By: Dr. Santarvis Brown

One common myth regarding teaching is that teachers are paid for 12 months a year — even though they only work nine months.

The reality is that a teacher is paid for nine months of work but is given an option to stretch those nine months of salary into 12 months. It’s a catch-22: You can either not be paid for three months or reduce your paycheck by 25% each month so you receive money every month. The dynamics of a teacher’s salary is the reason why side hustles are so important to teachers.

The Side Hustle
When I think of a side hustle, the first thought that comes to mind is college and a friend who was all about the hustle. He had two schools of thought on the side hustle:

  1. The side hustle should generate passive income and/or,
  2. Your side hustle should reduce monthly costs while earning you money.

Passive Income Side Hustles
Passive income is income acquired with minimal effort. Passive income is great because you can continue earning income when you’re back to teaching with little disruption to your career. Typically, any hours you put into the hustle is at your leisure.

Passive Income Hustles:

  • A vending machine route
  • Selling digital goods and printouts (popular on Etsy)
  • Selling handmade goods
  • E-commerce thrift business

Freebie Side Hustles
The freebie side hustle is all about reducing your monthly expenses while at the same time creating an income stream. To find a freebie side hustle, turn to your spending. Do you stop by the coffee shop every morning? Do you eat at the same restaurant for lunch every day? Are you a movie fanatic?

The goal of the freebie hustle is to lower expenses and earn income. For example, that $7 mocha you get every morning is about $200 a month. Get a job at a coffee shop, and you can eliminate that cost with a free mocha every day, as well as be paid for your work. Restaurants, movie theaters, game stores and coffee shops are all great ways to run this side hustle.

Freebie Side Hustles:

  • A restaurant you regularly eat at
  • A coffee shop
  • A movie theater if you’re a movie buff
  • Airbnb rental party manager

Teachers have one of the most challenging pay structures to maintain a workable lifestyle. And side hustles play as important a role as the school district in a teacher’s income. There are hundreds of side hustle opportunities available to you. But your goal is to find one that works for you with minimal work and consistent income, or a hustle that reduces your expenses and improves your checking account balance.