It’s no secret that over the last several months and years teachers have been leaving teaching in droves. But what exactly are these teachers doing now that they are no longer in the classroom?
Now you might think that’s great for them but you don’t see that as an option for you. Maybe you’ve just resigned yourself to the fact that you’re going to be stuck in the classroom for the rest of your life because you’re just not cut out to be an entrepreneur.
Well, I hope this episode changes your mind because whether you feel like you were born with an entrepreneurial spirit or not, I’m going to tell you why teachers make the best entrepreneurs. And yes, that even includes you!
So if you’re ready, let’s do it!
Why do Teachers Make Good Entrepreneurs?
1. Teachers are great communicators
One of the most essential aspects of being a teacher is the ability to effectively communicate. We have to be able to take new information and break it down into understandable pieces for our students. Therefore, our effectiveness as teachers directly correlates with our ability to communicate information.
Yet this skill doesn’t stop there.
We also have to consistently communicate with a variety of other individuals such as parents, colleagues, administration, and other students because it is our job to be the mediator between all of the relevant stakeholders each and every day.
We communicate in multiple ways throughout the day whether it is orally during lectures and conversations, written through letters, email communication, and lesson planning, or physically through gesturing and TPR (total physical response).
But how does this unique skill translate into why teachers make the best entrepreneurs?
I’m glad you asked!
As an entrepreneur, you are constantly communicating your message through…
- Blog posts
- Podcast episodes
- Products you create
- Social media posts and captions
So having a background in effective communication is going to give you a HUGE head start in the entrepreneurial game. Sure there will be things you have to learn, but being a skilled communicator is going to be foundational to your success as an online entrepreneur.
2. Teachers know when to pivot
There have been so many times throughout our teaching journeys where pivoting was essential. Whether it was because of a curveball thrown from administration or just our keen sense of knowing when our students didn’t “get it,” as teachers we just know that pivots are necessary.
This same ability is a complete superpower in the world of entrepreneurship.
As an entrepreneur, there are times when you’ve worked morning, noon, and night on a project, and you want that particular endeavor to work out so badly. And while things do work out sometimes, other times, you get to a point where you realize it’s time to pivot…possibly even into the opposite direction of the thing you have been working on with all your might.
Let me give you an example.
Several years ago, I became an online teacher with VIPKid. At the time, VIPKid was the world leader in online ESL learning. The platform was the model every other ESL teaching company used as the example to follow.
After some time, I found myself consistently booking classes while other teachers struggled to get classes on their schedules, so I decided to create a website where I could help other VIPKid teachers find success.
I created teaching printables, flashcards, and virtual classroom decor that was very well received by other teachers. I also ended up creating an entire course dedicated to helping new teachers get hired and fill their schedules with classes.
Then in October 2021, the Chinese government issued a mandate that changed everything. Students from mainland China were no longer allowed to have tutors or teachers from other countries. This caused every single ESL business based in China to eventually shut their doors or shift to becoming a worldwide platform.
And because I’d built so much of my business on an ESL platform that was now almost defunct, I had to pivot. I realized that I would no longer be able to count on the very large and diverse stream of income I had spent so much time and effort cultivating.
And honestly, it hurt!
I’d spent HOURS and HOURS creating a website, funnels, emails, products, and even a complete step-by-step course that had become basically irrelevant.
(Just an FYI…VIPKid has not shut its doors completely, but they are experiencing major growing pains as they shift into a worldwide platform. Therefore, all of the content I made is sitting untouched because my audience of teachers has dropped drastically.)
But thankfully, I didn’t put all of my eggs into the VIPKid basket and I did diversify. So after the huge loss of income I experienced when VIPKid shifted, I decided to take a step back and determine how I could best serve the rest of my audience including brick and mortar teachers and those seeking additional money outside of the classroom.
I ultimately shifted my focus from just one particular side hustle to several of the options that were perfect for teachers.
Opening up that space in my business allowed me to start this podcast and turn my energy toward helping teachers find the best career options outside of the classroom through resume creation, website design, and business coaching.
And let me just tell you, as difficult as it was to shift midstream, it has transformed my business. Thus proving why teachers make the best entrepreneurs.
