$10,000 a month working 20-hour weeks sounds like a pretty sweet gig! And for Jade Weatherington, it's been a dream come true to make a living in education–while working from home.
To be fair, Jade's financial success didn't happen overnight. She had months of earning less than $100 from her online private tutoring.
But when she discovered an up-and-coming platform called Outschool, things really started to take off.
In her first month on the platform, Jade made $32. Still, she was encouraged by the possibilities and scale of teaching online classes there.
By the third month, she made almost $5,000.
Today she’s making $10,000+ from a combination of online classes, pre-recorded courses, and other teaching products — all while working around 20 hours a week.
Big thanks to Gili Malinsky for the intro!
Note: I call this the Buy Buttons strategy. To kickstart your business, find the mini-marketplaces your target customers are already shopping at. Go where the cash is already flowing!
Tune in to The Side Hustle Show interview to learn:
- how to decide what topics to teach
- the online teaching platforms Jade likes
- how to price and market your courses or classes
How to Figure Out What Topic to Teach?
A lot of people get stuck deciding on what they should teach, and whether or not they can even teach.
This isn’t something that should hold you back.
“You should absolutely aim for teaching whatever you’re passionate about,” Jade told me.
Jade also explained that you shouldn’t let the fact that you’re not credentialed or a licensed teacher hold you back.
If you’re passionate about something and have some expertise in that area, there’s going to be someone that wants to learn from you.
Jade also explained that enjoying what you teach is especially important if you’re teaching kids. Kids are good at spotting and picking up on how much fun someone is having teaching them, and it has a big impact on how engaged they are with the lesson.
She’s well aware that not all kids or students enjoy learning though. This is why it’s important you enjoy it, and more so that you make it enjoyable for your students.
How Jade Got Started Teaching Online
Jade’s main teaching topic is the “five-paragraph essay.” Jade decided on this topic because she'd done lots of English and writing tutoring.
She was always answering the same questions from her students while tutoring them. So, she developed a 4-week class based around all of those questions and the challenges kids had with the topic — and made it as fun and interactive as possible.
Jade is well aware that students aren’t lining up to learn how to write a five-paragraph essay. Their parents are, however, so she makes it as fun as possible for her students and says this results in them signing up for further classes.
Transitioning From Tutoring to Creating Online Classes
Jade has done a number of tutoring jobs and has taught on a lot of online platforms. She was experienced in the online teaching space, but more so in tutoring in person and in a 1-on-1 capacity.
It wasn’t until someone mentioned Outschool in one of the Facebook groups she’s in that she realized she could upload courses online and sell them as well teach in virtual classrooms.
Outschool is an online platform where anyone can upload online classes for kids. They help parents find the exact courses their kids need, and they also help teachers promote and manage their courses.
Going from 1-on-1 tutoring to teaching classes online appealed to Jade, so she joined Outschool.
The first class she created was a 4-part class about writing essays. Jade built this class around addressing all the questions and needs she already knew students had from her experience tutoring.
Jade taught this class live online for two months, and she started getting great feedback from parents and students. So much so that the parents were asking for more.
So, Jade asked parents for feedback on what they wanted next for their kids. They said they wanted more writing classes, so Jade created a part two for her course.
She also started uploading her lessons and pre-recording certain lessons. This enabled her to reach more students and also resulted in a boost in revenue as she was making passive income as opposed to having to be present in the classes.
Analyzing the Competition on Outschool
When Jade joined Outschool 4 years ago, the platform was fairly new and there were less than 100 teachers on there.
Today, there are more than 10,000 teachers using the platform. The competition has obviously increased a great deal, but Jade said this isn’t something that should put you off.
When the pandemic struck, demand for virtual classes on Outschool grew 2000%!
The thing about online teaching is that you’re the unique selling point, and no one can replicate that.
Jade said she tells people not to even look at what other courses are available similar to what you’re going to offer. She also said not to worry about other people copying your classes.
“Somebody can take my entire class, they can take my notes, they can read my script, they can do everything that I do in my class — but it’s still not me,” Jade explained.
Getting Started and Growing Online Classes
It can feel intimidating joining a new online platform and wondering if you’re going to get any virtual class enrollments.
Jade said you can’t let this put you off.
In her first ever class, Jade had just one student. In a stroke of luck, it turned out that the student’s dad was the manager of a homeschool co-op.
Because his kid liked the class so much, the dad ended up getting 18 other kids to sign up for the next one and this created some momentum.
In her third month on the platform, Jade said a mommy blogger did a write-up of her class. This was essentially free marketing and drove a lot more students to her classes.
By month 4, Jade said all of her classes were all filling up. She started capping her classes with older kids at 15, and 9 for the younger ones.
Jade started amassing hundreds of 5-star reviews, and she noticed that she was appearing high in the search results within Outschool’s search algorithm. This also led to more students finding her.
