Should I start a teacher side hustle? As teachers, that’s a question we’ve all contemplated because let’s face it, a teacher’s salary isn’t always enough to cover the bills. So we find ourselves weighing the pros & cons of adding a teacher side job to our daily activities because we need to supplement our income.
In this short, power-packed podcast episode, we discuss how to know if adding a teacher side hustle is a good choice for you and what you need to consider when making this decision. (You might be surprised with my answer!!!)
Before we determine whether or not you should start one, I want to make sure that you understand what I mean when I say “side hustle.” So let’s define what it is and whether or not it’s even an option for teachers.
What is a teacher side hustle?
A side hustle is simply another job (or business) that you do in tandem with your primary job. Your primary job is the job you immediately say when people ask, “What do you do?” For most of us, the answer would be, “I’m a teacher.”
Your side business (or side hustle) is anything else you do to earn money that you complete in the margins of your life.
Can teachers have a side business?
Short answer…yes. Teachers CAN have side businesses because it’s not a conflict of interest to have a side job or a part-time business outside the classroom. This question arises frequently because teachers are afraid of violating their contract & don’t want to do something that could potentially get them fired.
Of course, I must throw in the required disclaimer just so you know. I’m NOT a lawyer (& I’m certainly not claiming to be) and I cannot provide you with legal advice. So just make sure to read over the teaching contract you signed to be CERTAIN having a side job or a side business will not violate any contractual agreements.
Should I start a Teacher Side Hustle now?
Now as we consider the question, “Should I start a teacher side hustle now?” the answer lies in how you would answer several questions. So let’s start at the beginning.
What do you hope to gain from starting a teacher side job?
- Are you looking to make a few extra bucks?
- Are you wanting to replace your teaching salary so that you can leave the classroom and turn your side hustle into a full-time career?
The answer to these questions will be pivotal in deciding whether you should pursue a teacher side business. If you just want to make a few extra dollars, then most likely, you’re going to view your side hustle as a “hobby.” You’ll work on it when you feel like it & then ignore it for long stretches of time when you feel overwhelmed or tired.
And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! You can work on your hobby side hustle when you want to and earn a few extra bucks while feeding your creativity.
However, if you desire for your teacher side hustle to become a self-sustaining business you can ultimately turn into a full-time career, your approach, attitude, & actions are going to be different.
If you know you have a very specific time frame to reach a certain income level, you’re going to do important tasks even when you don’t want to because you need to move the needle forward for your business to grow.
And I can promise that if you want to leave the classroom at the end of this school year (or even in the next couple of years), you’re going to be much more motivated to work (even if it means in the tiny pockets of time that you do have) to grow your side hustle into a sustainable business.
Once you’ve determined if your side hustle is going to be a hobby or business, you’re ready to move on.
Do you have the time, energy, or desire to pursue something else?
Timing is an essential component that many teachers neglect to consider when thinking about starting a side business.
If you’re just entering a brand-new season of life (recently had a baby, welcomed a new family member into your home, just moved across the country, etc.) adding a brand new side-hustle to your schedule may not be the best decision at this point. You’re already navigating a new normal and you don’t want to pile on more variables.
Likewise, if you’re in a hectic season in the classroom like “back to school” or statewide testing, you probably need to hold off launching a new side business for the same reasons. You already have additional requirements & duties during these times and you don’t want to make yourself even more overwhelmed.
Now, we all know that some life changes REQUIRE you to add a side hustle whether you want to or not because your finances simply dictate it. And if that’s your current situation, just do it!! You can absolutely be successful, but just know that it will be a bit more difficult.
But whether it’s difficult or not, when you know you need to support your family, you just do what has to be done!
So as you consider adding a side hustle, think about the timing and whether you have the energy to do what is required in this particular season.
Is this going to take a ton of time to learn before you ever actually start making money?
Now, I know this question may seem crazy, but the fact is we have to take a hard look at just how willing we are to do what needs to be done! Nothing is easy in life, but just because something takes effort and time doesn’t mean it isn’t beautiful…even in the struggle.
So as we’re thinking about if this is going to take a ton of time to learn & implement before you see a dime, I want you to consider the acronym ROI.
