How to Make Money as an Online Tutor

By Ibrahim Okunade


Side Hustles

Ibrahim Okunade

Ibrahim Okunade

Writer & Career Coach

In an increasingly digital age, we’ve found better, more convenient ways to get things done. From working remotely to shopping for groceries, the internet has revolutionized various aspects of our lives. One such significant transformation has occurred in education through online learning and tutoring. With the rise of e-learning platforms and virtual classrooms, the opportunity to make money as an online tutor has never been more accessible.

How to Start Tutoring

The allure of online tutoring beckons with its promise of flexibility, reach, and the satisfaction of sharing knowledge with eager learners. However, like any endeavor, starting online tutoring requires careful planning and execution. If you don’t know how to start tutoring online, here’s a step-by-step guide to help you.

Identify Your Niche

Before considering any other thing, it is important to identify your niche. By identifying the niche that best suits you, you will be able to deliver precise tutoring services. Your niche doesn’t only define what you’ll teach but also who you’ll teach and how you’ll position yourself in the online tutoring market. When identifying your niche, there are some specific factors to consider. Let’s check them out.

Subject You’re Proficient In

Choose a subject in which you have a strong command and deep understanding. Your proficiency in the subject will be the cornerstone of your credibility as an online tutor. Consider your educational background, work experience, and personal interests. It’s essential to have the expertise to answer questions and provide comprehensive explanations to your students.

Beyond proficiency, your passion and interest in the subject are equally important. Teaching becomes much more engaging when you genuinely enjoy and care about the material. Your enthusiasm will resonate with your students and make the learning experience more enjoyable.

It is also important to evaluate the demand for the subject you’re considering. Are there students actively seeking tutoring in this area? Research online forums, social media groups, and online tutoring platforms to gauge interest. A healthy demand indicates that there’s a market for your niche.

Age Groups You Prefer

Once the subjects in which you hold expertise have been defined, the next essential step involves choosing the age group you feel most drawn to tutor. This choice bears significant weight, as it will profoundly shape the manner in which you teach, communicate, and curate your instructional materials. In making this decision, consider the following aspects:

  • Understanding Their World: Each age group inhabits a distinct cognitive and emotional space. Catering to these differences is pivotal for fostering effective learning. For younger learners, interactive and visually engaging materials might be indispensable. In contrast, older students might thrive on analytical discussions and advanced content.
  • Adapted Teaching Methods: The teaching methodologies that resonate with one age group might not be as effective for another. Crafting lessons that align with the learning styles of your chosen age group can foster a deeper understanding of the subject matter.
  • Communication Nuances: Communication style varies greatly across different age brackets. Younger students might require simplified explanations, while older ones might engage in more intricate discussions. Adjusting your language and approach can significantly enhance comprehension.
  • Personal Affinity: Your own comfort and passion for working with a particular age group play a vital role. Your enthusiasm will be palpable and infectious, creating a positive and dynamic learning environment.

Specialized Tutoring

When identifying your niche, it’s essential to consider prospective students who require specialized tutoring. For instance, imagine a scenario where you’re proficient in mathematics. Rather than offering generic math tutoring, you could narrow your focus to students preparing for standardized tests like the SAT or ACT. By honing in on a specific subgroup, such as high school students seeking to excel in these exams, you’re positioning yourself as a specialized tutor.

In addition, you may specialize in tutoring individuals with special needs. This particular niche requires a unique skill set, empathy, and a profound commitment to fostering inclusive and effective learning experiences. Tutoring individuals with special needs demands a patient and adaptive approach. Whether it’s students with learning disabilities, attention disorders, or developmental challenges, your role as a tutor can be transformative.

