Your First Five Students

a program to jump-start your academic support business

Are you looking to build something more for yourself outside of classroom teaching?

Starting my own academic support business has given me more—more agency, more time with family, more of the day focused on teaching (& waaaay less time in meetings), more money per hour than classroom teaching, working for other people's tutoring agencies or selling $3 resources one-by-one online.

Now, more than ever, is the time for teachers to learn that they have options outside of the classroom to continue to make an impact in education...but on their own terms with flexibility & autonomy.

Maria's webinar on starting a tutoring business was great and personable. She encouraged me to be confident in my skills as a teacher and to go for it! Within a couple of weeks I was able to use Maria's advice to get started immediately on my business. She gave a lot of clear and practical steps that any teacher can use to build a student base, advertise, and create a sensible payment method.

I am proud to say that I have gotten started and I am really eager for my future and business.

- Ebony, Elementary Educator


Wake up excited to teach again

Imagine teaching on your own terms...

...You set your own hours & rates, and schedule. Plus, you choose the subjects & grades (and students!) you want to teach.

...You have students you work with for year or two & other students you work with for a number of years. You provide them all with the best academic support possible, tailored to their learning style & needs, and you love being a part of their continued growth.

...You are in charge of your own professional development, pursuing only the additional certifications & trainings you want; you implement only the curricula that works for you & your students.

...You have the occasional phone call or meeting, but mostly your work day is spent prepping & teaching (not covering & emailing).

...You end the day knowing you made a difference in the lives of your students, but you can also walk away for the evening (or a sick day) without feeling guilt or stress.

...You have loving-but-firm boundaries set up so you have a much better balance between your teaching life & your home life.


The teaching you want to do—impactful & fulfilling—without feeling drained at the end of the day

“Maria had straightforward yet engaging techniques and games that taught my daughter fundamental ways to think about math. My daughter's confidence improved immensely and she is no longer overwhelmed at approaching math.

The skills Maria has imparted have made my daughter independent and successful at a subject that once before eluded her.”

- Deanne Detmers, Mom & Executive Director, Behavioral Intervention Association

"Working with Maria made me more comfortable and confident doing math. I can now do all the little things that used to trip me up when I tried to solve problems."

- Ava, Former Student

(P.S. Ava is now in AP Calculus and will major in computer science next year in college)


Build a business where you feel fairly compensated for your time & expertise

You want freedom & autonomy, but you have questions about starting your own business:

How do I find students? And what should I charge? Is it possible to make enough money to live off of if I'm working fewer hours?

What do I need to know before going into a first session? How do I conduct a first interview with parents & students? What kinds of policies should I have in place?

What kinds of tools & software should I buy? What expenses should I skip/avoid? What should I be saving for taxes? What can I write off?

How do I get paid? What invoicing software should I use? How do I even make an invoice & follow up with late payments?

What kinds of training do I need? Should I go back to school? How can I become a specialist in a particular subject area?



Why Should I Make This Investment Right Now?

How many times have you bought a book or a self-study course that you never opened?

We can have the best of intentions, but it's all too easy to put off even the things we really want to do until "later."

But I don't want you to wait until later to start bringing in additional income from your academic support business.

You deserve to start right now.

You are more likely to take immediate action if:

  • you receive step-by-step guidance on everything from assessments to sending invoices
  • you are supported by on-going coaching
  • you're part of a group of like-minded educators with the same vision & goals as you, cheering you on
  • you've made a financial commitment (incentivizing you to get the most from the program & earn that money back)

This program is three-months for a reason—so you won't waste any time building your business right away.

The curriculum will show you, step-by-step, how to create a steady business you want to run.

One that works for you & your family.

Not a business that leaves you drained & afraid of making costly mistakes because you you'll know the right policies, procedures & systems to put place.

Save time, money & heartache by learning how to build a sustainable business from Day 1.

Let's run some numbers to see how you can make back your initial investment while creating something meaningful:

In 5 hours/week for 4 weeks (or less depending on your pricing) you will have made back your initial investment AND you will have the structure in place to continue making even more money on a monthly basis.

