Dave, an engineer for 40 years, wants to do something interesting when he retires, and could use a little extra cash for his golf addiction. Sue, who was a legal secretary for 45 years, needs to add to her retirement income. She has no desire to be a store greeter, but wants to bring in extra cash using her skills and knowledge. Both know the importance of staying mentally active as they age.
Retired teachers, accountants, business professionals, managers, secretaries, homemakers and so many others are earning extra retirement income by putting their skills and talents to use as tutors — an idea that appeals to both Dave and Sue. How hard is it to develop a tutoring business, market to potential students, and make this a money-making opportunity?
First of all, if you are not a professional educator, don’t be afraid to consider tutoring. Most of the time, a teacher’s certification is not required to help others pick up new skills or knowledge, so there are many ways to develop a successful tutoring practice – from letting friends and others know that you are available to help students, to signing up with formal tutoring services on and off the Internet, such as tutor.com, or by offering informal tutoring training simply by advertising with flyers and other marketing methods.
Can you make money tutoring? Tutoring is what you make it; tutors may be paid at the time of service and he amount charged varies. If you work for a formal tutoring organization, you might be paid once or twice a month. Pay is usually based on the subjects tutored and the number of hours tutored. As an example given by one major online college tutoring organization, active Chemistry tutors earn anywhere from $800 to $1600 a month. If you work for a formal tutoring company, you may also receive bonuses, free training and even other incentives. If you are own your own, and not tutoring college-level students, the amount may be less. Yet, highly specialized and niched tutors can make far more, it just depends on the topic and the students.
Of course, tutoring services are not limited to professional teaching areas such as math, English and science. Do you know how to cook vegetarian meals? Bake and decorate wedding cakes?
Win at card games like bridge and poker?
Improvise jazz on a musical instrument?
Play shuffleboard or bowl a good game? Load software onto a computer or get rid of computer viruses? Use graphic or other specialty software?
Plenty of people would like to have these skills – including adult non-students – and many are willing to pay a tutor for this knowledge. All you need are some expertise and experience, and enough desire to go out and market your services.
If you are interested in tutoring for a formal tutoring organization, visit several online services and read their FAQs (frequently asked questions) to learn more about typical tutoring topics, qualifications, and more. For example, the following bulleted points explain what several professional online tutoring businesses serving students in the United States and Canada see as important qualifications:
• Live in and be eligible to work in either the US or Canada and have a valid Social Security or Social Insurance number
• Have a strong content knowledge in English, math, science, or social studies at the level you wish to tutor- for services covering elementary grade through first year college
• Be able to explain concepts to people of a variety of ages
• Currently be enrolled in or have graduated from an accredited US or Canadian College or University degree program
• Pass more than one subject exam during the application process
So if tutoring – formal or informal-still sounds like a possibility, here is a quick list of even more questions and ideas to help you get started, whether or not you plan to tutor in a formal or informal environment:
1. What skills, training, experiences do you have that others might need or enjoy having? Do you knit sweaters? Are you a certified Reiki Master? Do you like to coach? Do you play a mean game of bridge? Are you a native speaker of any language? This list goes on and on and once you get started, you will probably think of many things that you do well, activities that you could help others acquire.
2. Whom do you want to teach (or train) – children or adults? Business owners? Other retirees? Best to figure this out first. When you think about tutoring, you typically are considering the needs of children. However, adults often need help too – with both formal and informal activities – from math to planting a garden or learning how to remove viruses from their computers. Adults usually do not usually seek out special tutoring – you may have to find these customers and tantalize them through bulletin boards flyers and handouts, or even by giving free programs to groups and organizations and demonstrating your skills. Pass out flyers, business cards and have a drawing for one free lesson at this event.
3. Decide on what areas are best for your tutorial services. You may need to brush up on the subjects you feel you are most proficient in – and then you will probably have to practice before asking for payment. A clever way to learn what services are needed, is to ask around. Talk to ministers, business people, club members, friends and get their ideas. Then keep them informed about what you are doing, and they will often tell others, especially if you give them some business cards or flyers once you decide on what your will be offering as a tutor.
4. What are people typically charging for tutoring or classes? Ask around, check out bulletin boards and look at online resources such as Craig’s List. Ask friends what they would consider paying for a cooking or gardening lesson. (Again, this is a good marketing technique because friends will often make referrals for your tutoring services.) If you are seeking formal tutoring opportunities, do some searching on the Internet. Also, look for tutoring classified ads in college and/or local newspapers. You do not want to set your price too high or too low-too high, and you will not find many students, too low and you might end up with too many takers.
5. Look on the Internet for clients. Many job forums and employment sites advertise for tutors. Search the Internet for tutoring; if you live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Google: tutoring jobs Albuquerque, and see what comes up.
6. Another way to pick up formal tutoring work is to visit a school principle, teacher or professor and let them know that you are available. Bring a resume or something that shows you have expertise (degrees, certificates, and letters of recommendation) and they may be willing to make referrals. Do a good job, and this could be a constant source of clients.
7. If you are seeking informal tutoring experiences, visit local community centers. Many organizations already offer adult, adolescent and child education and will be interested to see how you can help. They might suggest that you teach a specific class for a small fee, and keep most or all of what you collect. Or they may have a special program, often in adult literacy, where you can fit in as an unpaid volunteer. Classes are good public relations for such organizations and so there are often many opportunities in this venue. Working first as a volunteer can also help a new tutor get needed experience before charging for services.
8. You may want to advertise in a local newspaper, a shopper or on the Internet, for both formal and information tutoring opportunities. If you are offering 導師 something really unique, a reporter might even write a feature article. If so, clip it out and make copies to use in your flyers and on your web page. Having your own web page could help, but word of mouth often attracts customers, along with specialized flyers detailing what you are offering and your expertise. Social media such as Facebook can help you get out the word, too. Do a good job, and your students (and those who initially refer your services) will be your best referral sources.
9. Keep track of all of your expenses. You will need this information to offset added retirement income, in many cases. For more information on this important matter, visit your social security office and ask questions about retirement income requirements, or talk to your accountant.
Will your brain benefit from tutoring? Of course, especially since 65 is no longer the onset of old age, but the beginning of middle age, and one critical key to staying this “young” is by keeping one’s mind active and engaged, according to many aging specialists.
“Brains like problems. They like something to puzzle over and figure out. Brains love making new connections and learning. It keeps them healthy. Be sure to make your brain happy in retirement. Avoid routine and keep the brain supplied with new and challenging thoughts.
“From puzzles to learning new skills, more and more research shows that brain aging depends on constant intellectual stimulation for the brain,” Dana Anspach of About.com Money Over 55 states. A retirement planner, Anspach serves as Chair of the Practitioner Peer Review Committee for the Retirement Management Journal, a publication issued by the Retirement Income Industry Association.
So…learning new things, teaching and staying smart — all important components of tutoring — are activities that retirement specialists like Anspach tell retirees to do, that is, if they want to stay young as long as they can.