Join Online Tutoring Platforms

With your ideal niche sorted, you can now proceed to join an online tutoring platform to start your tutoring side hustle. These platforms offer an excellent way to connect with students, manage bookings, and establish your presence in the online education landscape. Joining online tutoring platforms presents a range of advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of Online Tutoring Platforms

  • Ready-Made Audience: On the positive side, these platforms grant access to a ready-made audience actively seeking tutoring services.
  • Convenience: Scheduling becomes simpler with many platforms offering tools that enable students to book sessions at times that suit both parties. Moreover, these platforms handle payment processing, eliminating the complexities of managing financial transactions and ensuring tutors receive their rightful compensation.
  • Enhances Tutor’s Credibility: The association with a well-established platform can significantly enhance a tutor’s credibility. This is particularly beneficial for tutors who are starting their online teaching journey and are looking to gain the trust of potential students.
  • Global Reach: Global reach is another advantage, as these platforms enable tutors to connect with students from diverse geographical locations. The potential for international students can be a major boost to one’s tutoring business, expanding the reach beyond local boundaries.

Cons of Online Tutoring Platforms

  • Platform Fees: A significant drawback is the platform fees that are commonly associated. These fees can cut into a tutor’s earnings, potentially impacting the financial aspect of their tutoring business.
  • Highly Competitive: The competitive landscape is another consideration. Due to the popularity of these platforms, there tends to be a substantial number of tutors offering similar services. This competition can make it challenging for individual tutors to stand out and attract students.
  • Limited Control: Furthermore, the degree of control over the teaching environment might be limited on these platforms. Tutors might have to adhere to the platform’s rules and regulations, which could affect their teaching methods and strategies. The dependency on the platform for business success is a factor to consider. Platform policies, algorithm changes, or shifts in user behavior could impact a tutor’s visibility and success on the platform.

Best Tutoring Websites

With numerous options available, finding the right tutoring website to suit your needs requires thoughtful consideration. To make the process easier, we’ve assessed some of the best tutoring websites you should consider, noting their peculiarities and earning potential.

  • Wyzant: Founded in 2005, Wyzant is an online tutoring marketplace that connects students with tutors in a variety of subjects and locations. Tutors on Wyzant set their own rates and hours. Tutor rates are typically between $25 and $100 per hour. They can also choose to offer online tutoring or in-person tutoring. Wyzant takes a 25% commission from tutors’ earnings.
  • VIPKid: If you’re interested in teaching English, VIPKid could be the ideal platform for you. VIPKid is an online tutoring platform that connects English language tutors to students who need their services. Tutors on this platform are required to have a bachelor’s degree. All classes on VIPKid one-on-one. The base pay rate for tutors ranges between $7-9 per class. It’s important to note that classes are 25 minutes each. Thus, you can earn the equivalent of $14-18 per hour, including incentives.
  • A service of the Princeton Review, provides a platform for tutors to help learners of all ages and stages. The platform is quite popular among students. This means if you scale through the vetting process, you will most likely begin to earn soon. allows tutors to create a flexible schedule that fits their needs. The platform has extensive criteria for prospective tutors, including a 4-year degree (or higher) from an accredited university. Payment for tutors on the platform ranges between $25 to $32 per hour.
  • Skooli: Skooli is a prominent online tutoring platform that connects students with qualified educators for personalized one-on-one learning experiences. Skooli seeks professional teachers and subject-area experts to join its ranks as tutors. The platform places value on qualifications such as bachelor’s degrees in related fields, government-issued teaching licenses, or specialized instructor certifications. Tutors have the freedom to set their own schedules. They can accept sessions that align with their availability and teaching preferences, enhancing their work-life balance. On average, tutors on Skooli earn $19.40 per hour.
  • TutorMe: TutorMe provides a user-friendly environment that empowers tutors with technology and removes administrative tasks, enabling them to focus on fostering student growth and success. TutorMe believes in the importance of human connections in education. The platform takes care of behind-the-scenes scheduling and administrative tasks, allowing tutors to concentrate on their core role of helping students learn and excel. All tutors are paid $16 per hour for time spent in a session with students.

Apart from the tutoring platforms listed above, some other platforms where you can start your tutoring side hustle include:

Set Up Your Online Tutoring Business

If you don’t want to share your profit with the popular tutoring platforms mentioned above, there is an alternative – you can start your own online tutoring business.

