Do you know that kangkung farmers and durian farmers have very different lifestyles?
Kangkung farmers harvest once every month. As long as they put in the work, they can reap the fruit of their labour.
Durian farmers takes 5-6 years or even longer to get the first harvest from their durian trees. During these long years the farmers need to take care of the soil condition, the water requirement, look out for diseases, parasites and pests which will kill the trees.
Once the trees matured, they are expected to last for 20 years. Season after season, the durian farmers can harvest durians from their trees.
Planting kangkung and durian each has its pros and cons. Kangkung farmers have to work equally hard every month. But they don’t have to wait too long to harvest. Durian farmers must have the means to sustain themselves and the patience to work hard and wait for years before reaping the fruits of their labour. But once the trees are matured, their initial effort pays off many times over.
What has kangkung and durian have to do with tutoring?
If we only teach every day, our effort is like planting kangkung. As long as we put in our good effort every month, we collect fees from our students every month.
If we teach more in a month, we earn more for that month. If we don’t teach, we don’t earn. Business is predictable and straight forward.
The downside is, there may come a day when we are no longer able to teach as hard as we do now. It may be due to declining health, family needs or simply that we are tired.
Our past effort and achievement cannot add to our perceived market value. The only accumulation is that we become more and more experienced as tutors. But experience is something quite intangible. It’s hard to prove to our potential customers how experienced we are. We need something more tangible.
There are some tangible assets that we can build. These assets are like durian trees. They take time and effort to build and do not offer immediate rewards. We might even get laughed at for wasting our time doing something that we won’t be paid for – well, at least not immediately. But as we build these assets, we will start to get additional capacity to do more in our business, compared to someone who only focus on teaching every day.
I have come up with a list of such tangible assets based on what I know and what I am building on. I have also written articles about each asset. Visit the links to get a more detailed article.
- Compile testimonials from parents and students. Read more here.
- Make teaching videos to demonstrate teaching style. Read more here.
- Publishing books. Read more here.
- Create your own curriculum. Read more here.
- Set up your own blog. You are reading from my blog now. Feel free to check out other articles too. If you have gained a bit more confidence about my expertise as a coach for tutors, then this blog would have done its job as a tangible asset.
What I love about building tangible assets is that we can always do it with our free time from 9am to 3pm, when we usually have no class. On top of that, we can also make use of little pockets of time while commuting or waiting. I wrote some of my articles with the WordPress app on my phone, whenever I was waiting for my wife, my kids or my students.
I would say that investing our free time into building these tangible assets is a much more productive use of our time than spending time aimlessly on social media.
I’ll end off with a Malay proverb:
Sedikit-sedikit lama lama jadi bukit.
(Bit by bit, over time, it will accumulate into a mountain.)