This post is from guest contributor and personal trainer Sheila Olson at FitSheila.com.
Teaching used to bring home a middle-class salary. Now, it’s becoming a precarious profession. According to World Population Review, in 2021 the median salary for teachers is $64,524. Considering that the median household income in the U.S. is $68,700, that may not seem like a bad wage. However, teachers strikes have occurred because their pensions are being taken away, and they sometimes have to pay for their own classroom materials. At the same time, teachers also get summers off, which is rare for any field.
So if you’re looking to supplement your income, consider looking into the benefits of gig sites like Upwork and learn how to make good money on those platforms. In addition, here are some other side gigs that you can weave into your school-year schedule, courtesy of My MLL Mentor.
A seamless transition between teaching and taking on a side gig is tutoring. While that may sound like penny-pinching, tutoring as an industry is estimated to rake in between $6 billion and $8 billion annually. Figure out your niche. If you’re an English teacher, tutor kids in spelling, grammar, basic composition, or even resume-writing and crafting a college admissions essay. If you teach science, you might help them brush up on physics, biology and chemistry. Decide whether you’re comfortable tutoring your former or incoming students, and jump-start a website to get referrals through word-of-mouth.
Another side job that taps into your skill-set would be blogging. Decide what your blog is going to be about, and again, draw from your profession. If you’re an English teacher, you might start on your short story collection or the novel you daydream about as you’re lecturing about the classics. If you’re a history teacher, travel to national parks or Civil War battlefields and write some travel history that makes your lesson plans come to life. Then, as Neil Patel suggests, invite people to comment on your blog to build a loyal readership; more followers may translate into more ad revenue.
Renting out space in your home isn’t for everyone, but many people find that putting up their property on Airbnb provides a low-maintenance income stream. Certainly, Airbnb horror stories abound. But it’s also a popular way to make some cash because it’s so convenient. Airbnb gives you the platform to advertise your property and keeps track of the money you make, which helps come tax time.
Also, you can choose whether you want to rent out your entire place, just a room, or a few bunk beds and a credenza in the basement for whoever wants to crash for the night. By some estimates, you can make six figures renting out one property alone. Of course, it might take a while to get there, depending on the market you’re in.
Any worthwhile side-hustle needs its own workspace, which you can design in your home for minimal cost. Find a place where you want to work. Whether it's a quiet corner or a separate room, choose a spot where you can escape the family ruckus and concentrate. Try to bring in as much natural light as possible, and buy good overhead lighting if needed. Don't forget to outfit your workspace with a quality desk and chair for maximum productivity.
When It's Time to Form a Legal Business Entity
There is much to consider when starting a new business venture, and one step often overlooked is the process of forming a legal business entity. Completed with your state, depending on the entity type you choose (LLC, S-Corp, and 10+ other business structures recognized by state governments), this process can be completed in around five steps such as with an LLC, or it may potentially be a much more complex task with other business types. Using an online formation service like ZenBusiness greatly simplifies the process. Careful consideration is needed to be sure you are selecting an entity type with the requisite flexibility and security to be sure you can spend the majority of time working ON your new business, instead of working IN it.
Like any job, teaching comes with its share of challenges. But people do it because they love hanging out with kids and, with any luck, watching them delight in learning. No one’s saying teachers should switch directions mid-career. However, if you are looking to supplement your income, consider some of these side gigs. They could bolster your bank account or lead you to a new career that you may enjoy just as much as you ever did teaching.
My MLL Mentor is chock full of information, instruction and advice for ESL teachers and learners. Contact her today!
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I support middle and high school teachers through monthly lesson plans, coaching, and guest speaker offerings in our Secondary ESL Teacher Membership.