Teaching as a Side Hustle?

It was summer of 2016 and an online friend told me about a platform she was using to teach others how to make homemade wine, cheese, and more. Enter Skillshare.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

I have always enjoyed teaching others how to do something, but up until that point it had been in person or through my books and articles. I was both intrigued and terrified by the thought of teaching online.

After some persuading on her part, I bit the bullet and published a class titled How to Spin Your Own Yarn. (Update March 2022: this class was unpublished by Skillshare due to it no longer conforming to their guidelines. I chose not to record a newer version.)

That class still earns me a few dollars a month, and I only had to do the majority of the work once. Of the 62 months since I first published, there have only been 9 months where my payments have been $0.00. I don’t consider that terrible, since I haven’t really done anything to promote my classes. The majority of the students found my classes through the platform’s search feature.

I only have two classes published at this point, the other being Make Your Own Weaving Sticks (also unpublished due to same reason as above). I tried to teach my Creating and Selling Nonfiction course but was not happy with the format, so left it as a digital download in my Etsy Shop instead.

Are you a teacher at heart?

Whether you’re camera shy or not, teaching others is doable on Skillshare. In fact, because you do the videos yourself, you can do as many takes as necessary to get it the way you want it.

The lessons consist of short videos so your students can consume them in bite-size pieces. There’s nothing worse than trying to go back through a video that’s an hour long to find a segment you want to replay. By having several short videos your students can rewatch a step they may have not understood the first time, or missed because of a distraction.

Recording the lessons can be done with your phone, a camera, or webcam. I recorded mine using either a digital camera or my phone; I honestly don’t recall which it was now. You don’t have to have top of the line equipment; as long as it gives you a clear picture and audio you’re set.

Classes can be anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours long. They must be structured, have an introduction (this is basically where you tell your potential student what the course is about and what they will learn when they take it), as many lessons as it takes to teach the subject, and a conclusion.

As I write this I am using a 5+ hour class for a reference. One thing I have noticed is none of the teacher’s lessons are over 20 minutes. The average lesson ranges from 5 to 15 minutes, with more or less time for some of them. His entire class has 31 videos, which includes the introduction and conclusion.

Skillshare has a wonderful reference section, as well as a teacher handbook. They explain how to structure your classes, how to optimize the description with keywords, and how to record and edit. The handbook also covers class promotion, earning revenue, building your channel, and more.

A snippet of the Getting Started Menu.

As you can see in the photo above, the Teacher Handbook is full of information to help you record a great class. Plus they want you to succeed. If you do well, they do well.

Are you in?

You don’t have to teach classes about spinning or making weaving sticks like I published; you can teach anything you wish. From A to Z, any topic you pick, chances are there’s a class on it. And if there isn’t, then you can be the first to teach one!

The best part is you can sign up for a free trial and take some classes, set up a teacher account, and earn some extra cash for as long as your class is published. Like I said earlier, I have had only 2 classes published for the majority of the past 5 years and I earn a few dollars almost every month. If I promoted my classes more, I know my earnings would be much higher.

It’s nice to get the email from PayPal mid-month saying “Skillshare has sent you $$$.$$.” It’s one side hustle I really haven’t put any time into once the classes were published. It’s almost a set-it-and-forget-it type of deal. However, it’s better if you engage with your students and followers regularly. (I need to practice what I preach in this regard.)

(Update March 2022: In addition to earning as a teacher Skillshare also has an referral program, which I still belong to and endorse. I need to brush up on my recording skills and add another class or two; but don’t foresee it being within the next month or two.)

Let me know in the comments if you are currently a teacher on Skillshare, or if it’s something you’re considering. And if you teach on another platform, which one?

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3 Steps to Creating an Information Product

Creating an information product is probably one of the easiest things to do, and can bring you the highest return.

Disclaimer: This post contains links for my products. I will receive full payment should you decide to make a purchase. The information does not guarantee financial gain simply by reading this post or my product. It takes time and effort to create an information product, but once done the possibilities of increasing your bank balance is real.

Before I get too far into the steps, you must first know what an information product is. In all honesty, this blog post is essentially an information product, because it will teach you how to do something.

An information product is designed to teach the reader/viewer/listener how to do something. It can be written, video, or audio. And the beauty of it is you create it once, and can sell it over and over again…even while you sleep.

I have been creating information products for at least three decades. When I started I didn’t even realize I was doing it. It wasn’t until up to about 10 years ago that I came across an article online (I don’t remember the title of it now) that talked about information products and marketing. It was then that the lightbulb went off, and I realized I could do that as a side hustle.

I started by writing articles online and when I realized people liked what I had to say, I took it a step further and began self-publishing my own ebooks, PDFs, print on demand books, and printable products in my Etsy shop.

