Tag Archives: microentrepreneur

Teachers offer lesson plans for pay

Kids in class

Gone are the days when teachers had to fend for themselves to come up with their own lesson plans for the school year. The day-by-day management of classroom course work can create a lot of stress on teachers, especially first-year teachers. Now there are more options than ever with pulling from other teachers who have been doing this a long time. The amazing thing to learn about this new “sharing economy” is that there is a lot of content already available for anyone to pull from and use.

Lesson Plan Creation
If you remember the days of when you went to school you didn’t really think much about the work that was put in front of you except that you had to learn it and turn it in for a grade, which amounted to even more work for the teacher to do, even after they came up with the assignment. As kids you didn’t really think about where that work you did came from because you just wanted to get it over with so you could go back to talking with your friends.

For elementary teachers this process is fairly easy because you have the same students all day long, except for those that rotate for other subjects throughout the day or even week. You can blend your lesson plans together and if one day the students fall behind you can still play catch up with all of them because you know your students so well. That is the nice thing about planning your lessons for younger kids because they were just interested in learning and doing their best and for even most of them getting stars on their charts or golden stickers on their assignments with 100’s made their day so they were happy regardless.

In the middle school and high school range, the challenge with lesson planning gets very complicated because not all classes work at the same rate or level so coming up with new and interesting topics everyday or weeks can be very difficult, especially when you have kids that learn faster or slower than others. In order to reduce the amount of lesson planning that teachers are required to perform many of them break up their semesters into smaller chunks that revolve around certain topics, for example, biology teachers will focus on animal and plant cells for a week or two before moving on to the next level. This is why English teachers assign X number of books a semester because their lesson plans focus on just the content of each book for a few weeks.

Sharing What Your Good At
It should not come as a surprise that teachers have more options than ever in getting support for their classrooms. Infact, there are many new ways that teachers can now support and provide for students just by using crowdfunding sites to help assist the kind of work they want their students to learn with by getting the resources they need. This is very important to the future development of student’s educations because it can mean the difference between one student falling in love with science or another losing interest in math because the lesson plans created just didn’t make sense.

The resource that I’m about to talk about stems from the whole sharing and gig economy model. Many people are learning to become their own entrepreneur using sharing apps to make extra money. It should not come as a surprise that many people who work part or full-time jobs also work for Uber or TaskRabbit in order to make extra money to pay the bills. Now teachers can make money doing what they are good at – Creating Lesson plans. Teachers Pay Teachers is a website that lets teachers browse countless lesson plans and resources that teachers have created and posted for others to buy and download. The great thing about this website is that not only are teachers rated on the content that they create and sell but also that each content item that is posted is also rated for quality assurance from other teachers. This helps people know beforehand whether or not it is worth buying.

There is an app version available on the iPhone and Android market but there are many bugs that need to be worked out and you can not purchase anything on the app, just browse. Once those issues get fixed and people can purchase them with their paypal account then I believe this will be a very powerful app. The website though is still superior to the app because this is content you will want to review on a large screen, not a tiny phone screen. Many lesson plans offer previews so you know that what you are purchasing is worth the price.

The prices range from free all the way up into the hundreds. In many cases the lesson plans that cost more than a $100 are for long periods of time or even workshops of a large magnitude. The most expensive listed items cost in the thousands and not surprising many of them have never been purchased or rated for that very reason. Teacher salaries do not have the flexibility to be able to afford such high cost plans so that is something to consider if you plan to use the service. The range that is most common tends to be from 10 to 40 dollars.

Variety by the Item and Seller
The interesting thing about this website is that it was created with the idea in mind of teachers selling other teachers their lesson plans but now that the site has gotten more popular in recent months, textbook makers and publishing houses that specialize in educational material are now putting all their books and lesson plans and supplemental materials on the website. What makes the website great in the beginning is that it was teachers helping teachers teach better with materials that they perfected and have found that their kids enjoy. Now that large companies are coming in it takes away from the fun.

The variety of what the site offers, in terms of use, is that anyone can focus their search results by many options; subject matter, price, resources, and grade level. The most popular option that people enjoy is the free section of items because it includes tons of free things that teachers can download and use right away. Many of the items include games, charts, posters, and poems. Again this is very useful to any teachers who is looking to fill their students time with productive activities that encourage more of what it is they are learning in class.

In addition to all the custom lesson plans that teachers have created there are also a lot of Common Core items coming up that teachers have created that will help others improve their students scores. In many cases there are posters that highlight important things to know which can help students focus on learning the right material. There are also assessments that can be purchased to help make sure your students are on track to pass.

