Guest Blog Post: A Complete Guide to Side Gigs for Educators

A Complete Guide to Side Gigs for Educators by Joyce Wilson

As a teacher or counselor, you and the children you work with likely have a daily routine. You love your job, but what if you could shake it up a little bit, learn a new skill, and make some extra spending money? But, what do you do when you’ve spent the majority of your life in a school and haven’t the slightest clue where to start when it comes to making money in the side gig economy?

Find your Strengths

 Everyone has something that someone else will pay for. You simply must figure out what you have that someone else wants. Many of the skills and talents you have might be in high demand if you find the right person. So, how do you discover those skills? According to Dave Ramsey, your ‘strength’ is something that you are skilled and enjoy doing. You might be great at grading English papers or churning out math problems, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want to spend your whole summer doing that. But you might thoroughly enjoy teaching English. In that case, look into teaching English as a second language. Many of the programs are online and can be done on your schedule.

Check the Market

 Of course, just because you’re good at something and enjoy doing it doesn’t mean someone will pay you for it. Riding a unicycle is great, but we doubt that anyone will pay you to do it. Hopefully, though, you can find something that your great at that someone is willing to pay for. Great examples according to the Penny Hoarder include teaching abroad and selling your lesson plans. If you would rather use your extra time to explore options that aren’t related to school, how about driving for Uber or taking care of someone’s garden?

Get Started on the Right Foot

Running your own business is a lot different than working for the school system. Even if you’ve been in the workforce for years, working for yourself is its own kind of beast. To get off on the right foot, ensure that you are keeping up with all your income and putting back enough money for taxes. When you work for someone else, your taxes will automatically be taken out of your paycheck. But, when you’re self-employed, you will have to keep up with your taxes manually.

Secondly, you will have to stay on top of yourself to get anything done. When you work at a school, you go in at a specified time and leave at a specified time. If you don’t go into work, you’re going to get a call asking why you didn’t show up. You have someone else ensuring that you’re doing what you’re supposed to. But, when you work for yourself, no one will be around to ensure that you’re working. You could sit around on the couch all day, and no one is going to call to ask why you aren’t working. There is no outside force making you do what you have to do, so you have to make sure you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.

Get a Home Office

A home office does wonders for productivity if you design it correctly. You should choose a room that is distraction-free, which means that it should be as far away from the central hub of the home as possible. Don’t choose a room right next to the living room or kitchen. Clutter should also be removed as quickly as possible, and the room should be kept clean. Choose the right technology to fit your needs, but don’t overdo it.

Jobs to Consider

Now that the possibility of a side gig has caught your attention, here are some ideas for ways you can get started:

  • Open an online storefront – By now you’ve probably heard of the popular e-commerce site Etsy where users can sell their creations. You are in a unique position in that you can use your creativity to craft signs and decor for fellow counselors or teachers, or use your perspective as a teacher/counselor to create gifts they’ll love receiving from students and parents.
  • Spend time with animals – If you happen to be an animal lover, then becoming a pet sitter is right up your alley. You can use your free time on weekends to sit for furry, friendly dogs and cats. As a bonus, you can bring along any grading or lesson plans to multitask.
  • Sell what you know – As a member of the educational world, you’re all too familiar with curriculums and lesson plans. If you’ve created your own and seen success with students, why not publish your work in an e-book to share with fellow educators?
  • Teach a class – With technology constantly advancing, it should come as no surprise that classes can be taught online. Not only that, but you can record a class from the comfort of home, post it, and earn while you are at school, home, running errands, etc.

Getting a side job can be exciting for any teacher or counselor. But, it can often be difficult to find a job you enjoy and that pays. Plus, running your own business is vastly different from working for a school. Hopefully, these tips gave you a good place to start.

Photo Credit: Pexels

Joyce Wilson may have retired from teaching but that doesn’t mean she has lost her passion for education. On her site,, she is working to build a resource of engaging lesson plans, activities, and other fun learning opportunities for her fellow educators and for parents.



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