If you're looking to build up a nest egg more quickly, or simply to work toward spending less than you earn, you'll need to spend less money, make more money, or both. Welcome to the cold, hard mathematics of personal finance.
For people who got (maybe) two or three B+'s mixed in with their A's in high school, tutoring is a skill for which there's demand.
Hordes of eager potential students
The trick with starting a tutoring side business — or any business, for that matter — is figuring out how to tap into that demand. Then, once you've located a few clients, it's a matter of continuing to find more until you have as many as you want, at a price you're willing to accept.
Wyzant.com is a website that makes tapping into the marking of people looking for tutors as easy as (a) signing up for a free account, (b) fill in what you tutor and where you live, and (c) jumping through a few easy hoops to show a modicum of competence in what you say you're able to tutor.
After that's done, the emails start flowing. You'll get notifications of potential tutoring jobs within a travel radius you specify. You'll get emails with contact from potential students.
It's that easy to tap into the market.
But it'll cost you!
Of course there's a catch, right? There's always a catch — or a side effect, or a tradeoff.
In this case, the catch is that Wyzant slices off a percentage of your hourly fee for each hour that you tutor. The fee starts at 40%, and goes down as you log more hours through Wyzant.
This is the price for easy access to the tutoring market.
How long do you need Wyzant?
If you're looking for tutoring jobs, Wyzant will give you a steady stream of opportunities, no question about it.
I've dome a little over 50 hours of tutoring through Wyzant. Aside from responding to emails promptly and doing the work, it's pretty smooth. (Except for the rogue edge case, which wasn't Wyzant's fault.) And Wyzant does take steps to increase business for tutors. They offer discount packages for people who want to purchase blocks of tutoring time, and the discount comes out of Wyzant's cut, not the tutor's.
But with each new job, there's a question to ask: “How much longer should I use Wyzant?”
For me, the answer would be sooner rather than later — which is why I recommended to start with Wyzant! — but for some, they're happy tutoring and leaving all of the marketing to Wyzant, and that's fine. Further, as long as I'm doing work with leads that Wyzant hands me, I'm showing my acceptance of their terms, and willingly bearing the costs of tutoring through them.
But, a good tutor is a good tutor regardless of how they find their clients, and a good tutor with their own client list can price their services more competitively, or just make more money per hour. This doesn't happen overnight, and it is more work than just bringing a bucket to the Wyzant lead machine.
Wyzant is a great place to start getting tutoring gigs. It's also a great idea to consider when it make sense to market your services on your own.