Making easy money from home has been the dream, if not the reality, of life in the Internet age. Without a doubt, a select few “internauts” earn fortunes from the comfort of their executive chairs. But the reality is that, for every superstar who has created a global e-empire, thousands of others plod along, grinding out profits in labor-intensive numbers games. At a dollar per electronically drop-shipped widget, one must drop-ship an awful lot of widgets.
E-careers for Academic Professionals
The Internet age era has, however, created a fertile ground where traditional professionals can ply their wares non-traditionally to supplement their incomes handsomely. One significant and personally satisfying forum that unites these highly educated workers with a growing and well-heeled audience is the explosive online tutoring and homework help marketplace. Millions of overstressed high school and college students need first-class help to understand their lessons and complete their written assignments, while many highly educated professionals stand ready to help at a moment’s notice. Dozens of sites offer online tutoring and homework help services. The difference is subtle: “online tutoring” refers to live chat sessions during which assignments are completed, often with audio and video support; “online homework help” means that students contract for the delivery of complete written assignments, such as homework problems or research papers.
E-Tutoring Site Architecture
While details differ from site to site, the general concept is pretty consistent. When a tutor logs in, he encounters a live, worldwide feed of incoming requests for tutoring sessions or written assignments. Some sites lets tutors grab assignments on a first-come, first-serve basis; other allow them to bid on price and delivery time, and students can review tutors’ individual profiles and past students’ reviews to make informed choices. A live tutoring request pops up an interactive chat application, with tools to enable the fast creation of mathematical equations or rough-and-ready graphics; a written assignment request posts a detailed work description, with graphics, and is typically fulfilled when the instructor sends the student a completed Microsoft Word document. Supporting tools like private instant messaging between student and teacher are often provided. Students can post online reviews and rate their tutoring experience. They can also sidestep the bidding process and directly request their favorite tutors. Last—but definitely not least—tutors can request payment for their work at the touch of a button; requests engender a rapid, secure EFT transfer by Paypal or the like
Studypool, an Emerging E-Tutoring Leader
Studypool, a startup based in Mountain View, California, and funded by an impressive roster of Silicon Valley angels, is an up-and-coming industry leader. They rigorously vet prospective tutors and continuously monitor their performance to ensure that only first-class professionals are recruited and retained. Retention is anything but automatic: tutors must continually demonstrate that they can take students by the hand; completely understand the objectives; and communicate clearly, punctually, and professionally in the Queen’s English. This keeps tutors on their toes and ensures that paying students receive consistent, first-class schoolwork.
Experience with Studypool
I have been tutoring with Studypool for only a short time, but I am already very impressed. Although my degrees are in engineering, I enjoy being able to ply my eclectic knowledge base productively. As a Studypool tutor, I have received accolades for written work in fields as diverse as computer science, psychology, mathematics, and English literature. My communications with students and Studypool staff have been of the highest constructiveness and professionalism. Unlike many sites, the company takes its honor code most seriously: violations like plagiarism, misrepresentation, and interpersonal abuse are not tolerated and are swiftly and severely dealt with. When instructors behave fishily, underbidding and biting off more than they can chew, the results are what honest tutors competing for the same deals would hope for: if the wise guy fails to deliver a timely, first-class product, he is rapidly and sternly disciplined. We are left with cream-of-the-crop instructors and overjoyed students who are bursting at the seams to offer word-of-mouth recommendations—the best kind—to their peers.
I am thrilled with my rapidly increasing reputation among the Studypool student body, and even more so with my growing bankroll. I cannot retire on it just yet, but I am entirely convinced that time, patience, and consistent excellence can turn it into a career. Indeed, one glance at the tutors’ “leader board” reveals that a select few tutors who have kept their noses to the grindstone have successfully turned Studypool into fully home-based, six-figure careers. It certainly beats hitting the freeway in a business suit!