Do you want to make a few extra bucks in your spare time? Then you’ll definitely want to get your side hustle or side gig going on. You’ll need to keep on reading for the best side hustles for teachers to consider that they can do at night, on weekends or during vacations.
An Introduction to Side-Gigs for Teachers
Side Gigs for Teachers: Ways to Actually Make Money is the book you’ll need to check out if you want to make some money in your spare time. And let’s face it, when you’re teaching English in Korea, especially at a university (5 months vacation!), or public school (desk-warming), you have an abundance of free time.
Admittedly, I wasted my first few years in Korea doing almost nothing of substance with my vacation time. It’s one of my life regrets.
However, I pulled it together in the last few and kicked it into high gear by investing in the stock market, building websites, and writing books. It was kind of a fun hobby back then, but it’s now become my full-time job here in Canada. My side gigs are going strong, and I feel optimistic that I may never have to get a “real” job for the rest of my life. See all my projects at my personal website: www.jackiebolen.com.
Building income streams that I control is my new job security.
Don’t Waste your Time in South Korea
I’ve mentioned before that if you’re going to teach in South Korea, you shouldn’t waste your time. Not that teaching there is a waste of time, I mean that you should make the most of your time there.
If you want to be a teacher for a while, get certified. If you want to be a computer programmer when you go back to your home country, start learning now. Or perhaps you want to be an entrepreneur? Start doing what you can now so you don’t have to start at ground zero later.
Side Gigs for Teachers: What’s it’s All About
If you want to get started earning some extra money in your spare time, then you’ll need to check out this book. You’ll learn about:
Building Active Income Streams
For active income, one hour of work equals one hour of pay. If you need extra money now, these are the side gigs you’ll need to focus on. In the book, we talk about tutoring, working as a virtual assistant, copywriting, officiating weddings, and 10 more ideas.
There are quick start guides and checklists so you can these income streams off the ground quickly. Most importantly, you can start making money in as little as a week.
Building Passive Income Streams
The second part of the book focuses on building passive income streams. This means that you do a lot of work up-front, but can keep earning money years down the road. In the book, we talk about teaching online courses, building a niche website (this is the niche website I’m personally working on these days), investing in the stock market, and four more ideas.
There are also quick-start guides and checklists to help you get started off the right way. We’ve already made the mistakes, so you don’t have to!
About the Authors
Both Jennifer Booker Smith and myself are making a living off of what was once our side gigs. We met in Korea way back, and have now collaborated together on around 20 books. This is a great source of passive income—it’s a ton of work up-front to write a book, but you can keep earning money for years down the road.
Besides the books, we both have other side hustles going on. I develop Amazon affiliate niche sites, as well as invest in dividend paying stocks, and through peer lending. Jennifer is the guru of all things tutoring, Teachers Pay Teachers, and Pinterest.
Who knows what the future will hold! We’re always on the lookout for additional ways to diversify our income streams.
Where to Buy Side Gigs for Teachers: Ways to Actually Make Money
So, this sounds like the book for you? If you’re serious about improving your life by getting your side gig on, then it probably is. You can find the book on Amazon, in both digital and print formats.
The (cheaper!) electronic version can be read on any device. You just have to download the free Kindle reading app. It’ll be the best few bucks you spend all year, because it has the potential to turn into thousands.
If you don’t love it, get in touch and I’ll PayPal you your money back.
Check out Side Gigs for Teachers today.
Let’s be real. It never hurts to have a side-gig going on if you’re a teacher, right? A little bit of extra money coming in each month is nothing to sneeze at. So, keep on reading for all the details you need to know about starting a side hustle for teachers.
You’re not Going to Get Rich Teaching English
Okay English teachers abroad, it’s time for some straight-talk. Unless you happen to get a sweet, sweet gig like one of my old friends from Korea working for Aramco in Saudi, you’re not going to get rich teaching English.
Sure, salaries for teachers are pretty decent in many parts of the Middle East or in South Korea. However, you’re probably not going to be able to retire early. This is unless you happen to have had a large pool of money to invest right after the stock market crash of 2009.
Improve your Financial Security with a Side Gig
Those are stories for another day though. In my opinion, the best thing English teachers abroad can do to improve their financial futures is to get a side-gig going on. In this day and age of the inter-webs, there are a million and one possibilities to make money online. You can do this in the free time you have when you’re not teaching at your main job. Hence the name side-gig!
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 136 Pages - 01/30/2018 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (Publisher)
Side Hustle Ideas for Teachers
Here are a few of my favourite side-gigs for ESL teachers. The good news is that these are just a preview of what is to come. I’m working on a side-gigs for teachers book and it should be out on Amazon in the next couple of months.
Stay tuned for that, but in the meantime, check out these ideas for starting a side gig.
