I occasionally talk about business ideas; plenty of them, are inexhaustible. The idea is to help you in coming up with business ideas that actually work. When you read these articles you get inspiration to think of possibilities you had never imagined. For others, these articles can serve as confirmations of rough ideas that could have already dawned on you. Ideas need not necessarily be novel or original; nothing really is new under the sun. It is vital to bear that in mind because most people abort potentially lucrative business ventures due to that. In this article, I zone in on a business idea that can rake in lots of money for you right now.
What is tutoring? Tutoring entails teaching another (usually a student, learner, or tutee) interacting either in a one on one scenario or a small group scenario. I mentioned this to show you that tutoring is a broad term that refers to many possible applications. It is not necessarily confined to academic circles where the term is mostly used. What is a course? A course is simply a learning program – that again shows it is a broad term. So, how can you approach tutoring or courses, in general?
You can be a trained and qualified professional in a particular learning discipline. This means you can be a qualified teacher, a lecturer, course facilitator, teaching assistant, research assistant, and so on. These are people equipped with the knowledge and skills to teach something and are qualified to do so. Such people, outside their day jobs, can teach courses or tutor on related subjects. For example, a high school teacher can offer tutoring services in preparing exam classes. The same goes for lecturers, course facilitators and the like.
Then we have thought leaders or industry experts. These can come in many different forms but I will give some examples to paint the picture. Someone can start a successful sausage business. Over time that person gains public confidence and recognition as an industry expert. That person can actually design courses to teach probably aspiring entrepreneurs who want to enter that space. It is also possible that someone can write a book that goes on to become widely accepted; they can become a thought leader in that regard. It could even be someone who passes their Advanced Level, Ordinary Level, or even tertiary program with sterling grades. The mere fact that they passed can make them able to deliver tutoring services to other students. These are just a few examples but the bottom line is the possibilities are plenty.
The overall thing here is that there must be proof of concept. By that I mean there should be a proven track record that one has the knowledge and the skills to tutor or teach courses. Tutoring is usually clear-cut and does not need much in term of formalizing it. You can just tutor and make money without any formalities really. It is significantly different when it comes to courses. Courses will mostly need to be accredited such that your clients get formally certified on completion. I have even noticed that one of the first questions people ask when they see online courses being offered is, “do I get a certificate upon completion?” Accreditation is seldom a stroll in the park and can be quite demanding. However, it is a huge aspect of online courses if they are to carry weight. One way of easily getting accredited is to get the backing of recognized learning institutions.
How Best To Deliver Your Services
This is all obviously online so you have to explore online options. In your considerations, you must be sensitive to the Zimbabwean context. You must consider that many people have low disposable incomes. You must consider that many people struggle to consistently access the internet. One of the impediments is erratic internet connectivity. The other one is the price of purchasing data which is too steep for many. Such considerations must inform on which platforms you must use and how. Niching is also important because who you target also informs on the platforms to use.
The most commonly used platform in Zimbabwe for group meetings is Zoom. There are of course other options such as Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts, Webex, and so on. The other option is having people connect via your own website. These options require one to have a stable internet connection and also adequate data. This can prove to be very limiting as many people struggle with those two elements.
Then we have WhatsApp – a platform I think can be leveraged on immensely. WhatsApp has several features that can be blended to create a solid teaching and learning experience. You have the text messaging, voice notes, audios, documents, images, groups, rooms, and group calls. These can all be used to effectively tutor or deliver courses online. After all, literally everyone who has a smartphone is on WhatsApp. I once enrolled for and successfully completed a Digital Marketing online program that was solely rolled out via WhatsApp. So I know it can be done and you can do the same.
Due to the obvious possible limitations on the part of many prospective clients you must be smart with your pricing. What I have seen to work is to price reasonably low in order to push volumes. This is relatively easy to do because the overheads tend to be low. Imagine tutoring through WhatsApp; your biggest expense would probably be data. So it is wise to not be greedy; low prices to attract and push volumes are strategic. For instance, you can deliver a 4-week or 6-week course for just US$10. That is something within the reach of many people.
I do understand that will not apply to all contexts. There are contexts that involve you outsourcing from other people. For example, all your or some of the modules you are offering will have to be taught by professional(s). That would mean you have to pay them. Such scenarios can force you to charge more in order to cater for the expenses. Probably accreditation could have been costly and you want to recoup initial costs incurred. Whichever the case, you must try to price in such a way that is affordable and can attract volumes.
In closing, I want to emphasise that not every course or tutoring service will thrive. Not every course or tutorial program is highly sought after. You must conduct market research to find out which areas are popping. Some examples of highly sought after areas are Digital Marketing, Data Analytics, Graphic Design, Project Management, O and A Level subjects, practical disciplines (e.g. baking, farming) and so on. There is lots of money to be made; go for it!