10 Time-Tested Tips for Finding Students for Private Lessons

Now that you know that you can make some extra money by offering private lessons, you are probably interested in learning the different ways to find students. There are money making ideas, and then there are the marketing techniques that go with them, that will actually help you make money from the ideas! In order to make some money by offering private lessons you first need to find students that are interested in paying for the lessons. The following 10 tips are methods that have worked in the past, and, if you do them right, you too will have students lining up to pay you for the opportunity to learn from you.

#1 Word of Mouth

Never underestimate the power of word of mouth, especially in the digital age with so many people using chat services, blogs, social networking and email. If you want to get students you should ask your friends and family if they know anyone who could use lessons in______ (place your skill here). If they don’t know anyone, ask them to spread the word around that you are offering lessons in_____ and that you are looking for students. Once you get students, your students can help spread the word and get you even more students. Word of mouth works. And that’s the reason it has been the primary marketing technique used since thousands of years.

#2 Tear-Off Tab Ads

Money Making Ideas: Finding Students for Private LessonsPhoto Credit:Adam Crowe

The tear-off tab ad is clichéd, but it works. Every time someone takes a trip to the grocery store, they crane their heads to take a look at the community bulletin board as they walk into or out of the store. Ads can also be placed in Laundromats, gas stations, day care centers, libraries, student community centers, cafeteria etc. Create a simple, to the point ad that tells people what you’re teaching, how much it costs, and how they can reach you. Don’t expect them to remember it for long. Help them by adding tear-off tabs at the bottom of the sheet with your phone number (or email address), so they can grab one and take it with them. At some point when they rummage through their purse or pant pockets, they may come across it, and it will serve as an automatic reminder of your ad and your services.

#3 Online Ads

If you think the power of word of mouth is awesome, just wait until you see the power of the online advertisement. With online ads you can post information about your private classes wherever prospective students gather. If you are teaching piano lessons, you can join an affiliate network like Google Adwords and get your ad posted on sites that sell musical instruments, sheet music, piano benches, or offer instrument tuning etc – just make sure that you geo-target the ad for your location. Or, if you are offering educational tutoring, you can place ads on Facebook which will post your ads to homepages of appropriate members. These ad campaigns require you to pay though. An alternate approach may be to start a blog or site with relevant content and try and get it to show up organically at the top of the search results. This approach will take some time, but if you choose your keywords wisely (again, make sure it is targeted to your location – ex: “Piano Lessons San Jose” vs. just plain “Piano Lessons”) this could pay huge dividends in the future.


Related posts: 

5 Lessons YOU Need to Learn To Become the Best Tutor Ever

How to become an online tutor

Teaching Excellence: 10 Qualities of a Great Tutor

Offering Private Lessons: Work as an Independent Tutor or With a Tutoring Company?

Offering Private Lessons: A Guaranteed Way to Make Money from Your Passion


#4 Magazine/Newsletter Ads

If you think that what you have to offer your students deserves better than the grocery store bulletin board then you should pay to place an ad in a local magazine or newsletter. You could also place ads on specialty magazine like Highlights, Cat Fancy, Baby Magazine, or even big named magazines like Parenting Magazine, Home & Garden, The New Yorker, etc…Be aware that placing an ad in a popular magazine is an upfront cost that may not actually pay you back. There are risks involved in this kind of advertising. You may find far better ROI, if you focus on community newsletters or online newsletters sent out by websites in your niche.

#5 Bulletin Boards at Schools

If your money making idea is to tutor kids in various subjects you can offer your services through a school bulletin board. Whether you’re attending the school, working as a teacher’s aide, or volunteering there for Latch Key, you can take advantage of your relationships with the staff and post informational fliers on the school bulletin board, or even in the school newsletter.

#6 Classmates

One reason why offering private lessons is such a great money making idea is because most people who tutor are students who know other students who need tutoring. Win-win. If you have classmates who are struggling in an academic area, offering them your services, but be sure to let them know that they have to pay for them. Too many classmates like to take advantage of their friends because, well, they’re friends. Require payment upfront, and treat the sessions like an actual business.

#7 The Community Center

Joining a community center is a great way to meet people in need of private lessons. Community centers are where people of all ages, ethnicities, needs, and nationalities meet to have fun or join in a community sponsored event. You can use word of mouth or you can post fliers on community center bulletin boards. You can even offer tutoring at the community center for a fee.

#8 Tutoring Groups

Much like the famed fictional Babysitters Club, you can join a Tutoring Club that offers people private lessons for a flat rate, or an hourly rate based on the depth of the educational need.

#9 Tutoring Companies

Tutoring companies like Sylvan Learning Centers and Kumon offer children beginner and advanced tutoring for courses, exams, and state or certification tests. If you want to offer private lessons as a money making idea, going the way of the tutoring company is a great way to pick up a few initial students. You can then use word of mouth to get students outside of the learning center.

#10 Lamppost Posters

The final idea is to plaster posters and fliers throughout your neighborhood. Telephone poles, trees at the park, benches at the bus station, windows at the gas station (ask prior to doing this), and even putting signs on lawns on along roadsides (like those political ads boasting of one politician or another).

The above 10 ideas for finding students for your tutoring business are just a few of the ideas out there. You can certainly think of other ways to get your name out there and find students to pay you for your time and knowledge.

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