Got a hobby? What's your passion? Are you good at something, have a special skill or talent? Very likely, you do!
Everyone has a talent, which means that you have a natural ease to learn or do something. From singing to yoga to soccer, sewing or a handicraft... it could be anything.
Maybe you really know how to use Excel, or how to knit socks, or you like to cook with unusual ingredients. Taking care of plants, being able to socialize easily, being good at drawing... we all have some skill.
For most people, their hobby is something they spend money on. But what if you could make money with your hobby? Maybe you could even earn a decent living with the thing that you love to do?
Well, yes, you can. And there are probably several different ways you could use your passion to generate some income. But one of the best ways is to teach the thing you're passionate about or good at to others.
You can be sure that your hobby can be turned into a business, because if you are into something, chances are that there are loads of other people out there who are interested in that thing, too. So there definitely are potential clients or students who would love to have some of your talent or get some of your skills.
There's a well-known saying:
"Do what you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life."
The source of this saying is unknown (no, it's not Confucius). It makes a lot of sense, right? Well, we'll even go one step further:
"Teach what you love and you'll have the most awesome way to earn money".
Why is this true? Because when you teach the thing you're passionate about:
- You get to spend more time on the very thing that you love.
- You get to share your passion with others.
- Helping other people to achieve things and realize their own potential is in itself very rewarding.
Now it's unlikely that you're going to be able to walk into some school that offers classes on the thing you're passionate about (there probably are no such schools). You won't just get hired somewhere as an employee to teach your special talent.
This means you will have to go it alone and 'do your own thing'. You'll have to become a special kind of entrepreneur: a teacherpreneur. But don't worry, that's actually a big part of the awesomeness when it comes to earning money with your hobby. Because in addition to the benefits listed above, when you are a teacherpreneur:
- You can set your own hours and be in full control of everything. You decide what you teach, to whom, and when, where & how. You can set your own hours, and even earn passive income.
- When you are your own boss, your earning potential is virtually unlimited... it's all up to you! You will be able to do quite well financially.
The rise of the teacherpreneur
In recent decades, education has changed a lot. Today, there are hundreds of millions of people learning things outside of the traditional classroom... things like dance, art, computer programming, ... lots of different kinds of self improvement skills.
This is a huge market that's known as the "passion economy", or the alternative education market.
When someone wants to learn something, where do they go? The internet, of course. They search on Google for some local classes, or they go on YouTube to find "how to" videos.
On the internet, eager learners can easily connect with thousands of instructors who can provide knowledge and motivation on a virtually unlimited range of topics.
This was already the situation before covid 19... and then the covid pandemic (plus the associated lockdowns) literally exploded what was already a big trend: online learning.
In 2021, the online learning market was worth a staggering $320 billion, and it is projected to hit $1 trillion in 2028. Yes, seriously.
The online fitness market on its own is growing like crazy: it's predicted to increase at a rate of 50% per year, from roughly $11 billion in 2021 to $80 billion by 2026.
This really is a new world. And this world brings huge opportunities for millions of people who have a talent or skill that they can teach to others. That's especially true if they can teach it online, but in-person classes and face-to-face coaching is also a phenomenon that's growing big time.
Now in the alternative education market, there are no gatekeeper institutions. Students don't have to enroll at a university or sign up for expensive courses at an institution. Heck, with online learning, they don't even have to leave their house!
Similarly, if you want to be a teacher, you don't need any certifications, take any exams, or be accredited in any sort of way (except maybe things like scuba diving or hang-gliding). Literally anyone can teach something, and it requires virtually no investment to get started.
Imagine, you could decide to become an online teacher right after reading this article, and then start greeting your first students in a Zoom classroom as early as tomorrow!
How to deliver your content to students
There are a many ways to get paid to teach. The exact format can take many shapes, and you can do many of them simultaneously. Here's a general list of ideas:
Teaching group classes online
The easiest way to get into teaching your hobby is to offer lessons online, over Zoom. It doesn't require any special equipment, and of course you can teach right out of your living room so in theory you can start teaching in the next 5 minutes.
