Are you a teacher looking for a challenge, an opportunity to learn new skills, use your professional skills in a different way and earn additional income?
Then becoming a teacherpreneur could be for you. ESL/EFL teachers transition to teacherpreneurs as writers, website designers, video makers, and school owners.
In December 2015, I left my job as an ESL teacher after 20 years. I felt the need to learn some new skills and desired to travel throughout the year, not just school breaks. I craved a creative outlet, but I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do.
Becoming a “teacherpreneur” happened by accident. The previous year, a friend of mine asked me if I could write an online course for him. I really enjoyed the experience of writing something unrelated to teaching English.
That same year, we attended Brendon Burchard’s Four Day Expert’s Academy for people interested in becoming coaches, authors, speakers, and online course writers. I assumed that I would learn about writing more courses for my friend.
Instead I ended up thinking about how I could use the information to launch a freelance career. Then I started noticing the words “teacherpreneur” and “edupreneur”.
What is a Teacherpreneur?
There are several definitions for teacherpreneur/edupreneur:
“…the teacher creates a different way of navigating the profession without leaving that profession entirely. Their talents remain in the classroom and on the school site, but they’ve had the opportunity to shake their dice, try something new, and use their skills in a different way” 1
“Teacherpreneurs are classroom experts who teach students regularly, but also have time, space, and reward to incubate and execute their own ideas — just like entrepreneurs” 2
“A classroom teacher or school based leader who is both educator and entrepreneur; an educator who works a flexible and/or freelance schedule; and/or an educator with a ‘side hustle’ that supplements their income”
I have now come up with my own definition: an educator who combines his/her creativity, skills and expertise to develop products, resources and/or services for additional income.
Many teachers ask what the difference is between being a freelancer and teacherpreneur. The biggest difference is time and passive income. A freelancer gets paid per hour/project; a teacherpreneur designs a product or resource that sells while he or she sleeps. This is what is referred to as passive income.
Being a freelancer means the constant search for new work and the number of hours per week. There are only so many hours that we can physically work a week so this limits our income.
This is one reason why I have started writing books. It is a great way to share my knowledge and earn passive income.
From Teacher to Teacherpreneur
Transitioning from a classroom teacher to a teacherpreneur didn’t happen overnight for me.
For the first year, I taught several online courses to have a continuous cash flow. Because I was not travelling or marking essays for large numbers of students, I had more time. This gave me the time needed to write books and develop my online coaching business for new teachers.
I also needed to learn many news skills such as email list building and marketing, blogging and using social media. Like most people, I had some social media accounts, but I really didn’t know how to use them as a branding and marketing tool. (If you need help in this area, I developed a free social media checklist just for teacherpreneurs).
There are many things to consider before launching oneself as a freelancer or teacherpreneur including your brand and niche and how to professionalize your profile on social media.
I cover these topics and more in my Essential Teacher to Teacherpreneur Toolkit which is available on my website.
How to Become a Teacherpreneur
If you are interested in learning more about transitioning from a teacher to teacherpreneur but don’t know how to get started, I provide a step-by-step guide in my 4-week online course.
For more inspiration, visit the Teacher to Teacherpreneur: Stories of Success blog. There are 50 interviews with some very interesting teacherpreneurs from around the world.
There are many reasons that teachers are looking for ways to earn additional income. In Canada for example, many teaching positions are part-time, seasonal, or contract. Some teachers want to teach fewer hours but supplement their income by writing e-books, teaching resources or teaching online.
It is important to consider what is right for you at this particular point in time. How much time do you have to devote to developing projects or taking on additional work? What are your financial requirements? I do not recommend that teachers abandon their teaching careers and launch themselves as a teacherpreneur!
How has my life changed since December 2015?
When I left my teaching career in 2015, I would not have predicted that there would be such a growing interest in teacherpreneurship. I now spend my time doing the things that I love such as writing courses, blogging, and instructional coaching for new ESL teachers.
I published my first book, Successful Group Work – 13 Activities to Teach Team Work Skills, in July this year. In addition to this, I also help teachers transition to teacherpreneurs by sharing current content, connecting teacherpreneurs around the world, and coaching.
Despite the huge learning curve, it has been a lot of fun. I believe that teacherpreneurs do not have superpowers, but are just regular teachers like you and me. For me, I wanted the freedom to travel at any time of the year, not just school breaks. It really has not been about money. It is more about having control over my workload and feeling inspired by learning new things and connecting with teachers all over the world.