It’s a sad fact: teachers in the U.S. simply don’t make enough money. With low starting salaries and wages that have lost buying power over the years (according to the National Center for Education Statistics), many have to find a side hustle that works with a teacher’s schedule. Is it any wonder teachers are asking, “How can teachers make money online?”
Despite the countless hours you spend outside of the classroom grading papers, preparing lesson plans, and brainstorming activities, it can be tough to make it month to month on a teaching salary.
The good news is that you can use many of the skills you already have to create your own “teacher side hustle” and make additional income to supplement your teaching job.
Watch our video to see how:
Here’s how you do it:
What makes teachers a good fit for knowledge commerce?
In the knowledge economy, teachers are already one step ahead of the crowd. Whether you decide to teach others through a podcast, a newsletter, or simply by creating a course, you already have many of the skills you already need to educate students.
That’s because teachers make fantastic knowledge entrepreneurs. Just think of the topics available to you! For example, you could:
- Create foreign language courses targeted to different age groups
- Teach students how to write better essays
- Help college-bound students prepare for Advanced Placement exams
- Develop a course on how to create an engaging lesson plan
- Teach classes on classroom management
- Help high school students chart their career path
- Teach about another non-education subject that you have expertise in
The best part is, once you create your course, the most time-consuming part is finished. After that, it’s just a matter of marketing it.
And other than answering questions from time to time, the actual teaching part is complete, which makes the extra income from your teacher side hustle almost completely passive. No extra work on your part.
Can teachers really be successful entrepreneurs?
Not only are teachers creating viable businesses, they’re massively successful doing it. They’re helping to transform their students’ lives, and in some cases, they’re creating enough income from their side gig to make it their “main gig.”
Imagine yourself, like them, being able to turn your idea into a digital business, to go from wondering how teachers can make money online to actually living it!
Here are four examples of teachers who have taken their experience and expertise and transformed it into more than just a side hustle.
Ana DiGilio of Simply Skilled Teaching is a former second-grade teacher who offers fun, interactive, and engaging lesson plans for kindergarten through third grade in reading, math, grammar and more.
She taught for 23 years in a suburban New York neighborhood and loved every minute of it, but what she loved the most was planning and creating exciting lessons for her students that cultivated their love of reading, writing, and mathematics.
Today, she shares her experience in small-group reading and math workshops that take the stress out of teaching these difficult yet crucial skills to young students. She also offers a variety of distance-learning bundles, bulletin board displays, and other resources to help spur teacher creativity — even when students can’t be in the classroom.
Keli Calderon of The Smart Money Academy has over two decades of experience as a bilingual elementary school classroom teacher. Knowledge commerce is her second career, starting after she left schoolteaching. She combined her education skills with her knowledge of personal finance and now offers online courses to kids, parents, and teens.
She says, “Kids and teens taking my courses come away with the know-how to build wealth to care for themselves and their loved ones in the future. I not only give them the steps needed to manage and grow their money, but the mindset to believe they can do it.”
A course on how to create courses is what Jeanine Blackwell has created with her selfsame site, JeanineBlackwell.com. Jeanine teaches coaches, authors, and consultants (as well as other teachers) how to find their perfect customer, create and launch a course, and fill it with hungry, eager-to-learn students.
In helping teachers, authors, coaches, and other experts create their courses, Jeanine also helps them eliminate distractions and become laser focused on the things that will actually bring them money.
As part of her business, she offers virtual bootcamps, a newsletter, and self-paced courses.
Sarah Settanni hosts her business, AbundantlyMinimal.com, on Kajabi. She has helped over 50,000 people declutter their homes as a minimalist educator.
Sarah discovered minimalism while watching a TED talk. She realized that this approach isn’t just for decluttering your home. It’s also a valuable way to simplify your food, your beliefs, your relationships, your finances, your carbon footprint, and so much more.
She has created the first plant-based minimalist online cookbook, showing that no matter what niche you choose, you can branch out into different complementary areas.
There are plenty of people online who will teach you how to declutter your home, but Sarah has taken this approach and multiplied it, showing how a minimalist approach — not just to clutter but to everything in life — can help you alleviate stress, improve your relationships with others, and even make the world a better place.
Who knew that a simple course could do all of that?
Many Kajabi Heroes have shared that they were able to launch their website and first product for sale in as little as a few weeks. That means that if you work on your business and content over the summer months, you could potentially launch without taking time away during the school year.
The types of businesses you can build as a knowledge entrepreneur
As a knowledge entrepreneur, the possibilities are wide open to you in terms of businesses you can create. Here are just a few of the ways that teachers and others are making money online:
Courses are the easiest and fastest way to share your knowledge, but they are by no means the only way. Many teachers start off with courses but eventually branch into other areas, offering their courses concurrently with one of the other business ideas below.
Consulting is a great way to make extra money on the side, and if you help people get results with your advice, you could very well turn your consulting gig from a “teacher side hustle” to a full-time job!
Consulting is also a step beyond ordinary courses, since it allows you to give people specific, one-on-one advice or strategies that address their unique needs.
Coaching is similar to consulting in that you’re providing advice and strategy, but rather than telling people what steps to take next, like a consultant would, you’re encouraging them to do so on their own with your guidance and support.
Coaching can take place in a one-on-one setting or in a group setting, or both, depending on what you have to share and how you structure your offer. It’s also a great value-add for courses.
