10 Side Hustles for English Teachers: From Prose to Profits

Important Notice: While some articles may discuss potential earnings, we do not make income guarantees or promises. Nor do we represent, endorse, or support exaggerated income claims. Please read our income claims disclaimer for realistic earning expectations.

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You became an English teacher, in part, to inspire creativity and critical thinking in your students. And it’s what you love about teaching. But teacher compensation doesn’t always add up to the effort.

It may not be your job or your students that frustrate you (although some students may be more challenging than others). It’s just that teacher's pay hasn’t kept up with the cost of living and your bills aren't going to pay themselves.

And, of course, nothing is certain. We don't know what challenges lie ahead, so why not pad the bank account a little? Just in case…

A side hustle is a great way to increase your income without pulling you away from the students who depend on you.

And being an English teacher, you're armed with many skills in high demand. From your finely-tuned communication skills to your dominion over the English language, many side hustles for English teachers let you put those abilities to good use.

But before we plunge into the list of side hustles, let’s quickly discuss some benefits of choosing a side hustle that leverages your expertise.

Benefits of Side Hustles for English Teachers

  • The immediate benefit, and probably the one you’re interested in most, is the additional income and better sense of financial security.  
  • It can help expand your professional network beyond the classroom.
  • It allows you to use your passions and talents in new ways that revive your love for what inspired you to become an English teacher in the first place.
  • Working on diverse projects outside the classroom can provide valuable experiences that bring more depth and real-world examples into your classroom.
  • English Teachers are well suited for (and already skilled at) one of the most lucrative side hustles on this list (#4 with revenue example) that pays, in some cases, several thousand dollars per day.

As we navigate this list of side hustles for English teachers, I'll include resources to help you hit the ground running. Let’s dive in…

Please note that the starting budgets and any income potential mentions provided in this article are only rough estimates and can vary significantly depending on various factors. These factors may include but are not limited to your location, experience level, competition, target market, marketing strategy, and overall economic conditions. The figures mentioned are not guaranteed and should be used for informational purposes only.
We encourage you to conduct thorough research and consult with professionals in your field to gain a better understanding of the costs and potential earnings associated with your chosen side hustle. For additional information on income potential, you may refer to resources such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Glassdoor, and PayScale, which provide salary and income data for various professions and industries.

Side Hustles for English Teachers

1. Online Tutoring

Expand your classroom by connecting with students worldwide from the comfort of your home. As an English teacher, you already have the knowledge and skills required for online tutoring.

You can help students improve their grammar, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and critical thinking, as well as their research, writing, and communication skills.

It’s not without challenges, of course. Finding a steady stream of students and juggling time zone differences can be tricky, if not a flat-out pain in the backside. But the benefits can be worth it.

You got into teaching, in part, to enjoy seeing your students’ progress. But the added flexibility, independence, and ability to connect with diverse cultures can’t be overlooked.

Another way to make money is to package your lessons into online courses and tutoring guides to reach more students.

The quickest and easiest way to get started is by using online tutoring platforms. However, you can join local tutoring job boards, if any are available. Or even set up a proper tutoring business with a professional website, a Google My Business (GMB) profile, and social media accounts.

Starting Cost Estimate: $0 – $200. This includes the cost of a reliable internet connection, a good quality webcam, a microphone if you don't already have one, and potentially a website or platform fee if you choose a tutoring platform.

Resources: Tutor.com, Wyzant

2. Fact-Checking and Editing Services

We are officially in the age of AI-generated content, and it’s unlikely we’re going back. This is frightening for many writers and teachers, and I can relate.

However, because of AI-generated content, there's a growing demand for the human touch to polish and perfect these AI drafts. As an English teacher, you obviously have a better eye for detail and a stronger understanding of grammar than most online freelancers doing this work do.

In fact, AI tools can assist you in the initial proofreading and fact-checking stages.

And, since AI will be increasingly used for writing, you could also create a website (e-book, YouTube channel, or online course) teaching people how to effectively fact-check, edit, and polish their AI content.

There’s already strong demand from aspiring writers who want to learn how to use AI to bring their stories to life and finally become published authors. This is an incredibly unique opportunity for English teachers (one I’d jump on if I were an English teacher).

But I’m not. Instead, this is the course I’d buy.  

You can charge per project, per word, or hour, on freelance platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, etc. 

To get started, you can build your portfolio and get positive reviews by discounting your services. Again, your knowledge and experience will quickly set you apart from most freelancers offering similar services.  

Starting Cost Estimate: $0 – $100. This is primarily for setting up a professional website or LinkedIn profile to showcase your services and previous work. You may also choose to invest in grammar and editing software for convenience.

