Money. So easy to spend, yet so hard to make. I learned this lesson the hard way from my parents who constantly emphasized that “money didn’t grow on trees.” Every allowance made from cleaning dishes and babysitting didn’t go toward Malibu Barbie or the red patent leather Mary Jane’s I’d always wanted, but was fed directly to my pink, plastic piggy. This was why when I was a senior in high school and prom time came around, it was no surprise that my parents wanted me to either pay my own way or go the Molly Ringwald way from ‘Pretty in Pink.’
Luckily, I had attended an SAT preparatory academy during high school to study for the SAT’s and had done well enough to get asked to teach there during the summers while I was in college. And that marked the beginning of my decade-plus long career as an SAT instructor. While I’ve had numerous jobs from being a barista to taking sushi delivery orders, no other job has given me the opportunity to pay my way through school and to gain financial independence from my parents.
From then on, I’ve always been fortunate enough to help a steady stream of students through word-of-mouth (thanks to all the tiger moms!) and this financial freedom has allowed me to take certain risks, ones that I would never have been able to do without these teaching gigs. For example, I had worked in publishing for some time and was seriously considering a career change, but without having a severance to fall back on, there was no way that I could’ve taken the leap without having tutoring’s safety net catch me.
Lesson 1: Get Everything in Writing
Whether you’re acting as a freelance tutor or working for a private institution, make sure all the terms, including number of hours worked, hourly rate, cancellation policy, etc., have all been discussed, negotiated, and on paper. [Read more…]