A membership site can offer any or all of the above, but users pay each month for the ability to access information and teachings that no one else has.
The information you provide in your membership site needs to be top notch. It can’t be information that can easily be found with a simple Google search, otherwise potential members won’t see the point in paying for it.
With a membership site, people are coming to you for instruction, but also for guidance, the very latest on your chosen topic, or specific advice than only someone with your background and credentials is trusted enough to give.
As a media company, your task would be to create useful, consumable content, including podcasts, blogs, newsletters, and more. You would then make money through sponsorships with like-minded advertisers who pay you for ad space in your publications.
These are just a few of the possibilities available to you as a knowledge entrepreneur. And the good news: as a teacher, you’ve already got the skills to launch any of these types of businesses — and with Kajabi by your side, you have the technology you need to bring your ideas to life
How to create and teach a course with Kajabi
The examples of successful teachers we shared above are simply scratching the surface when it comes to teachers’ ability to make money online. Countless educators have discovered how easy it is to turn their love of a subject, a grade level, or even the art and science of teaching into a second income.
More than just a teacher side hustle, your knowledge business gives you a way to truly make an impact. Simply by harnessing the skills that you’ve developed over your years of rigorous study and work, and using them to teach a new market online, you’re able to create a business that helps people around the world.
The reward? Eager, engaged students who want to learn — a teacher’s dream come true!
Kajabi helps to simplify this process by removing the need to learn and master all of the moving parts that go into running a business.
First, they make it easy to create digital courses that your students will enjoy. But they don’t stop there. They also give you the business-building tools you need to start and grow a profitable knowledge business.
Kajabi’s comprehensive online platform includes landing page builders, email marketing software, a podcast hosting platform, and more.
Not only that, using Kajabi as your course platform opens up a variety of options you can use to further grow and promote your new “teacher side hustle.” As an online educator, you can create courses that dive into the advanced concepts that are rarely taught in the classroom. This allows your students to learn more complex concepts and ideas beyond ordinary course content.
Want to expand your business to new student groups or course topics? No problem. Kajabi pipelines allow you to market your products to specific groups — for example, beginning learners, intermediate learners, and advanced learners — or to segment by grade level or topic.
You’re in complete control of your course development
As a knowledge entrepreneur, you have full control over how you develop your lessons. There’s no sudden uprooting of your lesson plans because of scheduling changes or new guidelines. You have complete freedom to teach your way.
And once you’ve created your course — using video, audio, slideshows or any combination of learning materials — Kajabi makes marketing it just as easy!
By integrating all of the best marketing tools into one seamless platform, you can concentrate on sharing your knowledge, while our experts work behind the scenes to give you the software you need to attract paying students who want to learn more.
Use Kajabi to create a mailing list for new students, so you can welcome them into the group. Create a list for former students as well. That way you can keep them up-to-date on your business and course offerings.
You can also use Kajabi to create a podcast. Today, knowledge entrepreneurs are using podcasts to share their ideas, reach eager listeners with comprehensive tips, tricks, and strategies, and position themselves as a recognizable authority in their chosen subject or niche.
Getting started is easy. You can read our guide to starting a successful podcast here.
You may also choose to distill your knowledge into a paid newsletter, where users subscribe every month for lesson plans, bulletin board ideas, course materials, and much more.
Expand beyond the course
Your course itself can be a great teacher side hustle, but you don’t have to stop there. It pays to dream big!
Imagine a line of supplemental products based around your course, such as templates, tricks, material packets, checklists, and other types of goodies. If your students struggle with a particular skill, all you have to do is create a system or solution that can help them find success.
For example, teachers are always short on time, with a to-do list that seems to stretch on forever. So if you’re teaching the art of teaching — skills such as classroom management, lesson plan development, and so on — anything you can provide that streamlines an activity or saves time is going to be hugely popular.
Many teachers already sell these supplemental items on Teachers Pay Teachers, but they take a 20-45% cut of the sale price. Kajabi doesn’t take a fee, so depending on your earnings, you could have higher profit margins with Kajabi.
As you can see, when it comes to teachers making money online, the opportunities are endless. Don’t limit yourself to reading, writing, and arithmetic. There’s already a hungry audience of people wanting to learn your specific skills, who are discovering your niche or topic for the first time, or are looking for an expert to help them learn more.
That being the case, the question isn’t just, “How can teachers make money online?” It’s more about how you choose to do it, and whether you want to keep your side gig on the side or ultimately replace your full-time job.
Hear from a teacher and business owner
Check out this video from Jamie Sears, CEO of Not So Wimpy Teacher, as she talks about understanding what customers actually want - not what you think they should want. If you're a teacher launching an online business, take this advice to heart!
Why Kajabi works well for teachers
Of course, no one is going to argue that teaching isn’t a labor of love, with a heavy dose of passion mixed in. You truly love what you do. That’s why Kajabi works so well for teachers who want to make money online.
We take care of the tech. You only need to to share your knowledge with the world, so anyone, anywhere, can get the full benefit of your instruction.
Interested in learning more? Join us for live Q&A webinars every day, Monday through Friday. Register today to learn everything you need to know to succeed as a knowledge entrepreneur, including selling products, Kajabi themes, pipelines, webinars, and the Kajabi Partner Program.
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