As teachers, while there are many ways we can go about creating a side gig of some sort, we're limited with many of those options because they require being at specific times and places that might conflict with our teaching schedules.
However, because of the massive innovations that have occured in the last few years, it's now easier than ever to create extra teacher income on your own time, in your own way, and at the place of your choosing.
Let's look at a few ideas that involve online shopping.
EXTRA TEACHER INCOME WITH AMAZON
Have you heard about the FBA, Fulfillment by Amazon, program?
If not, you might want to check it out, as it offers an exciting and on-your-own-time opportunity that might be right for some teachers who're interested in a side income.
In short, FBA is a system that does all the back-office duties for people who want to sell products — FBA warehouses and ships your products, handles customer service and payments, the whole shebang. You just make or find products you want to sell, ship them (yourself or directly from your producer) to Amazon, create the product description and images for your page on the Amazon store, and presto!
Now, get this: Over 50 percent of all sales on Amazon are via the FBA program — products provided by regular people and small companies. Given that 43 percent of all online sales in the United States are made via Amazon, that is one serious boatload of products. Well, more accurately, a few thousand boatloads of products!
Of course, there are quite a few details involved, but none are overly complex, as long as you're willing to invest the time and energy.
The Muffin Man — Click here to see an FBA example.
Let's dig a little deeper, and I'll use the case of my friend Al Secunda, who's known affectionately by his customers as The Muffin Man.
Al has only been involved with FBA for a few months, but is now a successful FBA merchant who works on this part time, while being a stay-at-home-dad and having other side businesses as well.
I recorded our conversation, and you can hear it below.
Here's what we covered:
What is FBA?
What attracted you to it?
How does it fit for you as a side gig?
Who is FBA NOT for?
How do you choose products?
Realistically, what are the side gig income opportunities here?
Best 1-3 places to learn more about FBA?
Here's that conversation with Al Secunda about FBA, his Muffin Man side gig on Amazon, and how teachers might fit into it:
Here are links to some of the resources Al mentioned in our conversation:
JungleScout. This is what Al uses and recommends to help find the right products to sell on Amazon, and this is where the research and patience comes in. Please note that I've included the link with Al's affiliate account, so he'll make a few bucks should you become a JungleScout customer, but you'll pay no more than you would if you just happen across the site on your own.
Luxury Tapestry Bargains — Al Secunda's new online store
Well, in the days after speaking to Al Secunda about FBA, I learned that he's off on yet another side gig that is shop related and really quite a natural for a little extra teacher income. Al's shop is Luxury Tapestry Bargains.
Not only is he having fun with sourcing products and selling them via Amazon's Fulfillment by Amazon program, he's learned so much that he decided to open up his own online shop.
He looked first at creating his own shop in WordPress, using a host of plug-ins (those are the little add-on programs you attach to your WordPress site to give you more features such as sales prospecting and tracking, sales pages, online catalog, and shopping cart just for starters).
While WordPress is free (it's open source software, so free to all takers), and many of the plug-ins are as well, putting together an online shop of any sophistication with WordPress would require him to hire a programmer… resulting in perhaps a $4,000 – $5,000 price tag.
While Al says he concedes that he ultimately may want to do that, his suggestion for extra teacher income is to not go that route at the beginning while you're getting your feet wet with an online store.
Shopify gives you a 14-day free trial to see if you like the process of creating an online shop, then you'll pay $29.95 a month and about 3 percent of all sales, to cover the credit card transactions. More expansive shops and sites will be more; but, you'll get a lot at that base rate, and most shops never go beyond that.
And, just like Amazon's FBA, you can have a Shopify site running on your own time, from any place in the world.
EXTRA TEACHER INCOME AS AN AFFILIATE
If you have a blog or website, you can become an affiliate for one or more companies that offer products or services that may be of interest to your readers.
Affiliate marketing first caught on over 20 years ago when Amazon championed it — today they have millions of affiliates.
As an affiliate, you put a link (usually in the form of a banner graphic — just like the advertisements you see on websites) on your blog or site. When someone then clicks on that link, you'll get a commission if that someone subsequently becomes a sales lead or turns into a sale.
Click on the bunnies for SimpleK12's affiliate program.