Side Job for Teachers: Freelance Writing Outside of Class

  • Time to read: 11 min.

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Hey there, teachers of all shapes, sizes, subjects, and specialties! We see you, we appreciate you, and we know how hard you work—not just in your classrooms, but often long into the evenings grading papers and planning lessons. And we understand that sometimes, even with all that hard work, the bills keep piling up. Maybe you’re looking to pay off student loans faster, save up for a family vacation, or just add a little cushion to your emergency fund with a side job for teachers.

But finding the perfect side job? It can feel like looking for a unicorn. You want something flexible, that can accommodate your teaching schedule. You want something that uses your skills and knowledge, but maybe you’re not in the mood for more teaching or tutoring. You want something that pays fairly for your time making money, and effort.

Well, we’ve got good news: you’re not hunting unicorns here. What if we told you that a world of opportunity awaits you in the realm of freelance writing or editing educational content? Intrigued? Stick with us as we dive into why this side gig might just be your perfect match.

Why Freelance Writing or Editing Educational Content?

You’re probably asking, “Why freelance writing or editing? And why specifically educational content?” Great questions! So, let’s break it down.

Leveraging Your Expertise

As a teacher, you’ve got knowledge coming out of your ears, right? You’re an expert in your field, whether it’s science, English, history, math, art, or any of the myriad subjects you could be teaching. But here’s the thing: not everyone has that knowledge. That’s where you come in.

Freelance writing and editing in the educational sector are all about using your expertise to create content that’s informative, accurate, and engaging. Whether it’s developing lesson plans for a new educational app, writing articles for an academic journal, or editing textbooks, your skills are in high demand.

Flexibility and Autonomy

We know what you’re thinking, “But I’m already juggling a million things, I can’t take on more!” And we hear you. But one of the beauties of freelance work is its flexibility. You set your own schedule, your pace, and your workload. That might mean squeezing in a few hours of work on the weekend or in the evenings, or maybe dedicating a portion of your summer break to a larger project. It’s all up to you.

Potential for Good Pay

Here’s a fact: educators are undervalued. We won’t get into the politics of it, but we know you deserve to be earning more money. Freelance writing and editing can offer that opportunity. The rates you charge can vary based on your experience, the complexity of the project, and the client’s budget. But with the right gig and the right client, you could find yourself earning a pretty penny.

So, How Do You Get Started?

Okay, so now you’re interested. You’re probably thinking, “Alright, I’m sold. But how do I get started?” Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In the next section, we’ll delve into the nuts and bolts of getting your freelance writing or editing career off the ground.

Steps for Getting Started

Alright, let’s dive into the mechanics of getting started with freelance writing or editing educational content. Here are some steps to guide you.

Identify Your Niche

The first step to getting started with freelance writing or editing educational content is to identify your specific niche. As a teacher, you have expertise in a particular subject area, whether that be math, English, history, science, or art. This knowledge is invaluable and can be utilized in the freelance writing world. The key is to harness your subject expertise and translate it into engaging educational content.

If you’re unsure of your niche, think about what topics you’re most passionate about. Is there a subject you can talk about endlessly? A subject where you can explain complex ideas in simple terms? This might be your niche. Once you’ve identified it, you can tailor your writing and editing services to suit this niche.

Create a Portfolio

After identifying your niche, the next step is to create a portfolio. This is essentially your showcase for potential clients. It should include samples of your work that highlight your writing style, subject expertise, and ability to translate complex information into easily understandable content.

If you’re new to freelance writing and don’t have any samples to display, consider creating some. Write a few articles or edit some text in your chosen niche. This will give potential clients an idea of your capabilities. It can be beneficial to create a personal website where you can display your portfolio, or you could use a platform like LinkedIn or Behance.

Start Pitching

Now that you have a portfolio, it’s time to find clients. There are various platforms online where you can find freelance work, such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer, and Guru. Alternatively, you could look at job boards specific to writing and editing.

