Eight years ago, kindergarten teacher Becky Powell was growing restless on maternity leave.
A friend suggested she use her son’s naptime to make some extra money, and pointed her toward an academic resource platform called Teachers Pay Teachers. There, Powell began making worksheets for her fellow teachers to purchase and download, working largely from her couch or “kitchen table,” she says.
Teachers Pay Teachers is an Etsy-style marketplace for educational worksheets, activities and lesson plans across nearly every grade level and subject material. Powell’s store, called Sight Word Activities, makes a speciality of teaching literacy to kindergarteners, first-graders and other young students.
At first, revenue was slow. But inside a few weeks, Powell began earning enough to cover small bills across the house. After 4 months, she made enough to repay her and her husband’s monthly student loan payments.
Through the years, the 10-hour-per-week gig became a six-figure hustle that Powell and her husband Jerome run together. Last yr, Powell’s Teachers Pay Teachers store brought in $125,500, or simply over $10,400 per thirty days, based on documents reviewed by CNBC Make It.
Her husband, a full-time computer engineer, manages one other store on the platform called Editable Activities that brings in roughly $50,000 per yr.
“I actually have worksheets that I created eight years ago that also yield 1000’s [of dollars] in passive income yearly,” says Powell, 41, who lives in Beaverton, Oregon. “Even once I find myself not capable of create … the sales still are available in.”
Here’s how Powell and her husband grew their side hustle, and what they’re capable of do with their extra money.
Powell’s classroom is the proper lab for her small business, she says. She will discover what concepts students struggle with, create worksheets as teaching aids and test-drive the ideas along with her kindergarteners before selling them online.
“I call my students my clients,” says Powell, with amusing.
After Powell made $21,000 in her first yr on Teachers Pay Teachers, she recruited Jerome — no relation to the chair of the Federal Reserve — to assist her construct a presence on the platform. Together, they focused her store round her knack for teaching children to sight-read.
He also showed her study the platform’s searches, so she could see which worksheets were trending and integrate buzzy keywords into her profile, she says: “He’d at all times tell me, ‘Do you understand where the very best place is to cover a dead body? On the third page of search results.'”
After seeing her success, Jerome launched his own Teachers Pay Teachers store selling customizable PDF worksheets in 2019, Powell says. The couple’s tax consultant really useful they mix their businesses to form an S-Corp, which they did in 2021 — meaning their seller profiles remain separate, but the cash all flows to the identical place.
Some sellers on the platform only keep 50% of their sales. Powell and her husband are “premium sellers” who each pay an annual $59.95 subscription fee to maintain 80% of their sales as profit. When teaching gets hectic, Powell scales back her side hustle work — ramping it up again through the summers to financially get ahead of the college yr’s unpredictability, she says.
Together, the couple uses their extra money “for boring things, like paying down our mortgage. We also paid off our student loans,” says Powell. “But we also took our [sons] to Disneyland, and the 2 of us went to Aruba. That is something we spent the cash on to be frivolous.”