Your First Clients

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When I started tutoring I made a profile on universitytutor.com and forgot about it. For a couple months no one responded to me. But then I got a few requests, and I started working with those clients. And I liked it so I started looking for other ways to find more clients and grow my business. But those profiles were the first step. So if you’re just starting out as a tutor you should absolutely create profiles on various tutoring websites.

There's universitytutor.com, varsitytutors.com, tutors.com, care.com, and others. Just start Googling and you’ll find them. The most important would be universitytutor.com, because that gets you some leads you can keep for yourself. Sites like varsitytutors.com will allow you to work as an independent contractor through their platform. You can make some pretty good money that way.

Pro tip: a good way to get started is with a hybrid approach where you work a little for yourself and also do some work for a local tutoring company. Find those companies where you can get some hours and get established in the industry.

Local tutoring companies will often pay higher rates than the big national companies. And you can find those by searching “math tutor Miami” and looking at the websites that come up organically. If they are ranking high on Google, they're going to have some inflow of leads. So those would be the biggest major areas to look for your first clients.

There are also other places where you can do job postings. And most of this is free. You might spend $10 to $15 total as startup costs, which isn't bad. Make a post on Craigslist advertising your tutoring services. When I was studying for the MCAT I found a great tutor through Craigslist. So you can definitely find people there who are looking for tutors. It's $5 or $10 to post at the time of this course, depending on the city.

So those are some basics for getting your online presence built up. You want to think of yourself as a little tutoring store. And you need to think about how you can get people to start passing by your store who are interested in your services.

After I got my first clients through universitytutor.com, I started wondering how I could expand my business further. And one simple thing I did was print out some of those pieces of paper with 10 slits at the bottom, where you can pull one off and take it with you. It's very simple and inexpensive. There are templates on Google and you can just write “Math tutor, Miami. $35 an hour.” And describe what you do. Talk about your background, and how you’ve always had a passion for mathematics, and why you want to teach. And then put the 10 slips with your email and phone number and the words “math tutor” at the bottom.

And you can go around the city posting those up places. There are many places with free boards where you can post them. I'm from Portland and we have grocery stores with message boards. I got my second client from a community center. I went and posted a flyer with those pull tabs and someone ended up finding me through there. So that is an idea as well.

One little tip is that you should pull off a couple tabs when you put these up (so it looks like people are already interested). Maybe there are only eight left or something. You can get that done in a few hours. Think about coffee shops, grocery stores, community centers, medical clinics, yoga studios, and anywhere there might be good clients. Focus your energy on wealthier zip codes. Do some research before you start posting. Look for wealthy zip codes that are easy for you to drive to. You want to maximize your time.

It's going to be hardest to find your first few clients. But once you get a few clients and do a good job you’ll get a referral. And things will grow from there.

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