Success from Selling
This website has been a blessing for many teachers because it means another source of income for teachers. The challenge of course is being able to teach your classes and still put out new content for all your fellow teachers to purchase, especially your group of followers that some tend to create. It is interesting to learn that only 12 teachers have become millionaires using the site with 300 teachers earning in the 6 figure range. These are teachers who know what it means to create lesson plans that are easy to use and understand but also that students will enjoy and get the most out of them but also learning how to price your items correctly.

Just like with any other website that is similar to this, infact the same thing can be done on Amazon or eBay, it all comes down to how well you market what it is you do. There are helpful tips and guidelines provided by the website that explain the importance of using social media to keep your followers updated on new content in your profile. In any case this website is a much needed service for anyone that is a teacher that wants to put their name out there but also build a new stream of income. It doesn’t matter if you teach in a public school or provide private lessons at home anyone who is a teacher in any capacity can use this website to share what it is they are good at.

If you would like to sign up and start selling or just purchase items keep in mind there are three different types of accounts available, two of which are free. If you just want to download free items and purchase things there is a free individual account but if you want to sell items then you can also get one for free but you won’t get a dedicated homepage to your services which is what the third account offers.

News Article

A Sharing Economy Where Teachers Win

This website helps people find work in the Sharing (Temp) Economy

The creation of the sharing economy has created a whole new line of work that was out there before but is now easier to find. What the technology of apps has done for people is open up a world of jobs that existed before, but within a limited communication field (essentially it was a who-you-know kind of world), and made them known to everyone that knows what app to find them with. Uber, Favor, and TaskRabbit have all created this new movement of microearners which has now made everyone their own microentrepreneur now. The great thing about all this is the apps let you decide when you want to work and when you don’t so you never have to worry about keeping a regular schedule. The downsize to that way of making money is if it is your only source of income then you will need to use those services as much as possible.

The sharing economy has created a whole new line of businesses (true entrepreneurs are always looking for new problems and solutions) that help independent contractors manage their time and money using sophisticated analysis tools. A typical Uber drive might believe they are making $25/hr but after taking into account idle-time, driving to pick-up and drop-off, and filling up on gas that $25/hr might actually turn out to be only $5.50/hr. There are services available now to help freelancers determine how best to use their time and which services offer the best return.

If I was working in this kind of economy I would want to know what my real hourly-wage is compared to what the company tells you. That $14/hr job working for Favor at night for only two-hour shifts might actually be only $8 bucks after you take into account how much running around you do and waiting for the next job to come in, especially if you have to drive to areas where demand is the highest but far from where you live. That would defeat the point of taking on a job like that in the first place. You would actually earn more working at McDonald’s next to where you live then having to drive a long distance just to earn $14/hr for two hours.

Managing Your Temporary Job Work
The great thing about the world of startups is that there is always an entrepreneur out there who is looking to solve a problem. In this case the problem is determining what your real take-home pay is compared to how much time you spend using apps like Uber and Favor. Many of these apps offer tools for their employees to use to help analysis their own behavior but the problem is that they are biased and do not take into account many other factors. Why should a company build a app that would show the true return on a contractor’s time using the company’s app? They won’t.

In order to solve this problem you need a third-party app that is not biased in these matters and that is where an app like, SherpaShare, comes in. The app is able to connect with the following services in order to help you determine your true hourly pay – Uber, Lyft, Instacart, Sprig, Doordash, Spoonrocket, SideCar, Postmates. How the app works is that you connect it to the app you use and it will automatically take the data from the app such as, mileage, idle-time, daily income, routes, and more. There are other manual things you can add to the app but what makes this app so unique is that it clears up any foggy business about the industry that you might have after using some of these apps after awhile. Many people wonder why they are not actually getting the fare they were promised or why they have to meet so many conditions in order to get the bonuses they were promised but in many cases they might actually be earning less once they factor in taxes and company fees.

The challenge with all this is that people can not file any compliant for adhering to wage laws because anyone that uses these apps for their main source, or supplement source, of income is classified as a contractor. This means the companies do not have to meet any minimum wage state law requirement. A driver who wishes to complain that the hourly rate he was promised was actually less cannot do anything about it because he did not fully understand all the terms and conditions. This is where an app like SherpaShare comes in and clears all that up. After a week or two of using both apps the employee has a good idea of what their real hourly rate comes out to. The app will also provide information on where their best fares came from based on the neighborhoods they were in so if they want to improve their hourly rate the app can help them do that.