With your first five students secured & everything set up, you should continue to make $1,000 every 4 weeks for the rest of the school year & beyond.

EXTRA CREDIT: If you want, you can add 5 more student sessions per week & start making $2,000 every four weeks—by only working 10 direct service hours per week (plus another hour or two for admin).

Imagine have $22,500 in extra income from 10 hour-long student sessions a week, 45 weeks per year.

And having the systems & structure in place to double those hours & make $45,000 from 20 hour-long student sessions a week, 45 weeks per year.

But you won't make anything until you start, so don't put off this investment in yourself for "later."


Join Your First Five Students to...

  • Set-up a business that is profitable and sustainable, without wasting time & money on anything you don't need.
  • Create the business you want to run that fits with your schedule & lifestyle. (For me, that has meant I don't see students before noon or on Fridays. For you, that could mean working only Sunday & Monday afternoons.)
  • Secure at least two or more students & $100 or more per week, so you can see what is possible with regard to money, freedom & teaching on your own terms.
  • Continue providing excellent academic support to students, so they'll build confidence & skills & thrive in school.
  • Teach students using best practices without having to sacrifice time & energy on a revolving door of new curricula and high-stakes testing.
  • Be part of a community to support you every step of the way!

Your Instructor

Maria Howard
Maria Howard

Hi, I'm Maria! I have over 15 years experience in education, including over 8 years providing intensive math intervention. I'm a former classroom teacher turned educational therapist and K8 math specialist.

Even though I always saw myself as an educator and not an entrepreneur, I took the leap & started my own business in 2016. I only wish I'd started sooner!

I provide one-on-one academic support to students with learning differences (mostly girls, mostly math). Basically, I created my dream job, with a schedule and a workload that works for me and my family. Every few weeks, I'm asked how I made the switch and decided to empower other educators with the information and guidance to do the same for themselves.


You don't need to go it alone

What Is a Group Coaching Program?

A group coaching program is a hybrid of two Zoom meetings each month,* action-oriented course content & a private group where you can post questions & get answers.

Having a community of like-minded individuals means you get useful information, support & accountability—all in one place. Plus, we'll all be here for you for trouble-shooting your questions big & small.

Imagine a team of teacher-friends cheering you on every day to build something that works for you & your family.

*Not to worry if you can't attend the Zoom meetings live! All meetings will be recorded & uploaded to the course website. You will be able to presubmit questions even if you can't make it in person, so your questions will always get answered.

Get started now!

"Hi Maria, I’ve enjoyed all the classes that I’ve taken from you. [They] have given me great ideas to take back into my classroom and practice."

-Lori, 1st grade teacher

What You Get:

  • 3 months access to Your First Five Students group-coaching program⏤enough time to implement strategies and establish routines, but not so much time that you put off starting right away.
  • Step-by-step guidance delivered via written & recorded course content available on the course website.
  • 2 recorded coaching calls on Zoom every month* for on-going accountability & support along with a private group message board for goal-setting & questions. Plus, access to all the coaching call archives!
  • AS A BONUS: You will also get 3-months of access to the following courses & workshops to support you in working with your students⏤an additional $487 value!
    • Finally! Executive Functioning Explained, a mini-course demystifying executive functioning skills & how they develop (or don't)
    • Assessing Math Beyond the Right Answer, a workshop for 1st-6th grade educators looking to go deeper with math assessment
    • Strong Math Foundations, a full +5-module course focused on assessing & building student math mindset, fact fluency & number sense
    • Classroom Hero, a 5-module course where I guide exactly how to provide executive functioning coaching for your struggling, disorganized students

*In order to provide coaching call access to all members regardless of schedule, questions can be presubmitted & answered during the call, even if you can't attend live.


Set-up systems & policies

Your First Month: Getting Started

Week 0: Pre-work

Welcome! Introduce yourself to the group and consider some important questions about the business YOU want to build before you jump in.

