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Meet Ivie Sherman of Beach Cities Tutoring

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ivie Sherman.

Ivie, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I always wanted to be a teacher even as a little girl. I would make my brother and other neighborhood kids play school with me and I would be the teacher. As a teen, I babysat from 13 to 20 and volunteered with many projects that helped children and teens. I also created my own program at my high school in Florida called “Students Against Illiteracy.” I went on to major in Special Education at the University of Florida and then earn my MA at UCRiverside in Special Education. I have taught special education for the last 15 years. While in grad school I began tutoring for supplemental income and continued once I moved to the Manhattan Beach area 15 years ago. After 10 years of teaching and tutoring, in 2012 I took a year off to take a homeschooling job for an amazing family. They suggested that I start a business as I had so many clients and this was a rough lay off time for teachers due to many budget cuts (2008-2013). I didn’t know anything about starting a business and was not that tech savvy either. I didn’t know how to find tutors, how to create a website, how to bill clients, etc. I did create a website that was not very good and was on the 10th page of google and about 6 months later I met someone that offered to help me. He used my content and pictures and redid my website on WordPress. He also told me how to use SEO to get my website high in my area. For months, I wrote blogs and updated content on my site. I also passed out business cards and flyer. In the first year, we only had 5 clients, but over the last 5 years we have served over 200 families and usually have about 50 consistent clients. I still manage all the tutors and still teach full time. Our tutoring staff is very diverse and we serve children 4 years old all the way through grad school in every subject imaginable from AP Computer Science, to test prep, to writing, to Mandarin and German. We serve students that are very advanced, those that need a little extra help and students with learning disabilities, autism and ADHD.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Overall, it has been a pretty smooth road. Due to the nature of the job and that’s part time tutors often move, get a full-time job, etc so we are always hiring. I have been fortunate to work with so many great teachers and tutors. We have had tutors that have needed to quit mid-year and I have had to fill 5-8 families with new tutors.

Billing has been hard as I used to use Chase Quickpay (similar to venmo) but since I have used credit card billing automatically, I do not have to constantly remind clients to pay which was exhausting.

Learning how to a business was a new challenge but overall, I have been a natural at tutor/client matching and hiring maybe due to teaching for so long and being passionate about education. I know that my business is helping others rather than just selling a product. I could never do that……..

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Beach Cities Tutoring – what should we know?
We specialize in private tutoring in all subjects K-grad school as well as SAT/ACT Test Prep, Spanish, editing services, homeschooling, ESL, and college application consulting in the comfort the clients’ homes. We serve the South Bay and Westside. After a detailed phone consultation, we personally match each client with the most highly qualified tutor and guarantee their satisfaction. I personally call every client after their first session to make sure they are happy. If for some reason they aren’t they are allowed to try another tutor. This has probably only occurred 1-2% of the time. Unlike most tutoring centers there is NO REGISTRATION FEE nor are the families locked into a certain amount of sessions or months. They get to determine how many times a week they have tutoring, length of the sessions and for how many months or years they’d like. We also provide summer, holiday, and weekend tutoring. We can individualize and recommend materials for each family. I am most proud that we have helped families in dire need at the last minute. Within one day and sometimes one hour they are set up with a quality tutor that they often use for months and sometimes years.

I hear so much positive feedback from our families and also have families who take a break from tutoring but return to us a year or two later. We also have had many referrals. I am happy that I have the educational background and experience to support our tutors with materials, advice, and lesson structure when needed. Many of our tutors are teachers but not all are. They all have tutoring experience and 90% have minimum of a BA degree. With so many franchises out there, I feel so lucky as a small business owner to really know and talk to each client on the phone. They know they can always call me if they need anything and I will make myself available. Our Yelp speaks for itself :).

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Israel, my website builder and coach has helped me so much. He not only redesigned my website for free but also helps update it. He has coached me on SEO, new business ideas and expansion, using Amazon associates program etc. I am also thankful to my account Michael Moguel as I used to do all the quickbooks myself and now he does that for me.

He also suggested changing the business type for tax purposes. I am so thankful to all my wonderful honest and hardworking tutors!!!! I definitely could not have my business without them. Although both parties sign a contract I have many tutors tell me “Can you bill so and so as I stayed an extra hour?” They do not try to take money under the table and have strong communication with me. After every new client, we speak on the phone about the session.

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