Pop up Art School has been happily chugging along teaching 45 to 50 workshops a year, almost all at public libraries. It’s been a legit way to make an extra $1,000 a month, but our business model has the potential for more. Here’s how we’ve been expanding our offerings in 5 new ways.
- Downloadable lesson packet for libraries
It took us a few months to develop, write and design two STEAM lessons for librarians to teach in their libraries.
The packets include:
- PowerPoint slideshows
- promo materials
- video instruction
We have a newfound respect for educators who sell products on TPT (teachers pay teachers!)
For five years, we’ve had a basic WordPress site that we’ve used as a landing page. Now, we’re publishing a new blog post every week. On the back-end, Janell has been working hard to redesign the landing page, and she built a shop using WP plug-ins, so that people can sign up online. The ability to register online is important because of the next two items.
- After-school Art Enrichment Classes
After listening to a podcast on Nick Loper’s’ Side Hustle Nation about May Najafabadi who teaches after school art and craft classes, we have been contacting local schools.
It hasn’t been as easy as she states, but it’s a real way to make more money per hour, depending on sign ups.
Here’s what we’ve found so far:
- The art teacher doesn’t want competition.
- An outside company manages the school district’s after-school programs.
- My email or call disappeared into a black hole.
Those 3 reasons haven’t deterred us; we’ll keep emailing and letting people know what we offer.
So far, we’ve booked one school. Initially the director of the program told me he couldn’t bring in outside people because it would be competition for the art teacher. We were lucky to have two friends, who live in the district, contact the director and recommend us. It turns out, the art teacher is on leave and can’t offer an after-school class for a while.
Yay! A foot in the door. Sometimes, it comes down to whom you know and a healthy dose of persistence.
Another route for after-school enrichment is independent book sellers.
It’s a win-win for both businesses; we get to use space in a brick and mortar location and the bookstore gets more foot traffic. My son used to take a chess class at a local bookstore, so I contacted the owner and we’ve got a session starting this week!
- Adult Art Instruction
At our library workshops, it’s clear that the adults want to create because there are always a few who stay to make the project.
To start, we surveyed the parents on our email list to discover their interests. Our first workshop was on wool felting a three-dimensional cactus and our upcoming adult workshop is glass mosaics which was everyone’s top choice in the survey.
Since we started the expansion of our business we’ve had a few opportunities fall in our laps.
- Two private childcare centers emailed us to teach workshops.
- A friend who runs Lego robotics summer camps wants us to come once a week to do a STEAM project.
Sometimes what you want doesn’t come from the direction you’ve been looking in. The important thing is to be open and persistent!
Leave a comment below or join us in our Facebook group Freelance Art Teachers in Libraries. The group is for sharing ideas about teaching art and other subjects in public libraries. Whether you are a librarian looking for new ideas or a teacher seeking a profitable AND enjoyable side hustle, we are here to answer questions and support you!