Teachers are some of the most dedicated and passionate members of our society. But, many teachers face seemingly insurmountable challenges as they seek to educate their students - juggling more responsibilities, larger class sizes, and shrinking resources and support. The 2021 State of the U.S. Teacher Survey found that “mode of instruction and health were the highest-ranked stressors for teachers,” and it found that nearly one in four teachers planned to leave teaching at the end of the 2020-2021 school year, an increase from the one in six figure prior to the pandemic.
In response, a handful of teachers are finding creative ways to leverage their skills and remain dedicated educators outside of the traditional classroom setting. Joanne Kaminski is a prime example. A former classroom teacher herself, she’s the Online Tutor Coach and serves educators who want to build tutoring businesses.
We’re showcasing Joanne’s journey from teacher to tutor to knowledge creator.
Note: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
Joanne’s background in education
Joanne started as a third-grade teacher. Then after three years, she got her first experience as a professional trainer when she accepted a position training other teachers on reading curriculum. She traveled the country in that role, but after the birth of her first child, she returned to working in a school as a Reading Curriculum Coordinator.
Fast forward another eight years at the same school, a new principal stepped into the role, with whom Joanne did not see eye to eye. She left, only to discover the same problem at another school. “I thought the grass would be greener on the other side, so I switched schools, but I had the same issues with administration,” she said. “I realized the environment of teaching was not good for me.”
After a medical leave of absence, she reported, “When I came back to school, my heart was not in it, so I left on my entrepreneurial journey.”
The beginning of her business
Joanne faced hurdles early on. She started five businesses that failed, but despite several setbacks, she persevered. “There was no way I was going back into the school system. After I had those five failed businesses, I took what I learned and started online tutoring.
Her husband encouraged her to seek work with an established tutoring company. But after exploring that option, Joanne was even more inspired to start her own business.
“I found out the tutoring company would pay me only between $10 to $15 an hour. I have a master’s degree, am a reading specialist, and have teaching experience. I knew I was worth more than that.” She thought, “the only difference between me and them is I don't know how to market myself, but if I can figure out how to market myself, I can get my own students and charge what I want.”
Her start as a knowledge creator
Joanne found success as a tutor but quickly ran into a common problem. Like many coaches and consultants, she plateaued in her earnings because she was limited by the amount of time she could spend with her clients.
“I had no more hours to give!” she said. “So I looked for other ways to make money. I wondered, how can I help other teachers make their transition to tutoring online, and work more daytime hours?”
During her journey to learn how to market her tutoring business, she took online courses. Realizing the solution to her limited tutoring time was right in front of her, she launched her first knowledge product, an online course called Tutor-Preneur in 2013.
Using Kajabi to support her business
From the outset of her journey into building another income stream with digital products, Joanne started with Kajabi, having learned about it from the online courses she purchased for herself.
“At the time, there were really not a lot of other tools - or at least, not as big as Kajabi. I looked at some competitors, and some had a model where they took a percentage of your sales, and that wasn’t for me.”
Joanne appreciated that with Kajabi, everything she needed was in one place. “When I was just getting started, I did not want my email list, online course, and landing pages in multiple different tools.”
What did she do first in Kajabi? Generated leads. “I started getting people onto my email list with a freebie. I tried lots of different kinds of freebies, like a contract, or different resources for their tutoring business. It took me a long time to find a freebie that works really well.”
As a solopreneur, she needed to make use of every resource available to her since she was building the business herself. She found the Kajabi support team to be an invaluable resource along the way.
“Because I came from the teaching world, I did not have a lot of experience with tech stuff, but I do consider myself tech-savvy, so I picked it up quickly,” she said. “When I did not know something, I could easily type into the chat and Support would easily guide me, or fix the issue. As time went on, I found I no longer needed that.”
Passive and recurring income with Kajabi
Nearly a decade after her launch, Joanne’s knowledge commerce business looks a whole lot different from when she first started. One achievement she’s proud of is that she’s built a sizable email list and social media following.
Another noteworthy achievement is establishing recurring revenue. By hosting a membership site for her audience, she’s worked past the peaks and valleys of income with product launches.
“I love how with the membership model, I do not have to sell to my clients over and over again. I find the people that are going to stay and they continue to pay each month.”
Kajabi facilitates the success of her membership by allowing her to meet her customers’ needs when it comes to payment.
She said, “With Kajabi, I can offer different payment plans, like a monthly payment, or a one-time lifetime access fee. By giving options and choices there’s always money coming through. If I could not work for the month with my tutoring students, I would still have income.”
But her favorite thing about Kajabi is how it allows her to keep earning from her evergreen content and marketing efforts.
“I love that I can create an email list and go into a direct sale for people with a funnel,” she shared. “Because I already put in the work on the front end, I can make money without having to do anything else, and it continues to pay off every single month. It’s freeing and amazing.”
The Online Tutor Coach’s financial milestones
The Online Tutor Coach is on a high-growth path. With online courses, digital downloads, coaching, and a membership site, the business offers tons of materials to support tutors in their skills and business development.
Her business continues to grow each year and outperforms in terms of revenue. And, Joanne projects her business will cross the $1 million in revenue threshold in 2024.
On a personal level, Joanne was able to dramatically increase her earnings compared to what she earned as a teacher. She recalled, “The most meaningful milestone for me was the first month I earned $30,000. That is what I was making in a year when I was first teaching in school. While it took about eight or nine years of running my online business to reach that milestone, it felt amazing.”
Get started with Kajabi
Joanne exemplifies what can happen when you command your worth. Are you ready to get what you’re due?
Kajabi is here to support teachers as they leverage their teaching skills to monetize their expertise.
With our all-in-one tool, Kajabi makes it easy to launch and scale your knowledge commerce business. Easily sell content based on your expertise - online courses, membership sites, coaching programs, podcasts, and digital downloads. As easily as you sell, create a website, collect payments, and automate email campaigns to support your business.
Start your 14-day free trial today!