As a teacher in Guatemala who shares one income between two people, money can be hard to come by. This is ironic because, aside from wanting to grow professionally, I originally moved to Guatemala to save my extra income due to the lower cost of living. So much for that! I’ve had to be creative in how I earn extra income – some of it passive, some not. There are so many ways of earning money online, but I wanted to utilize my skills as an educator to do so. Additionally, I can’t run an Etsy store from Guatemala or sell my old goods on Amazon. None of that stuff really interested me anyway because I’m passionate about education and love to apply it whenever I can. Below are three (3) ways to earn extra income online and do so as an educator.
1. The Obvious One: TeachersPayTeachers
TeachersPayTeachers is the classic method for teachers to earn passive income online. Just don’t expect it to be easy or fast. I first opened my store, Mr. Noondi, in April 2014. To this day, I’ve yet to reach $100 as a monthly income. Still, all that money adds up over time. I’ve grown a ton since I opened my store, but I wouldn’t have done so with the help of my girlfriend’s genius marketing knowledge. Let’s face it – your TpT store is a business. My girlfriend has taught me that running a business requires consistency such as consistent posting of materials and in the aesthetics of your products. You cannot just blindly throw up a product without a unique theme and expect it to sell well. Some of the most successful products and brands are as such because of their easily recognizable logos and mottos.
The trick for me is to set a dedicated time during my winter, summer, and spring breaks to get products posted. To do so, I reflect back on the recent lessons, activities, and projects that I have done with my students. I then decide which would be the best fit for the theme of my store and the highest in demand. This huge product dump is not ideal as you should space out your listings as equally as possible, but this is what works for my schedule. That being said, setting up the products for sale can take anywhere from a day to a week of full-time weekday dedication. Here is a checklist of what I include with each listing:
- catchy main cover photo that is consistent with all your other products
- detailed descriptions that tell the reader what to expect and how the students will benefit
- choosing the accurate resource types
- clear thumbnail images that give the potential buyer a good idea of what the product may include
- a properly formatted sample document (watermarked with the word SAMPLE) available to download so that potential buyers can assess the quality of your work (without giving too much away)
- quick response to reviews and questions that customers may write
My overall opinion of TpT is wonderful! It’s incredibly valuable for myself as an educator and, now, an entrepreneur and marketer. There are certainly some downsides to the platform and some of the products available for purchase. That being said, I think the best thing you can do is stand out from the rest. Be unique and don’t hesitate be different.
2. The Oblivious One: Chegg Tutors
While not passive income, Chegg is a platform in which anyone can apply to become an online tutor. When I started on Chegg in mid 2016, I believe it was relatively new. Starting as a tutor on Chegg was much easier than what it is now. In recent weeks, they have cracked down and tightened their tutoring policies. I personally think this is a good thing. It will help identify subjects that are in the highest demand and find tutors who are the most qualified.
The hardest part about Chegg is starting. At first, you are a newbie. No student has given you a review, so you are further down the list of available tutors. Do not let that slow you down! Be patient! It’s very similar to TpT in that regard. Once you get that first request from a student, it motivates you further! If they leave a positive review—even better. Now you are on the right path to getting more students to request lessons.
The tutor dashboard is very user friendly. Students who need help appear under the Opportunities tab. Be quick! Other tutors are also waiting just like you for requests. Send a quick, friendly message to the student and hope for a reply (Hint: Have preset messages ready to go so you can reply to a request faster). If you are lucky enough to be accepted for a lesson, the virtual classroom is also very user friendly. Most students prefer to chat (as I do), but there is the option of video chat if you’d like.
Tutors earn $20/hour! Not only that, but all time counted is rounded up to the nearest 5 minute interval. In other words, if your lesson lasts 13 minutes, you actually get paid for 15 minutes. Payments from Chegg are super easy and very convenient. Tutors get paid weekly (yes, weekly) every Thursday morning through PayPal. I have made upwards of $200 in one week if I am really dedicated or have tons of free time. My experience shows that Sundays (especially at night) are the best days to be on since that is when many students are completing homework for the upcoming week.
Again, it takes time. Just be patient and you could very well be on your way to making plenty of extra money.
3. The Flexible One: Udemy & Teachable
I do not want to get in too deep with Udemy and Teachable because I myself have no experience in using these platforms as a seller. What I do know is that both can be very profitable passive income, but they take a ton of work upfront. The basis for both is that you create your own full online course taught mainly with videos and screencasts. The topics can be about virtually anything you want and that you are (presumably) knowledgable about. There is one main pro and con for each. 1) Udemy does not have a subscription fee, but Udemy sets the price for each course that you upload and 2) Teachable has a minimum $39/month fee to create courses, but you can choose your own price for your course. I myself don’t know which I would chose, but I am leaning towards starting with Udemy to gauge the demand for my course and, based on that, switching to Teachable. You be the judge and feel free to let me know your experience!
Do you earn passive income online as a teacher? Tell me about it in the comments below!