Why You Should Teach

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“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.”
― William Arthur Ward

There are people all over the world that want to learn what you already know. They need people like you to step up and teach them. Teach them what you are passionate about and why. Teach them what has taken you years or even decades to learn. Teach them how to succeed and inspire them to set their goals higher. Teach them that there is another path or another way to earn a living. There has never been a greater time in history to become a teacher than today. You don’t need to work for a school or university or have a masters degree in teaching. You simply need to know something that others desire to know, have a willingness to teach it, and the courage to start. The world needs more teachers.

Why is today the greatest time in history to become a teacher? The internet has torn down most of the gatekeepers gates. Fifteen years ago, if you had something to teach, you had to somehow get access to students. That meant being granted access by a gatekeeper that would bestow the title of teacher on you. The gatekeepers were schools, colleges, universities, administrators, committees, human resources or anyone with the power to hire or bestow the title of teacher on you. It usually required a bachelors degree followed by a masters degree. Today, the marketplace is the primary gatekeeper deciding who is a teacher and who isn’t.

There is now access to potential students that is almost limitless. A niche subject like training dogs has the entire world to get students from. A teacher is no longer bound by teaching what the masses want to learn, (though general teaching is a great way to get attention) but instead can focus on narrower subjects and still find a large amount of students.

What do I mean the marketplace is the new gatekeeper? The marketplace is made up of people, and people are good at recognizing those that help them. Once someone recognizes a good teacher, they tell their friends via social media, blogs, forums, in comments and on their websites. As this begins to happen, search engines eventually catch up and recognize your contributions and will start connecting those that want to learn with what you are already teaching. I would have never imagined that this site would reach hundreds of thousands of people in 196 countries in only it’s first few years of existence.

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7 steps to begin teaching today

1. Decide what you want to teach

Don’t know what to teach? Are you passionate about something that was really difficult for you to learn? Then it’s probably just as difficult for others to learn as well. This blog was started because I couldn’t find a blog anywhere on the internet that taught people how to buy and sell on Craigslist, especially from someone that was earning their living doing it. So I started teaching what I was learning through the blog and now I have the opportunity to help almost 40k people a month.

Ask someone close to you what they think you would be good at teaching others. Look right in front of you. What are you good at? What do you spend a lot of your free time on?

2. Start teaching

Start a blog and start writing a post a week. I think writing is one of the best ways to teach plus you own the blog and can use the content later on in a book etc. Use video to teach, which is something I haven’t done a lot of yet. Use both together. You might not have any students at first, but don’t get discouraged, this can actually be a good thing. The more you teach, the better teacher you will become. There is no skipping humble beginnings. Just get going and get the beginning stage out of the way. You can always change the focus of your teaching along the way.

Other ways to start teaching. Teach your friends, family or kids. Start a blog and share the posts on social media and in forums. Offer to guest post for people. Make video’s and upload them to YouTube. Mentor someone locally.

3. Follow the feedback

After a period of time, and it wildly varies, people will begin discovering you, your site and what you are teaching. Then a beautiful thing happens. They will learn something from you and give you feedback. They will ask for clarification or they will ask you to share something else you have learned. This is an exciting time as you begin to experience the fruit of all your labors. But the most valuable thing about feedback from readers is that the feedback will tell you what people want to learn. It was feedback from readers that led me to start ApplianceSchool, because they kept emailing me asking if I would help them start their own appliance business.

4. Teach people how to put food on the table when possible

What are people supposed to do with the information you are teaching them?  More than ever before, people want to learn skills, and then be shown how to make money with those skills. Put bluntly, how can someone put food on the table with what you are teaching them? A good teacher will teach you how to wash windows and make a living washing windows. Learning how to do something is valuable, but learning how to do something and get paid for it is even more valuable. Knowledge is great, but people need food and a roof over their head.  (There will be a lot of exceptions of course)

But what about math? Teach them math and then teach them how to make money with their math skills. What about wildlife preservation? Teach them how to save animals and to make money doing so. Contrary to our culture’s view of things, money doesn’t have to be a spoiling agent. It can be a tool that enables someone to do what they truly love.

