How I got started:
I started tutoring when I was a sophomore in high school (Spring 2013). My mom introduced me to a neighbor she met while grocery shopping- her son needed a tutor. Later that summer I started working at a local prep center. For the next 3 years, I worked at 4 different tutoring centers while also tutoring 1-on-1 on the side.
Throughout this time the owners of these prep centers would encourage me to brainstorm ideas for their businesses. I designed curriculums and also took on minor administrative roles. I took mental notes of what was working, and what wasn’t. Unfortunately, when it came to implementing my suggestions I would get a lot of push-back. My suggestions fell to deaf ears which was pretty frustrating.
By 2016, I had enough of all the micromanaging. I quit my job at a tutoring center and coasted by on my 1-on-1 gigs for a couple of months. After I quit, a former co-worker also quit and messaged me about his success posting on Craigslist.
The previous year I was tutoring a student for the SHSAT. He got into Stuyvesant with the 2nd highest score possible. I was also tutoring his younger brother, so I advertised myself on Craigslist as an SHSAT tutor. That bit of momentum and some self-confidence helped me close my first 3 leads.
After I tutored a few students for the SHSAT, I realized I was onto something. Students seemed happy to work with me, and their parents were encouraging. So I started thinking about the future of my little side hustle. In 2017, I decided I should incorporate and document the income in-case I ever wanted to bring on an investor.
So far, more than 80% of my students have gone onto a Specialized HS.
As a conservative estimate, I’ve worked with 90+ students over the years, of which ~30 were 1-on-1, and 10+ SHSAT. I have zero formal training in teaching and business management. I borrow some ideas from here and there and put it together in a way that makes sense to me. I don’t create any of my own exams or practice questions. I use workbooks from Amazon. So far it’s been working fairly well.
This year I’m experimenting with a blog about the SHSAT and an online prep program. I’m pretty confident with where this is all going and I can’t wait to reflect in another 3 years.
– Simon, April 2020