Guest article written by Dustin Chambers, Education Magazine
Teachers make extra money, Today!
Summer is the perfect time to begin a side job, project, or consulting work. At Education Magazine, we are constantly examining new trends in technology, education, and business. Recently, we’ve noticed some great emerging opportunities for those who want to start a business. We have filtered these emerging opportunities down to the top 25 that are ideally suited to educators.
While some of these ideas may seem “small”, it’s important to remember that many of today’s most successful businesses started out with similarly “small” business models, often unrelated to what they are famous for today. For example, Pearson, the education publishing giant, started out as a construction and contracting business. The science publisher, MacMillan, began by providing information to cancer patients. Obscure, small beginnings can often blossom into thriving businesses.
While this list does feature some business ideas that require technological knowledge, all of the required skills can be learned quickly. Getting started can be as easy as asking the teenager down the street to do the “heavy” tech lifting, or searching Google for an answer. Initially, the learning curve for any new endeavor can be steep, but the potential long-term rewards are real. Consider the following quotes which offer great perspective on starting something new:
“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives, and led them well.” – Theodore Roosevelt
“Everything is easy once you know how.” – Attributed to many
We broke down the top 25 ways teachers can make extra money. Tap on any of the categories below to jump to the related business ideas.
Traditional: These opportunities might be the most familiar to veteran educators. We put a unique spin on them and show how simply they can be started and grown.
Consultative: Consulting is a booming business, especially in education. We introduce two methods well suited for educators, as well as two brand new technologies that are making it easier than ever to book clients.
Technology: While these opportunities are technology-oriented, they are all easy to learn, and you can start them right away with minimal knowledge of technology or programming.
Service platforms: These online platforms offer an incredible place where educators can get in on the ground floor of emerging trends. These platforms are well suited for starting service-based businesses that require little to no start-up capital. Participation in many of these platforms is analogous to being listed in the first yellow page book. Most of these platforms are well-funded, and have budgets dedicated to promoting new entrants—potentially you!
Publishing: Until recently, breaking into the publishing industry was nearly impossible for small newcomers. That has all changed, and technology has obliterated the traditional barriers to entry. Now is the time to start publishing. We describe some near-term opportunities that are perfectly suited for educators.
Here are Education Magazine’s top twenty-five business ideas for educators to start this summer:
Teach an online class. Instead of teaching and re-teaching every great lesson plan, why not record them and build up a great library of instructional videos perfect for Udemy, or any other Massively Open Online Course (MOOC) provider? Although MOOCs are usually the domain of college-level courses, parents of home-schooled children are increasingly turning to these online resources to supplement their children’s learning. The Udemy platform is a lot like any online university course. The student body consists of anyone wanting to learn more about a certain topic or skill. The experts who deliver the courses are people with relevant topical knowledge or skills.
To launch your course, all you need to do is create a free account, upload your lecture videos, and write descriptions for each. You can price your course as you see fit, or offer it for free. If you record your videos while teaching during school time, your teaching agreement will likely prohibit you from selling the recording. If, however, you deliver a lesson or lecture and record it elsewhere, that restriction might not apply (You should carefully read your teaching contract to verify what is permissible.)
Join Teachers Pay Teachers (www.TeachersPayTeachers.com) If you aren’t on Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) yet, now is the time to sign up. Creating a lesson plan for use in your own classroom is a sunk cost. Wouldn’t it be nice to reclaim or offset these high, fixed costs? TPT enables you do this through the sale of your lesson plans to other teachers. The buyers win by saving time and getting access to the best lesson plans, while you, the seller, are compensated for the long hours that you devote to lesson plan development. This is a mutually beneficial collaboration. Check out other teacher websites too.
As you build up your TPT store, you can do many things to help set it apart. Study the most successful stores on TPT, and see what works for them. You can conduct joint ventures with other teachers, whereby you promote each other’s stores or products.