Week 1: Establishing and Cultivating Referral Sources

...without a website, referral fees or a huge social network. You don't even need business cards, unless you really want them.

Week 2: Setting Your Prices & Your Schedule you are fairly compensated for your time & expertise. Pricing is a potentially thorny topic that can have a lot of emotion around it, particularly for educators not used to setting prices. But we are going to talk it all through and set an hourly rate based on where you live but also your background and experience.

We'll also talk about creating a schedule that is sustainable and works for you & your family.

Week 3: First Contact, Intake Meetings (Part 1) & Essential Forms and Policies

You've received some inquiries about your services, now what?

Your first phone call with potential families is important because they are deciding to work with you...but you are also still deciding if you want to work with them(!)* In this first call you will need to outline your policies around cancellations and scheduling, your pricing and set up an intake meeting.

I'll share my forms and policies and coach you so you are prepared to go into that first phone call like the pro that you are.

*Many educators I've worked with are surprised that this is the stage when I commit to take on a student (or not), but there are good reasons to wait until after this meeting to decide to commit to a family for a year or more.

Week 4: Intake Meetings (Part 2) & Developing Learning Goals

An intake meeting is a hybrid speed date, assessment and parent-teacher conference. Usually lasting an hour to an hour and a half total, intakes consist of both student & parent/family interviews.

First, you interview your potential new student, perform some preliminary assessments & identify academic priorities.

You then meet with parents/guardians to go over the student interview, set expectations & preliminary learning goals.


Serve students & their families

Your Second Month: Establishing a Practice

Week 5: Structuring Weekly Sessions

Now that you have a student, how do you set up your weekly session (or sessions for some) to get it all done in an hour? What/how should you prep? What supplies do you need & what can you skip? Should you do homework together?

Whether you are conducting sessions on Zoom or in-person, make the most of every session by establishing routines & prepping the right activities.

Week 6: Session Note-taking & Case Management

There are a lot of moving parts when teaching, especially when you are providing any kind of intensive academic support.

High-quality session notes are key for identifying & answering big questions about your students. For example, do they struggle to solve this type of problem because they need more practice or because of the organization piece or both?

Often the role of outside learning support includes case management, bringing together information from your sessions, the family, the school & any reports or assessments so that learning priorities are clear & actionable.

Week 7: How to Get Paid

You've set your prices & policies, you have worked with your student for a month now, but don't think we've forgotten about getting paid!

We'll discuss the pros & cons of having families pre-pay vs. invoicing at the end of the month. We'll also go over what payment platforms make it easy to get paid & which make it harder, including the payment options I give my students' families.

Also, don't think I forgot about my promise to show you how to create free & pro-looking invoices using my favorite software, Wave. I'll walk you through all my tips & tricks to automate late payment reminders & batch invoices to save you time.

I'm NOT a certified accountant, but I will also share the spreadsheet I use to track expenses, revenue & saving for taxes.

Week 8: Communicating with Parents/Guardians

Here's the trick about communicating with families that took me over 12 years in education to figure out: you teach parents how available you are. With every email you send (or don't send) & even what time of day you send it, you set up expectations.

This week, we'll go over how to set firm boundaries so you effectively communicate with families in a way the positively serves you & them. That means establishing policies & building good habits around communication.

This is also the time when we'll talk about how to wrap up your time with a student, either because you've effectively taught yourself out of a job OR because it is no longer a positive experience for you, the student or their family.


Provide the targeted academic support that makes all the difference

Your Third Month: Going Deeper

Week 9: Communicating with Teachers & Other Allied Professionals

Sessions are going well & your student is starting to make some progress. Yay! You'd like to communicate with the classroom teacher to see what more you can be doing & how you can provide continuity in your sessions. Good idea!

First, did you know that you will need to make sure you have permission from the student's family to share information with the school? Second, we'll discuss how to effectively partner with classroom teachers & school admin without undermining your work or theirs.

Week 10: Learning Challenges Overview

Chances are, if your student's family sought outside academic support, there are probably some learning challenges at play.

