Tutoring to Get By
If you’re broke, unemployed, or just want some extra bones in your pocket to buy that really nice pair of $200 jeans or, hell, maybe the jet ski you’ve always dreamed of having, tutoring is a great way to make money on the side. You just have to be good at something. Anything—a language, playing an instrument, painting, math, a standardized test, using a computer, etc. People will pay upwards of $50-100 an hour for a lesson in these subjects, you just have to get your name out there and build a clientele base.
Don’t think you’re good at anything? Well, at the very least you can tutor elementary school kids. Help them with their homework, or teach them how to read. And if you have a college education to back you up, you know more about study skills than anyone under 18.
I’ve been supplementing my income with tutoring for about 5 years now. I worked my way through college as an on-campus writing tutor, and now tutor for the SAT, the GRE, writing and reading. How do I remember the SAT? Well, I scored high my senior year and knew I could teach someone how to do it if I brushed up with a test prep book. And if you’re applying for grad school and studying for the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, CSET, etc., you might as well put all that newfound knowledge to use after taking the test. Of course, don’t try tutoring for a test you scored badly on!
I mostly get business through word of mouth. Sometimes I even get paid in cash. Pretty sweet. Although it does get a little weird when I’m tutoring someone twice my age for the GRE. They definitely feel a little awkward, but it’s kind of an ego boost!
There are also some sites to help you get started as a professional tutor. Check out Wyzant and TutorSource. These sites are like a Facebook for tutors. Tutors can set up a profile, with a picture and bio, and parents and potential students can search for you. You set your own rate, and the company takes a cut. The cut is usually 30-40%, which is a lot. But typically the more hours you build up with the company, the less they take out of your paycheck. Either way, you have to start somewhere, and this is a good way to start building clientele.
Another great thing about tutoring is that it’s rewarding. And if you’re thinking about going into teaching, it’s a great way to get your feet wet and test out the waters.
What do you do to make money on the side?top
Michelle Barbeau graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2006 with a B.A. in English and minor in Professional Writing. She is currently in graduate school working toward a Masters in Rhetoric and Writing. Michelle has worked as an editor and writer for four years and teaches Freshman Composition at a local university. She also considers herself an authority in resume writing and acing the GRE, and provides free resume critiques to potential clients. To learn more about Michelle's resume critiques and read more of her insightful career expertise, check out her career advice blog.
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