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Becoming Your Own Boss from the Comfort of Your Studio Apartment

Defying the Odds of a Standard 9-5 'American Dream'

Photography by Pexels

For as long as I could remember, I loved mentoring and tutoring people. It didn’t matter to me what age group they belonged to, what socio-economic class they came from, or how much they were willing to pay me per hour.

When it comes to tutoring, some parents will pay top-notch to hire the best tutors in designated subject areas, while some will try to negotiate the lowest price due to their financial situation. Both, however, have the same goal in mind: ensure the success of their child’s future. As someone who is passionate about education, how could I have said no? As of late, I’ve been noticing an influx of students and parents alike seeking educational tutoring outside of class. A lot of academic institutions and educators are succumbing to the failing and outdated methods of the system. Thus, failing a majority of the students that may require a little bit more attention, accommodations, or adhere to those that may absorb information in a different way than others.

The way certain things are explained or reiterated to the students do not coincide with the way that certain students process information. It’s wrong to assume that everybody thinks the same. It is just as wrong to punish them when students deviate from said old-school methodology.

I know because I was one of those kids; coming in from a bilingual background, my brain is already wired differently in relation to non-foreign language speakers. While trying to learn how to speak, write, and read in English, I was expected to keep up with seven other subjects all taught in the language I was currently processing. In many instances, a lot of kids emigrating from non-English speaking countries fall behind or are held back. My teachers were trying to embed me into this vicious cycle by holding me back as well, but I knew that I would rise above my struggles... ending up skipping a couple grades.

This is when tutoring comes full circle, at the exact pivotal point when a lot of parents are searching for a resource that would enable their child or perhaps themselves to move forward.

Personally, I love to read books, lose myself in endless research articles, indulge in comics, reference pop culture in adherence to a specific essay prompt and so on. In essence, I never relied on a tutor because I was, for a lack of a better word, a straight up nerd.

So if you don’t need a tutor, you might as well become one. I started formally tutoring students when I turned 14. Then, it turned into a part-time high school summer gig, but when I started noticing that my students were getting better results on their tests and grades on their essays or quizzes, a part-time gig turned into something a lot more substantial. I noticed that I was making a difference in these kids’ lives while they were helping me figure out mine.

Fast forward into my early 20s and I was missing having that responsibility and making that difference. At that point, I have had around 9 years of tutoring experience under my belt. 

My undergraduate career seemed like a blur and I needed to slow down. While everybody else was going to graduate school, I went on to find a job. I needed time to think about what I really wanted to do long-term so that I wouldn’t dive in head first into a trendy field that was going to become obsolete the second I graduated. I found a job at a tech company because my short-term goal was to gain experience in a different field, preferably a mobile application. I won’t disclose where I work, but formerly my expertise was rooted in media and music journalism, so it was time to sharpen my skills elsewhere... and this company was definitely a good placeholder.

A little over a year later, I had a rude awakening. I was completely replaceable and it became apparent to me when I had to take a 2.5 month unpaid hiatus from my job to figure things out. This is when my love for research had come in handy.

After all, I had a bachelor’s degree in communications, journalism and Spanish, I speak three languages, and I have a ton of experience in various areas. What is stopping me from becoming my own boss?

I stumbled upon Chegg Tutors, a platform for professional tutors to do what they love to do best with a fixed hourly rate. In order to qualify, you need to fill out a short qualitative application highlighting favorite areas to tutor in, strengths, and personal accomplishments backed up by references and qualifications, i.e. certifications, degrees, cover letters and so on. Then, you take a 30 question quiz understanding the basics of English, grammar, and syntax; ten questions are designated for short readings and the rest resides in written comprehension.

After three days, I was accepted to start working on the platform. In a matter of days, I had a myriad of students reaching out to me for a tutoring schedule, outlying areas in which they need to improve and sending me prompts to review. I was strangely overwhelmed, but at the same time incredibly excited. I was finally doing something I loved and was making decent money.

Performance is determined by students’ feedback, qualitative or quantitative. It can lead to other growth opportunities; such as an expansion of subject areas. For example, if you take a science test, you can add biology, physics, or chemistry to your list of subject areas. In addition, Chegg will offer up to $10+ to the fixed rate.

The more feedback a tutor has, the higher their national rating is and thus, that translates to more students gravitating towards that tutor for help... and more dollars in your designer Michael Kors wallet.

Building my own business from the comfort of my own studio apartment has not been easy. It took a lot of strategic thinking, a lot of planning, a lot of to-do lists, and a slew of social experiments to try to figure out what works and what didn’t. When the platform has ranked me number 4 in psychology and sociology alike, I knew that this skill was innate and needed to be cultivated.

After three consecutive months of tutoring non-stop, I returned to work and shortly after falling into the mundane 9-5 routine, I felt robotic and realized I’m only in it to pay bills. This epiphany has left me feeling refreshed and determined to go back to grad school to eventually become a professor of communications and sociology. If you’re a passionate soon-to-be-educator, consider signing up for Chegg Tutors.

Chegg Tutors had not only given me a platform to continue doing what I enjoyed, but also exposed me to the idea of affiliated marketing. Affiliate marketing, when it all comes down to it, is nothing short of product promotion. You're not only benefiting yourself as a tutor, but also boosting the morale of the product by encouraging others to sign up or try out the product. By definition, it is a marketing arrangement between the partner and the company to generate traffic which transcends into sales from referrals. Hence, if you're not much of a tutor, you might be interested in promotion through social media or other external networks... boost your clout, enhance social media presence and if you have any interest in becoming an influencer, affiliate marketing is the way to go. 

The sole idea of owning my own schedule by becoming my own boss has saved me in a multitude of ways; by helping me figure out what I wanted to do with my life when things have hit a stagnant point and pay my bills when I was at my lowest.

If I am able to better someone else as a person, their gratitude and achievements are the most priceless outcome. Tutoring is a gig as old as time and as long as people are wanting to improve their test scores, grades, or learn a new language, I will always be in business.

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