A few months ago I was having a discussion with one of my dad’s friends and it went something like:
Him: “So I hear you’re staying pretty busy, what are you up to now?”
Me: “Yeah, well I started working full time as a data analyst at an insurance company and I’m also finishing up my Master’s this year.”
Him: “Wow, good to hear! What’s your degree in?”
Me: “Applied Statistics”
Him: “Woah…man I remember taking stats in college. I absolutely hated it. And everyone I knew hated it too. That’s awesome, you must be a “numbers man”! I bet people ask you to help them all the time with stats.”
Me: “Um, not really actually.”
Him: “Really? I bet there’s tons of people out there looking for stats tutors. You should look into that, you could probably make some extra cash.”
The Light Bulb Moment
Thus an idea began to plant itself in my mind…yeah, I bet there are tons of tutoring opportunities for stats classes. I didn’t know where to begin, so I went to the first place that made sense: my college campus. I met with the woman in charge of the Student Tutoring Services Center and asked about their tutoring program. She explained to me that they almost always had a shortage of math and statistics tutors and that they’d be happy to pay me $10.50 an hour to come work with them a few days each week.
As much as I enjoy stats, getting paid $10.50 an hour didn’t exactly excite me. So I began to look for other options. I turned to the greatest underground exchange center of goods and services known to man: Craigslist.
I posted a simple ad under the ‘Lessons and Tutoring’ category for my local city explaining I was offering tutoring services:
This was my first time ever posting an ad on Craigslist so I had no idea what to expect. Within one week of posting I had three people reach out to me via email asking for help and how much I charge.
Wow. There really was a demand for this.
I quickly did some research to find the average price range for tutoring services and found prices anywhere from $15-60+ per hour. I told each of the three people who emailed me that I charge $25 per hour and they all were fine with that price.
I later found out I was not charging nearly enough for my time. I have read online before that when you first start out offering a service and you’re unaware of the market for this service that you almost always charge a price that is far too low. But the more familiar you become with your niche market, the more accurately you can gauge the supply and demand and determine what price you actually should be charging.
I soon realized there were very few people in my area offering tutoring for statistics. So over the course of the next two months as more people reached out to me through Craigslist I slowly raised my price to $40 per hour. And very rarely did anyone think this was an unreasonable amount. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed fair. $40 was a drop in the bucket compared to what these people were paying in tuition for the course.
Expanding My Reach
The regular tutoring sessions with Craigslist clients was going smoothly until one day I had another idea pop into my head:
It’s great that I can meet with people in person, get paid handsomely to tutor in a subject I enjoy, and actually help people. But what about all the other tens of thousands of people out there undoubtedly looking for statistics tutoring? Is there a way that I can reach them too?
It turns out the answer was a resounding yes. But Craigslist was not the tool to use. It was Facebook. Here’s how I found virtually an unlimited amount of people looking for statistics tutoring via Facebook:
I logged in to Facebook, typed in ‘statistics tutor’ or ‘stats tutor’ in the search bar and filtered the searches to the ‘Latest’ posts:
The best part about this is that you don’t even have to be friends with these people to see these posts. This is why Facebook is one of the most convenient places to find people looking for a particular service. On Craigslist you offer services to others and wait for responses, while Facebook brings your target audience straight to you.
Next, I simply messaged anyone who posted a status related to statistics tutoring. I explained that I could offer online tutoring via Skype or through creating a simple sheet on what formulas to know and explanations to example problems for certain chapters and sending it to them. Only about 1 in 10 people responded, but that was more than enough to fill up my schedule.
I have learned that in the field of tutoring you don’t need many clients to make a decent amount of money because you aren’t offering a one-time sale, but rather a recurring sale each week for several weeks.
$1,000 in 30 Days
Over the last 30 days, from mid-January to now I have regularly met with around three to four people in person each week via Craigslist. I have also been helping around six to seven people each week via Facebook tutoring.
I typically use PayPal as the payment method for people I tutor in person as well as online because it makes it unbelievably simple to track my earnings. Here’s a snapshot of my earnings over the past month:
What Can You Offer?
I’m still early on in my experiences in the online-money-making arena but the fact that I have been able to make a significant amount of money so quickly has really opened my eyes to the market that is available online. Never before in history has it been so easy to connect with people across the country. It’s wildly simple to find someone online looking for a skill or service you can offer. This is why there are more people making a living online through freelancing and working from home selling products and services than ever before.
As I continue to offer online tutoring I want to explore other platforms – maybe Twitter is a good source for finding clients as well. Or maybe Instagram or Pinterest are better. Or there may be some other social platform I’m completely unaware of that would be an even better choice.
I would encourage anyone who has niche knowledge in a subject matter to offer tutoring services both online and in-person. For me, I know statistics really well. But I’m sure there are other subjects out there that people are in dire need of help with. There are also other services in high demand – coding, website making, article writing and editing, etc. Some people are even able to make a living through buying and flipping products on Ebay for huge margins.
There are an endless amount of ways to make money online and never before in history has it been this easy to connect with people looking for your specific product, service, skill, or niche knowledge. What can you offer?
I strongly suggest using free financial tools like Personal Capital to track your net worth, spending habits, and cash flow to help keep an eye on your money. The more you track your finances, the better you get at growing your wealth!
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
Although the bulk of his net worth is invested in index funds, his favorite place to invest in individual stocks is M1 Finance, a site that allows you to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
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