Where are the Jobs
The sharing economy is something that many people are using to bring in more money because the cost of everything is going up everyday. In one article I wrote about, the cost of food is going up, I said that in order to survive in the next ten years you will need to double your income to stay at the level you are now. Many people do not know what options are out there in the temp job world except the ones that get the most media attention like Uber and Airbnb. In order to make money off of those you have to either own property or have a car that is fairly up-to-date for people to want to ride in. This is where a new line of business is popping up, one that helps temp workers determine where to find the quick and easy jobs.

The website Peers provides an online tool that lets you find which services provide you with the best options available for making money doing what you are good at. How the site works is by letting you select what you have to offer and what skills you bring to the table which also allows you to filter by what you enjoy doing. Then the website provides you with a list of options based off of each category of service and then you can go in and create profiles for people to find you. The great thing about such a service is that you don’t have to go out searching for all the different temp-work websites out there because they bring it all to you based on what you provided.

Many people take the opportunity to sign up for anything they can get their hands on. Many Uber drivers also drive for Lyft at the same time hoping to maximize their time driving. In many cases though that doesn’t turn out to be the true because of how each service works, Lyft might only provide you with more work if you have a great rating and able to take a certain number of rides per hour. This is the challenge many of these services are up against – making sure that they are able to provide clients with contractors that reliable use their service. The worst situation is assigning a job to a contractor that does not have a stellar reputation for being on-time and reliable.

The best thing about Peers is that it provides a way for people to find all the companies that are starting to offer more jobs in the sharing community. Many people don’t know all the options available to them until they hear about them in the news or from a friend. You can take the time to sign up on all the services and see where that leads you but the downside to doing all that is you have to check the services all the time if you want to catch a job that is right for you. This means being on your phone/computer all the time so you can still earn enough money each week. That can get challenging and frustrating all at the same time when you have a family to take care of or you only have access to your car at certain times.

Living the Entrepreneur Way
The idea of being able to live your own schedule is the dream that most people want. The problem is they don’t teach you how to do that in school and the skills you learn in school might change in the next five years so how does one use a system like Peers and SherpaShare to help break away from the 9-5 routine? That is where Meetup.com, Skillshare.com, and Takelessons.com comes in. The power of these websites is something many people still do not understand. Freelancer and Guru tell you what kind of jobs people are posting so if you can learn the skills needed to get those jobs then you can start teaching people how to get those skills so they can apply for more jobs.

You bring people together in classes and programs by combing the power of Meetup.com and Skillshare and creating your own school of programs. Maybe your skill is selling or accounting or design; there are tons of people who need help improving their skills everyday in those areas so why not capitalize on it? Instead of taking an online course you can create “community programs” that let people network with similar minded individuals while also updating their skills. If you do this once or twice a week that is enough to start crafting a whole list of programs to put together. People want to stay-in-the-know and keep their skills up-to-date in order to keep their job or do their job better while also expanding their network. Your network is what will help you find your next job. The more people you know the more opportunities that come your way.

The option I presented might not work for everyone and if everyone followed that idea there would be a lot more classes out there and not enough students to go around. Another great way of following the Entrepreneur way is by taking what you know and putting it into a book. Amazon and many other sties now make it super easy to publish yourself. It just takes the time and discipline to sit down and write but once you manage to write out a couple of hundred pages you can start editing it and see what works and what doesn’t and then publish. Many public libraries put on local author events for meet-and-greets so you can market your book that way or partner with other local authors and put on your own events.

Creating Your Own Line of Work
The idea of an entrepreneur is that they come up with their own line of work that supports what they want to do. It is not an easy task to start off because the risks are high but once you get comfortable enough to get out there and start talking to people every week and putting together programs that benefit a group of people you can start to refine what you are really great at doing. The core essence of what an Entrepreneur does is they identify a problem and provide a solution to it. If you know that many people in your area need a certain kind of solution and you are able to provide it then put together something that brings those people together and make it all happen.

If what Uber and Favor provide is the kind of work you enjoy doing then learn how to improve on it and see where else it can take you. What many people don’t realize is that they can create their own micro-versions of these apps in their own communities. This makes it safer and easier to use if you know that the person driving you is a neighbor from three blocks over. Creating a teenage version of Favor for community members is a great way for teens to learn how to manage their time but also find the kind of work they want to do while also making money. There are lots of people who need help but don’t always feel comfortable letting strangers into their home, even if the companies do a background check, so why not create something that pairs people up with people they know who can help? A million dollar idea right there.

The important thing to remember from all this is that you want to maximize your time but in order to do that you need special tools to help you do that. These tools come in the form of apps, excel spreadsheets, online tools, and more. You have to determine what skills you offer that will help create a change for other people. If that change is found in an app like TaskRabbit, by providing quick and easy guidance to others in need, then you should think about building a complete website that also markets yourself as that. In the coming years you will start to see more books coming out about people’s experiences working with these apps and what they learned from the whole experience.

