Jade Weatherington had been teaching English on various websites for a decade, juggling multiple gigs and homeschooling her now 13-year-old daughter, when in 2018 she discovered Outschool, a platform offering classes for kids ages 3-18. Subjects range from cooking to guitar to geography.
To begin with, she created two courses: one in arts and crafts and the other in "Mastering the Five Paragraph Essay." Though the first month brought in just $32, by the third month Weatherington made nearly $5,000 from those two classes alone.
Seeing the potential, she realized she needed "to offer a class every day of the week," she says. So she quit her other gigs and began expanding her repertoire. Today, she teaches nine classes about writing and grammar on Outschool, working 10-12 hours per week, and she nets $10,000 per month.
"I would have never been able to make as much money as a regular teacher," she says.
Here's how Weatherington was able to build her hustle, and her advice for anyone curious to replicate her success.
With more and more students signing up every month, Weatherington quickly realized that the five-paragraph essay concept was a hit. "Parents would message me," she says, "and say, 'What's next?'" So she made "Mastering the Five Paragraph Essay" part two.
Parents then started asking if she had semester-long essay writing classes, so she developed some. She then made a different variation of the class that would cater to younger kids, as well as various one-time classes that would give kids and parents a chance to see what she was like as a teacher before they committed to a multiclass course.
Her success, in part, has really been about listening to the clientele and expanding accordingly, building on what they wanted and offering similar opportunities.
Another secret to her success is that Weatherington has invested in building relationships with both the kids she's teaching and their parents.
Among her tactics are "showing [students] appreciation that they came to [my] class" by thanking them directly, she says, as well as sending messages to parents "after class is over and saying, 'Thank you so much for signing your child up for my class. I hope to see them again.'" These kinds of efforts really help build relationships not just with existing clients but potential new ones as well.
"Word of mouth is the biggest part of my success," she says. One set of parents will tell another set of parents about her class, who'll tell another set of parents, and so on.
For anyone keen to start their own Outschool hustle, Weatherington suggests starting out by finding "that thing you love." If you're excited and knowledgeable about Audre Lorde, for example, consider offering a class about her life and writing. If you're an ace in coding, think about how you might teach it to kids of various ages.
You can't fool kids, she says. They'll know if you don't like what you're doing. More importantly, investing time in your work on Outschool will be both easier and much more fun if you actually enjoy the subject matter.
"Teach whatever you're passionate about," she says.
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