Those Who Can, Teach

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What's a proven way for Solopreneur consulting service providers to demonstrate expertise, distinguish yourself from the many "me, too" competitors; position yourself as a thought leader; and work against being perceived as a commodity? Teaching! The old proverb, "Those who can, do and those who can't, teach" doesn't hold up in the 21st century marketplace.

Teaching is the smartest-ever marketing activity. You get paid to do it, so along with it being savvy marketing, teaching simultaneously benefits your cash-flow. If that's not enough, through teaching you will become a better public speaker and better able to promote yourself as a keynote or a panel moderator. In horse racing, they call that a trifecta!

Ideally, you'll teach a subject related to your business. Artists since Michelangelo (at least) have taught art classes. Best-selling book authors and award-winning playwrights are usually able to join a university faculty, where they earn steady money teaching creative writing classes. Distinguished investigative newspaper and magazine reporters often teach journalism at universities, which is a superb addition to their curriculum vitae.

Self-employed bookkeepers can teach fellow Solopreneurs how to use QuickBooks. Marketers can teach the basics of social media marketing. Landscape artists can teach homeowners how to choose shrubbery and flowering plants for their yards, or how to create and maintain a window box filled with lovely plants. Developing proficiency in the ancient and noble art of teaching delivers numerous tangible and intangible benefits to Freelancers and their students.

If you've never taught, I recommend that you both learn curriculum development and hone your teaching skills by writing a proposal to teach one of your professional competencies at an adult learning center, library, or some other organization that offers workshops to the public for free or at a modest cost.

Some time ago, I wrote proposals for a series of 90-minute sales skills training workshops that were accepted by an adult learning center (that happens to be the oldest adult learning center in the country, BTW). The workshops were successful and attracted paying students for four or five years. That teaching experience helped me get hired to teach a 20-week business plan writing course that was sponsored by a women's entrepreneurial development center that's funded by the Small Business Association. I taught for two semesters and it was a wonderful experience.

As you visit websites to research teaching opportunities, confirm the credentials required of instructors and peruse the types of courses that are offered. Master's degrees are often required (but not always mandatory) and you'll need to know if the subject matter you might teach is offered at the institution. Also, read the instructor bios and I'll bet you'll discover a few Solopreneurs on the faculty.

Once you've developed a workshop and learned how to successfully present it, consider taking it online in a YouTube video. E-learning is a growing field and becoming proficient in presenting an online course is to your benefit. Schools are transferring ever more courses to the online format and if you have the know-how, you will be a more attractive candidate for those disappearing adjunct opportunities.

If you've earned a master's degree and have a minimum of three years of teaching experience, you may be able to teach at a local college or university. Adjunct (that is, part-time, non-tenure track) teaching is great, but the market has become quite competitive in some parts of the country.

Thanks for reading,


Author: Kim L. Clark Published: 2018-03-21