Online Tutoring

Matchmaking, Online Tutoring, SAT/ACT, Test Prep

What I Love About Matchmaking


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This story began years ago when I was a Church Youth Director and Youth Basketball Coach.

Part of leading a youth group entails programs such as summer camp. One of my favorite tasks was to put students in cabins with youth leaders.

As a basketball coach, it’s more of a long-term partnership where the players don’t change much, but the dynamics do. At certain points in the game individual players mesh better, perform better or match up better against the competition. It’s a constant chess match that I love.

The reason the examples above are relevant for Online SAT/ACT test prep is because synergy matters.

This part skill, part art form of matching the right tutor and student is guided by profile questions, but ultimately an intuitive process.

There’s never a guarantee when matching two people together similar to online dating. But the chances of student’s being motivated to work harder because they actually like their tutor increase dramatically when done thoughtfully.

Because I don’t do the actual tutoring with students, I experience victory indirectly through the parents, students and tutors. My role is to set them up for success, then support and be a cheerleader along the way.

It’s extremely gratifying to be a part of a successful partnership. It’s the impactful testimonials that drive me.

That’s why I love matchmaking.

Online Tutoring, SAT/ACT, Test Prep

Why Your Company Story Matters


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The About Us Page.

Normally scrolled over, but the “why” behind what you do matters.

Let me explain.

Sales is what separates a hobby from a business, but what makes a customer choose you over the competition can be the story of how you started.

Recently I shared about my (SAT/ACT prep) company to a group of high school parents online. The positive responses from moms who messaged me were about me and my values as a person, not about price or other differentiators.

What that told me is when my story connects to my customers it positively impacts them. If what I value speaks to the heart of an individual it is the deciding factor.

Another business I run, Behind My Brand, believes in the same theory: when people fall in love with your story, they buy your product/service.

The average consumer is way more savvy these days. They want to know the origin of what they’re buying. Clarifying your story can be the difference.

Whenever you hear culture, mission or core values of a company it means alignment – personal with organizational. If there’s no overlap, the best you can expect is a simple transaction.

I want to fall in love with a creator’s story. If I do, I will follow and support them.

I think you want that too.

Story matters.

A lot.

College, Matchmaking, Online Tutoring, Test Prep

The Case Against Test Prep


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Don’t worry. You’re reading this correctly.

This may sound like an asinine post coming from the owner of an online test prep company, but you need to hear the truth.

There are 3 categories of students listed below. Identify which one your son/daughter is (and be honest with yourself!)

Self-motivated: this is the student who pushes himself/herself harder than anyone else can. Give them free resources and they’re on their way. Valedictorians, college-bound athletes, academic scholarship recipients live here. Chances are putting additional pressure on them would cause burnout. A group class initially with some friends might jumpstart the process, but this type of student takes initiative and responsibility for her/her results consistently.

Lazy/Procrastinator: you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t force it to drink. Test prep tutoring includes accountability, but if you choose to tune it out it may be a waste of your time. The tutor doesn’t take the test, the student does. A tutor can give you all the resources and training possible, but at the end of the day it’s the student who does (or doesn’t) do the work and lives with the results. That’s why we put such an emphasis on finding the right tutor match for your son/daughter. If they are motivated because they actually like their tutor, they’ll work harder. If not, save your money.

Everything in between: the two archetypes mentioned above tend to lie on the ends of the spectrum so chances are your son/daughter is somewhere in between. There are enough free resources out there, but the reason why test prep companies exist is the same reason why personal trainers are employed at gyms. Left unsupervised and lacking accountability usually produces poor results for high school students. Also scoring well on the SAT/ACT isn’t purely math and English comprehension, it’s about demystifying the test both by eliminating wrong answers and identifying patterns of questions immediately. The messenger matters as much as the message in this case hence why we hire mostly tutors in their 20’s and 30’s for their relational advantage.

Overall the stigma of hiring a tutor has shifted from being a luxury to a necessity for having an edge in the college admissions process. Investing a couple of thousands of dollars in test prep seems like a lot, but knowing the average 4 year public university costs $40,000 and the average 4 year private university costs $140,000 it’s only 1% – 5% of the amount.

All high school athletes have a coach, so why not hire a private tutor to boost your chances of getting into your dream school? 

Online Tutoring, Test Prep

When Should You Prepare For The SAT/ACT?


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Generally: 3 months in advance.

That’s average, but it’s better to be more prepared than less prepared right?

There’s tons of factors including: hours spent studying per week, self-study vs. online tutoring, time before test date, budget, etc. 

Factoring all that take this into consideration…

The SAT/ACT counts for 25% of your college admission plus scores are accepted on a “curve” for each university. That means the more competitive of a school you are applying for, the scores to be considered will be higher.

Ask any high scoring former student their secret to success: hard work.

If you’re a fast learner you can speed up the pace, but we wouldn’t recommend tutoring with us for less than a month’s period. Of course, ultimately it’s your call, but be warned your expectations need to match your work ethic.

Generic answers aren’t a “one size fits all” approach which is why our focus on matchmaking makes so much sense.

Online tutoring is customized learning so if you want the real answer, let’s hop on the phone and complete a student profile to find the right tutor for you!

