1. Teach or work more hours
Get more students or take on a second job.
You can see the inherent limitation of this option: there are only so many hours in a day and even fewer hours that students want to come for lessons. (I’ve been trying for years to fill my 3-4am slot…)
You might be willing to teach seven days a week at first, but after a while you’ll probably just want a day off. And you’ll need it. Teaching can be exhausting.
Teaching more hours can be a viable temporary solution, but if you already have all the students you can (or care to) manage, you’ll want to explore more sustainable long-term options.
2. Raise your hourly rate
Teachers probably don’t consider this as often as they should and I suggest you consider it, especially if you are underpaid for your area and/or experience and skill level. This should be your first long-term strategy to make more money.
Of course you can’t completely ignore the rates of other teachers, but an educated and effective teacher with a track record of satisfied students should earn a higher rate than a teacher who had three years of piano lessons in elementary school and now thinks that being an adult gives them the credentials to teach.
With the right marketing, you can communicate to prospective students how your training and study will provide additional value to them. (More on this in an upcoming post!)
3. Create other sources of income
This is what really gets me excited.
If you’re not familiar with the term “passive income,” let me introduce you. Passive income is income earned regularly with little or no active effort required to maintain it.
For instance, the income an author gets from writing a book would be considered “passive.” He or she writes the book once and then (hopefully!) gets ongoing royalties for many years after it is published.
As a musician, you might generate passive income by selling your compositions, music theory worksheets, music history posters, teaching tools, music games . . . you get the idea.
Passive Income is Not Magic Income
Some people will lead you to believe that passive income is income that you don’t have to work for. Unfortunately, that’s just not the case.
Often passive income streams require a boatload of unpaid time initially (think about the author writing a book), plus the time spent maintaining the project and keeping customers engaged after it has launched (think about the author who does a book tour or blogs to keep loyal following of readers).
What I like about this type of work, though, is that it is flexible. It conforms to your schedule instead of the other way around.
It takes discipline, but if you can dedicate just an hour or two each week to developing these passive income streams, future you will be much happier.
Oh, and about that “magic income?” Sorry, but there’s no such thing. Remember when your dad told you “money doesn’t grow on trees?” He was telling the truth.