How to Start a Tutoring Business

To start a tutoring business you will need to create a solid business plan, complete legal formalities, and build a strong online presence to establish your professional credibility. By defining your specialized subjects, researching market demand, and setting competitive pricing, you can position yourself effectively.

Setting Up Your Virtual Classroom

Creating an effective virtual classroom is crucial for delivering engaging and interactive lessons. Here are key steps to consider:

  • Technology Check: Ensure your computer, webcam, microphone, and internet connection are reliable and of good quality.
  • Virtual Platform: If needed, choose a suitable platform for conducting lessons. Popular choices include Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet.
  • Materials and Resources: Gather teaching materials, presentations, and resources you’ll need during sessions. Prepare interactive slides, worksheets, and any visual aids.
  • Interactive Tools: Familiarize yourself with the interactive tools available on your chosen platform. Virtual whiteboards, screen sharing, and annotation tools can enhance the learning experience.
  • Build an Online Presence: Create a website and social media profiles.
  • Marketing Strategy: Promote your services through online and offline channels. Additionally, attract clients with introductory free sessions.
Setting Up Your Online Tutoring Business and Addressing Taxes

As you establish your online tutoring venture, it’s important to consider both the operational and financial aspects. Here’s a combined overview of setting up your business and addressing tax considerations:

  • Business Structure: Decide on a legal structure for your business, such as a sole proprietorship, LLC, or corporation. This choice affects your liability and taxation.
  • Business Name and Registration: Choose a professional name for your tutoring business and, if necessary, register it with local authorities.
  • Business Bank Account: Open a separate bank account for your tutoring earnings and expenses. This streamlines financial management.
  • Tax ID Number: Depending on your business structure, you might need to acquire an Employer Identification Number (EIN) or a Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN).
  • Tax Deductions: Track and document business-related expenses, as they can be eligible for tax deductions.
  • Legal Regulations: Familiarize yourself with any local, state, or federal regulations that pertain to your tutoring business.

Key Considerations and Challenges Of Tutoring Side Hustle

A guide on how to start a tutoring business will not be complete without highlighting the potential challenges therein. Tutoring as a side hustle can undoubtedly be a good way to augment your earnings, but it’s important to be mindful of several considerations and potential challenges before embarking on this journey.

Time Management

Balancing your tutoring commitments with your primary job, personal life, and other responsibilities can be demanding. Efficient time management is crucial to ensure you allocate adequate time for both your tutoring sessions and personal activities.

Initial Investment and Earnings Variability

Investing in technology, teaching materials, and a conducive workspace might be necessary to provide quality online tutoring. These upfront costs should be factored into your considerations. In addition, tutoring income can vary from month to month, depending on student demand, holidays, and other factors. Be prepared for fluctuations in your earnings.

Skill Diversification

Tutoring across various subjects or grade levels might necessitate diversifying your skill set. Adapting to different topics can be challenging but rewarding.

Building a Reputation

Establishing yourself as a reliable and effective tutor takes time. Initially, you might need to offer discounted rates or promotions to attract your first clients and build a strong reputation.


The online tutoring market can be competitive, especially for popular subjects. Thus, it is important to find a way to stand out and rise above the competition. You can do this by highlighting your unique teaching approach and value proposition.

Tech Challenges

Technical issues like poor internet connectivity or platform glitches can disrupt your tutoring sessions. Familiarize yourself with troubleshooting methods to minimize such disruptions.

Legal and Tax Considerations

As a side hustle, tutoring might impact your tax situation and legal obligations. Be sure to understand the tax implications and regulations related to running a tutoring business.


On a final note, online tutoring is a side hustle brimming with potential. As the digital landscape continues to expand, the demand for flexible, personalized learning experiences grows. By offering online tutoring services, you get a legal source of passive income while positively impacting the lives of students.

Ready to leap into this enriching journey? Well, there’s no better time than now. Begin by identifying your niche, fine-tuning your teaching approach, and exploring well-regarded online tutoring platforms. It’s your chance to shine and earn. So, to all the aspiring tutors out there, embrace this opportunity knocking at your virtual door.

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Ibrahim Okunade

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