The Uber and Airbnb model of making money has changed how apps and companies charge for their services. More and more apps are following in their footsteps of determining the right pricing models that people are willing to pay. Any smart entrepreneur would know to take those same pricing structures and use them for their own line of work in order to get more attention.

An App That Helps Drivers Earn the Most From Their Trips

Peers – Organization for Independent Contractors

The American Dream for the Next Generation Course

SherpaShare App

This app reduces financial stress for those with uneven income

The economy is not kind to those looking for steady work. More and more people are learning the hard way that long-term jobs don’t exist anymore because the cost is too high for companies to keep people on for 20 or 30 years. It used to be that people looked forward to having a 40 year run with a company, which is a long time when you think about it. That’s a lot of time to give up for one company. The Freelance committee is growing at a very fast rate and with apps like Uber and TaskRabbit taking over and replacing people’s source of income it is not uncommon now to run into people who supplement majority of their income with these apps.

Freelance work can get hard to keep a steady flow of work because you are the only person responsible for getting and keeping work coming in. If you do not have any work then you do not have any income and that can get dangerous for anyone with monthly bills that need to get paid. The trouble with working as a freelancer is that your income fluctuates, some weeks you are working everyday and making great money and other weeks you have nothing to do. The rise and fall of your income can make it difficult to get approved for anything with a bank that requires a past history of consistent income. This is why more and more people are switching to apps that help bring in more money. Of course this can create a very unsafe résumé of consistent work that more promising employers might look down upon.

The Wonders of Apps and Technology
The beauty of the world we live in today is that anyone can create anything to help someone else. It just takes a little ingenuity and creativity to come up with something to help others improve their life. Until now if you needed a more stable income base you had to find a “regular” job that provided regular hours to work. Most white collar jobs require a higher education in order to even be considered so jobs like that are out of the picture for most people but regular blue-collar jobs are easier to come by if you are good with basic math, can handle heavy things, and available whenever the company needs you. The pay you bring in though will not be anything great but it will be consistent and reliable.

The fast food and big box retailers are notorious for curbing people’s paychecks in order to keep them off of full-time benefits. Places like Wal-Mart make it a strict practice for their managers to work their employees right up to the minimum mark before they are considered for full-time benefits in order to get the most out of them. Rather than pay for the fair wage and service the employee provides, they would just call-in another employee who needs the hours on short notice.

This whole shuffling around of employees is very disrespectful and inconsiderate of people’s time and efforts because companies like Wal-Mart only worry about their bottom line and nothing else. (Side note: Wal-Mart is one of a few companies that actually explains on their company website to employees how to apply for government benefits because they don’t want to pay them enough) If you read that correctly, Wal-Mart actually puts more stress on the government to provide more support because they don’t want to pay their employees reasonable wages.

Many of the technology startups in the Silicon Valley focus on creating products and services that people don’t necessarily need. I don’t need Uber and I don’t need Airbnb to live my life but I do need a steady stream of income, just like everyone else. Startups tend to focus on just creating products to sell to people instead of creating something of value that can actually help and fix people’s situations. That is where Jon Schlossberg and Quinten Farmer come into the picture. They wanted to create something that truly had value to offer to people who used their app. Majority of apps on people’s phones are there to provide a service of some sort but nothing like what their app provides.

Perspective Follows Purpose
Jon Schlossberg is someone who always had an eye for human behavior. He was keen on finding repeat patterns in all the things people did with their time. He would notice these growing up and wonder why people acted that way or did that. He studied psychology at Skidmore so he could work for the F.B.I. in the forensic’s department. His dream job got side tracked when he became interested in money and went to work for Bonobos as product developer. It was when he was on vacation that he read an interesting study that explained how being poor can affect a person’s mental capabilities. It was this understanding of money, poverty, and stress that got him thinking of how to fix these problems all together.

One of the hidden problems of income inequality in America is that it can swing very widely for many people, especially the low bracket of poor people whose source of income varies. One week there might be a few dollars, the next none, and the next it might be more; the problem overall is that money is not a reliable source so they must live day-to-day on what they currently have. This kind of living can put enormous stress on a person or family who must make ends meet. The Federal reserve found that a third of American’s live in a constant state of income flux. The new economy we live in has only made this issue more wide spread since long-term employment is no longer a thing.