Online Tutoring

How Online Dating Grew My Tutoring Business


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Parents are skeptical of online dating because of context (first interaction was in-person).

Parents are skeptical of online tutoring because of context (the tutor meets in-person).

When I first thought about the differentiator for my tutoring company, the first idea that came to mind was: matchmaking.

At my former company whenever there was a refund or complaint almost 100% of the time it was because the student-tutor relationship wasn’t solid.

That’s because larger tutoring companies say they focus on pairing the right tutor for your student, but what they really do is match based on availability.

As a parent, you say Tuesdays at 6 PM works best so whoever comes up in the database with that opening goes to the top of the list. Sales people are quick to take public information such as bios to sell you on the fact they thought this potential pairing through (false).

When I initially used the analogy of online dating with a parent I felt myself cringe (or maybe that was the parent…), but over time I realize it’s a perfect way of describing what we do differently.

As resistant as the average person is to change (tutoring in-person vs. online) it’s important to speak to what’s relevant or trendy for context purposes. Online dating and online tutoring are both Billion dollar industries that cannot be denied.

You may not agree with how technology has changed the two services mentioned above, but you can agree you’ve heard of them before.

Effective marketing is clearly communicating the value they receive in exchange for an investment. I can’t force parents/students to work with us, but I can clearly explain how working with us works.

Matchmaking in online tutoring works with students because they want to like who they are talking to.

Matchmaking in online tutoring works with parents because they want to know who is working with their child and that they don’t hate their tutor.

Chemistry between the tutor and student is the most impactful quality that affects results because a stronger relationship equals more commitment, engagement and motivation moving forward.

Online dating helps us pair the right tutor with your student and that makes for a match made in academic heaven.

Online Tutoring

Marketing To The Generational Preferences Of Online Tutoring


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Imagine a triangle. At one point is you, the company. The remaining two points represent the parent and student.

Any type of business where you’re dealing with students, parents will be involved. The challenge is figuring out messaging.

You can have the same message, but the way you communicate it must be different.

In this case it comes down to: generational preferences.

Online tutoring is accepted by teenagers because it’s their preferred medium of contact. Parents, on the other hand, grew up experiencing tutoring in-person. Context is everything.

Since parents invest in their child’s education, it’s important to “sell” adults on the benefits of online education. Here’s how:

Convenience: technology eliminates the commute. Before, tutors would make house calls, but that limits the talent pool based on your location. Traveling also allows tutors to charge for time spent commuting. Online tutoring makes it convenient for both parties to work remotely.

Laptops “analogy”: if you were being tutored by someone chances are you’d bring your laptop. Tutors tend to use a computer too, so most of the time spent would be looking at each other’s screens. Online tutoring eliminates that. Screen sharing, editing documents together and using annotation tools to illustrate concepts can only be done virtually. Online functionality beats what you can accomplish in-person.

Show & tell: one of the most powerful ways to become a believer is to watch a recorded demo. Once parents see both the tutor and student’s faces with the interactive lessons on the screen, they’re sold. That’s why we offer a free 30 minute video meet and greet to parents and students with their tutor prior to committing to a package. Experience is better than hearing about it.

It’s key to understand what the parent (credibility) and student (tutor’s likability) care about most. When I speak to parents, physical sign-in sheets, demo videos and answering questions turn skeptics into believers. For students, we tend to hire tutors in their 20’s and 30’s for relatability purposes. Let’s face it, students don’t normally want to be tutored, but if we pair teens with tutors they actually like chances of success increase tremendously.

Connecting is meeting people where they are. It’s doubly tricky in this industry, but if you address it correctly you create long-term advocates.

Online Tutoring, Test Prep

Tutoring Is Actually A Relationship Business


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Ok not that type of (romantic) relationship…

A little over a year ago I started working for a test prep company as a faculty manager. Prior to that I’d never worked at an education company so the learning curve was steep for me initially. Fortunately I didn’t have to tutor students (not my role or skill set), instead I managed a team of 30 tutors remotely.

Being immersed in a new industry you learn the lingo quickly, but one thing never clicked for me while I was there: why do we care more about sales than people?

I get it — the difference between a business and a hobby is profit made, but the lifetime worth (loyal customers) and tutor retention make or break your company.

What my former company saw as the “why” was much different than what I believed it was: relationships.

Without great tutors and customers you have no business.

After I decided to leave one motto stuck in my head: if you take care of your people, they will take care of your customers.

That’s why months after starting my own online tutoring company I know I’m in the relationship business.

Truth be told, market research is important, but in a service industry people come first. Being in a relationship-driven business it takes time to grow. That means no overnight contracts, quick sales or cutting corners. Each interaction matters.

Once your sales strategy is determined you stay committed to it and live with the results (pivot over time if needed).

Part of creating and strengthening a working relationship is transparency and vulnerability. Although it sounds risky, it actually attracts the type of person who aligns with your vision.

When it comes to test prep (SAT/ACT) competency is the qualifier (if you don’t know the content, you can’t teach it), but the chemistry between the tutor-student is what determines how successful the results are.

That’s why as a parent previewing the tutor ahead of time makes the biggest difference. It’s why we offer a free 30 minute video meet and greet with student, tutor and parent before committing. We put our money where our mouth is.

What we’re selling isn’t really knowledge…it’s a relationship.