Side-Gig #1: Self-Publishing Books
While it is somewhat gruelling to do all the steps required to publish your book (vetting an idea, research, writing, editing, rewriting, editing, rewriting, cover design, uploading, book descriptions, keyword research, marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing), it doesn’t really take any special skills besides perseverance. I certainly am no grammar queen (I’m sure you’ll find a typo or two in this post!), but it’s easy enough to hire people for editing, etc..
The income you earn from books is one of the best kinds. Self publishing is a lot of work up front. However, assuming your idea is a good one, it’s well-written and the content is compelling, it’ll almost sell itself. The good news is that you can keep earning money for years with almost no effort. Passive income magic! Of course, marketing will really kick your operation into high-gear.
Here’s my author page on Amazon if you want to check out the type of stuff I’ve written: Jackie Bolen Author Page on Amazon.
Side-Gig #2: HubPages
Hubpages is fabulous for the technologically challenged. It’s basically a drag and drop platform where you can build niche websites. The pluses are that it’s super-easy to figure out, you don’t have to sign-up for your own Amazon or Ebay affiliate accounts and they also do a bit of promotion for you.
It’s not all too good to be true though and the biggest negative is that they take a cut of your profits, a rather large one (50%). Lately, they’ve been marking many of my English teaching hubs as spam when they’re actually far from it. This has been really frustrating so much so that I’ve stopped building new Hubs even though they have earned me quite a bit of money over the years. If you can figure out how to get past their filters, you’ll be golden.
Side-Gig #3: Building a Website or a YouTube Channel
I think that anyone who has a passion about something should start a website or a YouTube Channel. YouTube and your website can make money through advertisements that are placed on them. These can really add up with enough traffic and views. There are a ton of other ways to monetize these things, especially websites through affiliate marketing. My best advice is to just start something and you’ll figure it out down the road.
I got my start in the self-publishing world through my blog My Life! Teaching in a Korean University which I started more than 10 years ago. It seemed like almost every single day people were asking me how to get a university job in South Korea that I got so weary of answering questions that I decided to write a book about it.
It was successful, so I wrote another one. And another one and now it’s changed the course of my life. It can happen to you. But if won’t unless you start. I seriously always tell people to start doing something and they’ll figure out how to make money later.
If you’re going to do the website building thing, it’s best to self-host it so you don’t have any restrictions on what you can or can’t do like you do on HubPages for example. Bluehost is an excellent, cheap option for hosting as well as the domain. Avoid GoDaddy-I tell you this through personal experience and a hard lesson learned.
Side-Gig #4: Online Teaching
If you live in a place where private teaching is illegal (Korea!) and/or your place of employment doesn’t have overtime opportunities, you could consider teaching online. I’ve never done it so can’t speak from personal experience, but it seems like there is an increasing number of companies acting as an intermediary to set you up with students. Although the pay might not be as high as it would for an hour of private teaching in say Korea (up to $50), you can do it in your own house while wearing your pyjamas and won’t be burning the midnight oil on the subway, cruising all ’round your city.
Check out this site if you want some advice on how to cut out the middle-man and find your own students: Teaching English Online.
Side-Gig #5: Editing/Graphic Design/Writing
If you have skills in any of these things, it’s really easy to make money. Just go to a site like Fiverr for the low-end, easy kind of stuff or a site like Upwork for more high-end. You can bid on projects-the key in places like this seems to be to price your services pretty low at the start, do a few of them, get great reviews and then move up the food chain so you can command higher prices. A bit of short-term pain for long-term gain.
The Moral of this Side-Gig Story
It really is possible to use your free time as English teachers abroad to get your side-gig on and set yourself up for financial awesome. It just takes time, motivation and perseverance. As they say in Korea, Fighting! Translation = you can do it!
And of course, stay tuned for the upcoming book! This post is only 1% of the awesome that you’ll find there.
How Can I Use My Time in Korea Wisely?
A question from a reader, E.J.
“I am now beginning my second year of teaching in Korea. I was calculating how I’m doing with my student loans and how long it might take me to pay them off (which is looking like quite a while). That got me thinking about.. well, everything. Specifically, I want to make sure I’m spending my time wisely while I’m here in Korea. As a teacher, I have a nice chunk of free time and I try to use that in the most meaningful ways possible.
I heard that you will soon be moving to Canada, leaving behind, what, a 10+ year career of teaching here? What I want to know is, what advice do you have for teachers like me who are just beginning their career and who will probably be here for a significant amount of time? What things should I be doing now to be ready for whatever I might do after Korea? Do you have regrets or things you wish you had done? I am considering the possibility of becoming a copy writer or something like that if I ever move back to the U.S., so I have begun to think about how I can build experience in that area while I’m here.”
