Rachel Cohen is a full-time project management consultant, but she has a lucrative side gig that’s helping boost her savings for the future. She works as an ACT/SAT tutor and makes between $500 and $2,500 a month — but she only works a few hours a week.
Below, find out how Rachel launched this awesome side hustle and what it takes to be a tutor.
Finding a side job
Rachel tutored informally in high school and college, helping friends and family members with their schoolwork. When she moved to New York to start her career, she started researching side hustles that would fit her schedule and help her manage the high cost of living in such an expensive city.
With her experience tutoring and her own know-how — Rachel graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and had high standardized test scores herself — she found a number of tutoring opportunities right away. Best of all, offering tutoring services does not have any startup costs.
Managing her work and side hustle
On top of her full-time job, Rachel juggles several tutoring clients.
“I’ll have anywhere from three to 10 [clients] at a time,” says Rachel. “I meet with them once or twice a week, depending on their needs. I’ll meet them at their homes or at the library and I tutor all levels, from elementary school through high school. But the bulk of my business is in preparing students for the ACT or SAT.”
In her tutoring sessions, Rachel will assign students practice problems, identify areas of weakness, and work on overall academic performance. She’ll also help them with test-taking strategies to maximize their chances of doing well on standardized tests.
“I mostly work with individual students; that’s 99 percent of my business,” says Rachel. “But I do occasionally work with small groups on request.”
With video conferencing becoming much more accessible, Rachel isn’t limited by geography.
“I mainly do in-person tutoring, but I also do some sessions over Skype. I have some clients outside of New York who find me online. Others are in New York but are too busy or too far outside of the subway route to meet. It’s just more convenient for them,” says Rachel.
Earning a second income
Rachel’s income varies depending on the time of year, but she estimates that she makes $1,000 a month on average.
“Depending on the season, I’ll make between $500 and $2,500 a month. Right now, this time of year is very busy with students preparing for entrance exams and the SAT/ACT tests. Private schools typically hold their exams this time of year, too,” says Rachel.
But she estimates that she spends just five to 10 hours a week on her side hustle. That means she makes a high hourly wage with her side gig, which gives her more freedom.
Rachel is using the extra money to plan for the future. “I’m saving for my future children’s education,” she explains. “I don’t have kids yet, but I read somewhere that if I had children, their college educations would cost over $90,000 a year, so I’m planning now for my one-day family.”
Getting work as a tutor
If you’re interested in becoming an academic tutor like Rachel, she recommends digging up your old test scores.
“If you want to be a tutor, high standardized test scores are a must. Either find your old tests or retake the SAT or ACT again. Getting a good score is essential for marketing yourself to clients,” says Rachel.
Rachel has met many tutors who take the tests yearly to keep up with the newest problems and trends. And because the tests can change dramatically — for example, the new SAT is based on a 1600 scale, while the old one was 2400 — it’s important for tutors to stay ahead of developments.
For those who can do well on standardized tests and work with students, tutoring can be very lucrative. You can decide to work through an agency, who will screen you, train you, and help connect you with clients.
Alternatively, you can opt to work for yourself and find your own clients. While this approach requires more effort, you can set your own schedule and take 100 percent of the profits.
“Through my work, I’ve met a lot of people, especially in New York, who make a lot of money. It can be a full-time job, and some earn well into the six-figures,” says Rachel.
Side gigs can smooth out your finances
Getting a side gig can help you earn more money and meet your financial goals. Since you can only cut your budget so much, bringing in additional income can help you pay down debt, boost your savings, or plan for the future like Rachel.
For more ideas on side hustles, learn about five side gigs you can start tomorrow.
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