While Jon was researching more about the issue of how to fix this problem and turn it into a business he came across a blog article by, Quinten Farmer, who talked about how to use bitcoin to reduce the cost of sending money of migrant workers to relatives back home. It was in reading this article that he discovered who his new co-founder would be. The discovery of someone else online who is looking to solve the same issue as you could only have been found by reading and looking online. Jon requested a meeting with him and the two got together to talk about what they could come up with.

Microearners Economy
The D.I.Y. economy has created a whole new class of workers who now reply on the technology of apps to piece together a living wage. These apps allow people to become, what is known as microentrepreneurs, because they are not necessarily running their own business as they are juggling their own hours to work within a mired scope of apps. There are people who are signed up on all the ridesharing apps just to cover all their bases. At the same time they are looking around Craigslist all the time for simple jobs to pick up and now that Amazon has opened their Home services program, that will put more stress on people to keep track of any jobs that pop up.

The lifestyle, as great as it may seem of working your own hours and doing only the work you want to do, has its many drawbacks. One of the biggest is that you are required to constantly check the job postings which means you might be required to leave at the most inopportune time. TaskRabbit requires that anyone interested in a job respond within 30 minutes of the posting if they are qualified for it. This behavior of constantly checking produces stress for people working in this temp-like-economy because it means that if you miss a job that could be a missed payment for one of your bills. That kind of stress can build up, especially when the whole ecosystem of freelance work is based off of personal demand. There can only be so many jobs that require someone to help clean up after a party and there can only be so many jobs that require someone coming over and assembling something you bought.

The service app economy allows many people to find work in different places but if everyone is jumping on this bandwagon then there can only be so much work available and when it comes right down to it the one with the fastest internet connection will win out every time. Microearners are the people who lose out the most because it is very hard for them to transition back into the workforce at a major company. Saying on your resume that you worked at TaskRabbit for 2 years helping with odd jobs here and there makes one seem more like a maintenance worker than that marketing degree you got from college. Companies only hire people who are current with their skills and industry trends so the new service economy is great for anyone who doesn’t want to go back but once you do leave your office job, be prepared for an uphill battle trying to get back in.

Evening Out the Stress
The challenge with taking on all these jobs is the uneven income you bring into your life. One day you might pick up three jobs and make $135 dollars and then next you might only get 1 job and your income drops down to $35 bucks and then next it might be five jobs at $175. The problem with this income fluctuation is that you have no clear idea what you will make by the end of the week, unlike a regular office job. This is what Jon and Quinten set out to fix with their app called, Even.

How Even works is by smoothing out your income and giving you a regular slice of life knowing that every friday you will have the same amount of money available to you. When you install the app, it will request access to your bank account. After you agree it will then analyze your account to determine if you qualify for the program, if you do, then you will be shown how your income will become stable based off of the number of deposits in your account to determine how much you will have available to you every friday. (I’m only using friday as an example since Even uses other metrics to determine how often to pay you.) Not everyone will be able to qualify for this service and for the millions of Americans who don’t have a bank account they will not be able to use the service. Here is an example of the service. There are some weeks you might earn more money then usual so Even will take the surplus from the difference of the average you make and put it into a buffer account. Then on bad weeks when you drop below your average earnings Even will pull from your buffer account to help spread out the difference and if there is not enough then Even will help cover the rest with an interest-free loan.

Basically this app makes sure that you have the same amount of money available to you every friday at the end of the week. The only cost to you to use the service is $3 dollars a week ($156/yr). For anyone that works in the freelance community this app is a much needed service to help smooth out the rough weeks with the good ones. Jon and Quinten have learned that when the stress of worrying about money are reduced people can focus better on improving their lives. An app like this provides more value than most other apps out there since no other app really makes this much of an effort to help people.

Challenges and Shortcomings
The concern with this app is that it is a business and all the funding they have received has been from big time VC firms. Venture Capitalist firms do not invest if they won’t get a return on their investment so how does Even plan to meet the demands, if and when, they plan to go public with this company if the only charge to use their service is a weekly $3 fee? The founders said that they don’t plan to add any advertisements into the app because that would only cause more stress if someone decided to take out a loan to help make ends meet. The whole purpose of this app is so that people do not have to do that anymore. They will have to come up with something if they plan to make their investors happy though.

Right now the app is invite only with about a thousand users testing it out this summer. It will be made available to everyone in January 2016 so make sure to mark your calendar down if you plan to add this cool app to your phone. In the meantime you can check out their website to learn more about it and share it with others you think might benefit from such a service. I have also listed a few articles below that go into more detail about the new economy of freelancing with apps if you wish to study the latest trends.

News Articles

Want a Steady Income? There’s an App for That

Even Website

In the Sharing Economy, Workers Find Both Freedom and Uncertainty

Freelancers Piece Together a Living in the Temp Economy