1. There's no CPF contribution by employer, leave, benefits, company dinners, health insurance sponsored by company. There's no company benefits at all.
You must learn to take care of your own affairs. Being a tutor is not just about the teaching part. You have to learn to manage your own affairs, save up for your own retirement and do your own accounts and tax. If you really hate these kind of admin stuff and do not want to pick up stuff like accounting, investment, insurance and a million other things that normally people take for granted, then you should seriously consider another job. It's essentially a one man show.
2. Learn marketing
If you're so good at teaching, it doesn't mean that students will naturally come to you. You have to learn how to sell yourself so that you have a constant stream of students every year. Besides learning your craft, the next biggest thing to ensure longevity of your business is to learn how to sell yourself and market yourself well enough so that through word-of-mouth, you'll get constant referrals.
3. Love what you're doing
If you're in this just for the money, I can assure you that you're going to hate this job. In certain months, there's no life at all. You practically work from Monday to Monday. You'll hate public holidays and weekends. You'll no longer have friends who will ask you out for dinner because you're working. You'll get messages throughout the day from panicky students asking you for help to solve this question and answer that query. Your work is weaved so intricately with your life that you cannot differentiate when work stops.
And so, you had better enjoy what you're doing. Do this for the money? You're not going to last long. Students are also not stupid. They can tell quickly if you really care about them or not.
4. Have a support group
It can be a lonely journey. But fortunately, my wife is also working odd hours just like me. We enjoy shopping when people are working and working through the night when others are relaxing. I can't imagine if one of us is working normal hours and the other odd hours. The conflict and schedule clashes should be quite hard to manage. It's good to have someone walking the journey with me.
5. Learn to be a counselor and a mentor, rather than a mere tutor
You'll be surprised how often I've to settle issues other than those related to studies. Not everyone comes in all motivated to learn. More often than not, I'll have to find my way to reach out to the person. Sometimes, I failed and sometimes I succeed. That's what makes the job so interesting, once you're past the stage of knowing what to teach or how to teach. It's a combination of listening, observing and motivating that makes a person want to do well for his studies. To me, it's never about the exams. It's a way to touch the inner fire within each person, igniting it strongly enough so that it can glow and touch others too. It's a magical feeling that makes you want to experience it again and again.
That's what keeps me going.
6. Be comfortable with the seasons of work and play
You're never going to have a stable pay. Face it and accept it and plan for it. Each year, your income might drop by 50% or more and you'll have to work hard to recruit new students just to match up to the previous year income. This makes a fixed monthly pay such a luxury. Face it, accept it and plan for it. If you're not ready for such a drastic change in your pay schedule, you're going to feel very jittery in the dry season from November to January.
Ten years playing this game, I've learnt to look forward to my dry months when I'm busy with work and looking forward to work in the busy months when I've had enough play. Worry also no use. Learn to flow along and learn to let go. Bad times don't stay forever, so do good times.
You think it's so easy to earn $10k? Try it and see if you can handle the downsides first.