Resources:  Upwork, Fiverr

3. E-Book Writing or Ghostwriting

If you haven’t already authored a few books, it’s likely something you’ve dreamed about. Now is a great time to start.

First, your grasp of language and storytelling already give you an advantage. But now, with AI, you can brainstorm, outline, and draft your content significantly faster and more efficiently than ever.

That doesn’t mean AI is doing the writing for you. It just helps you hammer out your first draft without friction. And as a teacher with limited time for your writing projects, you probably have a decent amount of friction when exploring your passions.

And if you’re going to write your own books, why not chase immediate income with ghostwriting services? It’s certainly not the easiest side hustle to break into, but here are some strategies for landing a ghostwriting gig (provided you have built a portfolio of writing projects first).

Some of the more traditional paths to ghostwriting are…

  1. Freelance Platforms – You can find ghostwriting opportunities on sites like Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr. If you’re doing any writing or teaching side hustle, you should already have a profile set up. This is just one more service you provide.
  2. Networking – Connect with authors, publishers, and other industry professionals in person by attending literary events or online through forums, writing groups on social media, etc.
  3. Writing Agencies – Many writing agencies, like Veritas Literary Agency, accept fiction and non-fiction submissions.  
  4. Job Boards – Websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and ProBlogger are other places to look for ghostwriting jobs. Not necessarily “best seller” ghostwriting jobs, but articles, blog posts, etc. You can set up job alerts to stay updated on new opportunities.

And then there are some less conventional, or “side door” entrances into the ghostwriting world…

  1. Start a Blog – Show off your writing skills by starting a blog. It’s a great platform to showcase your work and attract potential clients. You could even write a few ‘ghost posts' in the style of different authors to demonstrate your versatility.
  2. Offer Ghostwriting as an Add-On Service – I touched on this above, but if you're already tutoring, coaching, or providing any other related service, why not add ghostwriting to the list? Your existing clients already trust and value your skills and can maybe provide testimonials, recommendations, and referrals.

    Although, good clients can be a bit of an obstacle here. As someone who has hired many freelance writers, we don’t like sharing the good ones. They are too hard to find.   
  3. Leverage social media – Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Medium can help you connect with authors, publishers, and literary agents. Engage with their content and participate in the comments. Share your own content whenever possible, and let people know you offer ghostwriting services (without soliciting directly).
  4. Write Guest Posts – Reach out to website and blog owners and offer to write a guest post. But be aware this can also be challenging.

    For example, I receive a dozen or more pitches daily from writers who want to write a guest post, and I’m not alone. Others I know with websites get pitched every day as well.

    What most are looking for, however, is to submit a quick and easy low-quality blog post in exchange for a link back to their website or a client’s website. As a site owner, we want high-quality content and are more than happy to accept guest posts from good writers.

    The problem is that it’s difficult to sift through the dozens of emails we get and identify the good ones.

    Therefore, it’s important to be upfront and state immediately that you don’t want anything in return. You’re just looking for an opportunity to get published, showcase your work, and build a portfolio.

    This makes it immediately clear that your intention is to provide a quality article (most people are not building low-quality portfolios). And quality content is what site owners are looking for.

    Next, if you have them… provide examples of other guest posts you’ve authored.   
  5. Create a YouTube Channel – A YouTube channel is another high-impact way to showcase your storytelling skills. You could share writing tips, book reviews, and even narrate stories.

    Many people are now using AI-generated images to create illustrated stories on YouTube, which is another strategy to establish your brand and build a portfolio of work to show potential clients.

Landing ghostwriting jobs will likely require patience and persistence, but there are monetization opportunities along the way. And becoming an established ghostwriter, even if it does take considerable time, could be an entirely new career.

Starting Cost Estimate: $0 – $1,000. Depending on your outreach or marketing strategy, your start-up costs could include writing software, self-publishing fees, and potentially hiring a professional editor or graphic designer for your book cover or camera and mic set if you’re using YouTube.

Resources: Freelancer, ProBlogger, AbsoluteWrite Forums

4. Blogging for Money

Starting a blog on a niche topic related to English literature, language learning techniques, writing, book reviews, or English in business, academics, etc. are just some potential ways to generate income while utilizing your expertise.

But how do you monetize a blog, and do they actually make money?

They do make money. And many people are often surprised to find out how much.

It’s a full-time income for me, and while I can’t claim to make more than six figures per month, I know some that do. Some websites, like NerdWallet (just as one extreme example), started with 800 bucks in 2009 and, by 2016, was valued at over $500 million.