When you pitch for work, remember to customize your pitch for each job. This means researching the client and their needs and explaining how your skills and experience make you the ideal choice for their project.

Set Your Rates

As a freelancer, you have the freedom to set your own rates. This can be a daunting prospect, but remember that your rates should reflect your expertise, the complexity of the work, and your desired income.

Do some research to see what other freelancers in your field are charging. Websites such as Glassdoor and Payscale can provide useful benchmarks. You might decide to charge by the hour, per word, or per project, depending on what suits you best.

Manage Your Time

Balancing a side hustle with a full-time job can be challenging. As a teacher, you’re likely already a master at managing your time. However, freelance work requires a different approach.

You need to allocate specific times for your own hours for freelance work. This could be early mornings, late evenings, or weekends, depending on what works for you. Remember to also allocate time for administrative tasks, such as invoicing and communication with clients.


Building a strong professional network is crucial in the freelance world. This includes connecting with other freelancers, joining online communities, and attending networking events (even if they’re virtual). Additionally, inform your existing network about your new venture – a personal recommendation can go a long way.

By following these steps, you can build a successful freelance writing or editing side hustle for teachers that leverages your expertise as a teacher. Now, let’s take a look at potential earnings in our next section.

Ways to Expand Your Reach and Increase Your Income

Freelance writing or editing, like any business, can be expanded and scaled up over time. While starting out might require a lot of hard work and patience, with the right strategies, your efforts will pay off, and you’ll see an increase in your income. Here’s how you can achieve that:

Improve Your Skills

The first and most obvious way to increase your income is to improve your skills. The better you are at writing or editing, the more clients you’ll attract, and the higher rates you can command. Various platforms offer courses that can help improve your writing and editing skills. Websites like Coursera and Udemy offer numerous courses on writing and editing. You might also consider joining writing workshops or hiring a writing coach to help fine-tune your skills.

Diversify Your Services

Another effective strategy for increasing your income is to diversify the services you offer. While you might start by writing or editing educational content, there are other related services that you could offer. These might include creating lesson plans, writing curriculum guides, or even offering consulting services to educational publishers.

You could also diversify the types of content you produce. For example, if you’ve been writing blog posts, you might start writing eBooks or creating online courses. The Teachable platform is a great place to create and sell online courses, leveraging your teaching skills.

Pitch to Higher-Paying Clients

As your skills and portfolio grow, you’ll be able to pitch to higher-paying clients. These might include universities, educational publishers, or even corporations that need educational content. To find these clients, you might need to look beyond the typical freelance platforms. Consider reaching out directly to companies or organizations that you’d like to work with, or use LinkedIn to network and find potential clients.

Build a Brand

Building a brand can also help increase your income. This involves creating a consistent image and message across all your platforms, whether that’s your website, your LinkedIn profile, or your profiles on freelance platforms. You might also consider creating a logo or choosing a specific color scheme for your brand.

By becoming recognizable in your field, you’ll be more likely to attract clients. Plus, clients may be willing to pay more for services from a well-established brand. Consider hiring a marketing or branding expert to help you with this, or take a course on a platform like Skillshare to learn how to do it yourself.

Implement Passive Income Strategies

Lastly, consider implementing passive income strategies. These are ways to make extra money that don’t require your active participation. For example, once you’ve created an eBook or online course, it can continue to generate income without any additional work from you.

Now, let’s explore how much you could potentially earn from freelance writing or editing educational content as a teacher.

Potential Earnings as a Freelance Writer or Editor

As with most side jobs or any freelance venture, the income you can make from freelance writing or editing varies widely. Factors such as your experience, the complexity of the work, and the clients you’re working with all play a significant role in determining your earnings. However, it is completely possible to make a significant income from this side job, even potentially matching or surpassing your earnings as a teacher.

Understanding the Payment Structures

Freelance writing or editing projects are typically paid in one of two ways: per word or per project. Per-word rates can range anywhere from $0.01 per word at the very low end (generally for very simple, bulk work) to $1 per word or more at the high end (for very specialized or complex work).

