How to Start a Tutoring Business: How I Earn $1000/week Tutoring for the ACT

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As someone who was a pretty good student in school, I always thought about starting a tutoring business. But while I never acted on it, Matt Fuentes did.

In this post, he breaks down the steps he took to build a $1000 a week tutoring business. He focuses on the ACT, a US college entrance exam, and has even written a book on the subject, but I believe you can apply these tactics to other tests or other academic subjects.

Take it away, Matt!


The ACT is a college entrance exam used by many colleges to rank students applying to their schools. The subject matter covers English grammar, reading comprehension, math, and science.

Millions of students take the test each year and the test prep business rakes in over a billion dollars a year.

As a Side Hustle Nation reader, I want to show you how to get some some of that money!

Don’t fret if you aren’t a teacher. I will give you resources to gain the skills and they cost $0.

How My Tutoring Business Started

I am no genius; far from it. But I understood a need and decided to work towards being able to fill that need–and put money in my bank account at the same time.

That is what being an ACT tutor did for me. It gave me freedom and options. This post and my book on Amazon give you the knowledge and understanding to start your own ACT tutoring business and begin to earn extra money (money that can change your life).

My plan is easy to follow, and before you know it, you’re almost certain to gain clients and income.

A few years ago, I was struggling to make ends meet and had my first child on the way. Out to dinner one night, I met a couple who tutored and were earning great money, so I decided to try it out myself. I learned all the material, began to hustle, and reached out to everyone I knew!

Within the first month I had my first client, a middle school student I helped with reading comprehension. I made business cards and was handing them out to everyone.

And even though I branded myself as an ACT tutor, I found people calling me for other subjects. I was netting $200 a month already.

Within three months, I gained another six clients and averaged an hourly fee of $90. I had a few weeks where I was tutoring two students at once (a brother and sister) and earning $200 for the hour!

Nick’s Notes: Geez, no family discounts? :)

Within six months, I had raised my monthly tutoring income to over $2,000 and could barely keep up. I even took on a partner to handle the overflow. I was making money from students I wasn’t even tutoring myself!

Today I have a network of clients and referrals that keeps me busy and earning anywhere between $3,000-$4,000 a month.

Let me be clear again: I am no smarter than you or anyone else. I just followed certain steps and worked my tail off.

start a tutoring business today

Why Niche Down Your Tutoring Offering?

A lot of people have asked me: why the ACT? Why narrow your focus on just one test?

There are a few reasons for that:

College entrance exams command the most money per session. Normal charges range from $75-125 per tutoring session.

Nick’s Notes: This makes sense as parents REALLY want their kids to do well so they can get into a great school.

The test won’t go away. I know stories are circulating about colleges accepting student applications without SAT or ACT scores, however the number of colleges doing this is miniscule. The test is here to stay and millions of kids take it.

Over 6.7 million test-takers completed the SAT® or a PSAT-related assessment during the 2015-16 school year, according to the 2016 SAT Suite of Assessments.

Another 2.1 million took the ACT. The clients are out there!

The test is offered year-round. The ACT is offered six times a year. There is really no down time, unlike subject-specific tutors who may only work with a student before tests or on specific topics.

You can have a steady stream of income year round.

Nick’s Notes: Another interesting tutoring opportunity is with VIPkid, a service where you teach English online to students in China. Tutors can earn up to $22 per hour, and the only prerequisites are eligibility to work in the US or Canada, a bachelor’s degree and a year of educational, tutoring, or coaching experience.

After you complete your application, just remember to schedule your video interview. This is the single most important component of the application process. You will be asked to confirm a time for a live video interview with a VIPKID teaching team member. Live interviews must be scheduled and typically will happen within a couple days (sometimes up to a week) from the time a candidate applied.

Become an ACT Tutor Infographic

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Develop the Tutoring Skill Set

I was a decent test taker in high school. My SAT and ACT scores were top 25% within the United States. However, when I started to follow the system below, my scores skyrocketed and I realized I could truly turn my improved test-taking skills into a successful business.

