If you’ve ever thought about a teacher career change that would involve potentially creating a blog or a website, then grab a pen and some paper because this episode is full of actionable steps that walk you through how to find success blogging.
My friend Rebecca, former elementary school teacher and founder of ProudPoliceWife.com, shares her inspiring story of leaving the classroom and how she has surpassed her teaching income with blogging…even though she had no idea what she was doing when she started.
We discuss skills teachers possess that make them perfect for blogging, how to monetize your blog using multiple streams of income, and why teacher can blog about any topic they want.
Rebecca Lynn is a former teacher who makes a full-time income as a blogger serving the first responder community. She uses her degrees in Psychology and Education to educate & support law enforcement families through her nationally recognized blog, proudpolicewife.com. She’s also the founder of the Annual Police Wife Conference, a virtual conference featuring highly sought after speakers & resources to law enforcement spouses internationally and author of The Peacemaker’s Wife, A Journal for Reflection & Encouragement for Police Wives & Girlfriends & Proud Police Wife: 90 Devotions for Women Behind the Badge.
Important points from this episode
Why Rebecca Left the Classroom
I have a degree in psychology and a Master’s Degree in Education and I was in the classroom for a total of 7 years with most of those being in first grade.
I have 3 children ages nine, seven, and five. I stayed in the classroom until after my second daughter was born. I was out of the classroom for 16 weeks after her birth and although we tried everything, she would not take a bottle.
So after my maternity leave was over, I returned to the classroom for a total of 5 days because my daughter was rapidly losing weight from lack of nutrition. The goal was to finish out the school year, which was only about six weeks, but it just wasn’t going to happen. So I resigned.
My story is a little different in the sense that I did not have a plan in mind for how I was going to leave the classroom and do a side hustle or leave the classroom and start a business. I left the classroom based on the fact that my child was starving.
Thankfully, my husband and I purchased our house when I was still in graduate school, so we pay all of our bills from his salary. But we did have to drastically cut back on our spending just to make this happen.
After some time, we started having conversations about what happens when she doesn’t need to nurse anymore…do I want to go back to the classroom? And that answer was a resounding no.
I just really did not want to be away from my kids; I wanted to be home with them. I can remember taking my first daughter to our babysitter and crying the entire way. I loved my job as a teacher, but being home fulfilled me more.
And while some people can be successful teaching and having a family, home is where I wanted to be. I also knew we were entertaining the idea of having another child someday, we were starting to grow out of our house, and I knew that I needed to bring in an income somehow.
I always had it in my heart to serve the law enforcement community in some way and share my experience (and my husband’s experience), but I wasn’t really sure how to do it. I just felt like time was never on my side.
But once I was home and I had more time on my hands, I felt like it was the perfect time to dip my toes into serving this community. I honestly had no idea how I was going to do that…it was basically like throwing spaghetti at the wall.
I knew I loved to write, and that passion began at an early age. I always had a journal and was constantly recording things about life. So I decided to start a blog…and I’m talking like bare-bones, basic black and white blog. I did not have any idea what I was doing technologically.
However, I wrote 2-3 blog posts, shared them on my own social media page, and then reached out to one police wife page on Facebook. They ended up sharing the posts and they went viral.
Now does that always happen? No. But what I realized was our community was in need of resources and connecting with a relatable story. Starting a business from blogging was different because, again, I had no idea what I was doing.
I knew I wanted to bring in an income, contribute to our family, and find a way to continue to stay home. And writing was just an avenue in one way that I could try to do that. But I had no background knowledge of starting a business or having a business.
So I tested the waters with many ideas and some things failed and some things succeeded. Once I realized that what I was writing was resonating with people, I decided to purchase a course to help me figure out the steps I needed to take to set up a blog and I paid someone to help me with my website at the time. So my initial investment was about $1,000.
It took me about a year to earn that money back, but I just celebrated my 5 blog anniversary and the amount of blessings that I have received as a result are astounding.
What skills as a former teacher have helped you find success blogging?
When you’re in the thick of it and considering starting a side hustle or starting your own business, it’s hard to step back and evaluate yourself to see what other skills you possess that are marketable to other people.
