“Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach”, goes the line from George Bernard Shaw’s 1905 stage play Man and Superman. But what if you could do both? What if you could do your side hustle AND teach others how to do it too? A kind of side hustle for your side hustle, if you like. Online tuition may be perfect for you…
What is online tuition?
Online tuition is a form of teaching done over the internet. Traditionally, tutoring is done on a one-to-one basis, but in this article we’ll look at a range of online tuition styles.
eLearning (or electronic learning) is the umbrella term given to all kinds of education done on an electronic device, rather than face-to-face. Online tuition can be delivered in a number of ways, such as live streaming, pre-recorded video, or downloadable resources.
Benefits of offering online tuition
There are a number of benefits to offering online tuition as a service. For example:
- You can set your own hours which gives you freedom to fit online tuition around your main income or homelife.
- If you’re teaching on a more informal subject (ie not for a recognised qualification) you have complete control over the content you teach.
- Use your existing skills and share your real-world knowledge and experience with your students.
- Can be active or passive in terms of delivery. Depending on the method of teaching you choose, your tutoring could be as interactive and real-time or as hands-off, as you want!
Types of online tuition
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to split online tuition into two main types: formal education or more informal learning. We’ll look at both styles in a bit more detail next so you can think about which one would work best for you.
Informal online tuition
If you have an existing side hustle, such as photography or illustration, you could make money from online tuition. Turn your knowledge into money by teaching others. And the best thing is that you don’t need to have a formal teaching qualification.
Formal online tuition
Formal or private tuition is often more structured and delivered with the aim of helping someone achieve accredited qualifications. Primarily taking place on a one-to-one basis between tutor and student, private tuition often covers the following areas:
- Primary or Secondary school age core curriculum subjects
- Exam prep (SATs, GCSEs, A Levels)
- Preparation for independent school admission tests or entrance exams
- Language tuition
- Special Educational Needs (SEN)
- Literacy and numeracy foundation skills
- Home school
Whether you teach formally or informally, there are two main ways to deliver your content: actively or passively.
The level of interaction you want to have with your students is completely up to you. For the purposes of this article, we’re using the term ‘active’ to refer to live teaching. This includes methods such as live streams of lectures, online workshops, one-to-one mentorship and portfolio reviews.
Online classes start at a designated time and are run in a more traditional set up. For example, you as the teacher would deliver your content to the class. You could invite questions at the end of the session, but predominantly you would lead the learning in this case.
Similar to the above, a workshop would take place live. However, there’s more group participation in this method. You would still be expected to run the class, but it’s more about guiding conversation and encouraging discussions around the subject. Workshops are often run alongside structured classes so that participants have a chance to discuss what you taught them.
Just like structured classes, there is some preparation involved in preparing and promoting online workshops:
- Come up with an idea so you know what you want to talk about.
- Structure the workshop so that you can guide the sessions effectively.
- Run through the workshop before you deliver it for real.
- Make sure you understand how the software works so you can use it confidently.
- Promote your workshop online using paid or organic social media adverts.
- Host your online workshop.
One to one mentorship
One-to-one mentorship can be offered as a one-off or on an ongoing basis. Usually this depends on the individual needs of the mentee and the scope of their project. With mentorship especially, you’re selling your expertise. You don’t necessarily have to prepare content for this style of teaching but you do have to provide time, attention, and constructive feedback.
Portfolio reviews are mostly offered in creative industries such as photography or writing. Again, it’s about selling your knowledge and expertise. As well as giving your opinion, you need to be able to suggest ways in which the reviewee can improve their work in order to reach their goal more successfully. As someone who isn’t deeply involved in the work (like the creator), you’re in a good position to comment objectively. Offer an hour long session during which you can discuss the work and provide the participant with actionable results. Remember that your fee should include time for reviewing the work beforehand.
As well as offering online tuition in ‘real-time’, you could also make money from teaching in more passive ways.
Once you’ve created the content, the idea is to market it but not have to worry too much about actively engaging with it. Passive teaching could take the form of pre-recorded video sessions, podcasts, or downloadable resources such as ebooks.
The benefits of passive income
There are many benefits to having a passive source of income. For example, you can earn money regularly without losing too much spare time. This is ideal for a side hustle where your time is limited anyway. In fact, while you’re worrying less about how to make your side hustle pay, you can concentrate on making it bigger, better, or even spend your time on doing something else. Passive income also means less stress for you. You’re pretty much earning while you sleep – what could be more relaxing than that?!
How to deliver online tuition
There are so many ways to deliver online education. For example, you could build your own website, use an existing platform such as Skillshare or Udemy, or via a third party video conferencing tool.
Build a website
Unless you have mad Dev skills, it isn’t easy to build a platform with all of the functionality needed to deliver online lessons. Instead, think of it as a home for your brand and a place to explain everything you have to offer.