For reference, here is a screenshot (shared on Oct 17, 2023) showing ONLY the advertising revenue of a sports-related website, more than $6,500 for a single day.

A screengrab from a publisher group on social media dated October 17, highlighting an earnings summary. The 'Earnings' section shows revenue for 'Yesterday' at US$6,568.67. Other stats include monthly earnings of US$17,964.89 and last month's total at US$28,731.11. Below, RPM values for different sessions and pages are listed.

And while this is extremely impressive, many recipe bloggers earn over $100,000 per month in ad revenue alone.

So, this can be a very lucrative side hustle.

There are a few things to know if you want to make money with a blog…

  • You can blog about anything, but if you want to make money with it, it’s not about you. It’s about your readers and how you are helping them.
  • The type of blog posts or articles you publish will play a significant role in the amount of money you earn. Those that help your reader solve a problem provide better monetization opportunities because the solution (or part of the solution) is often a product or service your reader wants.
  • This relates to the previous point. Don’t waste time trying to “convince” your readers of anything. Instead, find out what they already want and give them that.   

As far as challenges, consistently creating high-quality content and driving traffic to your blog can be challenging, but the benefits are worth it. As I mentioned, for me, blogging started as a creative outlet and later turned into a full-time income.

So, it’s absolutely worth the effort.

And now, AI can assist you with many things, from SEO (search engine optimization), content ideas, outlines, and even writing the first draft of your blog posts.

You can combine blogging with other side hustles like online tutoring, e-book promotion, and online course sales. If you build an audience, you have potential buyers for any service or product you want to create.

Display ads are another way to monetize your blog, along with lead generation, affiliate marketing, and sponsored posts.   

Starting Cost Estimate: $50 – $500. This includes the cost of a domain name, website hosting, and a professional blog theme. You may also want to invest in SEO tools or courses to help drive traffic to your blog.

Resources: Wealthy Affiliate, Blogging for Money

5. YouTube Channel

YouTube is similar to blogging, and many of the same rules and strategies apply.

Of course, they are not necessarily “rules”, but if making money as a side hustle is your objective, you should follow the same principles of giving your viewers what they want and helping them solve problems (as you would with a blog).

As an English teacher, you can create educational videos, book reviews, writing tutorials, or even virtual tour guide videos using your storytelling skills to explore local venues, events, etc.  Or, if you travel a lot, those same skills can help you create compelling travel videos.

Again, this is not a side hustle that provides immediate income. Creating high-quality videos does require time, effort, and potentially some investment in equipment. Building a subscriber base also takes time. But, like blogging, your can express your creativity and potentially generate a significant income.

And here again, AI is making this easier for content creators. It can assist you with video editing, SEO for YouTube (YouTube is also a search engine), coming up with content ideas, generating scripts, and so on.

The same monetization strategies also apply. Display ads, sponsored content, lead generation, affiliate marketing, and promoting and selling your own products are all ways to make money with YouTube.

Starting Cost Estimate: $100 – $1000. This includes the cost of a good-quality camera, microphone, and video editing software. The wide range depends on the quality of equipment you choose to start with.

Resources:  YouTube.com (Starting a YouTube Channel), YouTube Partner Program

6. Creating Online Courses

I’ve touched on this side hustle briefly above. Creating an online course is a great way to monetize other side hustles, like blogging or a YouTube channel.

However, it can also be a stand-alone side hustle.

While it’s better to have a built-in audience you can market your online course to (without having to do additional promotion), you can still create an online course first and then market it through other channels.

For example, you can use Google and Bing PPC ads (pay-per-click) to sell your course. You can also team up with other affiliate marketers who already have an audience and followers, and pay them a commission for every sale.

You’ll want first to identify your target audience and their specific problem. For example, I mentioned earlier that many aspiring writers want to write fiction with AI. 

But they don’t know how or where to start.

Therefore, it's a great audience and opportunity for an online course.

Yes, creating a high-quality online course requires a significant time investment, and if you don’t already have readers or subscribers, marketing it can be expensive. But it can also generate passive income for years with little more than monthly or quarterly updates.

You can also offer upgrades like one-on-one coaching or weekly live hang-out calls with all members.

Platforms like Udemy and Coursera can help you create, host, and sell your courses.

Starting Cost Estimate: $0 – $1,000. This includes potential costs for course platform fees, video recording equipment, editing software, and outsourcing if required.

Resources: Udemy, Coursera

7. Test Prep Coaching

This side hustle is self-explanatory. You can help students achieve academic or immigration goals through test prep coaching services for tests like TOEFL and IELTS.

