How To Make 65 Bucks And Hour Teaching Others To Play Video Games
Tom Taylor never expected to be a player in the business world; he just wanted to play video games. But as he got better and better, his passion for competitive gaming--and his desire to share his expertise with others--grew. Last year, Taylor, a top-five rated player in the pro-gaming circuit, started a video game coaching business to help others who wanted to improve their games.
"I wanted to offer them a shortcut so they didn't have to go through what I did to learn," says Taylor, who started playing video games at age 7.
Running his business, Gaming-Lessons, out of his Jupiter, Fla., home, Taylor draws dozens of clients from middle-school kids to middle-aged parents and from college students to celebrities. Some dream of going professional. Others simply want bragging rights over friends and family who play. Whatever their reasons for signing up, they all have one thing in common: "These are people who hate losing," Taylor says.
Taylor and his staff, most of whom are in their late teens or early 20s, charge between $25 and $65, depending on the instructor's skill level and availability, for one-hour tutoring sessions in Microsoft's "Halo 2" or Nintendo Co.'s "Super Smash Brothers Melee." Students can purchase lessons online, choose instructors from bios listing their specialties and book sessions on the site's virtual calendar. Taylor even has an 8-year-old gamer on hand to work with grade-schoolers.
"Each instructor focuses on different things," Taylor says. "I like to teach the mental aspects of the game."
Instructors conduct Halo 2 classes over Xbox Live, Microsoft's online game service, where users can play against each other. Communicating through a headset with an Internet phone line, teachers help students hone their jumping, shooting and grenade-throwing skills and develop battle tactics and strategies. The idea for the business started as a favor. Taylor was helping Richard Jefferson--a New Jersey Nets basketball player whom he met at a competition--ramp up his "Halo 2" skills and saw a market for his services.
Once he set up his Web site, Taylor received more inquires than he could handle. He recruited other top players to help him and raised his fees to attract more serious students. His toughest decision was firing a few instructors––who were good friends––when they couldn't handle the workload.
"My friends always tell me, 'I wish I had your life.' And I wouldn't have it any other way," he says. "I love playing video games, but most of all, I love doing it for a living."
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