4 Ways to Earn Income Teaching

If you've been thinking about teaching your craft, have you been wondering what type of teaching is right for you and will get you closer to building the life and business that you want?

Here is a quick look into the pros and cons of 4 ways that Creatives build teaching into their busiinesses:

Own Your Own Studio: Do you dream of your own light filled studio filled with the energy of aspiring students?  Where you can make your art, sell your products and have a home base for your business? Artists like Alena Hennesey, Donna Downey and Kelly Rae Roberts have such studios where they build real-life artistic communities. You might choose this path if you want physical space to make your art, sell your art and teach + have control over when and what you teach.  

The Upside: You have the opportunity to offer as many classes as you want each month on whatever topics that you choose.  You can have guest teachers, partner with other artists to rent space from you or have a co-op store within your space that helps pay the overhead. You have control over all aspects of your business and don't have to worry about space availability.

The Downside: Overhead, including rent, utilities, trash removal and insurance to name a few. You're tied to one location and have to offer enough classes each month to cover your overhead and still pay yourself and earn a profit. Potential solution: Buy the building where your studio is and rent it to yourself or use a studio in your home or on property you own.

Traveling Teacher: Would you rather travel and spread your creative light world-wide? You can make a successful living and fund your travel this way. You can teach nationally or internationally if that is the way your heart leans. Artists like Tracy Verdugo and Flora Bowley support their passion and their wanderlust through teaching in drool-worthy locations like Bali, Italy, France, Greece, Australia...

The upside: Getting paid to travel. Traveling for your business allows you to write off a portion of the expenses at tax time such as your flight, rental car, hotel and meals. Exchange rates in other countries may make your teaching venue and your student's accommodations much lower than in the US. You can charge higher rates for an extended class in a desirable locale than you would for a class in your neighborhood.

The Downside: Shipping materials and supplies, complications of making international arrangements and booking, lack of familiarity with the area and it's amenities. Possible solutions: Host an annual retreat at one location and gain familiarity over time. Seek out people who have visited or taught in the country/area you're considering for help planning.

Teach in Your Community: If you prefer staying closer to home, a great way to get started teaching is right in your own community (or even your home!)  In person classes are a perfect way to dip your toe in the water, practice your content and delivery and get immediate feedback from your students. Many of the students in my classes say they prefer hands-on learning from a real person who can show them exactly what to do.  They don't have to watch a video and then try and figure it out for themselves.  Another bonus is a limited investment for students-they don't have to go out and buy all of the tools and equipment before they even know if they like something.   

The Upside-Keep overhead low by utilizing community spaces such as library's, cafes, boutiques and community centers. You don't have to make rent each month, pay utilities of have the lawn mowed and driveway plowed or deal with a cranky landlord.

The Downside-You don't have a regular, guaranteed spot for teaching classes as you have to work on other people's schedules. You're limited to what you can do in the space (I am forever seeking a place that will let me use torches for soldering, which is too risky for many public places), the hours available and configuration of the space is limited.

Rather teach from your pajamas? Online teaching might be just the thing for you.  Online classes are exploding with artists inspiring and educating others in everything from marketing your business to healing through art.  The options online are virtually endless.  I've taken "online" classes where all of the content was delivered via group conference calls and other classes that were exclusively videos and PDF's.  You get decide how you want to connect with yours students. 

The Upside: Online classes can have low overhead costs and you can teach many more students at once. Your income possibilities are exponentially larger here.

The Downside: Marketing your classes can be a real challenge. Some classes aren't well-suited to online instruction, particularly those that require specialized equipment (like a oxygen acetylene torch) or pricey materials (like a rolling mill) that would need to be used during class.

When you're deciding how you want to teach, ask yourself:

What do you want your life to look like?  Do you dream of traveling, prefer being home every day when your kids get home, or looking for a little more connection with the outside world? Do you want to work nights and weekends?

How do you want to interact with your students?  Do you prefer to be showing them hands on in a class-type setting or do you prefer to guide from afar?

What are your financial goals for your business?  How much money do you want to earn from teaching each month? What type of teaching will help get your there? 

How is your content best delivered? Is your content something people need hands on help with? Is it easily transferable to video? Is it portable enough for live classes? Is there a lot of specialized equipment involved?

These answers will start to lead you in the right direction when it comes to building classes into your bigger plan. Looking for more individualized support to get your class off the ground? Contact me for a free email consult.




Kelly Diemond