicken for small businesses to keep your financial accounting. Get an EIN which is free and is a simple way to designate an individual as a business. Public libraries probably won’t let you use their space to tutor for a fee. Business cards are good and you can get simple ones relatively cheap from say Staples. If you tutored in your home you can deduct part of your home as an office on your taxes along with part of your utilities. May offset any insurance you might need although I’m not sure you would need insurance. That may be a state related requirement too.
    Being your own business is relatively simple.
    .-= Nessa´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – Not Snow =-.

  5. Looks like everyone’s gotcha covered – I can’t add anything new! The tutoring that I did was voluntary and took place in the school library during the school day – taking kids out of the classroom one at a time. So I am NO help! 🙂
    .-= Melli´s last blog ..He Is Going To Be SO Missed…. =-.

  6. MusicMan tutors either at our church (he tutors other members) or at the public library. Please don’t tell me he needs a permit to do that!! Since he is in high school himself, he doesn’t make a lot of money, but every little bit helps!

    Others above have better information above.
    Good luck!
    .-= kcinnova´s last blog ..Why dragons have wings =-.

  7. I know one lady who tutored in our school library, too. She was a retired teacher, but I don’t know if she had any specific licensing for tutoring.

    The only other tutoring I knew of personally was an one student unofficially, informally helping another, meeting at a restaurant — and they fell in love, got married, and just had their first child. 🙂

    So I’m no help. As a parent, though, if one of my kids needed a tutor, I’d be more comfortable taking them to a school, library, or office than to a private home unless the tutor was someone I already knew.And I’d be more likely to go with someone the school recommended than someone I picked out of the yellow pages, but I’d be more likely t go with someone out of the yellow pages than someone with a note on a grocery store bulletin board or telephone pole. If/when you do get set up, it would be good to contact schools and see what you can do about being a tutor they can refer students to,

    What about already established places like Sylvan? I don’t anything about them other then their commercials. Or established after-school programs that might incorporate a tutor?

    I wish you well in this endeavor!
    .-= Barbara H.´s last blog ..Wednesday’s Random Dozen =-.

  8. When I worked in the public library, our meeting room was often reserved for tutors with kids: it was nice because they had all the resources of the library to hand.

    The admin didn’t view tutoring as private business so much as ‘education’, and therefore a perfectly appropriate use of available resources (oh boy… me talking like a gummint employee again….)

    My kids schools keep rosters of local tutors for kids who need or request them — it could be that you can sign up directly with the school, and they’ll manage the process for you–or at least can direct you in how to set up.

    Sounds like a great idea! Good luck!
    .-= Susan at Stony River´s last blog ..R.I.P., Dr. John =-.

  9. Our local library is where tutors meet students. One of my neighbors (who in daytime hours is an elementary school teacher) does this from 3:30 until the library closes each evening. She does not do it in her home or the kids’ homes, thus eliminating adding liability to her home insurance policy.

    She advertised initially with flyers at Starbucks, etc. Her first meeting is an evaluation of the problem areas. Then she draws up a contract for the parents that outlines the problem, her plan for solving, and agreed amount of compensation, including specifying how often it is to be paid (each meeting, monthly, etc.) Once she was established, word of mouth was enough to keep her busy every day.

    In our county you have to have a business license to hang out a shingle so the tax people know where to find you when you start making money. (I’m convinced that’s the only reason they care).

    Another advantage to doing it at the library is that you can stay in a place where you can be seen at all times, AND it is akin to a school environment in that the child has to focus despite distractions. This being able to be seen is ESSENTIAL in avoiding accusations of molestation (sorry, but just had to say it).

    As far as pricing, look into what the “learning business” companies charge (around here they’re Kumon, Sylvan Learning, etc.) You won’t have the overhead they have, so you’ll be able to charge a more reasonable fee.

    Do check the local school to see if they keep a list of local tutors and ask what qualifies someone to be on that list. Barbara’s right about after school programs — although many of those already have their people in place, and it wouldn’t be your independent business…pluses and minuses.

    And pray. Ask the Lord to show you someone in your new congregation who might be able to give you advice!

    .-= southlakesmom´s last blog ..My Lent Journey =-.

  10. Thank you very much EVERYONE. I have noted all your suggestions and I am looking into most if not all of them. It was a lady from the church who also happens to be a school administrator who set me on this path. She didn’t actually offer to help me, she just mentioned the need for a specialized reading tutor.

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