Teachers have always been the most creative, resourceful, and hard-working people I know. As a former teacher, I embrace lifelong learning and continually teach myself new skills through online courses, videos, or books. While some of my skills are solely hobbies (example: my vegan cooking), many hobbies I can utilize on my resume or create supplemental income with. Real talk? I’m mentally more motivated to push and improve when I recognize a financial payoff at the finish line. If you’re similar, I’ve created a list of top skills to learn to make money and start your teacher side-hustle.
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Blogging can be a very fun (and profitable) teacher side-hustle. From personal essays, education, cooking, to weddings, there are blogs on every subject. With the wide variety also comes many opportunities to earn additional income. Many teachers start their own blogs or use their editing skills and freelance as blog writers for companies.
If you’re creating your own blog, you’ll need to pick a topic and design a website. This can be done with a pretty small budget. Before I hired a graphic designer for my page, I used BluChi for their affordable templates and customer service. They helped walk me through all of the steps of designing the website. Sign up for their free Plan, Launch, and Build a Website in 5 days email newsletter. You’ll want to create blog content that is focused on a niche to help you pinpoint what types of products, ads, or affiliate marketing they would be best served by.
If you’re blogging for others, you’ll need to learn the basics of blogging. It’s not as simple as just writing a diary entry; there are a lot of best practices, including web structure, voice, and SEO.
Resources to help you start blogging:
- Blogging for a Living: Perfect Small Budget Project – Build a professional-looking blog from scratch, attract masses of traffic using nothing but free methods and turn it into a fun and profitable online venture. The training starts out assuming that you have no prior knowledge but becomes more advanced as you progress through the course.
- WordPress Course – Want to become a WordPress guru? Create your own website for yourself or clients through WordPress.
- CREATE: I personally have used this blogging planner and I loved it. Most importantly, it taught me how to structure my blogs. But I really loved that it came with goal tracking and a planner so that I had a clear actionable game plan.
Graphic design is one of the more artistic skills teachers can learn to make money. If you have a skill for creative work, it’s an excellent way to earn extra cash. Ultimate beginners? Start for free using Canva and learn some basics for social media design. Once you’ve got the basics down from there you can begin creating things using Adobe Illustrator or other tools.
Resources to help you start with graphic design:
- Graphic Design course This course is filled with project-based learning activities to help you create both print and web projects while learning the skill sets to become a graphic designer.
Coding / Programming
One of the higher paying freelance positions are for web developers and coders. If you’ve always been a problem solver, don’t give up easily, and are interested in web development this may be the side hustle for you. This skill can be technically heavy and is excellent to put on a resume for anyone looking for work as instructional designers.
Resources to help you start coding:
- Coding basics Beginners course for those who want to get serious with coding in the future.
- Coding class Walkthrough the basics of coding to get your foundation started.
Social Media Marketing
Social media marketing is perfect if you’re thinking of starting your own business or want to freelance and manage other people’s accounts. This includes knowing strategies and best practices for Facebook, email marketing, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.
When it comes to branding, you may want to keep it simple if you don’t have graphic design skills. I started out using Canva to create all of my Instagram quotes, Pinterest pins, blog graphics, etc. I appreciate that they offer a free service before you’re ready to upgrade to a paid one. The paid service is cheap and helps you create the same templates over and over again in different sizes, so I think it’s worse the money. You also have more access to art and photos. If you want to elevate it a bit further and make it easier on yourself, check out these pre-made templates from BluChic. As long as you or your clients enjoy them, you don’t need to learn any graphic design skills at all!
Resources to help you start social media marketing
- Social media marketing course – Digital marketing masterclass to grow your own online business or land a high paying job in digital marketing
- Content marketing course – Offered by UC Davis, this will teach you the core strategies content marketers use to acquire and retain customers profitably.
One of the top skills to learn to make money for teachers is also one of the easiest. Teachers are already natural curriculum writers, and I was blown away when I realized how quickly I could create resources that earned me serious $$. When I started selling products on TPT in my online store Kitten Approved Curriculum, I had no idea how much it would change my life. The passive income I receive from my online store continues to amaze me, even though I am not actively working on it.
In addition to the money, it showcases my abilities and helps me land positions outside of the classroom as an educational professional. If you are looking to create some passive income (or fluff up a curriculum writing or instructional designer resume), TPT stores are great place to start.
Copywriting is written text for advertising or marketing. This goes hand in hand with social media marketing (see above), but can be its own unique skill set. As a teacher, you already have a robust vocabulary and editing skills. Copywriters see other people’s points of view and address concerns. Many of the websites you see and the emails you receive are written using copywriting strategies.
Resources to help you start with copywriting:
- Copywriting course – great for beginners wanting to learn professional tips for copywriting.
A virtual assistant helps support companies or entrepreneurs from a remote location. Their daily routine can consist of small tasks for scheduling appointments and managing calendar schedules and personal errands.
- Virtual assistant course – Launch your own online business becoming a virtual assistant
- Photography course For beginners and advanced photographers wanting to learn portraits, landscapes, aerial, product, wildlife, and more.
- Camera phone Photography course – Shorter courses to help you learn iPhone and Android photography and editing.
- Photography course Offered by Michigan State University, this is a longer course for those serious about professional photography.
Creating your own digital course
I use Thinkific to create my digital course. You can play around in the platform for free before deciding to purchase and publish.
- Create your own digital course Over 80 video trainings and 15 hours of content, with downloadable workbooks, templates and planners
- Camtasia is the software I use to create my digital course and edit my videos. It’s a one time purchase and has come in handy many times as an Instructional Designer.
My advice before you start, pick only one or two to work on. When you juggle too many hats at one time, you never truly give yourself a chance to master any of the skills. Pick the skill that speaks to you personally the most, and dedicate a few hours of each week to try it out and grow. Start to put in the work today and stay consistent! You’ll be shocked at where you are just six months from now.
About The Teacher Career Coach
I hope this post has helped you understand my mission. My goal is to help bring clarity to any teachers who are suffering from the pain I experienced during my own career transition of leaving teaching.
If you are beginning to weigh your options, my free newsletter at the bottom of this page is a great place to get started. I’ll send you resources about career transitions, strategies to help prevent burnout, and ways to make extra $$ while you’re still in the classroom.
If you have been waiting for a step-by-step guide to help you leave the classroom, sign up for The Teacher Career Coach Course. I’ve spent countless hours building this resource with the consultation of an HR professional with 10+ years in experience and over 1,000 teachers’ most commonly asked questions.