Looking back, I realize one of my favorite parts about teaching was making my own lesson plans. I loved thinking outside of the box and taking that strand from the SOL, making it my own, and tailoring it to the needs of the kids in my class.
Now when I look at what I do, I love making content for my audience, meeting them where their needs are, and serving a purpose for them. I’m still a teacher, I just work with adults now.
I’ve had the opportunity recently to start teaching webinars related to law enforcement life and being a law enforcement spouse. So now I’m just taking my love of teaching and directing it toward a different group of people.
You really do have to think outside of the box. If your focus is math, maybe you would enjoy a career in finance. But there are definitely different avenues you can take.
I honestly think a great place to start is by thinking what you’re passionate about.
Maybe you’ve always been passionate about teaching, but in recent years that passion has run a little bit dry. Think about what aspect of teaching that you enjoy, consider any of the skills you have related to that aspect, and then transfer them to a new area where you have the same amount of passion, same amount of drive.
I don’t think you should do anything in life if you aren’t passionate about it. If you’re trying to find a side hustle or start your own business, take that passion and put it toward something else. You will make more money, you will resonate with your audience more because nobody wants to do something they don’t love.
Take those skills you already have and see what you can do.
Think of how your other degrees could help you serve others in some way. I have the ability to be a good researcher and find relevant data because of my psychology background. If you have another degree or if you took a class that you really enjoyed, use that information to apply it to something you want to pursue.
Can you share your thoughts on investing in your business, on courses and learning, along the way?
One big mistake that I see a lot whether we are talking about bloggers, content creators, or influencers is not treating blogging, content creation, or being an influencer as a business.
If you’re going to do a side hustle or if you’re thinking about leaving the classroom, you really need to have that business mindset.
For a long time I didn’t know what that looked like for me because again that wasn’t my background. But once I started investing in myself, I believed in myself. We could have used that money for other things, but because I believed in myself, my husband believed in what I was doing, and first and foremost I wanted to serve my community, it was a no-brainer.
It was sometimes hard to say, “I want to do this to help, but I also want to make good business decisions.”
It’s definitely important to invest in yourself and sometimes it does need to be financially in order to run your business properly. Now you don’t want to go overboard!
If you’re doing things online, you don’t need to rent an office space, tons of office furniture, and hire a secretary because those aren’t things you need right now. Take the smallest amount of money you can and invest in ways that will bring you the greatest ROI, or return on investment.
In other words, is it something that is realistic that you believe you can earn back from your business.
How do you make money from Blogging?
This is a question I get all the time!
People say, “You make money from writing an article on the computer?” And I’m like, “YES!!”
There are actually many different ways to bring in income. When you are just learning how to find success blogging, you want to start with one in come stream and focus all your attention there. Then over time, you want to diversify as much as possible to give yourself multiple streams of income.
Just like the great Instagram and Facebook outage of 2021, you don’t want to put all of your eggs in one basket. If you have Instagram or Facebook and you’re putting all of your links on that platform, you are growing a business on someone else’s platform. Then if it crashes, what’s going to happen to all those eggs?
So it really makes good sense to diversify as much as possible and then if you lose one stream of income, you haven’t lost everything. And there are lots of different ways to do that!
But you have to be willing to get out there and learn. It might be investing in learning about affiliate marketing, how to create your own products, or how to create a course. Think of it like college. You make an investment on the front end to learn the things so that you can apply the things you learned to make money!
And I know what it’s like to ask yourself, “How can I spend money when I’m maxed out?”
As you’re considering leaving the classroom and looking at your budget, be sure to add in a buffer for those front end investments that you’ll inevitably encounter like courses, coaching, and accountability.
Do you think the blogging world is oversaturated?
No, I honestly don’t, and there are two reasons for that!
First of all, in the very beginning of my blogging journey someone told me I wouldn’t make very much money and I would not be successful at blogging because I was so “niche” in only serving the first responder world.
Well, that has proven to be FALSE. The truth is, you can make an income and help people at the same time even if the views on your blog are low, and that shows me the market isn’t oversaturated.
Second, you are you and you have a unique voice.
So if you’re thinking about blogging, you need to do it. If you feel like you have something to share with the world, you need to share it because no one else is going to say whatever you want to say in the same way as you are.
Just as no two people are alike, no two blogs are alike!! It’s about finding an audience that resonates with you and serving them.