The nature of teaching is that if you make a positive impact on your students, word will spread quickly. This means anyone can join the platform and play catch up if you’re great at what you teach.
For those thinking about joining Outschool, Jade said “If you get one child to sign up for your class, be amazing. Be everything to that child so they tell their friends and parents.”
Optimizing Your Listings on Outschool
A lot of Jade’s students or parents find her through the Outschool platform. This means they are searching for the class they want, and Jade’s classes pop up in the search results.
Jade shared some of her tips to help you optimize your listings for better exposure on Outschool:
It’s crucial you use the right keywords when naming your classes. The search feature in Outschool works a lot like Google, it’s an algorithm that returns the best and most relevant results.
Jade said she tries to think what words a parent would be typing in to find a class and generally uses those. Such as putting “writing class” in her title, instead of just “five-paragraph essay”.
Jade also said you can be a lot more flexible when scheduling classes than just keeping them within school hours for homeschooled kids.
Parents enroll their kids in online classes for a lot of reasons. If you see a time slot not well covered for your class, it might be a good opportunity to go for it.
There are various types of classes you offer, such as scheduling a live class, pre-recording lessons, short courses, ongoing courses, and some other options.
Jade said think carefully about which type of class will best suit the structure of the class and your students, and what they might be looking for.
She said ongoing classes are generally very popular, as these allow students to drop as they wish or when they’re available.
Pricing Classes and Sessions on Outschool
Outschool recommends charging $12/hr for classes. Jade followed this price line for her first two months, before raising her price to around $20/hr for her writing class.
Jade said that having 15 students in a class at $12 apiece was a livable wage. But she was putting in a lot of time outside of class preparing her materials and replying to feedback afterward.
Not all her classes are the same price. She also does some games classes, which don't require as much outside review time, and charges around $12/hr.
You also have to factor in that Outschool takes a 30% cut. This means that the $12/hr rate is actually $8.40/hr after they take their share.
Because of high enrollment rates, Jade told me that her actual overall hourly rate with all of her classes taken into account is $289 an hour!
Setting Minimum Seats in Classes
If you don’t want to have just one student turn up for a class you can set a minimum signup amount.
Jade has her classes set at two students minimum. If she does only have one student enroll, she will often reach out to that student’s parents to let them know it’s going to be a 1-on-1.
Jade will ask if they want to move their child to a future class with more students in. If they agree, Jade also offers them a discount and asks if they can ask around and try to get some more students in the class.
If she has to teach just one student, Jade said she’d rather do that than cancel the class. She has the time scheduled in her calendar to teach anyway, so earning something is better than nothing.
Expanding Your Class Catalog on Outschool
Jade started with the five-paragraph essay class and added a Part 2 shortly after. Both of these are 4-week long classes where students meet once a week for 40 minutes.
Since then, she’s added a number of other classes. The mains ones are:
- A 45-minute 5-Paragraph Essay class for students who aren't ready to commit to her 4-week courses.
- A “Hamburger paragraph” class for younger learners ages 9-14.
- “Beyond the five-paragraph essay” on how to write longer essays.
- “Lunchtime and literature”. Jade enjoys food and books, so she created a class where people can come and bring their lunch, talk about books, and hang out.
How Much Time Goes Into Teaching on Outschool?
Jade currently spends 10 hours a week in front of the camera teaching live classes. She also spends about 5 hours pre-recording classes, and around another 5 hours grading papers and giving students feedback.
So, that’s about 20 hours a week in total.
Jade has taken on a teaching assistant who helps out with some of her tasks. She’s also taken on two teachers to help take some of her classes and plans to train more teachers in the future to reduce her time in front of the camera.
Biggest Surprises and Challenges in Teaching Online on Outschool
“The biggest challenge that I had when I first started off was being way too lenient with parent demands,” Jade told me.
Jade said she started out with a “public school” mindset. She felt like she always had to be available, and should drop everything and do what she could to accommodate kids that missed a class.
She’s had to change her mindset to think more like a “business” and be more economical with her time since she’s become a lot busier.
What Jade is most excited about in the future is hiring more teachers and training them to teach her lessons. On Outschool, you can set up as an “organization” and have multiple teachers.
She currently has two teachers and plans to have 5 by the time fall comes. She plans for them to earn a full-time wage teaching one lesson a day, which she’s also excited about.
Jade is also transitioning from services to products. She’s creating more workbooks, and with her daughter, writing a series of children’s books about homeschooling.
Jade’s #1 Tip for Side Hustle Nation
“Be consistent and don’t give up.”
Links and Resources from this Episode
- Teachers Pay Teachers
- Daniel DiPiazza on The Side Hustle Show
- ODYS – Get $100 off your first premium, aged domain when you mention Side Hustle Nation!
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