5. How much of your teaching should you give away for free?

Help as many people as possible when you first start teaching. This doesn’t mean you can’t teach on a niche. If you want to teach about dog training, start teaching about dogs in general to create a larger pool of people to draw potential students from. If you are starting a blog on landscaping, teach everyone how to care for their lawns and how to keep weeds out. You don’t need to teach the masses how much to charge a customer or how to get new landscaping clients. Many people will appreciate learning from an expert landscaper. Eventually, this will lead to a larger number of people wanting to learn more from you.

6. When to start charging for your teaching

When someone sees enough value in what you are teaching that they offer to pay you to teach them. It’s the modern apprenticeship. It took me a couple of years to learn enough to be viewed as a Craigslist expert and eventually someone to learn the appliance business from. I started getting emails from people offering to pay me to teach them. After a few times I put up a coaching page and started consulting people all over the place. That’s a good sign. The market is very good at rewarding people that are striving to add value to other people’s lives. It’s better to work really hard and allow the market to validate your teaching first, rather than declaring yourself an expert from day one.

7. What are the best ways to make money teaching?

Don’t go out and write a book. Why? Because it will probably be a bad book unless you have been teaching a long time and are already a very good teacher that knows exactly what people want, and need to learn. Plus, unless you are the type to hit home runs, no one will buy your book because you don’t have a platform or audience. You will then get discouraged and lose hope in life.

So how do you make money teaching in today’s marketplace? Two of the top ways are consulting and producing your own training course.

Consulting

Consulting is a great way to get a lot of experience teaching. Each person is unique and learns a little bit differently. Each time you spend an hour teaching someone, you get a better idea of what others will need to learn as well. After a handful of consultations, you can begin to create training material that can be used to teach others as well. This past year, I did one on one consulting for close to 40 people across the country. That’s what led me to create a training course and start ApplianceSchool. As demand for your teaching goes up, it’s a wise next step to create a curriculum or training course to make the best use of your time.

Training course

The benefits of a training course are many. First it allows you to bundle everything a person would need to know to learn a particular subject, or skill, or business. You can combine written material with images, video’s and other media to form a very well rounded learning experience. Where consulting is very labor intensive and restricted by time, a course requires a lot of labor up front, but saves a lot of labor in the long run. In a course you can package in far more material for much less money compared to what it would cost via one on one consulting.

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So, in review, decide what you want to teach, start teaching today, follow the feedback, teach people how to put food on the table, (if possible) decide how much of your teaching will be free, figure out when to start charging for your teaching, and how you are going to be compensated for your teaching.

Help as many people as possible and tell them your story in the process. People want to know who you are and whether or not you are the type of person they want to learn from. Be yourself, and if you really care about helping people, you will do just fine. Teaching is one of the most rewarding things in life, and I hope this post encourages many of you to begin today!

Do you have your own small niche business that you have been running for a while? Have you thought about teaching others how to start and run the business? Would you be willing to teach them? Email me and tell me more about it! I might have an opportunity for you.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Ryan, excellent post! I’m finishing up my 13th year of teaching at the moment. You’ve identified an issue that scares a lot of “licensed teachers”. What happens when the student can find a better education, or lesson online? I know of a few people without HS diplomas that are more natural teachers than some of individuals I have worked with in the past. It’s great to see an average Joe have the opportunity to share via the web and receive validation instantly in form of hits, views,etc.

  2. Good post, I’m writing an ebook for my audience now. It’s hard to get past being a blogger and into the head space of recognizing yourself as an authority. It seems like that’s where a lot of people get stuck. We never compare ourselves to the 99% of the population that know far less than us on our topic, we have a way of comparing ourselves to the 1% that know as much or more. It’s silly really.

    • That’s exactly it. You said it perfectly. There will always be people that know more about a topic than us, but that’s fine. Help the people that you can.

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