3. Teachers want others to be successful
As teachers, our goal is to help those with whom we work to be successful. We will…
- spend hours researching and learning how to help students who are struggling grasp new concepts
- figure out exactly what our students are missing in order to fill knowledge gaps
- seek outside help and guidance because we know if that one child can make the connection then everything else will fall into place.
This same ability is why teachers make the best entrepreneurs.
Our desire to help others be successful is what gives us the gumption to find solutions to the problems our customers face.
- Students struggling with multiplication? Create a multiplication game.
- Followers need help organizing their classroom? Host a FB Live and give them tips.
- Online community not sure how to manage student behavior? Design an interactive classroom management product.
The fact is we are problem-solvers and we enjoy teaching others how to replicate what we do. We like to provide them with solutions, but we also want to empower them with the knowledge they need to be successful moving forward.
So we don’t just say, “Here is the solution…now give me money.” We provide the solution as well as the knowledge needed to replicate the result and create future solutions.
The truth is no one wakes up thinking about how they can spend their hard-earned money on another course they won’t complete or TpT purchase they won’t use.
We wake up with questions and problems that need solving. And as teachers, that’s what we do…we provide solutions.
4. Teachers are always learning new things
As former teachers, we already know the importance of lifelong learning and professional development. Whether it’s a new computer program, curriculum, or teaching method, we’re constantly learning. We want to know more so we can help our students find success.
As an entrepreneur, this desire to learn new things is going to be essential to the growth of your business.
Embarking on anything new requires that we take on the role of a student; and whether you need to learn how to use QuickBooks or some other form of bookkeeping, how to update plugins on your website, or how to work with brands, investing in quality educational experiences is going to be key.
It’s imperative that we allow ourselves time and space for learning by giving ourselves the grace needed to make mistakes and fail our way into success. The reality is the road to acquiring knowledge isn’t linear or free from pitfalls. In fact, it is riddled with bumps and potholes.
But we have to be scrappy enough to choose a growth mindset every day and push ourselves through the tough times in order to continue moving forward. And it’s that same grit and willingness to learn new things that proves why teachers make the best entrepreneurs.
5. The impossible is our sweet spot
I love inspirational sayings and quotes. When I was thinking about how as teachers we are never willing to shy away from even the seemingly impossible, these quotes came to mind.
- “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” Audrey Hepburn
- “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Francis of Assisi
- “We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.” Charles R. Swindoll
It’s so easy to see difficult or challenging situations as utterly impossible. Maybe just the idea of embarking on a career as an entrepreneur seems impossible to you because you genuinely wonder, “Can a teacher be an entrepreneur?”
And the short answer is a resounding yes!!
But the crazy thing is just how much time as teachers we spend making things that seem impossible actually possible. Look back at some of the things you have done as an educator that others said couldn’t be done.
- Helping that student who struggled with reading find a love for literature
- Encouraging the co-worker start a TpT store in order to fund an adoption
- Starting a movement in your school to get students and teachers physically active
Any one of these things seemed truly impossible when they were first ideas, but now they are actually happening and you had a huge part in them coming to fruition.
You see, I’ve discovered from my own personal experience that it’s so much easier to help someone else achieve the impossible than it is to believe that I can do it myself.
We know the negative thoughts and fear that hold us hostage. But I want to call out that nonsense and tell you that this idea of leaving teaching to become an entrepreneur is within your grasp.
Maybe it isn’t something that you need to do this exact minute because you need to create a plan with a specific classroom exit strategy. You want to think through the financial aspects and determine when it will be the best time for you to embark on this new journey.
You are resourceful, imaginative, and used to working with a small budget. And I could spend half a day digging into why those particular skills are why teachers make the best entrepreneurs.
But the fact remains that you have the skill set needed to become a successful entrepreneur. Maybe right now you just need to…
- speak that dream out loud
- hear someone say you can do it, and
- acknowledge that you are capable
Friend, you CAN chase your dreams and find success outside of the classroom. You have all of the critical skills needed to make this dream a reality, but you have to take the first step.
And that’s where I want to help! If you know you are ready to leave the classroom, but you need guidance on how to create a plan to make this happen, click the link in the description for this episode or shoot me a DM on Instagram at Classroom_Exit_Strategies.
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The truth is teachers make the best entrepreneurs and it’s your turn to see this firsthand!