Become a public speaker. Did you know that many experts (including those in education) are routinely paid between $500 and $10,000 for a single speech? There is a reason the reward for public speaking is so large: it can be unnerving, and it takes courage! Local clubs and civic organizations routinely look for local speakers who are helping the community through their work. Are you opinionated on a topic? Volunteer to speak at a local event. Make sure to record your speech and scrutinize it. With practice, you will improve in just a short amount of time. As you perfect your speech and your technique, you will be ready to deliver it to a paying audience.
Become a personal tutor. Initially, offer tutoring to students at your own grade level, or in your field of curriculum expertise. For example, if you are an expert at AP Math, become the premier AP Math tutor in your area. You’ll have little competition, and will help struggling students. You can begin advertising your services by posting an ad on Craigslist, or pinning a flyer to your local coffee shop’s bulletin board. Have fun by testing different advertisements to see which one gets the highest response rate.
Become an online tutor. If you’re already technology-inclined, offer your tutoring services via Skype or Google Hangouts. You’ll eliminate the need to travel, and you’ll be able to service a much larger market. You can advertise on bulletin boards, Craigslist, or LinkedIn. Alternatively, you can start a blog, and with some sweat equity, it will be fairly easy to show up well in Google search results for phrases like “math tutor in your city and state.” For scheduling, use Google Calendar or Schedule Once Mailer. You can take payments via your blog with PayPal or Gumroad. Helping a hard-working student for one hour each night is a great way to earn a couple hundred extra dollars a week.
Set up websites and blogs. Tumblr (www.Tumblr.com), and WordPress make it surprisingly easy to start a blog. Likewise, setting up a website can be a breeze with SquareSpace (www.squarespace.com) and Shopify (www.Shopify.com).
Once you feel comfortable, start setting up blogs or e-commerce websites for others, and charge a small fee. Website building is a skill that’s in high demand, and will enable you to help anyone from fellow educators to local businesses.
Take advantage of affiliate marketing opportunities. Affiliate marketing is a process by which you are paid for promoting and selling other people’s products. This marketing model is the foundation of many successful businesses, like Mary Kay, Avon, Apple, and Amazon. In the world of online products, affiliate marketing usually works by providing you with a special link to a product which you in turn share with your social network, or post on your blog/website. When people click on these special links and make purchases, you get a percentage of the sales made. Most companies have free affiliate programs. Be cautious of affiliate programs that have monthly fees, or are not free to join. While some affiliate programs are complicated to set up, there are newer ones that are fairly simple. For instance, (shameless plug alert!), we just launched an affiliate program for Education Magazine. We think it is the best and easiest affiliate program in the education space. Here’s how our program works, after any purchase we’ll send you an e-mail with your unique affiliate link to share. You’ll earn 50% of any sale that is made after someone clicks through. You’ll have your cash via PayPal. Even if you don’t have a PayPal account, easy-to-follow instructions will walk you through the simple steps to receive your cash. What could be easier than sharing a link and getting half of the sale? Our affiliate program is uncapped, so even if a school purchases a volume subscription, you’ll still earn half. For perspective, Apple and Amazon pay affiliates a mere 4%-10% of the total amount of sales made. We think 50% is much better!
Become a social media community manager. This job just entails sharing content and responding to customers on various social media platforms. There are a huge number of education start-ups around the country who are constantly searching for social media community managers. Many local businesses desperately need help building a social media community, but can’t afford to hire a social media “guru”. As such, they would be happy to hire relatively inexpensive freelance managers who enjoy social media. If you spend a lot of time on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn, you’re probably well suited for the job. If you’re addicted to Pinterest, many companies would love to pay you to pin for them.
Join Elance. Elance (www.Elance.com) is a great place to find freelance work of many kinds. The demand is huge for writers, editors, proofreaders, designers, and many other professionals. On Elance, you can specify your hourly pay rate, create a profile, and start applying for jobs. Potential clients post their jobs, and you bid based on the amount of work the job entails. If you’re awarded a job, the client funds an escrow account. After you deliver your work, the money is sent to your bank account. Many companies can’t afford to hire full-time employees or temporary staffers. These employers are canvassing sites like Elance to find qualified applicants for freelance work. Although most projects are small, some can extend on for several months.
