Anyone can leave their old career and start a business — but not every career path provides the knowledge and skill that can be necessary for entrepreneurial success. Fortunately, there is one old career that could provide the best foundation for entrepreneurship: teaching.
Teaching is a difficult job, often made more difficult by frustratingly low pay and meager public support. Fortunately, teachers looking to continue making a positive impact on the world around them can pivot into entrepreneurship and find success using the following qualities they gained from their time in the classroom.
Passion and Enthusiasm
Teachers learn early that the best hope of engaging their classroom with important subject material is being passionate and enthusiastic about that material themselves. Students can be inspired by a teacher’s fervor for a subject, and inspiration can lead to much improved outcomes. In business, too, an eager and animated demeanor can be exceedingly valuable and increase one’s opportunities for success. When an entrepreneur is excited about their company, they are more likely to inspire and engage all manner of stakeholders to their cause.
Commitment to Learning
Teachers tend to respect education — after all, they initially dedicated their careers to imparting knowledge to legions of students. What’s more, teachers must continue to learn throughout their time in the classroom, enhancing their abilities to lead students to success while pursuing advanced credentials and specializations, like a master’s in special education, which can qualify them for better pay and perks within the school system. In general, the best teachers tend to have a natural curiosity and an unwavering passion for learning.
Entrepreneurship, like teaching, relies on continuous learning and self-improvement. Entrepreneurs need to be capable of taking in large amounts of diverse information and applying that information appropriately to achieve success. Research suggests that curiosity is among the most important traits for entrepreneurs, who can utilize their innate drive to know more to improve their business.
Interest in Service
Teachers dedicate their time to serving their community by educating their students. A life dedicated to service can be extremely fulfilling — but it can also be notably thankless, as almost every teacher can attest. Teachers receive notoriously low pay and near-constant criticism from students and parents, which is why so many leave the classroom in search of other career opportunities.
Entrepreneurship is another career that is highly associated with service, as entrepreneurs contribute to the success of their communities and work to help customers through their products and services. Teachers can leverage their interest in a service-oriented career and translate their previous experience in a service role with a more rewarding career in entrepreneurship.
Communication is the most useful skill for almost every professional, but it is particularly important for teachers, who must be adept at communicating in various methods to all manner of people. Teachers are tasked with explaining challenging concepts to their students, interfacing with school and district administrators, reporting to parents and guardians and more. With the introduction of remote classrooms during the pandemic, teachers have also been compelled to master online communication like video conferencing, document sharing and email.
It should go without saying that entrepreneurs also rely heavily on communication over the course of their careers. Like teachers, entrepreneurs must be capable and confident in their communication with a wide variety of people, from investors and lenders to employees to customers and clients. What’s more, entrepreneurs must be able to modify their communication style across methods, to include in-person conversation to instant message, newsletters and more.
A teacher is the leader of their classroom, and for most of their career, teachers must be able to identify problems and resolve them with little input from peers and fellow education professionals. The ability to think critically and implement effective solutions quickly is relatively rare, and opportunities to practice this skill tend to be rare in professional environments. For this reason alone, teachers make for some of the best candidates for business leadership, and they have a good chance to excel in entrepreneurship roles.
Insight Into an Underserved Market
Finally, teachers have insight into the education market. Unlike other entrepreneurs searching for a niche, teachers know what educators and students want and need, which means they are poised to provide products and services that have unique value to their target audience. In fact, many teachers already produce materials that they could sell to fellow educators, parents or students; all they need to do is take the next step into entrepreneurship.