I’ve Been Thinking about this Stuff, a Lot
I got this question from E.J. via email and thought it was such a good one that I’d write an entire blog post about it. I give you a virtual high-five for thinking about this stuff so early on during your time in Korea. Let me start off with a quote from How to Thrive in South Korea by one of the stalwarts of the teaching scene here. I agree with him completely.
Better than I could say it Myself
“There are two aspects to professionalism: the first one if you want to make teaching a career and the other one if you don’t. First: start your teaching career right. Whichever teaching job you are in, however they treat you, take class preparation and classroom performance seriously. Your next job may come from those who see you in your current job and your students deserve your best. Recognize that in Korea, you are a teacher 24/7, so your dress and behavior off-campus can impact perceptions of your professionalism. Participating in professional/academic societies is an excellent way to demonstrate to others that you consider yourself a professional.
If English teaching isn’t your long-term future, OK. But be a teacher, not a vacationer who teaches to pay the bills. Start working towards whatever that non-teaching future may be. Read books. Practice your skills. Maintain contacts in the professional community (discussion lists, Facebook groups, alumni associations). Be ready to hit the ground running when your teaching term ends. Don’t make this a blank year on your resume that sets you back when you return home. You will just be a year older, and further from the most current education versus those you will be competing against for your next job.”
Don’t Waste your Time in Korea (or teaching English Anywhere in the World)
Basically, it comes down to this: Don’t waste your time in Korea! I don’t mean that teaching in Korea is a total waste of time. Mostly, I mean that teachers have a lot of free time and shouldn’t waste it.
I spent a lot of years in Korea being a consumer-cruising around on English teacher forums, watching TV and movies and wasting time on the Internet. I kick myself and can only imagine the possibilities if I’d gotten serious about writing books and building websites 5 years ago instead of 1. Better late than never, but these days, I spend a lot of time trying to encourage other teachers to not waste their time and to get their side-gig on, whatever that may be.
Become a producer instead of a consumer.
Forget about TESOL Qualifications
For your specific situation, it sounds like you have ambitions outside teaching, so while you should spend time planning lessons and do a decent job in the classroom, don’t worry too much about getting TESOL certs, etc. You’ll mostly be wasting your time and money, especially in Korea where this kind of thing isn’t really valued.
Good News for E.J.
The good news for you is that you mentioned copy writing. This is certainly something that you could get started with even before you leave Korea because most of that stuff happens online. Reach out to some of your favourite bloggers and offer to write 2-3 articles for free as a means of portfolio-building. See if you like doing it and could picture doing it as a career.
The key is to get started as soon as possible and to build up your reputation while you’re still teaching here so when you do eventually go home, you can hit the ground running and not have a bunch of down time.
For more details about how to make the transition home, check out Life After ESL. I did a lot of research on foreign teachers who’d returned to their home countries and I think you’ll find it useful.
Pay off Those Student Loans with Side Gigs
Debt is kind of like this ball and chain that hangs around and keeps you down. A lot of the unhappiest people I’ve met in Korea are those that feel trapped because they have a lot of debt back home and think that working in Korea is the only way to pay it off because they don’t have the skills to make it in their home country’s job market.
If these people didn’t have a ton of debt, they could work here for another year or two, save up some money and then go back to school. Except they most often can’t.
Frugal Living Tip for English Teachers Abroad
Sure, you can start a side-gig, but you could also just spend less money! Find out how to do that here:
Money in the Bank = Options
So, what I’m saying is that it’s always a good decision to pay off your debt and I again give you a virtual high-five for getting that all figured out. My advice is to pay it off as soon as possible because money in the bank = options.
You could go home and not worry about being unemployed for a few months. You could go backpacking for a year. Or, you could go back to school and study something totally unrelated to teaching. You could teach on some remote tropical island for a pittance. Perhaps you could do an unpaid internship to get your foot in the door. You could buy an apartment complex and become a real estate mogul. There are a lot of options available to you that simply aren’t when you have debt.
More Details about Paying off Debt
I talk about paying off debt in excruciating detail in The Wealthy English Teacher. The system that I recommend is Dave Ramsey’s snowball method. You can read all about it in The Total Money Makeover. He’s my #1 financial guru and I highly recommend his book.
A little short-term pain = a lot of long-term gain
Forgoing a night out at the expat bar once a week is going to be huge for you in terms of paying off your loans. A stay-cation in Korea instead of a jaunt around Thailand is just like money in the bank. Cooking at home instead of being lazy and going out all the time takes a bit of work now, but it’s going to pay off big-time for you later. Just make it happen. Power through it.
What do you Think about Side Hustles for Teachers and Not Wasting your Time When Teaching Abroad?
What’s your top pick for a side gig for a teacher? Leave a comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other teachers, like yourself who are interested in having a bit more cash in their pocket at the end of the month.
Last update on 2020-10-15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API