To build a website, you need to use a website builder. You’ll probably have heard of Squarespace, Wix, or Shopify. These builders offer all-in-one solutions without requiring you to have any technical skills. Everything you need is all in one place: domains, hosting, templates, etc.
Or you could use WordPress. There are a number of website builders you can choose from to set up your store cheaply, quickly and without needing to have any knowledge of coding. One of the most popular is Shopify.
If you’re starting out with just one class or a downloadable ebook, for example, then you won’t need a full website. Instead, you could create a landing page using Instapage or Unbounce and then scale up in the future if you want to.
Existing online teaching platforms
There are so many dedicated online teaching platforms out there such as Kaltura, Udemy, and Skillshare. They’re also sometimes known as virtual classrooms. They all have pros and cons so do some research to find out which is the best fit for your needs. Alternatively, you could upload teaching videos to YouTube. Find out more about becoming a YouTuber in our article. We’ll look at one of the above examples to see how you could make money using an online teaching platform.
Skillshare is an online learning platform where teachers and creators can devise and deliver video courses. The courses aren’t accredited but cover a range of categories including Design, the Creative Arts, and Entrepreneurship. You could offer a combination of active and passive tuition on a platform like Skillshare. Obviously the main content type on Skillshare is video, but once these have been recorded, you don’t necessarily have to teach live regularly.
Most Skillshare classes are made up of multiple videos, often split into pre-recorded lessons and live workshops. The pre-recorded lessons are usually a few minutes long with a whole class running around 30-40 minutes in total. Skillshare teachers often include a short assignment which lets students “put their new skills into action”.
According to Skillshare, those who teach on the platform “share their experience, wisdom, and trusted tools” with their students. As a teacher on Skillshare, you have full creative control over your course and could make $100,000+ a year. Of course, not every teacher is earning that. There are a number of factors that go towards the amount of money you can make on Skillshare.
The two main Skillshare revenue streams are ‘referrals’ and ‘royalties’. For example, you can get $10 for anyone you refer to Skillshare who then signs up for a Membership. Royalties are based on the overall number of monthly minutes watched in your classes by paying Skillshare members.
According to a thread on Reddit, Skillshare pay is based on the number of minutes people watch your content divided by the total number of minutes watched on the platform by everyone. It’s difficult to know in advance how much you will earn from teaching on Skillshare.
Originally created for video conferencing or for collaboration between remote teams, software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams found a whole new use in 2020. Thanks to the pandemic, schools across the UK were temporarily closed, meaning that learning had to find a virtual classroom. Thousands of teachers successfully delivered online tuition via this software. And now you can too.
Functionality differs depending on the software you use, but you’ll usually have tools such as:
- The ability to mute microphones so that only one person is speaking at a time.
- A chat box so that viewers can type questions and comments instead of speaking and interrupting the class.
- Breakout rooms which let groups break off into mini meetings for group discussions.
- Screen Share so that you can show students what’s on your laptop screen. This is particularly useful during presentations.
Now that you’re teaching like a ‘proper’ teacher, can you earn what they earn? What is the earning potential of being an online tutor?
Earning potential of online tuition
Because online tuition is usually done on a freelance basis, the earning potential is quite varied. It’s worth taking a look at what other people are charging to get a good idea of what potential students will pay. There are a number of factors to take into consideration when thinking about what to charge for your online tuition. For example, with traditional online tutoring, hourly rates can vary depending on things like:
- the subject and level of teaching
- prep time
- how often lessons are offered
- your qualifications and previous experience.
Offline, factors such as location, and travel costs and time would also play a part in determining your fees.
Private tutor salary UK
We looked at a number of career and recruitment sites in order to get an idea of the average hourly rate for online tuition in the UK.
- Prospects.ac.uk: between £30 and £42/hour
- The Tutor Website: between £15 and £45/hour.
- Both Glassdoor (based on 1,402 salaries) and talent.com (561 salaries) found that the average hourly rate of a private tutor was around £18.
Remember that not all online teaching is the same as personal or private tutoring. Therefore, your earning potential will depend on your tutoring style. One-to-one tutoring and live classes will most-likely be worth more than downloadable resources. But remember that they will take more of your time to prepare and deliver. It’s up to you to properly estimate the value of your time and knowledge against what your teaching style is worth.
Other ways of making money online
If you offer online tuition in a specific subject, have you thought about how you could make money from your skills, away from teaching? For example, if you teach a photography class online, how could your pictures make you money? Read our article on how to sell photos online for some great ideas. Or if you want to try something completely different, take a look at matched betting with OddsMonkey. With matched betting, you turn the free bets offered by online bookmakers into real money. For more ways to make money online, check out our main Hub.