Turning Your Teaching Degree Into an Online Business
Many teachers spend their summers working part-time jobs to bring in more income. These jobs range from traditional service jobs in restaurants and construction or education-related jobs such as summer school and one-off tutoring. But teachers heading back into the classroom this fall don’t have to give up their extra summer income if they don’t want to. In fact, they can use their teaching degree and experience to reinforce their career options and continue to earn a side income as educational entrepreneurs.
What Is Educational Entrepreneurship?
Educational entrepreneurship refers to a teacher-designed side business that directly relates to education, teaching and coaching. This work can be done independently as a consultant or sole proprietor, or it can be done as a registered LLC or partnership.
Depending on your skills, drive and the amount of time you wish to invest, these projects can be very lucrative. Some tutors make $25-75+ per hour advertising their services on websites such as Wyzant, University Tutor, Varsity Tutor, and Tutor.com. Other educators sell classroom-based products through independent websites, such as Jocelyn Sams of Elementary Librarian. Sams offers a membership opportunity for access to hundreds of lesson plans and resources for elementary school librarians across the United States.
How to Get Started as an Educational Entrepreneur
Starting a business is a complicated and wide-reaching process that requires attention to detail and plenty of research. Here’s a very basic look at how you could get started as an educational entrepreneur:
- Educate yourself about the business world. The first step in starting any business is to educate yourself about the market, the process of setting up a business, and committing the time and resources to doing so. Use free resources such as the Small Business Administration, Entrepreneur, Forbes and simple Google searches to get a general understanding of how your business would work.
- Identify a specific customer. Figure out who you’d like to serve with your business (Other teachers? The students themselves? School districts?) and brainstorm products and services you could offer to make their lives easier.
- Make a time commitment. Running a small business can quickly eat up your free time. Figure out exactly how much time you need to put into your business to meet your income or productivity goals and compare that with how much time you have available for your side business. Set expectations up front to avoid burnout or dissatisfaction later.
- Put yourself online. Work within your network (or teach yourself) to set up your business with your LinkedIn profile or a simple, low-cost website or blog through WordPress, Wix, or SquareSpace. The Life After Teaching community also maintains a strong Life After Teaching LinkedIn group that current and former teachers are welcome to join.
As with all small business ideas, educational entrepreneurship represents enormous opportunity to use the skills that come with teaching in the classroom to create a side-income and enhance your skills as a teacher. Use these ideas as a jumping-off point if you want to continue working throughout the school year.