ROI simply means “return on investment,” and it’s vitally important to consider because you’re trading your time, energy, or money for something that is (or at least should be) more valuable than the time, money, or energy you’re putting into it.
In other words, you want to make sure that what you are giving is worth what you’re receiving.
Let me give you an example.
When I first decided to open my TpT shop, I had no idea what I was doing. I only knew that other teachers were making money every month selling their resources and I decided that’s what I would do, too.
I believed that once my shop was up, all the teachers of the world would flock to my store…money in hand. Unfortunately, I quickly found out….that’s not how it works.
So I spent hours & hours searching for help (and tutorials) for every step of the way like how to make products editable and how to make sure I wasn’t violated all the copyright laws using clipart. The I started learning how to market my products using Pinterest. The list goes on and on.
Honestly, it took soooooo much time because I didn’t know where to go to find the answers…and to be fair, the answers I found were typically conflicting. As I look back now, I can see that my approach to starting my TpT business was NOT a good ROI.
I should have sought out information BEFORE taking the plunge & determined whether or not the ROI was worth it to me. But at that point, I literally had no plan and didn’t even know what ROI was; but you don’t know what you don’t know.
So once I’d been doing TpT for awhile, I discovered more efficient ways of doing things. I started to see a consistent increase in my income, and that’s when I decided to create a TpT course specifically for teachers who wanted to maximize their ROI and focus all of their attention on implementing the essentials from day one to start making money immediately!
If you know that starting a TpT shop is a side hustle you REALLY want to pursue, be sure to check out my step-by-step course, Setting Up Shop: From TpT Newbie to Shop-Owning Guru.
Now, I shared all of that to make a point. If you’re going to learn something new, you need to find people who can help you bypass all of the pitfalls and help you make progress (and money) quickly.
How can I make progress quickly?
Let me make something super-clear…I’m not talking about a “get rich quick” scheme. I’m referring to seeking out those who have been where you are , but are now on the other side.
They have navigated past the pitfalls and are willing to share what they have learned & many times what they can offer you that is absolutely worth the investment.
If you want to start a teacher blog (or any blog for that matter), hire someone to design your website so you don’t have to learn about site speed, hosting, the difference between Genesis & Kadence themes, and how to make your site mobile-friendly. (As a blog owner, I can tell you that this is not a good ROI as a beginner.)
Instead, spend your time learning about SEO and how to make sure that Google shows your content to your ideal customer and ultimately gets them to your blog!!
If you want to start a TpT shop, invest in the Setting Up Shop course so you can look back in a year and see that this was the moment you invested in yourself and your teacher side business.
Can you be successful bootstrapping everything? Absolutely.
But you need to remember that you’re trading the time it will take you to learn these new skills independently for the money you could be making. On the other hand, if you know that you have a limited amount of time and you want to leave the classroom sooner rather than later, you need to use every tool at your disposal.
How can you make more time available to pursue your side hustle?
Let’s just be honest here for a second and admit that being an effective teacher doesn’t end when your students leave for the day. In some ways, it’s just beginning. So one of the things that you can do to make time for your side hustle is investing in high quality resources from other TpT sellers.
This may seem completely counter-intuitive if you’re wanting to open a TpT shop, but hear what I’m saying.
When you purchase products on TpT, you’re supporting another teacher’s business today, and that’s always a great thing. Plus you’re opening up some space in your schedule to work on whatever side hustle brings you joy!
Those two hours that you would have spent creating and prepping a dinosaur craftivity can now be used to work on writing a blog post, creating an ELA resource, or teaching an online class…in other words, moving the needle forward in your own business.
So let’s go back to our original question which was should you start a side hustle and look at the defining questions.
- What do you hope to gain from starting a little something on the side? Hobby or Full-time
- Do you have the time, energy, or desire to pursue something else?
- Is this going to take a ton of time to learn before you ever actually start making money?
- How can you make more time available to pursue your side hustle?
The answers to these questions will dictate if you should move forward with adding a side hustle. The truth is, I hope you’re ready because I have so many amazing episodes and resources coming up that are going to push you, your dreams, your goals, and your productivity into overdrive. So let’s do this!!!