From Teacher To Entrepreneur: How To Turn Your Skills Into Business Acumen

Ed Forteau's picture

Teaching is more than just a career choice. It’s also a journey that gives you valuable skills that you can utilize outside of the classroom. The average teacher has 14 years of experience under their belt and a whole wealth of knowledge of skills. When you pair that up with the invaluable experiences of traveling the world, you’re undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with. So it makes sense to harness all your experience to develop a strong business acumen that can be used to run a successful business of your own.

Teacher in front of a classroom. From From Teacher To Entrepreneur: How To Turn Your Skills Into Business Acumen

Identify your transferable skills

As a teacher, you’ll possess a large number of skills, some of which you may not even realize you have. The Classification of the teaching skills based on q-methodology using the perceptions of secondary school teachers, highlights 13 key skills that teachers have, including reinforcement, the ability to ask probing questions, explain, and write instructional objectives. All of these skills are transferable and can be used in lots of different businesses. For example, reinforcement and probing questioning are needed to boost employee morale and performance. You can also use these skills to spur yourself on when setting up your biz. You’re sure to have more than the 13 skills mentioned in this methodology that are transferable too. Just a few worth mentioning are effectively working with a diverse number of people, problem-solving, presentation skills, and good time-keeping.

Find a niche

High school teachers teach an average of 2.3 subjects each. But if you’ve worked in an elementary school, there’s a good chance that you’ve taught a lot more subjects than this. Good business acumen involves being able to switch between projects as and when needed, so your teaching experience will have already given you this skill. But you still need to choose a business niche to specialize in. Think about which subject or subjects you have the most knowledge in and enjoy the most. Teachers with strong math skills often find that jobs in accountancy or financial advice are good for them. Whereas a teacher with literacy experience will do well as a private tutor or writer.

Rules, regulations, and paperwork

According to Forbes, teachers spend up to 10% of their time completing paperwork. The experience you have filling in paperwork is good for your business acumen, as you’ll be used to reading things in depth, planning, and organizing. Even the paperwork you’ve filled in while traveling, such as visas and traveler declaration forms, will help you when setting up your business. One important thing to remember is to register your business as a business entity. Becoming a limited liability company (LLC) is usually recommended as it means your business will be a separate legal entity. But, if you’re living outside of your home state, you’ll need to apply as a foreign LLC. Third-party companies, such as LegalZoom, can help you do this. A Legalzoom LLC cost can be as little as $79 plus state fees. While it is possible to register yourself, your teaching skills will have taught you how essential it is to prioritize tasks and accept help when you can, which is why using a specialist provider is suggested.

Adapting needs

Good business acumen involves being able to recognize when adaptation is needed and effectively putting changes in place. Business leaders constantly face challenges that involve being able to adapt, such as rising costs, advancing technology, a loss of customers, and similar. The good thing is that as a teacher and a traveler, you’ll be used to adapting. Traveling and working in different countries means you’ll have experience of different cultures, laws, and local expectations. You can also utilize your teaching experience in this area as it will have taught you how to handle multiple situations, including different children’s needs, classroom technology, and curriculum changes, among many other things.

Making money

The main goal of your new business should be to make money. But you can only do this with good business acumen. An entrepreneur with financial business acumen will know how their business makes money and how to reinvest it. Your teaching experience will help you with this as most schools have tight budgets, so you’ll be used to being careful with funds. Similarly, 58% of all public school teachers have a side hustle to boost their income. If this is something you’ve done, you’ll have all the skills needed to make sound financial decisions in your business and should feel confident in your abilities.


Teachers are exceptionally skilled individuals who can transform their knowledge and experience into great business acumen. So, if you dream of starting your own business while you’re on the road, sit back and consider how to transform your years of experience into a career you’ll love and be able to make successful.