Who Wants to be a Millionaire Tutor?

The Prolific Rise of Online Tutoring

The fact that there is someone in the world making nearly 7 million dollars a year tutoring online is monumental news.

Imagine being a tutor that lives like a rock star; a digital teacher making more than a professional athlete.  Envision being the center of advertising and marketing campaigns that would make even national celebrities jealous.

Welcome to the emerging canvas of worldwide online tutoring.  What makes certain famous tutors so exceedingly wealthy, and what does the road ahead look like for the industry?

The Recipe for Digital Tutoring Success

Before reporting on some of the more famous names, let’s take a look at the necessary elements:

  • Skill – A mix of professionalism, personality, and perseverance. The tutors with their faces on billboards are first of all excellent teachers. They have proven to students they can help them show results, and have followings like Hollywood icons because the product they’re selling is extremely valuable.
  • Marketing - Rather than being an asset to an institution or company, online tutors must turn themselves into a brand. Advertising can range from a simple brochure to high production TV commercials, and everything in between. Ultimately, it is spreading the word about results through social media and virtual word of mouth that truly attracts business.
  • Efficiency – Rather than tutoring one-on-one, or in small groups, through current and evolving online tools, teachers can reach multitudes of unprecedented size. This allows tutors not only to teach in their own community, but to charge a small fee to a lot of people at once, which can accumulate to thousands of dollars an hour.

The Balance of Brain Power

The online tutoring frenzy in Asia has taken off like a rocket at the same time westernized education is suffocating itself under trillions in outstanding debt. Two different models, with two drastically different results.

In Asia, students cram into schools with vigor to get ahead—and in fact, they even “cram” after school to keep up. The future ahead looks rather interesting for the west as well, as dominance shifts toward other choices for those college students who are depressed, disillusioned, and distraught about their education debts.

Opulent Tutors of Asia

  • Rose Lee – The so called “Queen of English” is perhaps the most popular English teacher in the Asian world. She now makes roughly $6-7 million a year by helping students prepare for crucial exams that can get them into good universities. Through her self-branding and virtual classroom results, she is a true marketing force of the 21st century – shaping the English speaking Asian culture.
  • Woo Heyong-cheol – This man most definitely took hold of the online education craze, and the obsession of South Korean children to study upward of 8-10 hours a day. Woo is a math tutor, but he is not affiliated with anything official.  He doesn’t have to be.  He is a private entity, and his own brand. He made a decent living teaching math afterschool in South Korea, but now provides 50,000 subscribers with tutorials online earning close to $4 million a year.
  • Richard Eng – This man was a teacher for decades before he became a celebrity tutor who makes millions. By word of mouth alone, so many students approached him for private lessons that he set up his first tutoring school.

That school was wildly successful for a small scale outfit, but the magic began when Richard decided he would begin an advertising campaign and create celebrity appearances for himself and his tutors. Fast forward to today, and this millionaire is branching out into Japan and China.

  • Phang Yu Hon – Another titan of tutoring, this private physics teacher out of Singapore had hundreds of students, and will soon have a seven figure income. When he first started, people heckled and teased him saying he was wasting his time. Now his perseverance paid off, and he’s the one laughing.

The Coded Path Ahead

These few tutors are likely just the beginning in a market that is expected to reach $100 billion in the next five years. Through the virtual classroom phenomenon, expect to see massive amounts of tutors who teach everything you can imagine setting themselves up with enviable incomes.

There may be a lull in the west right now, but no one can say Americans aren’t good at branding and advertising.  It may not be long before American teachers, specialists, and experts all head into their neighborhoods and online en mass to copy their Asian counterparts.

6 thoughts on “Who Wants to be a Millionaire Tutor?

  1. It’s true, it is a testament to what is possible if you are a good instructor, brand yourself effectively and leverage technology. Start by teaching one to one and building validation, and then work up to teaching one to many using live video feeds and pre-recorded lessons and lectures for advertising. (I believe you can teach up to 25 people at once now on Google Hangouts, and there are platforms like WizIQ that allow you to teach hundreds of students.) Remember, everyone you’ve taught and all of your positive feedback and success stories of people learning from you is “building your brand.” There are other variables where these tutors are, but there are more similarities than differences. :)

  2. I would like to know about the prospects in india. I have 18 years experience in teaching high school students of classes (11 & 12). Please guide me how to go about it in india or get in touch with people who can help me.

    • Hi Mala, that’s a great question. Go to the LRNGO.com homepage and type in a subject like math or English, and then type India for the location in the search bar. Then press the search button. Browse all of the profiles and contact one or two of the more experienced people who are tutoring successfully there in India and ask them. You may have to ask more than one to get a helpful answer, but I’m sure the best way to find out is to ask people who are doing it.

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