Tutoring Without Borders - How going all online changed my life

How I went from tutoring students in London who lived locally to me in a 10 mile radius to tutoring students globally all over the world. And the huge impact it has had on me as a tutor and my business.

Dr. Atul Rana
16 November

“I want to see some of that Californian sunshine, can you give me a tour of what it’s like around where you live?”

The last student of my Saturday was a 7pm one in San Francisco. It was 11am for her and she was in good chirpy spirits while I was at the end of my day in cold, dark, December London. From a tall building my student went to the balcony and showed me the view of San Francisco. A breath-taking vast expanse of roads, buildings, parks soaked with glorious morning sunshine. Even on camera that morning San Francisco spirit was unmissable.

Online tutoring amazes me every day when I connect to far flung reaches of the world in real time. I still can’t believe how much my tutoring business evolved. Tutoring in London I had to travel to student homes, the commute used to cost me unpaid time and it drained my energy. By going all online, previously wasted commute time was turned into valuable tutoring time, the thing I enjoy the most!

My journey into online tutoring started off in 2012. By 2015 I was convinced online far better in quality than face to face (the reasons for this is another blog post altogether). So, I decided to go all online and cut out in person tutoring altogether. This was a real business gamble for me as I was disrupting my own already successful in person tutoring business. My intention was to cut out my commute in London and deliver better quality tutoring which I felt was possible online. Unknown to me at the time, I entered truly borderless tutoring. I used to get work word of mouth around London and the UK and now it became more like ‘word of mouse’ as clients recommended me online with no limits on geography. When a client had a sister in Canada whose daughter I ended up tutoring, I knew that I have entered a new limitless era of tutoring.

From other advertising I started getting enquires from all over the world and thanks to time differences it’s always 5pm in the world somewhere, the peak evening tutoring slot. As a result, I could tutor during daytimes in the UK. These daytime hours used to be wasted in the past as most of the tutoring takes place after school from 4pm onwards. In one year, I pretty much doubled my income. And with that I found ever new confidence in my own abilities as a tutor. I have now tutored students in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, UAE, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Switzerland, Spain, France, Germany, Kenya, Bermuda, St. Kitts, Canada, USA and of course in many different parts of the UK.

This bold move to all online did come at a small cost. When I decided to go all online in 2016, I lost a small fraction of my in-person clients. No matter what, some clients were not keen to try out online. That saddened me a bit as I lost a few tutees I really liked working with. But as planned the opening I made for new online clients paid off very well indeed. I started connecting with a new type of client altogether. My own story of growing up in different countries and going to a British school in Kenya resonated with my new clients and students. And through tutoring these students I connected to my own past life as an expat child. It was the perfect match.

What a wonderful time we are living in now. We truly stand at the most important crossroads that humanity has ever come across. The internet is connecting people directly by transcending the limits of space. And as an online tutor I have the unique opportunity to educate and empower students. It feels nothing short of a miracle when I connect with students daily in various parts of the world and find out about the weather there, the holidays, currency and all these other little things. Online tutoring has changed my life completely and I really hope to see other tutors take this direction.