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In November I made the move from part-time tutor to full-time tutor, teacher, and educational specialist. It's been an interesting eight weeks thus far, and I have been fortunate in having steady clientele and great word of mouth.
The actual transition has not been an easy one; I am not terribly cutthroat, which does not always bode well for business sense. I also prefer keeping my rates as low as possible so that high-quality support is possible for as many people as possible. This is great for my clients, but bad for me personally. I have to take on more clients to compensate, which causes great sacrifice when it comes to my personal life (I work 7 days a week and often late into the night). I also did not factor things such as car maintenance into my rates when I was part-time, but now I find myself driving up to 150 miles per day. This is a massive financial burden.
The question for me has become "how do I find a balance to make this job, which I dearly love, sustainable for me long-term?" I have made the tough decision to raise my rates for new clients to $80 per hour, which is still actually far less than what most professional tutors in the area charge but will provide a bit more towards the cost of upkeeping the business, my car, and my computer (being able to afford rent and utilities would be nice as well). I try to schedule clients in the same area each day to minimize traffic issues, but trying to be accommodating often makes this impossible, and I spend days scrambling.
The route I've decided is most prudent is to continue on as I am currently, and hopefully after this round of SAT students moves on, I can increase my income slightly. I want to be able to afford an apartment of my own so I can have a studio to work out of and hopefully decrease my travel a bit.
Starting my own business has been a thrilling ride thus far, and I love feeling like I am actually doing something good in the world and helping people who need it. I look forward to continue building business and finding that balance that I am currently missing.