Starting a business

Career change for teachers | Starting a children’s activity business

Teaching is rewarding, of course, but it is also exhausting, difficult, and sometimes even thankless. You likely got into teaching to change lives and share your passions with the next generation. But, what can you do if you still want to make a difference outside of the classroom?

If you are a teacher looking to make a career change or even get a side job while staying in education, starting your own children’s activity business is a great option! When you run a children’s activity business, you get the opportunity to continue changing the lives of children while managing your own hours, expanding your reach, and stepping outside of typical education.

Sawyer is the best class registration and management software for children’s activity providers. If you are ready to take the leap and start a children’s activity business, we’ve got you covered! Keep reading this guide to tips and tricks to help you and then learn how Sawyer can help you get started on the right foot.

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Career change for teachers

If you are ready to step out of the classroom and find a new career, do not stress. Teaching prepares you for a lot of different types of jobs. You can choose to stay adjacent or within the education industry or you can choose to leave education altogether. Here are some of the most common career changes for teachers and  jobs for teachers leaving the classroom.

Jobs for teachers leaving the classroom

  • Curriculum specialist. If you are looking to leave the classroom but stay in the education space, you can become a curriculum specialist. In this role, you are responsible for reviewing data and then making recommendations and writing the curriculum that teachers will follow.
  • Academic advisor. Academic advisors help students make decisions about the classes they should take, help them stay on track with their goals, and get the opportunity to interact with students 1-on-1. 
  • Tutor. Some teachers leave the classroom to start tutoring students outside of school. This can be a lucrative career for former teachers as they know a lot about the lessons and curriculum already. If you are interested in becoming a tutor, you can start a business and register as an LLC to ensure your accounting and bookkeeping is correct.
  • Private lesson instructor. Beyond tutoring, former teachers can also start their own business teaching private lessons in their subject of choice. For example, former music teachers can start teaching private music lessons, art teachers can give private art lessons, and Spanish teachers can give private Spanish lessons.
  • Small business owner. Starting a children’s activity business is a great career change for teachers looking to leave the classroom. They get the opportunity to be their own boss, make their own hours, develop their own curriculum, and establish important connections with families in their community.

How to start a children’s activity business

The best way to accomplish a big task like starting a children’s activity business is by breaking it up into smaller steps. This is a great way to ensure that you are set up for success and none of the important elements fall through the cracks. To help you prepare, we are outlining how to start a children’s activity business step-by-step.

Step 1: Create a business plan and budget

While you might already have a business incorporated, starting your own children’s activity business is a large enough project that a business plan is an important place to start. Writing a thorough plan requires you to do research and think hard about what you want to accomplish. In your business plan, make sure you include analysis of the market, a description of your program, and your budget and financial plan. For guidance on building a budget for your small business, review our article.

Step 2: Research city and state regulations

After you have created a business plan and ironed out the initial logistics of your business, you will need to do research on what licenses and other regulations might be required by the city and state. For example, if you plan to start a program in New York City, you will need School Aged Children Care Registration. Safety is a priority!

Step 3: Plan your program and classes

Will you start an after school program, camp, or something in between? Some programs offer activities all year round and others focus on semester-based classes after school or during the summer. 

Once you decide the type of program you are creating, you need to decide what types of classes you will offer. Is it general enrichment or focused on one topic, like coding or cooking? What age groups will you serve? Drilling down to find the answers to these questions will help you as you begin to organize your curricula and write lesson plans. Make sure your classes are interactive and hands-on. Take advantage of the extracurricular nature of your program and pack in fun activities that might not be included during the children’s school day. 

Step 4: Create a hiring plan

Depending on the size of the after school program you are starting, hiring instructors is a helpful early step. Hiring educators can be difficult, so make sure that you are thoughtful in your approach. Write a clear job description so that job-seekers know what you are looking for in the role. Likewise, making the salary, benefits, and requirements transparent will help align incentives for you and the employee.

Step 5: Start marketing

Once you are on solid footing with your program, you should be ready to start marketing and finding an audience to attend your classes. Here are some of our recommendations for marketing for a small business.

  • Promote your business on Facebook. Create a business page, chat with parents in local groups, and highlight user-generated content and testimonials. For more help on Facebook marketing, check out our guide.
  • Run Google Ads. If you have the marketing budget, you can set up a Google Ad campaign that hits keywords related to your business and runs on a small budget. Use our guide to understand Google Ads for small businesses.
  • Set up an email marketing campaign. If you are starting your business in a community where you have connections, you might already have access to parents’ email addresses. In that case, you can announce your new program via email and provide these parents with an incentive for booking. Review our guide with email marketing tips.
  • Join a marketplace. Signing up for access to a marketplace, like Sawyer, can put your new program out there for millions of parents to see. For new businesses, this is especially helpful to get their first customers in the door.
  • Offer a free trial. Since this is a new venture, parents might want the option to try before they buy. By providing free trial opportunities, you can increase your initial customer base and then convert those free trial customers into returning fans. According to our 2022 Children's Activity Industry Trend Report, 30% of customers who take a free class convert to taking a paid class.
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We hope that this guide has provided you with guidance and support so you can make the important decision on your next career steps after teaching. If you are looking for additional guidance on managing and running your children’s activity business, the team at Sawyer is here to help. Use our resources for support as well.

With our suite of tools, like custom forms to record allergies and t-shirt sizes, flexible payment options like gift cards and installment plans, and seamless scheduling and registration on any device, Sawyer saves business owners 28 hours per month. If you are ready to spend less time on admin and more time doing more of what you love, see how Sawyer can help with a free trial or demo.

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