It took time, effort and positive attitude. I knew the resources were out there; all I needed to do was DO THE WORK, and the same is for you.

1. Get to the library. Use the free resources at your local library regarding the ACT.

Nick’s Notes: Don’t like the library? You can grab some test prep material on Amazon as well.

2. Take a practice test. See what areas you need help in and what you already know.

3. Find online resources. There is an abundance of materials on the Internet.

Nick’s Notes: Here’s just one free site to help you improve your ACT scores.

4. Set up a practice schedule. Dedicate time each day to develop the skills.

Pricing Your Tutoring Service

I set my initial prices based on my needs and so should you. (How much do you need to earn to make this extra work worthwhile?)

For instance, $80 is my lowest hourly rate, $120 is my highest. Pricing also depends on the factors below and how selective you choose to be.

  • Location. Can your prospective clients pay high end prices or do you have to cut rates?
  • Demand. How many high schools are in your immediate area?
  • Feel. Are the people you are talking with willing to pay for your service?

As I become busier, my time became worth more and my rate went up. I had also developed a following and could mention previous clients in order to justify higher rates.

If a referred client asked for the same rate as the referrer, I politely mentioned that I had other people ready to pay more and how limited my time was. That little statement about how in-demand my services were jumped my “close rate” to over 90%.

Marketing Your Tutoring Service

You might be wondering how I got my first clients. Here were the most effective marketing tactics I used.

Text and email everyone you know.

Literally everyone. Let them know of the service you are offering.

I have found this the best way to gain clients. Mention that you have started this business and wanted to let them know, even if they may not have the need. They may know someone who does!

Nick’s Notes: In this way, your network is really your network’s network, and that’s where the magic happens. Matt made it easy for people to refer potential clients to him by letting them know exactly what he was doing.

Be polite. I would sometimes say, “I hate to bother you, however wanted to let you know…” or “Hope all is well! Just wanted to drop a line that I recently started tutoring for the ACT, should you know someone feel free to send my number.”

In the hundreds of texts and emails I have sent out, I have NEVER had someone ask me to not talk to them or that they found my message spammy.

Make business cards.

Business cards make you look legitimate, and give you something to leave behind with clients and referral partners.

Nick’s Notes: I usually use VistaPrint for my business cards, but others swear by Moo.

Offer a free seminar.

Call your local library, schools and recreation centers. Plenty of prospective clients want free information, and these places are a great way to deliver it in a one-to-many environment.

I have personally hosted events at coffee shops, libraries and local recreations centers. I specifically say the event will be FREE, however I ask for permission to hand out my business cards at the end of the event.

Nick’s Notes: I call this tactic tapping into Other People’s Audiences, and we covered it in detail on the podcast, where my guest booked $9k worth of work using a very similar plan.

I have gained dozens of clients from these events, netting me thousands of dollars.

Not every event is standing room only, and that’s OK. I’ve had workshops with only 5 people and some with as many as 60.

I never really worry about getting crazy high numbers as EACH person attending is a possible client. Five people can net me 2 clients and over a $1,000 a month.

To advertise, I would create my own flyer and ask the specific host to put in on their website and bulletin boards.

For example, here’s a workshop I did at a local coffeeshop:

Here’s an example of my workshop being advertised in the local library’s newsletter:

Your Turn

Follow these steps and work the plan. I guarantee people will start calling you and asking for tutoring services. In one day you can text and email all of your contacts. In one day you can call all libraries, schools, coffee houses and recreation centers and book at least 1 free seminar.

The plan is simple, but it takes HUSTLE!

Good luck and I hope you start raking in the cash!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at or check out my book on Amazon.


Nick here again. What do you think? Viable side hustle?

Think you can take Matt’s tactics and build a tutoring business?