On the other hand, per-project rates are negotiated between you and your client and are typically used for larger projects. For instance, you might agree to write an entire eBook for a flat fee. This is where knowing your effective hourly rate can come in handy. To calculate this, estimate how long the project will take you and ensure that the flat fee you agree on equates to an hourly rate you’re happy with.

Earnings Outlook

How much can you expect to earn? A study from Payscale indicates that the average hourly rate for freelance writers in the U.S. is around $24. However, with experience and a good client base, it’s not unheard of to earn $50, $100, or even more per hour.

In conclusion, freelance writing or editing educational content offers a substantial extra income opportunity for teachers looking to leverage their skills in a side job. Not only does it allow for flexible work hours, but it also has the potential to provide a considerable income.

In the next section, we’ll take a look at how to juggle your responsibilities as a teacher and a freelance writer or editor to maintain a good work-life balance.

Finding Balance Between Teaching and Freelance Writing/Editing

One of the primary challenges you’ll face when embarking on a side hustle as a freelance writer or editor is finding a balance between your full-time teaching job and your other side hustles or job. This balance is crucial to maintaining your health, happiness, and overall quality of life.

Understanding Your Commitments

Your first step is to fully understand and respect both your teaching responsibilities and your freelance work commitments. It can be helpful to write down your duties and obligations in both roles. This allows you to visualize your time commitments and plan your schedule more effectively.

Scheduling Your Time

Time management is key when balancing multiple roles. Laura Vanderkam, a time management expert, recommends setting clear boundaries for when you will focus on your teaching responsibilities and when you will work on your freelance tasks. A planner or digital calendar can be a valuable tool for scheduling your time and staying organized. This will help you avoid burnout and ensure you’re not overextending yourself.

Prioritizing Self-Care

While it’s important to be dedicated to your work, you mustn’t neglect your health and well-being. Ensure you’re taking regular breaks, eating healthy, and getting enough sleep. Regular exercise can also help reduce stress and improve your mood. According to Mayo Clinic, physical activity produces endorphins—your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters—and acts as a natural stress reliever.

Leveraging Your Off Time

As a teacher, you have the advantage of predictable off-time during the summer and during school holidays. This can be an excellent opportunity to take on more freelance work or to pursue larger projects that require more time.

Avoiding Overcommitment

It’s also crucial to remember that it’s okay to say no. Overcommitting can lead to stress and burnout, which can impact both your teaching and freelance work. Be realistic about the amount of work you can handle, and don’t be afraid to turn down opportunities if your plate is already full.

In conclusion, while balancing a full-time teaching job and a side hustle as a freelance writer or editor can be challenging, it is certainly achievable with careful planning, effective time management, and a commitment to self-care. By understanding your commitments, setting clear boundaries, and prioritizing your health, you can succeed and thrive in both roles.

FAQ – Side Job for Teachers

Can anyone become a freelance writer or editor?

While anyone can technically become a freelance writer or editor and make money writing online, it does require certain skills. Good command over language, strong writing skills, attention to detail, and a good understanding of grammar are crucial. A background in teaching can be very beneficial in this line of work.

How can I find freelance writing or editing side jobs for teachers?

There are several online platforms where you can find freelance writing and editing jobs for teachers now, including Upwork, Freelancer, and Fiverr. You can also reach out to local businesses or look for opportunities in local newspapers or online job boards. Networking can also be an effective way to find freelance work.

How can I improve my writing skills?

There are many resources available to help you improve your writing skills. Consider taking a writing course online or at a local community college. Reading widely can also help you improve your writing skills. Practicing writing regularly can also help you refine your skills over time.

How do I balance freelance work with my full-time job?

Effective time management is key when balancing a full-time job and freelance work. Setting clear boundaries for when you will focus on your full-time job and when you will work on freelance tasks can help. Also, it’s important to take care of your health and avoid overcommitting.