Why do Teachers Make Some of the Best Entreprenuers?

There is a new type of entrepreneur quickly rising in almost every city in America. They have a significant impact on the lives of many people. Do you know someone in education who is motivated, mission-driven, passionate, smart, and can create something new? If the answer is yes, you know an edupreneur.

Edupreneurs are game-changing innovators who are bursting with education technology ideas and creativity.

These talented and rising stars may be the missing link that your startup needs right now. Effective classroom teachers make some of the best startup leaders or colleagues because their traits run parallel to entrepreneurs. If an educator finds something to believe in, that passion can yield great results.

There are many reasons teachers are actively involved in the entrepreneur space. Schools are finally beginning to incorporate technology into their classrooms, resistance to technology is waning, and educators are advocates of 21st-century learning. Ed-tech conferences are growing in the tens of thousands every year. Last month, over 18,000 teachers, presenters, and startups collaborated at ISTE. Today, we live in a global education ecosystem that calls for the integration of educators and entrepreneurs.

Here are some reasons why you should consider working with a teacher turned entrepreneur:

They did not go into the field for money
Like entrepreneurs, effective teachers went into their chosen field to solve problems and make a difference in the world. Those who go into the classroom every day understand that teaching is not solely a career; it is a lifestyle that requires hours of work, flexibility and endless amounts of dedication.

Educators are driven by a deep-rooted passion for helping others succeed as well as to bring forward positive change. As entrepreneurs, they know that money may or may not follow, but choose to pursue the endeavor for the greater good.

Multitasking is in their DNA

Like entrepreneurs, teachers can juggle multiple priorities, and they fully understand and accept that this is part of their job.

According to TeachThought, the average teacher makes over 1,500 educational decisions in one school day. They are fully engaged support systems for students, parents, and colleagues. Teachers manage everything in a classroom. These areas range from the physical environment to teaching students with different learning needs, levels, and language barriers. For many children, teachers are nurses, nurturers, cooks, and confidants.

Compared to a corporate setting, this management could be equivalent to supporting 20-30 new-hires. Like entrepreneurs, teachers can juggle multiple priorities, and they fully understand and accept that this is part of their job.

They know how to communicate
Successful entrepreneurs can communicate with ease in different situations. Like entrepreneurs, effective teachers can explain complex ideas in ways everybody can comprehend. They understand their customers (students and parents) and know how to relate to them.

You can listen to teachers speak at a third-grade level and then lead professional development workshops for 50 colleagues after school. Compelling teachers are master communicators who understand the importance of accurate communication.

If you are a new startup, especially in the ed-tech field, consider looking out for edupreneurs. You may find one who breaks the mold for your company.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in HuffPost and is featured here with Author permission.


Robyn D. Shulman
Robyn D. Shulman
Robyn D. Shulman, M.Ed., is a certified K-9, ESL, and Writing Teacher. In 2018, LinkedIn named her the #1 Top Voice in Education. She is a contributing writer for Forbes, where she covers education and entrepreneurship. She is also the Executive Editor at Brain-centric Design. She writes about K-12, college changes, innovation, entrepreneurship, and the innovation we need to have in education. She also shares how learning works on a fundamental level for both children and adults, based on 40 years of neuroscience. Her work highlights the positive changes we can bring in K-12, for college-age students, and within corporate education. Robyn is also the founder of EdNews Daily, an education media outlet and resource that provides education support and information for parents, students, teachers, and school administrators. Robyn has also been part of LinkedIn's advisors since 2013 and was named as "Someone to Follow" in 2016 with the official influencers who use the platform. Before her time writing, she started her career in a 4th-grade classroom, and eventually transitioned into higher education. Entrepreneur, Forbes, Cision's Influencer Blog, The Huffington Post, LinkedIn's Official Blog, The International Educator, Edudemic, Edutopia, We Are Teachers, Reimagine Education, Fox News Chicago, Thrive Global, The Next Web, and more publications have featured her work. Today, she continues to work with students, teachers, and innovators in education, hoping to bring positive change to the entire education system.

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  1. A razor-sharp perspective, Robyn. And welcome to BizCatalyst360 from another newcomer blown away by this community of writers. As an educator/coach, with a film director-turned-educator husband and scores of teacher colleagues, I’ve always loved the kinds of conversations that abound in teaching circles, with a natural flow of creativity and analysis along with an intrinsic drive to innovate. I agree with your advice to individuals or organizations in search of savvy collaborators: seek out an “edupreneur”!

  2. Such an exciting and illuminating article, Robyn! I agree, and can relate to many around me who were former educators that they possess this drive and passion as you alluded to, to really help others and succeed swimmingly as entrepreneurs. I mean really succeed. I wish anyone who is a former educator or a current one all the success in your businesses because you have a great deal to offer from communication abilities to information sharing and we need more of you!

  3. An interesting and stimulating perspective that I had never previously considered.
    Our best teachers are inspirational, structured with a sense of ‘calling ‘ rather than working primarily for pay.
    Invariably, they will have excellent coaching and mentoring skills, imbued with a positive, inclusive mindset.
    Perfect to help startups consider the stresses and demands that will face them.
    Thank you, Robyn.

  4. Interesting article, Robyn, and insightful also. Some of my good friends are teachers. Although none of them currently are edupreneurs, it wouldn’t surprise me to see anyone of them move in this direction. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.

    • Thank you, Laura. Yes, I have a good handful of these innovative teachers who are changing education–a small handful, but it’s a start. Thank you!

  5. Robyn, great article! As an educator for Special Education, ESL and Psychology at USF for 10 years I can say I still use my organizational skills daily, especially when scheduling my radio shows, appearing on other host’s shows, writing my own works, and co-authoring and promoting multi-writer books. It is much like being back in the classroom.

    • Thank you, Kat. It’s amazing how much we see and learn-whether we’re working in a school or outside of the field in a different capacity.

  6. As a person who comes from a family of educators, I applaud this thoughtful article about how educators can contribute to entrepreneurs, how many educators have the skill sets in their wheelhouse that mimic those of entrepreneurs, Robyn. Collaboration for the greater good seems to be the way of today and the future. A hearty and warm welcome to BizCatalyst360, Robyn!

    • Thank you, Laura–yes, it’s a completely out-of-box way of thinking, but I know quite a few who found some great success. Thank you for the warm welcome.

  7. Excellent point, Robyn, regarding financial considerations not being a motivating factor. i know a lot of teachers and former teachers, and most are all about the greater good, and changing lives incrementally. Welcome to this platform, you certainly will be able to contribute a lot to discussions here.