Again if you don’t want to go through all Matt’s steps to build your own client base, you might consider joining VIPkid, a service that lets you earn up to $22 an hour tutoring English to students in China via videochat.

The only prerequisites are eligibility to work in the US or Canada, a bachelor’s degree and a year of educational, tutoring, or coaching experience.

You might also consider applying with CourseHero, where you can provide online tutoring support to more a network of more than 10 million students. Top CourseHero tutors are earning $500 a week.

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35 thoughts on “How to Start a Tutoring Business: How I Earn $1000/week Tutoring for the ACT”

  1. Clever business, Matt. I love the idea of it being both measurable and repeatable. You’ve got six specific dates for customers/prospects to work toward that lets you plan marketing and content around, plus a simple before/after number to measure results by and highlight as you sell.

    Your point about there being no “off season” is insightful as well. Never thought about it, but you’re absolutely right. Solid bonus for any business model.

    Could have used your help a couple decades ago ;)

  2. Great business idea. I’d say that this is definitely a viable side hustle. I’ve actually considered being an English tutor. There are several math tutors where I live, but little of anything else. I had not even considered being an ACT tutor, but its a great idea. I’d make more money, and as mentioned in the article, the test isn’t going away. Definitely something to think more about!

  3. Well done Matt! I dig the idea of having a practice schedule set up. Whether side hustle or full time business online you need to practice certain skills diligently to command the proper rates, or to ask the product price. Develop skills. Help folks. Get paid. Thanks for sharing :)


  4. Hi Matt. Thanks for the information. Did you do the info-graphic yourself? If you did, you have another side hustle in the waiting. Whereabouts do you live to earn $80 – $120 per hour? Do ACT tutors earn that kind of money anywhere?

    If you need help organizing such a small business, you can click on my name and check out business management software I offer in my side hustle. Thanks again for the great article.

  5. Hi Matt! Thanks for your awesome informative post. Your idea is superb. Nowadays this tutoring systems has become more popular among the students and their guardians. I think it is more than a business, as this is the most useful helping site that all students want to take services from there. Actually it is obvious for them as they can’t learn all by themselves alone. They need help. That sense this business has a brightest future in very recent days.

  6. Tutoring is an awesome side hustle that can pay off huge! Whether you are taking the show on the road and traveling to students or having students travel to you, it’s important to take steps to protect yourself legally and financially. Putting in a bit of leg-work to set up a limited liability company (LLC) can help establish some much-needed protections and make life easier come tax time.

  7. Hey Matt, I work for an educational service in my area and I’m a retired school teacher. I have been working for this service and tutoring on the side. I’m often surprised that when one is increasing in interest and money the other is not.
    You have given me a lot to think about as I work to build both. thanks.

  8. Hi Matt~ Great article! I was wondering if you also have a web page and/or Facebook business page? I have heard that these will help to find more students.

  9. Thanks for your article, Matt.
    Your good ideas are just what I needed to read before start my one to one tutoring business.
    Do I need to register my “educational business” with an agency like IRA, Department of Education, my bank, or something like that?

  10. Hi,

    I never have any ACT tutoring experience, but I only have experience tutoring math and science for part-time during my undergraduate degree. So, do I need to be a teacher to apply for the ACT test tutoring positions? Thanks!

  11. I’ve been tutoring math for years. The most I’ve received per hour is $45. If I could book just 4 hours a day at $80/hr, that’s $320 for the day!

  12. Matt, where do you get materials to use for tutoring? Did you develop your own or do you use the ACT practice books and sites? Thanks!

  13. great write up Matt,
    I am a 200 level computer science student in Nigeria i really want to teach Computer Appreciation and Actuarial Mathematics. Computer Appreciation could be just for anybody whereas Actuarial Maths is offered by some number of departments in School (Nnamdi Azikiwe University).
    what need i do to make this a profitable reality?

