Business OverviewIf you like kids of all ages, you can communicate concepts and ideas, and you've got a good grounding in at least one subject, you can be a home tutor. This is a field with room for growth: The U.S. National Center for Education Statistics estimates that by 2008, more than 70 million young people (kindergarten through college) will be enrolled in public and private schools. As a home tutor, you'll work with your pupils on a one-on-one basis to bring them up to speed and even beyond. You can specialize in teaching younger kids elementary reading and math skills, coach high school and college kids on subjects from Spanish to algebra to English, or spur your pupils to succeed on SAT or MCAT (medical school entrance) exams. The advantages to this business are that you can work from home, you can start part time and on a shoestring, and you get the satisfaction of helping kids grasp the concepts you're teaching and shine--in your eyes, their parents' and their own. While experience as a professional teacher is a plus, it's not a necessity. What you will need is a good basic understanding of the subject or subjects you'll be tutoring plus the innate teaching talents to communicate ideas and concepts clearly and effectively. You should have enthusiasm for your subjects and your students.
The MarketYour clients can be grade-school kids or college seniors or anybody in between who needs help turning textbook trauma into school success, but the biggest demand these days seems to be in the high-school-and-up range. If you're targeting the younger set or high school kids, introduce yourself to school staffs and leave brochures or fliers, place ads in local papers and Yellow Pages, and post fliers at kid-oriented spots like dance or karate schools, public libraries and community centers. For college students, post fliers on bulletin boards, distribute them to frat and sorority houses, and place ads in college publications. You can also introduce yourself or send brochures to professors of the subjects you specialize in.
Needed EquipmentIn most states, you don't need licensing or certification, so getting up and running is quick and easy, but if you're a present or former teacher, you've got a plus as far as credibility. Be sure to check before you embark on your business. Your students will bring their own textbooks, but you may want to offer a selection of reference materials or teaching aids.