Want to become a Teacherpreneur and grow your impact and income as a teacher? Read this guide.
So you love to teach and help your students become better versions of themselves, and that’s fantastic.
Teachers are an invaluable part of our community. Without someone to educate, we, as a society, couldn’t learn, nor could we grow.
Every teacher, from elementary school to retraining courses, makes our modern lives possible.
Now what if you aspire to step out of the classroom and reach more people, pursue a forgotten passion, or just want a new professional challenge? What’s going to be your next step?
What about becoming a Teacherpreneur? That’s right, you could become an entrepreneur teacher!
First, you’ll need a gameplan.
There’s little point leaving a profession if you don’t have a clear plan – all that will do is put impossible stress on you to ‘get it together’ and overall lower your productivity (especially if you’re still working at your school).
Teachers are natural entrepreneurs
“Entrepreneur” can seem like a very scary word, we get it. It can feel like it’s only for the tech-gurus, or at least those who are ‘innovative,’ ‘savvy,’ and ‘passionate.’
But what do these words mean?
We think that innovative means refining and rearranging lesson plans so that every student in the class understands a concept.
We think savvy is being able to juggle around 1500 educational decisions in a day, to accommodate students, parents, and other staff members.
We think passion is putting in the extra time and the extra care to know and help your students, and not resting until every single one is over the line. In fact, teachers can make the best entrepreneurs because they know how to respond quickly and calmly to changing situations, and understand how to balance love for their work with the practicalities of it.
What environment can possibly be more dynamic than a classroom, where everything is constantly in flux?
And what teacher hasn’t had to force themselves to stop grading papers so they can eat dinner, sleep, or see their kids?
As you can see, a lot of the traits that make up an entrepreneur many teachers already possess!
Related: What Effective Teachers and Successful Entrepreneurs Have in Common
To be successful as a teachepreneur what you’ll need to learn is how to package up your knowledge and get it into the hands of the people who are wanting to learn it (who are willing to pay for it).
So let’s look at some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Entrepreneur ideas for teachers
1. Sell Lesson Plans & Resources
What if you could package up your lesson plans, the ones you’ve produced over your teaching career, and sell them online? Well you can do that easily with e-commerce platforms like Teachers Pay Teachers.
Many teacherpreneurs that we’ve interviewed are using this exact strategy to grow their business and income online.
2. Create an online course
Teach what you know, or teach what you love. You can create a course on almost anything, and websites like Udemy and Thinkific make it easy for you to put your course online and reach potential students.
There’s a tonne of resources online about how to get started with online courses.
3. Sell an ebook
With the increasing popularity of digital reading devices like Kindle, tablet pcs and others on the market it’s no surprise then that ebooks continue to be a popular way to access knowledge and learning.
If this idea excites you, be sure to read our 5 tips for creating an ebook that people will pay for.
4. Provide a service for others
Are you an English teacher who can research and write compelling blog posts and articles, or have the ability to string powerful sentences together that compel readers to take a specific action?
If yes, then how about writing web copy or articles for time-poor small business owners who would prefer to have someone else write content for them?
Perhaps you’re proficient at multiple languages, so why not offer tutor students online who are looking for someone to teach them a language?
With platforms like Upwork, Freelancer.com and others you make that happen!
Want some more entrepreneur ideas that have proven to work online? Read 7 Ways Teachers Can Make Money Online
Teachers who became entrepreneurs
Being an entrepreneur doesn’t have to mean being the creator of the next Google or Facebook.
How about taking a passion for sharing knowledge to create a business where you create and sell instructional content?
Here are a few examples of teachers who have been able to turn their passion, skills and interests into viable businesses.
Kelli Alaina went from elementary school teacher to earning a living online selling digital products. By listening out for the needs and wants of her audience, Kelli has launched multiple digital products, including an Instagram mini-course, and every one of them has made her over $2,000 within the first few days of launching!
Jarrod Robinson went from being a PE teacher, to becoming The PE Geek – and started a company which is built on giving PE teachers around the world the ability to integrate learning with technology. Read more of Jarrod’s story here.
Then there’s powerhouse couple Jocelyn and Shane Sams. Shane is a social science and football coach, and Jocelyn an elementary school librarian. The couple started the Elementary Librarian Community – an online membership-based community packed with lesson plans and other resources that save thousands of teachers hours of work. During our interview with Jocelyn and Shane they shared that they were making $50,000 per month from their online business.
Related: 10 Successful Teacherpreneurs Share Their Best Tip for Getting Started
So we’ve (hopefully) woken up the entrepreneurial spirit within you, and you’re raring to go. Only question left is how you make the transition.
How to get started as a teacherpreneur
There are some key steps you need to follow.
1. Pick Your Passion (and your buyers)
Never do yourself the disservice of moving from teaching to an industry you don’t love. You will regret it.
It might seem obvious, but sometimes people get caught up in some pressure to match a corporate or previous lifestyle, and forget the most critical part.
However, while it’s easy to sort out what you don’t like and ultimately steer clear, the other half of this process is narrowing in on what you do like and matching that with finding an audience that you can serve.
It’s natural that we all have many hobbies and passions in our lives, however it’s important you pick just one which is where you will be creating your product.
Some key criteria to consider when doing the picking are:
- Is there an audience that I can help, who are also passionate about the same thing?
- Can I create a product in this? You can likely create a product in any field, but consider whether people will buy it, and how easy/ difficult it will be to create.
- Will I enjoy working on this every day? Whilst this may not be a full-time endeavour at first, sometimes monetising an activity can take the joy out of it – so think carefully about what your interactions with this passion are normally like.
- Will this make money? Happiness is a key driver in your decision-making, but you also need to eat: if you can’t sell the product at high enough volumes or prices, it will be difficult to replace the income from your job.
Related Article: How to Build a Life and Business Around Your Passion
2. Develop Your Product
A natural next step, this is where you plan exactly what it is you are going to sell, bringing in all the know-how you already have, and your goals for your business.
It’s critical to stay focussed at this stage – you’re giddy on the freedom of planning your own future through what you love, and can find yourself on endless tangents. Remember that you can only create one product at a time, and so, you have to force yourself to work on just one!
First impressions of your brand matter.
Don’t be afraid to spend a little time on this product, either. If you need to refine, try different versions, do it all. Every product you launch after your first gets progressively easier, as your brand begins to cover for you.
Buyer research is also critical so you’ll want to engage with potential buyers to better understand their frustrations and challenges, and get their feedback on whether or not your solution is something they feel would actually help them and if they’re willing to pay for it.
Also consider joining a mastermind group, where you can get feedback, inspiration, and collaborate with a support network that will last you through the stages of your business.
Looking to connect with and learn from other beginner and more established teacherpreneurs? Join our free private facebook community.
Market Your Launch
You need to set up your business and your personal brand prior to any launch, otherwise people will have no reason to trust you with their money.
A common way to do this is by offering free content, for example blog posts, podcasts, or even free ebooks. It can feel like a betrayal of all your hard work not to monetise all of it, but you need to make your name mean something before people will instinctively come to you.
Mastermind groups and professional connection platforms are particularly good for this: consider how effective LinkedIn is for sharing short original articles. These let everyone know what moves you’re planning on making, and shows off your expertise.
All of this makes your eventual launch a lot more smooth.
We’ve started you on your transformation from teacher to teacherpreneur, now the next stage is to take action!
Put together a rough gameplan (pen on paper is perfectly fine) following the three steps we’ve outlined above. Then set timeframes on when you’ll do each activity, and then go do it!
Want to learn how to automate, delegate, be more productive, enjoy life and take your online business to the next level? Check out our high-level mastermind for educators.