  14. What are your recommendations for starting an online tutoring business? I want to go online and am wondering about rules for teaching and marketing to international locations? Thanks

  15. Hey, first article ive seen on this website and i love it. Could you use the same idea of using other people’s audiences for a tutor who teaches math and science?

    Also what kind of stuff do you go over in the workshops?

    Thank you and awesome post!

  16. this article touched my heart, It took me very long to recognize my inborn strengths. though I used to do with tutoring since my childhood it was not enlightened onto me that I am a such best tutor. I have tried after reading articles including this and I can now feel pleasure of it.

    It is a best rewarding and blessing work as well!

  17. I have been a high school math teacher for a couple of decades and do not want to work 40 plus hours at this point in my life. However, I find tutoring services where I found students before have changed. You must play to sign up and never receive any alerts, although I know parents are looking for higher level math tutors. The large metro are where I live has signs saying only free tutoring is allowed in every library. I stopped going to people’s homes as they did not show up even the first time or if this was a continuing student I would call to confirm before the session and the parent would say, “yes” when no one was going to be there. Math is not my only subject. I have taught many younger students to read. I would very much want to tutor part time again, but feel stuck.

  18. Hi Matt,

    Great article!! I previously tutored for 5 years. I stopped in Sept. 2019 to focus on losing weight and improving my health. Now that I am healthier and have lost weight I would like to start a virtual tutoring business. Previously I traveled to tutor my clients at their homes and local libraries after teaching second graders all day. My children are still relatively young and I want to be at home with them as much as possible. Virtual tutoring will give me the best of both worlds. Could you give me some pointers? What is the best virtual platform? How to receive payments? Should I offer 30 minute free sessions before booking a client? How can I market this business on social media? Thank you so much for your support!

  19. Hi Quaneisha,

    I’ve been tutoring online since 2017 – and it is exactly what you say, it is quite wonderful to be at home and not having to to travel to my tutoring lessons. I’ve made over $100,000 since 2016 on my side hustle.

    I currently use virtual platforms – zoom/bitpaper or Wyzant for for my lessons. This way I have both video conferencing and a white board. Some other people use Skype for the video conferencing.

    I have currently set up my payments through TutorCruncher/Stripe or Wyzant, but I have also taken payments through Paypal.

    I would not offer 30 minute free sessions before booking a client as I feel like it undervalues your time. However, I do offer a first hour guarantee for one-on-one sessions. That way if they don’t like the first lesson, they don’t pay, and they won’t come back for additional sessions – which works out for you as well.

    A big part of the business is correspondence, so I’ve got templates on how I set up my initial correspondence, how often I follow up with parents, how I get testimonials, and what I write for lesson summaries. Let me know if you would be interested in more information like that.

    Finally, as far as marketing – I’m still working on improving my marketing as well, so I love the thoughts and methodology outlined above. But of course I’d love to hear more tips from Matthew on how to market.

    • Ingrid,

      If you don’t mind, I would love some information on how you set up correspondence and what you write for lesson summaries. I am looking to start a tutoring business and I am researching how to get started and best practices.

      Thank you,
      Susie C

    • Hello
      I read your response to Ms Quaneisha and I’d like more information about how you streamlined your tutoring business.I am interested in starting my own (English) and needed pointers

  20. Great article.

    If you have any kind of specific knowledge on any subject, you can create your own business.

    I’ve been a stock & commodity option trader for 30 years and I currently run two paid newsletters and a one-on-one coaching business to teach investors how to trade stock options.

    If you love what you do, it never feels like work.

    I’m still trying to learn how to market through social media, but I get lots of word-of-mouth referrals.

    Best to everyone.

    Lee Lowell

  21. Hi Nick,

    Great Post! I have been friends looking for a way to earn additional income, and your article will really help them narrow down their choices. I think Remote Bookkeepers will be a great way for people with an accounting background, and since you mentioned this in your post, I can trust that it will be a great alternative for people in my network. All the other choices are great as well. Thank you for taking the time in putting this article together.


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