Home Business Idea #3: Teach What You Know

I have written previously here about a unique service business and a practical craft business, both of which can be started with relatively little investment and can be developed as part-time businesses with full-time potential. Now I will inspire you (or maybe just entertain you) with another kind of home business idea.


Back in 1997 I wrote a book for the Taunton Press titled, Refacing Cabinets: Making an Old Kitchen New. The book sells in low but steady numbers, which is better than the other two books I wrote for Taunton.

A year or so after the book came out I got a call from a guy in Texas who had bought the book and had a business proposition for me. He would line up students to come here to New York for one week of instruction by me in the craft of cabinet refacing. He explained to me that I could teach one class a month and make a very good living at it.

I was doubtful. He assured me the profit potential was considerable and explained that he had done this same thing in Texas teaching windshield crack repair. The guy offered to fly up and further discuss the idea with me. He was planning to invest a lot of money in marketing. All I had to do was teach people what I knew. My book would be our manual.

I liked the idea because I’m naturally inclined to teach. But the timing was wrong. I didn’t feel I was in a position to do it. Besides that, I was hesitant about going into business with someone who I really didn’t know. But the man from Texas did have a good idea.

A couple years ago, when we almost bought the Grange Hall building in my community, I had designs on utilizing the big building as a teaching facility. Woodworking classes for kids and adults would be right down my alley. Cabinet making and cabinet refacing classes could be taught right along with my Yeoman Furniture business (see previous essay). Marlene could have taught soap making and even bread baking in the kitchen. Shoot—we could have even had Whizbang poultry processing classes at the facility.

Do you have a skill that you know well and can teach? How about small engine repair? I would pay someone hereabouts to teach my sons a regular, hands-on, class in small engine repair. Can you do desktop publishing with a computer? I’d pay to learn more about that. How about fly fishing? Or making braided rugs? Or pruning grapes and fruit trees? Or making cheese? The list of teachable subjects that people will pay you to learn is almost endless.

A variation of this idea is to teach an adult evening class at a local vocational school. I did this a couple times back 20 years ago. The class was about learning carpentry. I had about 15 students in each class and it was a lot of fun. I’ve often thought about teaching a night class again some day.

If you have a particular skill and the inclination to teach it, contact the school. Chances are they will be very accommodating to your idea, provide you with a room and resources and advertise to get you some students. Then, of course, they’ll pay you for teaching. It can be a great experience.

Stay tuned for Home Business Idea #4.......


This essay is part of a series on home business ideas. CLICK HERE to go to an index of all essays in the series.