Tips on having successful private lessons

  1. How to win the customers

It is widely known that “advertising is the core of a business”, and it could not be truer. Gladly, nowadays, the means one may use to advertise their own work are innumerable. To begin with, we have the good old word of mouth. Should you do a great job, people will talk about you and students or clients, in which case, will end up recommending your work. This type of advertising always works like a charm. I have known this to be the best so far.

Then we move on to having business cards. I have recently used the following website to print my cards and it has worked perfectly well. Its name is ‘360Imprimir’: There you can choose different layouts, colours, pictures and images you would like to display. I have decided to add a ‘QR code’ (For more information: that takes the ‘reader’ instantly to my blog.

These cards should include ways you can be contacted and a portfolio if you have one. By ‘portfolio’ I mean a website, a blog or social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Youtube, etc on which you are used to posting about your work (lessons you have prepared and taught, videos you used in a lesson and/or latest tips, such as books students can read, TV shows or series from which expressions can be learned, etc. On this ‘media’ matter, I would advise you to read the following article from The Reader’s Digest on what your social media says about you:

You may be thinking “So far I am spending more than what I am making”. That may be true at first, however, you may have to invest, with an entrepreneur’s’ vision in order to finally reap what you have sowed.

Final suggestions:

  • A smile goes a long way (always).
  • Giving gifts (such as folders – so the students can keep their worksheets organized; notebooks or pencils with your logo or name, etc) has never hurt anyone. And again, invest in order to sow later and advertising time!

2. Having a written form of agreement

For all types of businesses (mainly for autonomous employees) the best way of communication between the teacher and student/client is to have a contract drawn and signed by both parties before the lessons take place. This way, if anything happens, there is a formal document everyone can resort to. There, crucial information is to be found:

  • How many lessons students can cancel within a pre-defined period of time (e.g.: a month), how long in advance should they let the teacher know so that the lesson can be replaced (usually 24 hours) and how the contact should be made (mobile, WhatsApp, email). This should go both ways.
  • Payment information. Not only should you include your bank account info but also the conditions, e.g.: payment should be done upfront (at the beginning of the lessons, or at the first lesson of the month, etc.) What makes you feel more comfortable and respected.
  • Holidays/Vacation/ bank holiday information, including dates, times, etc. should also be included so everyone is prepared.

Should the terms be established in advanced and followed and respected, private lessons will be a success.

Beatriz Solino de Francisco

Beatriz holds the Cambridge Train the Trainer and the DELTA Mods II and III(Teaching Exam Lessons). She has a Licentiate’s degree in English Language from PUC SP (2007). CPE level of proficiency and she has been teaching for 15 years. She is an Academic and Pedagogic Coordinator. She is currently doing a Company Management MBA at FGV.

  • Gabriela Fróes
    Gabriela Fróes
    Posted at 08:30h, 05 janeiro Responder

    Bia, thanks for this article! I still struggle with private classes. I loved the idea of a business card with a QR code that leads straight to the blog. I will certainly take that into consideration. Also, making the card itself (shame on me, I still don’t have one)… thanks for the kindness of putting these tips together : )

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