Join oDesk. oDesk (www.odesk.com) is similar to Elance. If you sign up for freelance or consulting projects on Elance, copy and paste your profile into oDesk as well. It’s a great way to double your chances of landing freelance assignments.
Set up an Etsy storefront. While Elance and oDesk are great for consulting and freelance work, you may be more of an artisan. Have family members raved about your art and crafts skills? Are you addicted to crocheting? Etsy is the easiest way to set up an online craft store. It is extremely simple, and in a single afternoon you can be selling your creations on Etsy. Just browsing the other storefronts of local creative types can be a lot of fun. Seeing what’s available will give you plenty of ideas about opening a store of your own. Etsy is a marketplace that’s growing quickly, and perfect for artists and craftspeople.
Set up a Shopify store. Do you want to open an e-commerce store? Shopify is the easiest and cheapest way to set up a fully-functioning e-commerce store. You can sell anything from lesson plans to t-shirts. Getting set up with a free trial only requires a few clicks. In moments, you can have a live website. If you don’t want to ship products yourself, you can link your store to fulfillment centers, and have them take care of delivering orders for you. This is a great, turn-key solution for people who want to get into e-commerce.
Set up Shopify stores for others. New Shopify stores are emerging at an incredible pace. Shopify can’t keep up with demand, and has opened up its doors to outside consultants. If you can set up your own Shopify store, you can be paid to help others set up their stores. Once you know how to set up a Shopify store, register yourself as a partner on the site. You can then start consulting, and help others who are trying to figure out how to open a store. Shopify experts are paid anywhere from $500 to $5,000 to set up a single store for clients. This is based on the level of customization required. But once you figure out how to set up a store yourself, you’re enough of an expert to help others who don’t understand the basics. Making an extra $500 every weekend helping others set up a store is a quick way to build a business. Once you’re familiar with the process, setting up stores for clients can take as little as one to three days. If you can set up two stores a week at $500 per store, you could potentially earn $4,000 a month of side income. Considering that several hundred new storefronts open daily on Shopify, becoming knowledgeable about e-commerce can quickly turn into a thriving business.
Join MicroLancer. MicroLancer (www.microlancer.com) is a new freelance site for graphic artists. If you’re a talented designer, MicroLancer is a great place to offer your services. It’s similar to Elance and oDesk, except that you create a profile and offer your creative services. MicroLancer’s parent company offers graphic resources to thousands of consumers daily. This greatly improves the likelihood that many potential customers will browse your MicroLancer profile.
Rent unused space with Airbnb. Airbnb (www.airbnb.com) is rapidly becoming a household name, and rightfully so. The service enables you to rent out any extra space you have in your home, allowing you to literally turn your home into an instant bed and breakfast. You can put your home or apartment on Airbnb right now, and make money this week. Check out other listings to see how to advertise your space. All of the technical details are handled by Airbnb. To get started, just take pictures of the space you would like to rent, and upload them to the site. The photos don’t have to be amazing. Renters will find your listing and request to stay with you. Renting a room through Airbnb is a great way to help subsidize the mortgage.
Join TaskRabbit. (www.TaskRabbit.com) TaskRabbit is the best place to find professionals to hire for quick, service-related tasks and errands. Individuals and business use TaskRabbit to contract out chores they just don’t have time to complete. The job listings on TaskRabbit range from running errands to basic office work. You can offer your services for hire, or hire others on TaskRabbit. If you think you’re too busy to start a business this summer, try contracting out some of your time-consuming errands on TaskRabbit. The extra time you save may enable you to spend more time with your family, or make it possible to start a business.
Sell services on Zarrly (www.Zarrly.com). Do you make the best chocolate-chip cookies in Mississippi? Are you the best classroom organizer your school system has ever seen? Zarrly lets you instantly put up a storefront to sell your services. They take all the work out of setting up a website, building traffic, and finding customers. Whether you’re selling cookies, cakes, homemade goodies, or organizing services, Zarrly is a great place to do it.