This week, we'll go over different learning differences that you are likely to see & how they play out in various subject areas. This will likely include but not be limited to: ADHD, dyslexia, auditory processing, anxiety & executive functioning challenges.

Week 11: Additional Assessments & Other Resources for Supporting Your Students

Who doesn't love a good assessment or resource?! This week we'll talk about what assessments (both formal & informal), books & curricula & my honest opinion on what you should invest in & what you can skip.

Week 12: Next Steps & What Additional Trainings & Certifications Will Get You Where You Want To Go?

Remember when I said you don't need additional training, schooling or certifications to start an academic support business? Well, that is still true!

But you may want to specialize, especially if you find there is a specific subject that lights you up & where you develop your expertise & experience further. From pursing an educational therapy certificate & becoming a Board Certified Educational Therapist (BCET) to Orton-Gillingham Training to additional math training. We'll talk about finding a niche & what avenues are available to you going forward.

"I had been looking for a practical and convenient way to get more PD. Maria has a wealth of knowledge and presents the material in a lively, straightforward style.

This was information I could use with my students right away."

- Stella, Educator

My Story:

From Classroom Teacher to Education Business Owner

In 2012, as I wrapped up my sixth year of classroom teaching, I was struggling.

It had been a challenging year personally & professionally and I was unsure what to do next. You might know the feeling: It was more than looking forward to summer & needing some rest. I was bone tired, mentally & emotionally drained & unsure if classroom teaching was still for me.

Despite reassurances from administration, I was far from confident that the next year would be any better.

Classroom teaching had become unsustainable, but what else I could do, especially that late in the year?

I took a chance & decided not to renew my contract for the following school year. It was not a decision I made lightly, but I didn't have a backup plan either.

I assumed I would use the summer to try to get a position at a different school, or sub until something opened up...

What I hadn't counted on was finding a part time job at a learning clinic run by an educational therapist.

The position allowed me to see a new way to work with students: providing individualized academic support.

I could make my own schedule, choose which students I took on & enjoyed the challenge of working with students with different learning profiles.

Eventually, I took on a more hours & a role supervising other clinicians at the learning clinic. I learned a lot about conducting initial student & family interviews, creating learning plans & identifying the resources I liked to pull from. This is also when I started providing PD to other educators around academic intervention & learning differences.

In 2016, educational therapy certification in hand, I decided to take the leap & start my own academic support business. I wish I could say I had it figured all out from day one, but it was a learning curve. I soon developed processes for scheduling, sending invoices & everything in-between...

I've found I love being my own boss, creating the exact business I want to run (whether it makes sense to anyone else or not).

Over time, I decided to specialize in K8 math education, building a reputation working with students (mostly girls) who need intensive math support & a confidence boost. Everybody & their mother (literally) started sending referrals my way & I've created a schedule that works best for me & my family.

Even with Covid-19 & lockdown, I've been able to continue working, providing continuity & support to my students & their families.

While it has fluctuated over the past few years, my current caseload usually consists of about 14 hours of direct one-on-one work with students a week M-TH, mostly after school but a few hours during the school day.

I see a majority of my students on Zoom, with a couple students in-person where we are able to meet safely. I spend another few hours a week prepping & communicating with parents & teachers. Sometimes I attend meetings.

And that's it.

I know that I can add more hours to my schedule, but have figured out that this is the sweet spot for right now.

Friends & family sometimes want to know if I'll ever go back to classroom teaching & my answer is almost always that I'm happy where I am. I get a great deal of joy watching my students find success in a subject that was once a challenge for them & such pride when they are ready to go out on their own.

I have built something that I'm proud of & provides valuable support to my students & their families. And now I want to enable other educators to build their own businesses so they can do they same in their communities.

“I could take the things on video and do them with my class the next day. And then hear the reaction of my students—both the fact that they seem to be getting a little deeper meaning and that they seem to enjoy math."

- Terry R, 4th Grade Teacher


"Gosh, I'd love to join..."

