Most teachers don’t join the profession for the amazing paycheck. In fact, the average teacher salary in the US has decreased since 2000. For one in three teachers, their salary isn’t enough to make ends meet. They are forced to pursue a second job, whether after school, in the summer, or both. However, between grading papers and helping students after hours, teachers have to make the most of their time when they seek a second job. These are some of the most lucrative side hustles for teachers looking to supplement their salaries.
#1 Virtual Assistant
A virtual assistant (VA) is the most pandemic-proof side hustles, because it always has been and will always be already virtual! This means teachers can assist other business people from the comfort of their homes. VAs typically make an average of $19.15 per hour, according to Indeed, based on 1.6 thousand salary reports.
Sabrina Watson, a Kansas teacher who side hustles as a VA, was inspired to take on this second career when her own children were learning from home during the pandemic. She was inspired by a program for new freelancers building their business, Micala Quinn’s “Overwhelmed to Overbooked,” which Watson says lead to an entire network of supportive VAs that helped her get her start.
So what does a VA do? Watsons says, “I can honestly do anything you ask. My specialties are creating graphics, updating blog posts, research, editing audio and video, curating and scheduling social media and Pinterest. I also strategize, plan and execute goals, and more! I have learned how to do so much already and know that I’m not done yet.” Her income goal is to make as much as her teacher salary, but she says income will depend on how many hours teachers have to put into this side hustle.
#2 Building courses and seminars
What do teachers know better than lesson planning and teaching others lessons? Courses and seminars come naturally to most teachers, and can be monetized so that they aren’t reteaching the same content over and over, but rather selling pre-recorded seminars through their websites.
Teacher Mark Nelson of Knoxville, Tennessee started dabbling in this side hustle when he went through colon cancer surgery and bankruptcy, and wanted to make more money. “I tried multi-level marketing and real estate…lost my shirt,” he says. Then he began affiliate marketing and started making money, specifically $500 to $1,000 per month. Now, he teaches people through courses how to build an online presence, create an email list, start a podcast, and he even teaches a course about launching online courses. He predicts his upcoming course launching in April will bring in $20,000. He says other course makers can make 6 figures by launching a course three or four times per year.
“Selling courses is very lucrative, but there is a learning curve. Being a teacher making courses is easy. Finding the right audience and marketing your course is a challenge.” He recommends focusing on your passions or things you’ve been successful at, and using that for course material.
#3 Private tutoring
While private tutoring used to have the added obligation of finding a place to actually tutor kids, whether in your house, their house, or in a public space, the pandemic has removed this obstacle and the potential commute involved. Virtual private tutoring for all ages is one of the more lucrative side hustles for teachers, as they are already naturally qualified and talented at working one on one with students. A highly qualified teacher with some experience tutoring can make up to $100 per hour, depending on location and expertise. However, this can range greatly depending on age group, needs, and location. Most tutors average $25-$80 per hour. Regardless, tutoring is much higher than minimum wage, and it has the added benefit of building your own schedule.
You can also optimize your time by pairing two or three students who are working on similar content into the same hour for a slightly lower rate for each, equaling more money for you. This has the added benefit of the students learning from each other.
If you’d rather use a program or service, they will take a cut of your tutoring profit but help organize schedules, students, and needs. One such program, VIP Kids, has become popular among teachers who seem to average $14-$22 per hour.
#4 Starting a blog, book, podcast or writing career
Many teachers are naturally gifted with language, and language arts teachers especially may find themselves drawn to side hustles that utilize their way with words. For some, the secret is in finding what they want to write about, and for others, it’s deciding on a platform, whether it’s a blog, podcast, e-book, full-length book, or something else.
Stacey Ogden is the CEO and founder of Side Hustle Teachers, a Facebook group with over 6,000 members who support each other in their side hustling endeavors. A self-taught entrepreneur and teacher of 20 years, she coaches other educators on how to build consistent side income alongside their teaching careers. She built her side hustle career first with a blog, which she remembers only made a meager $2.11 in her first month. However, after a couple of years she says she was consistently making $300 – $500 monthly. The blog grew to making about $1,000 a month, with a big spike around the holidays. She credits her lucrative blog with a combination of writing about an interesting subject, and effectively using monetization and marketing strategies.
In a survey of 1500 ProBlogger respondents, 9% make between $1,000 and $10,000 per month, showing that it takes time and strategy to make you one of the more lucrative bloggers. Ogden recommends being consistent, and showing up for readers during whatever free time you do have, which may be more than you think.
“When we free up some of the time we spend scrolling through social media, or even searching for the perfect bulletin board designs on Pinterest, we can usually find at least an hour a day to devote to some money-making activities.”Stacey Ogden
Find out everything about starting a teaching blog and monetizing it here.
#5 Meal planning and cooking for other families
Misty Watford, a teacher in Georgia, has a surprisingly lucrative side hustle meal planning and cooking for other busy families. Here’s how it works: she started a Facebook group where interested families can join and order meals. On Wednesdays, she posts her menu for the week, and orders are due Friday, where people can choose from five meals that she prepares in sets of five. She typically ends up cooking 15-45 sets each Sunday, making between $400-$1,000 each week, depending on the time of year. She says it’s a true “side job” because the income isn’t consistent, but does bring in quite a bit of money.
“Right now everyone wants to eat clean and healthy because of the new year. It’ll fall off soon but it’ll kick back up when it gets warmer. Then it falls off again in June through August and then shoots back up. I never ‘depend’ on the money. It’s just extra,” she says.
If cooking is your thing, there are other options for getting started as an amateur chef as well. According to Penny Hoarder, Mealku connects local cooks with small businesses in need of catering and Kitchensurfing lets people hire you as a private chef. If you’d rather plan without cooking, you can also make money by posting your meal plans on social media or Pinterest, or through a subscription your followers purchase.
Come join us in the Empowered Teachers community for more discussions like this.