I recently spoke to someone from our Facebook group Freelance Art Teachers in Libraries. She wanted to know how she should promote her classes to the libraries where she lives.
The conversation brought me back to the early days of Pop up Art School. I had forgotten the questions I had at the start of our business and the points of discovery as we grew.
Libraries offer our workshops to the public for free, so many people assume that we teach for free. In fact, we charge anywhere from $200-$425 per workshop, depending on how long the workshop is, how far we travel and if there are one or two teachers.
When I told our FB group member how much we charge per workshop, she asked, “Is that the price for a six-week class?” Nope! Those are the prices for a 1 to 2 hour—one time workshop!
It also surprised her to learn that a librarian’s job involves hiring performers/vendors for their event calendar. If you have a talent or passion — you have something you can offer to libraries in your area.
Our first year, we promoted ourselves by sending a mailing to the children’s librarians in Eastern Massachusetts. We had a modest WordPress site with five or six workshops listed. From that mailing we booked 12 workshops. One librarians out of the 12 recommended us on an online forum. From a shout-out from one librarian we booked 24 workshops the following year. We are now in our sixth year of business and we have booked 46 workshops for 2019, and it’s only April!
If you think you want to offer your skills to the public libraries near you, brainstorm a list of your skills. Here are some examples to get the juices flowing:
- A history teacher, passionate about the Revolutionary War, can create a lecture and a slideshow for adults.
- A creative hobbyist can teach the basics of their craft to teens and adults.
- A yoga or meditation teacher can teach others how to balance the stresses of everyday life.
I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to speak to our Facebook group member because it opened my eyes to how we can explain our business model to others.
Yes, YOU can earn money using your skills and passions at your local library. Stay tuned, for more blog posts with tips for marketing yourself to public libraries.
Join 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 an enjoyable side hustle, we are here to answer questions and support you!
Next week: how we are scaling our business with afterschool enrichment classes and blogging