Teachers work hard to guide students through the educational experience and foster their growth into intelligent, capable adults. But despite the profession’s merits, teacher pay isn’t always enough to make ends meet. As NEAToday reports, about 16 percent of K-12 teachers nationwide work second jobs outside of school. A second job enables teachers to buy homes, save for retirement, raise a family, and meet other financial goals that are difficult to fund solely on a teacher’s salary.
While some teachers restrict second jobs to the summer months, many moonlight year-round, fitting a part-time job around their teaching schedule. Increasing your income while maintaining a high level of performance in your career is a delicate balance to strike, but the right second job makes it possible.
Take Advantage of the Gig Economy
Rather than racing off to a second office as soon as the closing bell rings, teachers benefit from jobs that let them set their own hours. With flexible hours, teachers can go home and spend time with their family before working their second job. This promise of improved work-life balance is why many teachers look to the gig economy to increase their income.
The gig economy is characterized by short-term contract jobs. While there are downsides, gigs allow workers to set their own hours and workload. For teachers, that means the ability to work more when school is out during the summer and less when school is in session. Many gig economy jobs can also be performed remotely, eliminating commute times and allowing educators to fit a second job around their busy schedule.
Pick the Job That’s Right for You
Teachers have found success in gigs that utilize their educational skills, such as tutoring, test scoring, and teaching English online. Some gigs, like creating and selling educational materials, offer the added benefit of passive income throughout the year.
Other teachers capitalize on their community connections to find work as babysitters, dog walkers, and personal errand runners. While word-of-mouth is excellent for recruiting neighbors as customers, on-demand apps like Rover, TaskRabbit, Instacart, and others allow gig economy workers to expand their reach.
Teachers who want something different can try their hand at writing and editing, graphic design, social media marketing, bookkeeping, and other professional services online. Being competitive in these industries requires experience, so teachers may need to spend time learning and developing skills before selling their services. However, once established, these gigs can pay considerably more than unskilled work.
Get the Most out of Your New Gig
No matter what type of gig a teacher pursues, managing business finances is of utmost importance. Careful recordkeeping not only tells the worker how much money they’re making, it also allows workers to track client invoices so they don’t miss a payment. While business finances can be managed with a series of spreadsheets, apps designed for independent workers streamline the process so less time is spent on non-paying administrative tasks.
Because time-saving measures are essential when a person is balancing side work with a full-time job, teachers should make use of technological solutions to help efficiently manage business finances and other crucial details. There are apps for invoicing, tracking receipts, managing schedules, and planning workflow. Find out more about available apps here.
Recordkeeping also makes tax time simpler. Because workers in the gig economy generally work as independent contractors, taxes aren’t withheld from pay. Instead, independent contractors must remit quarterly tax payments to the IRS to avoid facing a penalty at filing. A rule of thumb for freelancers and gig economy workers is to set aside 30 percent of earnings for taxes. By tracking business income and expenses, workers can accurately calculate owed taxes and avoid under- or over-payment. For information on paying quarterly taxes and deducting business expenses, read the gig economy tax guide at MileIQ.
While experience as an educator can serve as a launching point for gig economy work, it’s important that teachers separate their side work from their career. In addition to financial management, teachers entering the gig economy should set up a business email and website. Online website builders and logo generators make it easy for gig economy workers to create a professional online presence, regardless of technical expertise.
When it comes to growing their income, teachers shouldn’t feel limited to underpaid work at area businesses. By turning to the gig economy, teachers can find work that both pays well and allows them to maintain a work-life balance despite a busy schedule. Regardless of whether teachers work locally or take their hunt for a second job online, treating the second job like a business is essential. When they create a professional image and stay on top of business records, teachers can create a side job that adds to their career as an educator.
This article is a guest post from Joyce Wilson at Teacher Spark.