When you think about all the blogs out in the blog-o-sphere, many of them are just mediocre. The content creator is not there to serve anyone…he or she is just trying to make money. But that will NEVER last.
If you want to be successful, your blog needs to be an extension of your personality and of you, and that is why you have had so much success blogging, Rebecca. The person who told you you were not going to make it, didn’t have your passion for your community and they didn’t account for the fact that you were convinced this was going to work.
We know that mindset either propels us forward or causes us to fall.
How important is it to have a support system?
Having my husband’s support was of monumental importance. When I started this journey, we were just having our third child. I was actually writing a blog post when I went into labor, and I told my husband I had to finish it before we left!
But there were many, many nights when my husband would put all three kids to bed or take care of my newborn while I was down in the dungeon in my office for hours upon hours writing because that was the only time I could find to work.
He has been so supportive and there were many times where I questioned myself and said things like, “I don’t know if I can do this. I’m not sure which direction I’m going.” And he’s always pushed me, told me to remember why I started this, and brought me back.
Having a support system or a community of people who are coming alongside you, cheering you on, and celebrating your successes with you is pivotal to success. In your case, your husband has proven to be a strong support for you, but many people don’t have that kind of support system.
And that’s why I created the Teachers Leaving the Classroom Facebook Group. I wanted a safe place where teachers could ask questions and get answers about leaving their jobs without the fear of repercussions, share honestly about their current struggles, and get feedback and help in order to move forward.
Definitely join Jennifer’s group and think about coaching because while my husband was super supportive, I had many people who thought I was crazy. Many people could not understand why I was leaving the security of my teaching job to go throw spaghetti at the wall.
I’m just so thankful that I tried. Because if I hadn’t tried, I would never know. But I had that drive, I had that passion, and now it’s brought me to where 5 years later, I’m surpassing my teaching income significantly…simply because I kept trying.
And yeah, some things didn’t work, but a lot of things did and you don’t know until you try.
Can I stay hidden behind my screen as a blogger?
When I started blogging, I thought I could kind of just quietly sit behind a computer screen and make money. Being in the law enforcement community, I don’t share certain things like where my husband works and I don’t post pictures of him on Instagram and Facebook just for his privacy and ours.
But I quickly discovered that I needed to be seen by my community. If people don’t feel like they can connect with you or that they don’t know you, you will not be successful.
So I had to change my mentality.
And once I started showing up on Instagram and people could hear my voice and see my face, that’s when more readers and followers appeared. I started sending emails so they got to know me in their inboxes every single week.
That’s when my community realized, “Okay…this person is believable and consistent; I trust her.” So it does take going outside of your comfort zone to reach your ideal audience and to be able to actually make it a business and not just a hobby.
Mindset is one of the biggest obstacles most people are going to face whether it is leaving the classroom, starting a side hustle, starting your own business, choosing a different career…mindset is everything.
If you don’t capture those negative thoughts and put them in their place immediately, you will never see what kind of potential you actually have.
Everyone on this podcast is a regular person who stepped out on faith and I want to give you the gift of saying, “You can do it, too!! You can learn how to find success blogging!!”
Words of Encouragement
If you are a believer (like me), you need to pray about it!
Then ask yourself this simple question, “Would you rather step into something feeling scared, or spend the rest of your life regretting the fact that you never tried?”
It won’t feel scary forever.
Any time there is change, it’s scary. But change isn’t always bad…change can be amazing. It can be the breath of fresh air that you might be searching for.
And although I don’t see myself going back to teaching, I’ve always kept my teaching license and certifications active so if I decided to go back or needed to go back tomorrow, I could.
The best thing about teaching is that it isn’t going anywhere. There will always be positions for teachers.
So I just want to encourage you to go for it. Discover how to find success blogging and then be successful!
No one else is going to be your advocate; no one else is going to push you to do this.
If you have that fire inside of you, try something new whether it’s blogging or a totally different career because the worst thing that could happen is it doesn’t work out. And just remember…teaching will always be there!
Be sure to follow Rebecca on IG @proudpolicewife & check out her website proundpolicewife.com! Also make sure to share any of your takeaways from this episode by tagging me on IG @classroom_exit_strategies. I’d love to celebrate with you.