I started tutoring in 2011 while in high school. I’ve tutored at four different small and medium-sized prep centers. I’ve also worked in some of their administrative roles. As a conservative estimate, I’ve worked with 90+ students over the years, of which ~15 were 1-on-1.
While working for prep centers, I had varied and mediocre success. I observed what was working - and what wasn’t, and I already had a few good ideas for SHSAT prep. Unfortunately, managers were always short-sighted- focusing on sales over curriculums. My ideas were a waste, and that was somewhat frustrating.
So, in the summer of 2015, I began finding students on my own. At first, it was people in my neighborhood, and then I advertised on Craigslist. These days all my students are from client references.
After I tutored a few students for the SHSAT, I realized I was onto something. So I started thinking about the future of my little side hustle, and in 2016, I decided I needed to incorporate. From my very first 1-on-1 student, everyone who has completed my program has gone onto a Specialized HS.
My first five students were all involved with some prep center or another. Some had already enrolled at a test prep center and were looking for an extra edge over their peers. Some started working with me after deciding their current prep wasn’t enough. I stay updated on the prep scene by probing friends who work at prep centers. I also ask students and parents about their experiences working with prep centers. I know how they make the sausage, and I’m glad they exist.
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. Whenever I make a big decision, I ask myself what a typical prep center would do, and then I do the opposite. That has been my guiding principle whenever I’ve made a big design decision. From the design of my website, my payment policies, my program, and even my source material. So far it’s been working great. I know what I have is special, and I can’t wait to reflect in another three years.