Join Fiverr (www.Fiverr.com). This is probably the quickest and easiest place of all to start a service-based business. Fiverr is a marketplace where service providers offer up brief “gigs” for $5. While it might not seem like a lot, many “gigs” take providers only minutes to complete. Examples of gigs include reviewing and editing an article, or writing a 300-word blog post. Best of all, service providers can include more services to extend their gigs. For instance, many writers on Fiverr charge only $5 for writing a 300-word blog post. But, to get more writing or research included in the article, you must purchase a $10 or even $20 service. Fiverr integrates this seamlessly into the customer experience. Teachers and educators with years of experience proofreading can easily price editing services at $5, $10, and $20 depending on the amount of editing. As you can see from the listings on Fiverr, this is a community where the gigs range from very valuable to hilariously trivial. There is some opportunity here for professionals who will treat their gigs like a serious business.
Publishing-Make Money at Home
As you browse our business ideas for publishing, keep in mind that publishing a book can be as simple as:
Typing your content in Word
Outsourcing the cover
Outsourcing the editing
Outsourcing the publishing
Publish a non-fiction book. There has never been a better time to publish non-fiction books and how-to guides on Amazon. Did you just land a job as a teacher? Did you just get promoted? Can you instruct others on how to accomplish similar feats? You may be surprised about the demand on Amazon for non-fiction. Plus, Amazon will actually market your books for you. When you publish your book, Amazon will send out targeted e-mails to their customers who may be interested in your work. They’ll also show your book in the sidebar of Kindles belonging to readers who have purchased similar books.
Publish a Common Core curriculum guide to help teachers modify their lessons to conform to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Thousands of teachers from around the country are confused about how to implement the CCSS. Sharing how you’ve implemented the CCSS for your grade level (or subject), can make for a great self-published how-to guide.
Publishing fiction. Fiction sells briskly on Amazon. The length of these e-books ranges anywhere from 50 page pamphlets to thousand-page tomes. Works of fiction that sell for only $2.99 on Amazon routinely pull in hundreds of dollars a day for relatively unknown authors.
Online research. With so much publishing activity taking place, researchers are more sought after than ever. If you enjoy problem solving and are detail-oriented, there are a wealth of part-time jobs involving researching article and book topics for other individuals and businesses.
Consult for education companies. Education companies routinely pay money to get perspective and opinions from educators. If you are willing to spend a few minutes searching online, chances are you can turn up plenty of consulting opportunities from educational publishers like McGraw Hill, Pearson, MacMillan, and Cengage. You might only be able to work sporadically at first, but this can turn into steady work. One of our regular contributors, Bettina Postles, has served as a consultant to companies like Pearson, McGraw Hill, Capella, Boeing, and others eager to get feedback on their STEM related education initiatives.
LinkedIn consulting. The by-products of your professional work can be in high demand. Did you just set up an awesome LinkedIn account? Are other teachers envious of your LinkedIn recommendations, skills, and keywords? You can set up and help optimize accounts for other professionals. LinkedIn is the new resume of the future. Becoming a LinkedIn expert is one example of learning a skill, and offering consulting based on it. It’s also a great way to network and future-proof your own job.
Join Clarity (www.Clarity.fm). This site is probably the best place to offer experience-based advice. Imagine if the first yellow pages were being printed right now. Imagine you could claim your spot as the ONLY consultant or tutor for a specific niche. This opportunity exists on Clarity. The site is a way for experts on any subject to dispense their knowledge, and be compensated for their services. Simply set up a profile and list the subjects in which you are an expert. If you’ve taught third grade for years, chances are you have thousand times the experience of a young parent with a struggling third-grader. Declare yourself to be the third-grade guru. You specify the times you’re available for phone consulting, and clients can book times as they browse your profile. Clarity handles the billing and details.
Join LiveNinja (www.LiveNinja.com). This site is similar to Clarity, except that it is video-based. This is the perfect place to offer guided homework help for children of busy families. Just like Clarity, you will need to set up an account, and LiveNinja handles the rest. By setting up accounts on both Clarity and LiveNinja, you can double your chances of being hired.
We hope you enjoyed our list, and found some business ideas that are a good fit for you. If any of these ideas inspire you to start a successful side-business, we would love to hear from you and feature your success in a future issue of Education Magazine.
Do you know of any other ways teachers can start a business or make extra money?