Originally published on August 17, 2021 and updated on June 14, 2022.
Today we’re addressing what is affectionally called the side hustle: ways educators can earn additional income beyond their teaching duties.
In a sane world, teaching would be one of the highest-paid professions. As we’re all well aware, the reality is that teachers in the US have an income gap between what they are paid vs. their cost of living. According to a PEW Research Study, 1 of 6 teachers in the United States have second jobs year-round, not just during the summer. And while part-time jobs can be lucrative, they can also be draining, especially after a day of teaching. But there is hope! Read on to see resources and options to help you find the best side hustle for you.
First, consider hobbies, skills, or talents you could share with the world. What educator skills would be helpful to people outside the field? Think of places you love to shop or visit, your favorite ways to stretch your creativity, and the time you realistically have for a side hustle. Each of these factors plays into how you create your side hustle experience. Remember to look for balance in the extra commitment, along with attention to balance, time management, time away from family, and flexibility.
There are side hustles built especially for teachers, like selling lesson plans, templates, and handouts through Teachers Pay Teachers. Investigating this avenue is a great first step, especially if you have purchased from this marketplace and have been pleased with the result. Here’s a tutorial for selling on Teachers Pay Teachers to get you started!
All About Education
A few times when I was teaching, I researched how to transfer skills to different opportunities with writing, proofing, and editing as my side hustle.
Finding people who need your services can happen organically: through word of mouth in your community or social media networks, local colleges or universities, bulletin boards at your local coffee shop, or you can go big time by joining a marketplace. There will be a fee for the larger skill-focused marketplaces and of course, they will take a cut, but your qualifications will have a bigger reach. Start local, and get the word out through friends and family to build interest before you commit to something larger.
An important piece of advice to those pursuing a side hustle through writing, editing, or proofing skills: don’t lowball yourself, or complete writing jobs for free! Consider what you want your per-hour rate to be and stick to it. Keep in mind, sometimes the online marketplaces set your rate according to education, experience, and demonstrated skills. The following resources are geared toward writing and education side hustles:
From Teacher Career Coach: “5 Career Pivots for Teachers Who Love Writing.”
“Writing Jobs for Teachers: 13 Publications That Pay $100+ Per Article,” from WritingRevolt.com
“Get Paid to Write Online: 20 Awesome Websites That Pay $50 to $2000,” from Boss Single Mama
There are many ways to connect food to a side hustle, and an obvious first suggestion is to investigate bartending, serving, or another task as a member of a restaurant’s staff. These resto-related jobs can be lucrative but require both physical stamina and a commitment to hours worked. If energetic and people-facing jobs appeal to you, I’d highly recommend researching this option.
Have a banana bread that knocks your friends’ socks off? Do people request your special blackberry jam? Feel like creating seasoning mixes from your garden herbs? Dig into the idea of selling your creations! You’ll want to research regulations for selling food, but once you’ve learned, go for it! You can even investigate how you can sell your well-tested recipes to other food lovers and aspiring cooks!
Playground for Your Brain
Explore your local gift shops and specialty stores. Often, they pay above minimum wage, have flexible work times, and even offer generous discounts on employee purchases. If you like working with customers in a team atmosphere, I’d highly recommend seeking out part-time employment in an established retail business as a possible side-hustle. Be prepared to use that discount!
Do you have any hidden creative talents? Use these talents to create and sell your homemade crafts to boost your income, and give your brain a needed creativity break.
Like every side hustle, this route takes a bit of preparation and research to determine where and how you would like to sell your fine creations. Social media is a solid place to start, with free advertising and great access to buyers. There is power in working with a marketplace model like Etsy, but don’t overlook organizations in your community holding craft sales (especially in November/December). Plus, small businesses in your area may work with you using a consignment model: they take a percentage of your sales, and you are responsible for the display, inventory, and refreshing the selection.
No matter what you choose, it’s a wonderful thing to be rewarded for something you enjoy. As with the freelancing we discussed above, you need to make sure you are paid what you are worth. Remember, how much you make and sell is completely under your control- don’t overwork yourself! Once this side hustle stops feeling like a great creative outlet, consider shifting to another idea to protect your passion.
There are too many side hustle ideas to include here, so definitely look around and chat with your colleagues. No matter your side hustle, look for ways to fuel your passion so you can maintain balance, and enjoy your work—all of it!
Looking for more resources to get started on your side hustle? Check out “Best Side Hustles for Teachers,” from SideHustleNation.com.