The Tutor: A business with no need for startup capital

The year was 2010. I was in my final year in the university and in desperate need of a ‘hustle’ to keep my palms wet and give me some financial muscle. I mean, I was just dumped by my ex — a classmate, for being too broke and ‘incapable’.

Two years earlier, I got a job in a primary school within the environs of my university as a class teacher. It seemed prestigious at the time. Even better was the amiable relationship I shared with the school’s founder, a factor that was to prove helpful in my then present pursuit of an earning opportunity.

This school was now in need of extra ways to make money. So, they reckoned they could use their classes after school hours to coach outsiders intending to write GCE exams in November of that year. I immediately offered myself as a ‘proven’ teacher of Biology to senior secondary students. Oh, how greatly I touted my skills! — despite having no practical experience in tutoring this subject. I only banked on my natural interest in the subject coupled with a decent performance I scored in my secondary school examination several years prior.

A few months later, I was teaching every other core science subject within the same class.

As a tutor, your influence or selling point is in the pass-rate of your students in previous examinations. Simply put, you are brought in to solve a problem: reduce a student’s likelihood of failure. So, you may need to mouth, hype and venerate your ‘teaching methods’ as being the only chance of any student’s success at an exam.

You need to:

  1. Identify a subject area you have higher-than-average-knowledge in
  2. Seek the tutor opportunity by approaching tutorial centres, schools, churches/mosques, friends, family, requests by strangers on social media
  3. Have a rate — an indication of how much you charge and your operational days (e.g. N10,000 a month for Tuesdays and Thursdays only)

If you have a little money to spare for promotion:

4. Join private tutor networks such as special websites that help promote your profile. They charge you a one-time membership fee (like N5000) and connect you with parents/students who need tutors.

Top subjects people require tutors for are: Mathematics, Core Sciences (Physics, Chemistry, Biology), local and foreign languages, Social sciences like Economics, Government.

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