My most popular articles have been on quilting, making and using weaving sticks, and how to earn money with side hustles. As much as I enjoy crafting, I enjoy helping others make the extra money they need/want for bills, vacations, or a new home.

This post will tell you what you need to do to create your own written information product.

Step 1: Come up with an idea.

This is where your brainstorming skills will come into play. Think of all of the things you like to do. Then think of all the things you are good at. Make a list of each, then pick your top 3.

Step 2: Outline your product.

Remember back in school when you had to write an essay? Your teacher probably told you to make an outline. It wasn’t because he/she wanted to give you more work (well, maybe that was part of it), but rather to help you stay on track as you wrote.

It’s quite easy to start writing about something, then stray off topic. The outline is there to keep you focused.

Step 3: Create your product.

This is the fun part. My guess is you already know a lot about your topic. If you don’t, it’s time to do some research.

You don’t have to write thousands of words, unless of course that’s what it’s going to take to get your point across. I do want to say the easier you make it for your reader the better. They’re going to want quick results, especially if they’re impatient like many people (me included).

Use words, short sentences, pictures, diagrams, and whatever else it takes to show your reader how to get from an idea to a finished product. For example, if you’re teaching someone how to make a macrame plant hanger you’ll include a materials list, cutting lengths, knot directions, and steps to make the hanger.

Since a lot of people need a visual to understand how the knots are made, take photos as you go along and insert them after the written part of each step. You could also include a video tutorial within the product, or link to it on your YouTube channel.

Conclusion:

Once your product is created, it’s time to market it. For a more in-depth look at the process of creating an information product, I have written a course which is available in my Etsy Shop (NotJustAlpacaDesigns) and priced at $19. Grab your copy today, and you can be on your way to earning passive income tomorrow.

Creating and Selling Nonfiction

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5 Offline Side Hustles

I’ve talked about online side hustles; now it’s time to switch over to a few offline ones.

Not all side hustles need to be online. In fact, it’s better to have an offline venture or two going as well. Read through the list below and see if there’s one that fits your personality.

Disclaimer: Links within this post are either to my own products, or products I endorse. I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase through an affiliate link, at no extra cost to you. My blog is supported through commissions and sales of my products. Plus, if you like what you read you can show your support by pinning this post, sharing on social media, or buy me a coffee.  Thank you for your continued support.

  1. Farmer’s Market – Pre-COVID had people selling their wares at weekly Farmer’s Markets. Now that life is starting to get back to some sort of normal, communities are once again allowing the markets. With the holidays coming up it’s the perfect time to sell baking, homemade jams and jellies, handcrafted wood projects, knit/crocheted items, custom signs, paintings, and so much more. Contact your local Chamber of Commerce to see what events are happening in your community, including Craft markets.
  2. Bottle Picking – This may seem like a bottom-of-the-barrel hustle to some, but it can really be quite lucrative. With so much emphasis put on recycling and cleaning up our environment, there’s no shame in doing our part. I have friends who fund little projects with the money they earn just from taking their quads out along the highways and backroads. I myself find a few cans occasionally when going out for a walk. I know if I walked a different stretch of road each time I’d find a lot more. Just this week I picked up several cans between my house and my father-in-law’s farm, which is less than a quarter mile away.
  3. Pet Sitting – If you have a love for animals, this can be a great little side hustle for you. Pet owners spend thousands of dollars on their pets annually; and that’s not including the day-to-day necessities. Busy people are willing to pay you for spending time with their pet so they can go on vacation, or just be reassured their pets won’t be bored while they’re at work. A bored pet is a destructive pet.
  4. House Sitting – Similar to pet sitting, but not as tiring (unless of course there’s a snowstorm). When you go on vacation don’t you feel better when you have someone checking in on your home? You can provide the same service to friends and neighbours for a small fee. It may mean cleaning the sidewalks, watering the plants, and just making sure their home looks occupied while they’re away. An unoccupied home is an easy target for criminals.
  5. Snow Removal/Lawn Care – This is a side hustle you can do at any time of year. The tools you need will depend on the season, but chances are it’ll be either a shovel or a lawnmower. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive; just a strong back (especially when it comes to snow removal) and the desire to help others. Keep your rates competitive, do a good job, and you’ll have repeat customers no matter the season.

The 5 side hustles mentioned in this post are low-to-no-startup cost, and can easily bring in a few hundred dollars a month. Your biggest cost will be table rental with the first side hustle, as you will most likely have the tools needed for the others.

They are also not passive income earners; you will need to do the work in order to get paid. However, you’ll likely meet and make some friends along the way who will tell others about your services. And, once you have some firsthand experience you can write your own guide to doing what you do. That in turn will create some passive income for you, and you can hire a house sitter while you vacation in Hawaii.

Ebook to Guide Writing

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