Teaching online has two major advantages:
Firstly, you essentially have no overhead and no expenses. You don't have to rent a space, you don't need to travel anywhere... just fire up a laptop, start a Zoom session, there you are!
Secondly, you can accommodate students from all over the country, or even the world — which means your potential client base is virtually unlimited. You can easily teach something that almost nobody in your town or city is interested in... because the internet is a very big place, and no matter how unique your teaching is, there will many people out there who would love to join your online classes.
Another nice thing about teaching online is that it's trivial for you to create videos and courses — just click the "record" button when you teach your class. You can then offer these recordings to people, as way to earn additional passive income (more below).
Of course, people do have to know that you exist and that you're offering classes... so you'll need to find some students (or rather, you'll need some students to find you). But that's a matter of marketing, which is way beyond the scope of this article. Learn more about how to get students for your classes here.
Teaching in-person group classes
This is the old school way: teacher meets a group of students in a physical location to exchange knowledge. Depending on what you're going to teach, it's really the best or even only way. For example, if you need to spot someone doing a back flip, or taste the food they are preparing... you'll have to be there, in the real world.
But that's fine, you don't need to have some huge space in your home! To accommodate 10 or 20 students, there will be many places all around you that might be suitable and available for you to teach group classes.
You could organize classes at your local community center, the YMCA, or in a public school after hours when the facility isn't really being used. Even outside in a park (weather permitting). Other places to consider are senior centers, youth centers, and public libraries.
If your hobby has a local club, it may already have some classes for members. So it might be easy for you to step in and make yourself available as a teacher.
Lastly, local businesses that cater to your hobby may offer you an opportunity to teach classes too. For example, arts & crafts stores or hobby centers typically love to have people teaching something right in their shop (as long as the thing requires some materials that are sold in the shop, of course).
Create instructional videos & recorded classes
Many people just like to watch. They love "how to" videos... and they don't want any other people around, and they don't even need any interaction with a live instructor.
So you could create lectures or fully developed multi-part "self serve" courses that teach what you know to others. This has many advantages for an instructor:
- you don't have to be 100% on point all the time like in a live classroom... if you stumble or make any mistakes in your delivery, you can simply cut and edit your footage and add images and diagrams to make your teaching "perfect". If you're someone who gets nervous being in front of an audience, creating videos and courses is an easy way to stay in your comfort zone.
- you don't have to show up in any particular place at a particular time. For your students, video-on-demand means they can watch your video whenever they like... but for you, it means you can really work whenever you want, without any hard commitments on your schedule. So you could work on your presentations after you get home from your day job, or whenever inspiration strikes. Freedom!
- passive income: when you offer evergreen courses or recordings, you only have to do the work once, and then enjoy the fruits of your labor for a long time after that... potentially even years! If you get a lot of people subscribing to your content, this can be the way to scale your business to the point where your hourly earnings are through the roof.
One of the simplest ways to create evergreen content is to simply record your live classes, and then offer these recordings for sale. On Ubindi, teachers frequently offer class recordings as part of a video library, which students can access either as part of a membership or with a one-off purchase.
Recorded classes is a wonderful way to supplement your income without really doing any extra work at all (since you're teaching the class anyway).
Class recordings can also be a great for marketing to attract new students.
For example, you could post some of your class videos (or perhaps just 20 minutes fragments) on YouTube. There, people can discover and watch them for free, but in the process they will discover you and your other classes. Hopefully, some fraction of this audience will become interested in taking live classes with you and sign up for your paid offerings.
Beyond simply recording your classes, you might even get inspired to create detailed masterpieces, i.e. full-fledged courses with quizzes and assignments and all the rest of it. This can be quite a bit of work, but also quite fun!
You can create your courses with any old computer with simple and free video editing software, and then host them on a site like Udemy or Teachable. Some of the more popular instructors on these platforms are earning hundreds of thousands of Dollars per year by offering self-paced courses to a large audience.