This program is for educators who want to make a one-time investment to get started today...

With three months of ongoing support & accountability & all my best advice on how to avoid the costly & time-consuming mistakes I made.

Psst...This includes very valuable lessons on not undercharging for your time & expertise.

Charging what you are worth means you'll bring home more additional income each month, every month.

Start making meaningful money from your own academic support business in three months...

...without an expensive website or business cards

...without renting office space or purchasing equipment & software

...without another degree or certification

...without working for someone else

....without quitting your teaching job (unless you want to)

...without undercharging & over-scheduling yourself

...without waiting another few months to get started

...without wasting valuable time & money before setting up the exact business you want to run.


Frequently Asked Questions

How long do I have access to the group & course content?
You have access for three months from the time you purchase. After three months, you will no longer have access to the group, course content and bi-monthly Zoom calls. This is intentional so you won't delay getting started and using the materials and the group. You can, however, reenroll when your three months are up.
What if I am unhappy with the program?
If you are unsatisfied with the program for any reason, contact me in the first 14 days after you enroll & I will work with you to make sure your concerns are heard and changes are made, if possible. If we mutually decide that the course is not be a good fit, you may be eligible to receive a full or partial refund based on the time you spent in the program.
When is the course content available?
For the first cohort, course content will be dripped out over the three months, with a few initial lessons available right away.
When will I have access to the bonuses?
You will gain immediate access to the bonus courses, so you can start in on them right away! However, if you decide to withdraw from the program by either requesting a refund in the first 14 days OR if you fail pay in full for the program, you will forfeit your lifetime access to the bonus courses. (The exception is if you have paid for any of the bonus programs separately.)
What happens when I join?
You will get an email confirmation with log-in information, along with immediate access to the pre-work content and workshops. As this is the first cohort, the course content will be dripped out over the 3 months. Make sure to introduce yourself to the group!
When will the twice monthly Zoom calls take place?
The Zoom calls will be scheduled as soon as registration for the first cohort has closed. While I will do my best to take into account student preferences of meeting days/times, I cannot guarantee that I will find a meeting time that will work for everyone. All meetings will be recorded and you will have a chance to presubmit questions if you can't attend live.
Do I need to get an additional certificate or degree to start this kind of business?
You don't need additional certification or advanced training to start an academic support business, but we will cover what additional training you can pursue down the road to further your professional & business goals...but only if you want to.

Why an academic support business & not "tutoring"?

👆 In many ways the academic support you provide to your students will have similarities to tutoring, but with additional layers of case management & targeted academic intervention that addresses learning difference.

🙌 As an educator, you have the training & experience to provide academic support that goes beyond imparting subject knowledge to include working with students with a variety of learning differences.

✍️ I will walk you through the process of performing initial interviews with students & their families, conducting formal & informal assessments & developing individualized learning goals.

👍 You don't need additional certification or advanced training to start an academic support business, but we will cover what additional training you can pursue down the road to further your professional & business goals...but only if you want to.

Make money doing the thing you love

"During her time working with my daughter, Maria has been able to identify my daughter's challenge areas, structure a plan to overcome those challenges and provided my daughter with a roadmap for improvement. Not only has my daughter’s achievement dramatically improved, but she has adopted a growth mindset which bolsters her confidence when taking on academic challenges."

- Roxanne Christophe, Founder & CEO, Girls Crushing It

Get started now!

Courses Included with Purchase

Finally! Executive Functioning Explained
A FREE mini-course demystifying executive functioning skills and how they develop (or don't).
Strong Math Foundations
A 5-Module Online Course for Building Student Fact Fluency & Number Sense
Maria Howard
Assessing Math Beyond the Right Answer
An Online Workshop for 1st-6th Grade Educators
Classroom Hero
A step-by-step guide to supporting your struggling, disorganized students, including students with ADHD & anxiety
Maria Howard

Original Price: $498

Have any questions or hesitations about joining the group?

Email me at: [email protected]


Are you in?