Member stories
 

The 'savvy single mum' benefiting from the lockdown boom in online learning

The 'savvy single mum' benefiting from the lockdown boom in online learning
Christina Saccoh
Christina Saccoh
The Tutor Boss
 

Posted: Fri 4th Dec 2020

Most parents with school-age children have got very familiar with Zoom learning over the past few months. As many people have been forced to work from home due to the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a boom in teaching via the web.

One of the entrepreneurs who've benefited from that trend is Christina Saccoh, founder of educational tutoring company The Tutor Boss.

Due to ill health, the former head teacher was forced to shield during the pandemic but that allowed her to focus on turning her side hustle into a full-time business.

Christina has also done some online learning of her own thanks to the free Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme. The advice she has picked up is already paying off with increased client engagement.

Here's her story.

The free Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme is advice from more than 30 business experts in 218 bitesize videos.  
 
If you're already an Enterprise Nation member, log-in to your learning dashboard to access the e-learning. If you're not an Enterprise Nation member, you can join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for free here.

How did you come up with the idea for your business?

When I had my second child, I was quite unwell and my marriage split up. I needed to do something to earn some extra income so I started tutoring. I did it on and off because in between those years I was also a head teacher. I set up my own behaviour school and I worked on one of Prince Harry's projects in Nottingham to get kids involved in crime back into education.

But then I got very unwell and I couldn't work in schools.

When I got better, I decided to go back into teaching but after a while I also started to build my tutoring business back up.

I live in a very small place that's fairly affluent. I'm quite well known in the local community which helped me to pick up clients.>
Things started to pick up and when 2020 arrived, I thought 'that's it, I'm going to go for it'. Then lockdown happened and I had to shield. It really forced me to focus full time on something that had been a side hustle.

At this point you discovered the Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme. How did it help?

I signed up but I didn't start it straight away because I was really busy. Lockdown meant children were out of school and even though schools were sending work through, it wasn't the same quantity and quality across the board, so a lot of parents contacted me.

But I felt I was flailing a bit. I was suddenly super busy but not really organised from a business point of view.

I logged on to the e-learning and I started looking through the modules. It really helped me to focus. The diagnostic and the action planning forced me to be honest about the questions that you need to ask yourself. Who are your customers? What are you offering? What's your purpose, you mission, your goals, your values?

What specific tips have you found the most useful?

The content creation advice from Rachel Whitaker is really good. She talks about brand visibility, creating content, adding value and using pain and desire as the motivator. She makes the point that you shouldn't always be talking about sales, you've got to be offering something else. People want to know who you are. I stopped myself at that point and pulled right back and went into it in depth. How do I add value? How I am going to entertain without coming across as unprofessional?

The other tips I found useful was the advice on SEO. I have a website and I think it's pretty good but I want to improve it. The e-learning offers some really good insights and it means that I can have conversations with more technical people while knowing what I'm asking for. Before I watched the videos, they could have sold me anything and I wouldn't have had a clue!

I'm also planning to watch the videos covering online selling. Although what I do wouldn't work as a shop at the moment, I'm creating an e-book and an online course for other tutors.

When you're a single mum, you're always hustling, you are just savvy by nature. Just going through the process of the e-learning has created other business opportunities for me.

How has the e-learning helped you increase your sales?

Firstly, my clients have increased locally during lockdown because people know me, I used to teach in a local secondary school and I get a lot of word of mouth marketing locally.

I've never done online until now though but I've started to secure clients that way. That has happened because of the things I have implemented from doing the Amazon Small Business Accelerator.

I've embraced social media to reach new people. One of them is Julian Penniston-Hill, the CEO of Intelligent Money, who found me that way and I now tutor his daughter. He regularly comments on my social media saying I'm ace and that is pulling in other people.

I'm now offering online tutoring worldwide, something I wouldn't previously have considered. I'm also looking at putting a timetable online that allows people to drop in and out of tutoring that happens at set times throughout the week. 
 
The online opportunities have blown my mind. The e-learning programme is great because it gives you structure and helps you to stay on track with your goals, values and purpose. 
 
Without the Amazon Small Business Accelerator, I would have made it work but I don't think it would have been as efficient, as productive and as professional.

How has the coronavirus pandemic impacted on your work/life balance?

I used to be employed and I was commuting a two hour round trip. I have one child in school and it was a childminder drop off every morning at 7am, a pick up in the late evening and then tutoring. But now it means I can take my child to school and I have some free time because I'm not solidly tutoring all day.

I arrange my day so that I can take a breather, have a rest and do courses. If you block yourself off with work, you can't then develop yourself or your business because you've got no time.

Running the business online has given me a greater quality of life.

What are your plans for the future?

Trying to find someone to work with me who I feel can do what I do as well as I do it is my next struggle. I don't want to be one of these companies who has loads of staff who they pay tiny amounts to teach people online. Yes, I'd make more money but I want to keep my brand as a bespoke service.

I will probably end up going down the route of keeping my tutoring for my larger clients and then having training, eBooks and courses for other tutors as recurring income. It means I can stay as a single person as the brand but offering various branches.

What are your tips for business success?

Planning is super important. Don't think 'I'm really great in my industry so I'm just going to do it'. Everybody is great at what they do in their industry but that doesn't make you a business.

Branding is key too. Spend some proper money getting some advice on that.

In my industry, I wouldn't advise anyone to completely give up their job and start a tutoring business. It's about building trust and finding your niche in the market. There are millions of people who teach English but what makes you different? Research is important. Connect with other people who are doing it and don't be afraid to ask them for advice. 
 
The free Amazon Small Business Accelerator e-learning programme is advice from more than 30 business experts in 218 bitesize videos.  
 
If you're already an Enterprise Nation member, log-in to your learning dashboard to access the e-learning. If you're not an Enterprise Nation member, you can join the Amazon Small Business Accelerator for free here.

 
Christina Saccoh
Christina Saccoh
The Tutor Boss
 

Start your business journey today

Take the first step to successfully starting and growing your business.