Private lessons and 1:1 coaching
While some people don't need any live teacher at all, some others really prefer private lessons where they get all the attention. For some subjects, this is very common (music instruction, tennis, personal training and academic tutoring). But it's a fact that in pretty much any field, you'll find there are certain kinds of clients who are more than happy to pay a premium for private instruction.
For example, on the Ubindi platform, we see many pilates and yoga teachers where the bulk of their income is coming from private or semi-private (1:1 or 1:2) lessons. And this leads us to the $million question:
How much money can you make teaching your passion?
Sorry, but there is no simple formula. The sky is the limit, but the real answer is: "it depends".
Everyone is different, teaching different things in different ways...and when you're running your own business, the amount of money you can earn is not as simple as asking for the average salary of a yoga/music/dance teacher.
Your income depends on how popular your hobby or passion is (more is better), but also what the competition is like (less is better). It depends on how much effort you will put into things. Is it a side hustle and you just want to teach one class per week? Or will you want to run several classes per day, and also work on your recorded courses on the weekend?
Your earnings also depend hugely on your marketing abilities: what's the number of students you can attract, and how can you attract them, and what kind of students will you attract?
For example, a loyal client who fully immerses themselves into your program and reliably shows up for every single class, rain or shine... such a person is worth their weight in gold.
On the other hand, if you attract a lot of potential students who aren't very serious and who just hop from instructor to instructor, taking advantage of all the typical "first class free" offers they can find... you won't make bank. These people will actually be a drain on your revenue.
Fundamentally, whether or not students flock to you and you can cultivate a base of loyal regulars will also be a function of how good you are as a teacher. How experienced, how much of an expert in your field, how passionate you are about everything. And frankly, how much you care about your students and their progress!
Your income as a teacher will also very much depend on your pricing. Going cheap might attract more students... but it might also send the wrong signal to prospective customers and (ironically) turn them away. The topic of how to price your offerings is a big one!
Your personality and mindset will also play a role in the overall equation: some people are naturally more introverted, and some people are more extroverted. Some people really don't care if they earn a lot of money from teaching their passion, they're happy just to be doing it. And some people actually feel guilty for monetizing their hobby.
On the other hand, if you're good at marketing and ambitious, and you're not shy when it comes to asking to be paid... well, you you will earn more. Will you 'hustle'? Will you be comfortable promoting yourself in your community, on social media, and will you constantly be looking for opportunities to grow your teaching business? If so, you could become really wealthy with your teaching.
To inspire you with an example, Phil Ebiner teaches a mix of things like photography, video production, Photoshop, and many other creative skills. Phil has published over a hundred courses on Udemy which have earned him over $3 million in just a few years. Amazing!
But that's the exception, of course. The majority of the passion economy instructors out there are part-time amateurs who don't aim to take over the world — and that's ok! Teaching can also be just a pleasant side hustle that brings in some extra income every month.
So you see, it's all up to you!
Ubindi is a platform where independent teachers can manage their teaching business and take bookings, manage students, get payments for memberships, etc.). It's currently used by thousands of wellness instructors, artists, dance teachers, photography experts, etc., so we can share some numbers:
A small fraction of teachers just love sharing their skill and passion with the world and don't charge any money for it.
Most teachers make around $1000 per month by teaching just a few classes a week. They usually have a day job, and a student base of around 30 people (on average).
A good number of teachers are quite successful — earning over $5000 monthly. These folks generally offer monthly subscriptions to their students, and they are smart about their pricing (charging more). They also seem to be doing a bit of legwork to motivate their existing clients to sign up for classes, by sending emails and running the occasional promotion or special workshop.
How to get started?
Today it's incredibly easy to set up and operate your own teaching business — one where you can teach exactly what you want and how you want. If you have a hobby or talent and are looking for a way to earn money while doing what you love... well, why not start teaching others today?
As for exactly how you might get started: ask around in your circle of friends, family, or acquaintances if anyone would be interested in learning "X" (your passion) with you. You might get some students really quick!
We'll just leave you with what we think is the most important piece of advice about being a teacherpreneur and getting started: just do it. Get going. Everything is made easier simply by doing.