Creative Ways to Make Money: The Class

I bet you know how to do something that some of your friends don't know how to do, or could use some improvement on.  Maybe you speak Spanish, know how to make soap, raise chickens, or proofread the socks off of any manuscript.

Have you ever thought about teaching?

You can start small.  Let's say you know how to play the washboard.  And you think it's cool, and you want to start your town's first washboard band.  So you ask around through your friends and colleagues, and find someone else who's always dream of washboard-ing.  In order to get your skills up (and to secure this friendship forever), you can offer a crash-course in playing the washboard - for free.  Who can turn down a free class?  You do a little research online, come up 4 or 5 little lessons, and invite your new washboard buddy over for class.
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Pretty soon, word gets around.  Your First Washboard Friend tells a neighbor that he's taking classes, and you find out there's a little more interest.  You start to be "that friend" that plays the washboard.  When it comes up in coversation, you sheepishly shrug and smile a little smile, then before you know it you've pulled out your washboard and folks are whirling around your kitchen.

Well, now that you've got a little bit of teaching experience under your belt, you can start to widen your audience of students.  Ask your First Washboard Friend and any Successive Washboard Friends for a good reference, and look for teaching opportunities in places like this:

- homeschool groups - homeschooling is definitely on the rise, and many homeschoolers participate in educational co-ops one or two days a week.  One friend of mine is involved in a local chapter of Classical Conversations that has a Lego class in the afternoon!  Seriously - a Lego class!  I have no idea what that actually entails, but I like to imagine what those lesson plans look like.

- after-school programs - both public and private schools are often looking for unique learning opportunities for their students in after-school programs.  Ask your teacher friends for names of people you might contact to talk about what you have to offer.

- summer camps - kids are interested in all kinds of things - and parents are interested in all kinds of things FOR their kids!  The Mr. spent one summer in grad school taking middle schoolers kayaking with the Parks and Rec department in town.  I know a retired art teacher who has a week-long "art camp" two or three times a summer for her friends' kids.  Local theaters often have drama camps that culminate in a small-scale performance.  The summers that I worked at camp, there were a few local artisans who were hired to teach pottery, sewing, and woodworking.

- private tutoring and lessons- this is especially relevant if your skill is more academic or artistic in nature.  I have a friend who tutors kids in Spanish a couple of evenings a week; I can think of others who have versatile writing skills that they could market to highschoolers or college students.  My professional musician friends give lessons in their living room.

- friends - I've recently tossed the idea around briefly with a friend to host a get-together night where everyone brings a few dollars to cover the cost of supplies, and we make lip balm or soap together.  While it's not exactly teaching to make money, it is a chance to try a new skill together and minimize the cost.  In other places I've lived, friends have gotten together to can tomatoes, brew beer, make homemade vanilla extract, or craft cards.

- adult education programs through libraries, parks and recreation departments, community colleges, churches, YMCAs, etc. - Adults like to learn too ... and often are interested in more niche fields than kids.  You can teach composting techniques, basket weaving, silkworm cultivation, or Arabic.  Some places are looking for short-term classes (like a two-hour introduction to composting techniques) while others want to offer classes over multiple weeks.  (I've just been accepted to teach a modern quilting class through my local Adult Ed. department this summer - Make a Baby Quilt in 6 weeks!  I first taught some friends how to quilt a few summers ago and I'm using the same strategy this time.)

- the gym - you've taken a lot of classes there, right?  How about looking into what it takes to teach?

What kind of class would you like to teach?  Can I be your guinea-pig student?

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