Meet Megan Fuciarelli. Last year she ventured out with a solo business after 15 years in education by creating a consulting firm to facilitate workshops and offer training in the area of social justice.
Your Side Gig?
I own a consulting firm focused on social justice and educational equity – US2, Inc. We provide services within three realms: Education (Curriculum Development, Professional Development, and Coaching/Modeling); Corporate (Strategic Planning, Organizational Development, and Facilitation); and Social Coaching (Personal Coaching through a Social Lens). Our vision is to Unite Society by Understanding Self (hence the name US2).
Tell us a little about your work.
I currently serve as a Superintendent for a Special Needs Post-Secondary Transitional Program as well as maintaining my consulting agency through multiple independent contractors. All of our contractors work from home or their own individual offices, as we do not have an office space dedicated to US2.
What led you to work outside the classroom?
I have been facilitating workshops and training in the areas of social justice since the very beginning of my teaching career, but it wasn't until I moved back to Michigan after being in Chicago for almost 15 years that I decided to make my consulting firm my full-time position and only source of income. I wanted to be able to spend time with my family and truly follow my passion. I had a difficult first few months, doubting whether I made the right decision; but, celebrating my one-year anniversary by adding a new sector to the work and bringing on additional contractors affirmed my belief in the power of hard work and dedication to living my true self.
What advice do you have for other teachers who want to do what you do?
The most difficult step in the process has been taking the first leap. As we share with our students on a daily basis, we have to follow our passions to truly be successful. If you enjoy what you do, you'll never work another day in your life. I feel blessed to be where I am today and to be able to do what I love and knowing that I am truly making a difference in the lives of others.
What's the biggest mistake you've made and what did you learn?
We have all made mistakes in life, but I truly believe that everything I have done and experienced has made me who I am today. In general, some of the mistakes I think about often would be when I stayed in a position too long — knowing that I wasn't making a difference within the confines of where I was. When we are hindered from our genuine gifts, no one is able to benefit.
If you could go back and give your 20-year old self some advice, what would it be?
I would encourage my 20-year-old self to have a little more fun and ‘stop to smell the roses' more often. I have always been a very serious person, but being younger (and in college in my case), allows us the opportunity to ‘lighten up' a little. I wish I would have allowed myself to be my true self and to have more confidence in having fun.
If your FUTURE self in 20 years could look back at where you are today, what advice might the Future You offer the Current You?
I remind myself of this often, but when you truly love what you do, you immerse yourself in your work — 24 hours/day. I envision my future self telling me to slow down and recognize that I can't do it all. I jokingly call myself SuperWoman — I can do it all. I am a mom, a daughter, a leader, an entrepreneur, and a friend. I often find myself forgetting the relationship I should cherish the most — my relationship with myself.
Which resources do you rely on the most?
I refer to many different resources throughout my daily life. I find myself reading anything I can on mindfulness and purpose because I feel that being fully aware of my surroundings allows me the opportunity to be the best I can be for others I serve. I also rely on the Southern Poverty Law Center and Teaching Tolerance for new and upcoming information regarding equity issues in the classroom.
When are you the happiest?
I am happiest when I feel as if I am providing value. This is why consulting work is truly my calling.
Do you have a favorite quote or expression?
With US2, my consulting agency, we stress the idea that “We Cannot Heal What We Don't Reveal”.
If you had to do it all over again, what would you do, be, or try?
Rather than getting multiple Master Degrees, I would have earned my Ph.D.
What are the 2-3 most important work-related purchases you've made in the last year?
Social media expertise and a projection system.
You're being shot at dawn; what's your last dinner request?
Well, this is quite harsh! I would request crab-brie fondue with a fresh baguette for an appetizer, hand-rolled chicken cordon bleu with beurre blanc sauce, risotto, and asparagus for dinner, with chocolate lasagna for dessert. I love food!
Are there specific resources you use that you'd recommend to others?
MailChimp has become one of my best friends. Canva is another resource that I truly appreciate. Both have allowed me the opportunity to be more organized and communicative with my stakeholders. Google Keep is another great resource to keep notes handy.
What's your next goal?
I would like to bring on at least one full-time employee with US2. At this point, we only employ 1099 contractors and we are getting close to the point of needing a more consistent staffing protocol.
Anything else you'd like to share with other teachers who want to follow in your footsteps?
The hardest part is taking the first step, but once you decide to do it, you have to jump all in. To truly commit to a project, believe in yourself. You need to be your biggest cheerleader, critic, and hardest worker. If you truly embrace your power, no one will be able to stop you.
What's one additional question we should ask and how would you respond?
Why do I do what I do? We all have a story to tell and we all have a history that impacts how we look at life today. By helping people better understand themselves, through coaching, curriculum, and training, we can ultimately unite society. I know that I can't change the world, but I can impact my corner of the world and that is why I feel so proud of the accomplishments of US2.
This teacher profile is part of SimpleK12's Extra Teacher Income series, where we interview educators about the things they're doing outside of the classroom, for both enjoyment and also a little bit of cash. To read more in this series go here, or to suggest your own story and a possible profile, go here.
If you have any questions for Megan or anything else related to this topic (and there will be more extra teacher income profiles and stories coming soon), please leave them below in the Comments.
For a different extra teacher income story, check on what Heather Brandon (blogging and educational consulting) is up to.
Or, follow along with full-time college prof, Dustin York, and his many side gigs.