Small Business Start-Up Idea – Online Tuition

Online tuition allows a person to learn skills or knowledge at a time and place that is suitable for them. They can still benefit from all the positive aspects of personalised one-on-one tuition through instant messaging, voice chat (VoIP) or even online video conferencing. You could also critique their projects or assignments via e-mail. This business would be ideal for a retired teacher looking to earn some extra income.  

Skills needed: You must have tutoring experience in a specialised subject and good communication skills. Basic web publishing skills would be useful so that you can keep your website updated.  

Business environment and set-up cost:  The international potential for this start-up varies depending on the value of your skills in other countries. There is also a language barrier that will prevent you from tutoring to a high standard in many countries. If you already have your own computer, printer, scanner and fax machine then your only other cost will be developing and hosting your website. The overall start-up cost will range from £1,000 to £2,500 (1,500 – 3,000 EUR, 2,500-5,000 AUD/USD).  

Marketing Techniques:  

  • Make your website easy to find via the major search engines by optimising it with keywords
  • Place reciprocal links to your website at places related to learning, such as university and academic websites
  • Use viral marketing to encourage your clients to recommend your service to their friends
  • Ask clients to provide a testimonial that you can put on your website
  • Operate a mailing list to keep clients informed about your services and availability
  • Use OnlineOffice to set up web-site, blog and online shop to promote your business online

Complimentary business ideas: You could sell appropriate advertising space on your website if you generate high traffic levels, or you could become a re-seller of educational products and software.  

Notes: There is a lot of competition in this sector, but there are fewer specialised tutors around. It may be useful if you can provide tuition in a niche subject.  

Online examples & resources:  

  • Tutor.com – A big company specialising in offering online tuition to students
  • Liveperson.com – A method of chatting live to professionals
  • Private Tuition Guide – A useful guide to the do’s and don’ts of private tuition

For previous SME start-up ideas, look through the archive here  

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