All tutors have areas of expertise. Some may be working in a specialized niche, like teaching the LSAT or the cello, while others may think of themselves as generalists, covering all sections of the ACT and SAT—but no matter your domain, your knowledge probably has its limits. No tutor can be an expert in every subject, and when your client asks for a lesson in an area outside your range, it’s best to refer them to another tutor who knows the material.
Building a group of like-minded tutors with different kinds of knowledge will help you grow and maintain your business in a stable and sustainable way. Think of yourself as a member of the Justice League, in which each tutor in your group has unique subject expertise, and can refer clients based on their changing learning needs.
Perhaps your Calculus student is having trouble with her AP US History paper, or your ESL student needs a refresher in trigonometry. Now you have a trusted group of colleagues who can step in to help, and when they have a student who needs a boost in your subject, your colleagues know who to call.
But how do you build a group of like-minded tutors, and what qualities should you look for in these new colleagues?
- Make sure they already have some business. This arrangement needs to be symbiotic, so each tutor must already have a few clients of their own. Everybody’s got to have “skin in the game.”
- Find someone with similar, or (ideally) even more experience than you. If you’re a graduate teaching assistant, reach out to other TAs in complementary, non-competitive subjects. TAs know the life of a TA, and you know when, where, and how to find them. This principle applies to teachers, coders, musicians, etc.
- Connect with people you trust. Get to know your partners before sending a client their way. Have a chat about teaching methods, check out their reviews and references. Remember that quality lessons = your business's reputation, so make sure your group-mates are up to snuff.
- Find tutors who are as patient and ambitious as you are, and who have availability in their schedules. You may find another tutor who seems like a total rock star, but if she has no extra time to teach, and has to rush through lessons with your client, the relationship won’t work.
Book&Table is here to help you find your colleagues. We’re connecting tutors across the country in subjects as diverse as MCAT prep to early childhood literacy. Check out one of our upcoming events in Boston, NYC, Philadelphia, or Washington DC to meet other tutors in your area, or visit our Facebook and Twitter pages to find like-minded tutors online.