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Fresh off the boat

 
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Avibenezra



Joined: 08 Jun 2017
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:52 am    Post subject: Fresh off the boat Reply with quote

Hey guys, just arrived in HK yesterday. My parents left me an apartment here in Tseung Kwan O isso I guess this is the area I'll be looking for opportunities.
Having perviously worked in the mainland( New Oriental school) for a decade, I have become pretty proficient in teaching IELTS,TOEFL, SAT and ACT.
Question: Are these tests as popular in HK as they are in the Mainland? How would I go about advertising and promoting myself as a tutor here?
Any other advice that you could give for this newbie will be appreciated.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 658

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, do you have the right to work freely in Hong Kong? Or do you require a visa?
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Avibenezra



Joined: 08 Jun 2017
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2018 1:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi there, thanks for the reply. I am a dual citizen: Australian and a permanent resident in HK.
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Mr. Kalgukshi
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Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Posts: 6503
Location: Need to know basis only.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Postings that exceed 300 words will be deleted and/or threads locked.

This policy applies to all forums on this board

It is more than highly probable that members continuing with overly lengthy postings will receive severe sanctions.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 658

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright, let me try again. I'll split this post into multiple parts to keep them under the word limit. Mods - I'm reposting as I do believe I have some useful information to impart.

First, register yourself as a Sole Proprietorship for tax purposes, it's relatively simple and straightforward.

Here are some points which I've learned from tutoring over several years.

Reputation, reputation, reputation:

Above all, establishing your reputation comes FIRST and that takes time. Running around aimlessly taking on private students without an overall game plan is what leads to many of the problems commonly associated with private work. It's important to know that these problems can be minimised / avoided with good planning and a bit of effort.

Tutoring is a two way street. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to be serious about it yourself. If you treat it too casually, then don't be surprised when issues arise. I've often seen tutors who are regularly late, don't do proper needs assessments, don't put in the effort to put together a lesson plan or bring the appropriate lesson materials, don't provide any feedback / assessment to students and parents etc etc...... and then they complain that their students cancel on them, or that they can't find new students, or they can't attract students at the hourly rate that they want.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 658

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part 2.

Tutors who put in a bit of effort, try to be professional and develop their reputation usually have a better time of it. I make my stance very clear at the beginning, I can pretty much guarantee to significantly improve the student's English but only if the student / parents are willing to be serious about the lessons and commit to them. Do a proper needs assessment and take the time to THINK about each lesson's focus and tailor your plans / materials to each student. Have some kind of roadmap / assessment system (this doesn't need to be overly complicated or computerised) so that you can monitor the student's progress and report it to the student / parents regularly. Have a system in place where lesson payment is collected for the month in advance and tuition fees are forfeit if they don't show up unless you get suitable notice (usually at least 24 hours) AND with a reasonable excuse. If your reputation is good enough you can insist on these points and more.

Having a good setup:

To do well and still maintain a decent work / life balance you need to have a good setup.

1. Have the students come to you (no travelling time)
2. Schedule students back-to-back for maximum efficiency
3. Have a good system for monitoring student progress
4. Have a great resource library on hand
5. Fill up your daily schedule with a wide age range of students
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 658

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part 3.

Building up your student base:

Building up your private student base is a matter of establishing your reputation and networking. Be professional and friendly and you will naturally have some people come to you for lessons. Some teachers let it be known that they are available for private classes purely via word-of-mouth while some are more active about advertising their services. Depending on how aggressively you want to build your student base, you can either advertise online, distribute leaflets, talk to people or generally let it be known that you are willing to tutor students privately.

I've found that targeted ads can be very effective in initially building up your student base. Think carefully about the layout and content of your ads. Highlight your experience, qualifications, any special programs you can offer etc etc. Make sure to include some pricing information as well. If you don't want to specify your full price range, just say hourly lessons from XXX. You might also want to think about where to post these ads. I'm continually surprised at how many bad ads there are for tutors. Once you have achieved a 'critical mass' of students then word-of-mouth referrals will take over as your main source of new students.
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 658

PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part 4.

Offer something more than general English classes:

Also importantly, try to put together a program and offer something 'targeted' - rather than just offering general 'oral English' classes. Find out what's popular / trending in your local area and try to cater to that demand. IELTS / Cambridge YLE / Phonics / Business English or whatever it might be. If you can find and establish yourself in a niche field then you can do very well.
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Kowloon



Joined: 11 Jan 2016
Posts: 133

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part 5

Sell the flat in TKO, move to SE Asia and live off the money! Very Happy
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 658

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kowloon wrote:
Part 5

Sell the flat in TKO, move to SE Asia and live off the money! Very Happy


+1! OP, please come back and update this thread with what happened when you have time.
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currentaffairs



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Posts: 825

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2018 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some great info, Jmbf. Appreciate the time you took to post all that and it is really applicable anywhere. I will probably pm you next year when I enter the realm of tutoring..!
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Jmbf



Joined: 29 Jun 2014
Posts: 658

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

currentaffairs wrote:
Some great info, Jmbf. Appreciate the time you took to post all that and it is really applicable anywhere. I will probably pm you next year when I enter the realm of tutoring..!


You're welcome!

While tutoring is a very diverse field, there tends to be a lot of focus on the bad stuff, on the low end. And from that a lot of people tend to paint the entire tutoring industry with the same brush. I'm just trying to shed a bit of light on what's possible if you do it well and how to get to that point.
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