Need Another Income Stream? Try Teaching
That old warning against putting all your eggs in one basket is still good advise. As freelancers, it’s important to spread your interests out: you’ll prevent burnout, and you’ll be less affected by peaks and lulls.
Teaching is a perfect compliment to any freelance lifestyle. It’s a good way to offset the typical solitary days of the self employed, and it will help keep your public speaking skills honed. Another benefit: it gets your name out there. If you teach a course in line with your specialty, you’ll establish yourself as an expert in your field.
When a student in your accounting class runs into trouble with their books, you may be the person they look up. But any connections can be beneficial, so if you’d rather teach a class about your side hobby of beekeeping, it’s still valuable exposure.
So, what to teach?
Successful freelancers are brimming with teachable skills. The obvious start might be courses related to your craft – writing, consulting, web design. Start with an entry level class, then as you gain experience, consider more specialized angles for experienced students.
Don’t limit yourself to strictly teaching your current profession. You could teach business skills to other entrepreneurs. You’ve probably learned a lot about money management, networking, or brand building. If you’re techy, you could teach the in’s and out’s of new technology, or best ways to set up your home network.
Or you could teach an enrichment class that has nothing to do with your business: knitting, auto repair, whatever your passion is.
For a credit course or to become an adjunct faculty, you may be required to hold a graduate degree or have past teaching experience. Non-credit courses may have less formal requirements. Many colleges also use tutors, so if you excel in math or reading, inquire about those openings, too.
If you’re just getting your feet wet with teaching, a good place to build up skills is at a community college or adult enrichment center. Options here are often more flexible, as they offer both credit and non-credit courses. They may invite you to come up with a topic, and present them with an outline.
Online courses are another growing area. Colleges and Universities are increasing their online offerings and need staff behind them. But if you’re a determined independent, many freelancers offer self-paced courses directly from their web site. When offering your own course, shop around to make sure your pricing and course content is comparable to what your peers are offering.
Teaching is a great side endeavor for any freelancer. Aside from the professional benefits, it’s a nice way to give back to your profession. It feels good to know you made a difference in someone else’s career path, whether it’s by teaching a newcomer the ropes, or helping a seasoned professional improve their work style.