Keeping up with changes in test formats and requirements is a small challenge, and marketing your services may require effort. But many or most of the above methods also apply to prep test coaching.

And this is a side hustle that mixes well with online tutoring or course creation.

Starting Cost Estimate: $0 – $1,000. This includes potential costs for advertising your services (which can get expensive if you’re unfamiliar with ad targeting, conversion rate optimization, etc.) and funnel software (or a website) to send traffic to and purchase up-to-date test prep materials.

Resources: eLearning Industry, TOEFL, IELTS

8. Social Media Management

This is another potentially lucrative side hustle. Many businesses and professionals need (or just want) a strong social media presence, but they don’t have the time to do it or keep up with it.

And although many businesses and professionals want the benefits of having a strong social presence, when it comes to learning about social media marketing, they want nothing to do with it.

And many have a disdain for social media, but they recognize how important it can be for their business.

Therefore, your writing skills and creativity can be used to craft, set up and manage their various social media profiles, create content, and engage with comments and followers.

Keeping up with social media algorithms and trends can be challenging, and balancing the voice and needs of multiple clients requires effort. You’ll also have to learn finer marketing details, like ideal posting times for each client and niche.

But the benefits are worth it. Depending on the client and how much additional business your efforts can generate for them, social media marketing agencies (SMMA) often charge between $500 – $5000 per month for what is often just an hour or two of work each day.

To get started, you may want to offer discounted rates for businesses or professionals you’re familiar with or help a few friends that have businesses. Then, with a portfolio of clients and stats to back up your service, you can reach out to more businesses and charge appropriate rates.

Starting Cost Estimate: $50 – $1,000. It’s possible to start this gig on a shoestring budget. All you need are printed flyers and your feet to knock on doors.

However, the better way would be to set up a professional website and LinkedIn profile to showcase your services or advertise on various platforms and drive traffic to the sales funnel (would require funnel software). 

You may also want to invest in social media management and scheduling tools.

Resources: Start Your Own Digital Marketing Agency, Ways to Market Your Side Hustle

9. Children's Book Writing with AI

Here’s a side hustle many people dream about, including me. When my kids were first born, I had endless children’s stories I wanted to write, but of course, no time.

Strangely (or not), I started working on a youth fiction series instead of children's stories as they got older. 

Now that they’re in high school and approaching adulthood, I’ve started compiling ideas and drafts for books better suited to young and older adults.

I’m not sure if it’s because, in some way, I’m writing with the hopes they’ll read those books so I’m writing to their age, or if it’s a reflection of the books, movies, and TV shows I’m watching with them as they get older.

Maybe it’s both.

Either way, writing children's books is a side hustle many have thought about but don’t have the time. However, like many creative endeavors, that has changed with generative AI text and art.

I know there’s a lot of controversy surrounding AI books, art, music, etc., and I agree with all of it. However, here we are. It’s not a genie we can put back in the bottle. 

And to be fair, I also think there are some misconceptions. 

For example, AI can assist you with brainstorming story ideas, drafting content, and even creating illustrations… but for now, it can only assist. It can’t do all of the work for you. 

If you’re just spitting out individual images for fun or want it to write a one-page story or a poem, it can do that.

But AI today can’t write entire novels or illustrate an entire book without A LOT of guidance, skill, and creativity from you. At best, it’s a really good assistant.

For now…

This may not be true in the future, but it’s an incredible tool to help you explore and put your ideas on paper (or screen) and start publishing the books you’ve always wanted to publish.

You can also combine this with YouTube storytelling, a blog, and social media to engage with your audience in multiple ways.

Starting Cost Estimate: $0 – $1,000. This could include costs for writing software, AI tools, self-publishing fees, and potentially hiring a professional editor or graphic designer for your book cover.

Resources: Midjourney, OpenAI

10. Public Speaking Coach

Changing gears… here’s a gig that has nothing to do with AI. In fact, it's an incredibly useful skill for people to help futureproof themselves in a world of AI.

And helping others overcome their fears and improve their communication skills can also be a rewarding side hustle. As an English teacher, you’re comfortable speaking in front of a group. And you can use your language expertise and communication skills to coach individuals on public speaking.

Building a client base can take time, and adapting to each client's unique needs and fears can also be challenging. But the rewards of seeing your clients grow in confidence and skill can be worth it.

Start by identifying your target audience and their needs, and promote your services through social media, local community boards, or public speaking events.

Starting Cost Estimate: $0 – $1,000. This includes potential costs for advertising your services and, if necessary, renting space for in-person coaching sessions (which you might not start with but consider down the road).

Resources: Toastmasters, CoachFoundation

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