Leaving the Classroom 38: Former Teacher Turned Entrepreneur with Andrea Hanson

Feb 06, 2024

Leaving the Classroom: A Transitioning Teacher Podcast

Leaving the Classroom 38: Former Teacher Turned Entrepreneur with Andrea Hanson

In this episode, Kristi Oliva interviews former high school math teacher Andrea Hanson about her journey from leaving the classroom to becoming a successful entrepreneur and business coach. Andrea discusses how she started with network marketing before opening her own boutique and becoming a landlord. She also shares her experience with following her intuition despite fears and overcoming challenges when transitioning out of teaching.

Tune in to find out:

- How Andrea took the leap of faith to leave teaching full-time.

- Strategies for overcoming guilt and the doubts of naysayers when making a career change.

- Three key skills teachers already have that can transfer well to entrepreneurship.

Listen to the episode here:

Connect with Kristi on LinkedIn

Connect with Andrea on Instagram

This podcast is sponsored by IDOL Courses and is the only authorized vocational school and implementation program of its kind that not only shows you exactly how to create your job application assets and build a portfolio from scratch, but also includes credentials, mentorship, expert coaching, and paid experience opportunities in corporate instructional design and online learning for life! Learn more about the program here.

 

Enjoy the podcast transcription:

Kristi Oliva 

Welcome to Leaving the Classroom. This is a podcast for teachers who are ready to transition out of the classroom and into a new career. Each week, I'll share stories about what I've learned moving from education to the corporate world. I'll answer the most common questions and share my best tips to help you get started. If you are considering leaving the classroom, this show is for you.

 

Kristi Oliva 

Hello, everyone. Welcome to Leaving the Classroom. I'm Kristi Oliva. I'm so glad you're here. Today, I'm talking to Andrea Hanson. Andrea is a former high school math teacher turned serial entrepreneur. She now runs multiple businesses and also coaches women who want to leave their nine to five to follow their hearts into business. Welcome, Andrea.

 

Andrea Hanson 

Thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited to chat with you. We have, I think a lot in common.

 

Kristi Oliva 

Yes, definitely. I think all transitioning teachers or former teachers, like share a bond, that is really unspoken. And I mean, even just leading up to this, we were just automatically connecting on certain things that we've been through. So why don't you start off Andrea by just telling us about that journey. How long were you a teacher? What kind of teacher were you and then just lead us through how you got out?

 

Andrea Hanson 

Yeah, so I taught high school math for 12 years in Southeastern Minnesota and I loved my job. I was actually not even looking for an escape plan. I think that is a little bit unique to a lot of teachers that I have talked to that have left the classroom. I left pre-COVID, and it was because a business opportunity dropped into my lap. My very first business was network marketing, which I don't currently build that business anymore. but that was like my gateway drug to entrepreneurship. So, I started with Beachbody in 2015 and fell in love with business. I realized that I could use my work ethic to actually increase my income, which is unheard of in the teacher world. So, I just felt a nudge to try that full time and my husband was also on board with it. So, that was my first leap of faith and I left the classroom in 2016. And about a year after that had a friend who mentioned to me that she wanted to grow her boutique and she had a women's clothing boutique that she was selling things online. And so she taught me everything she knew. I started a boutique in my basement, and then eventually opened a brick-and-mortar and I now have a brick-and-mortar boutique in a touristy town in Southeastern Minnesota and been doing that for five years. And a couple of years ago, in 2020, I bought a historic downtown building in that same town and gutted the second floor with my dad and put in four apartments. So, I'm also a landlord. And then, just recently, about a year ago, I started business coaching because so many people were asking me, okay, but how do I take leaps of faith and start things? And so, I started hosting workshops and I also coach one on one and do mastermind retreats as well.

 

Kristi Oliva 

So, I keep hearing you say this leap of faith and I think we say that a lot. Is that really what you pin it down to? Was it truly like a leap? Did you feel like you were just like crossing over into something super unknown. Tell me more about that leap of faith for you.

 

Andrea Hanson 

Gosh, I feel like every single business that I have started has been a true leap of faith where I don't know all the answers. I don't know how to do the things. I opened my brick and mortar and a week before I finally opened after doing all these renovations to the inside, I was like I should probably figure out how to process payroll. So, let's make some phone calls and figure that out. So that's kind of the style of, I would say life, that I live with this entrepreneurship, is I get a gut feeling, this intuition, that says you need to go in this direction and it's like a full body response. It's so hard to put into words, but I just like... there's this knowing inside. And even as scary as every single leap has been I know that when I get that feeling, it is a guided path. So things are going to come along, people are going to come alongside me and answer the questions that I need, to make whatever that is happen. So, it is an actual leap of faith without knowing how to get to the very end but knowing that it will eventually happen.

 

Kristi Oliva 

Yeah, that's so true. So, with this leap of faith, let's keep going with this. You talked also about like getting a nudge. When do you think that people are moving in a sense of fear and moving away from something, maybe running from teaching, as opposed to running to something else? Like what do you see are the dangers there of... I know a lot of teachers are running from teaching, and they're just blindly going along. I know that that can be dangerous, but from your perspective, like, how can we harness that energy into something more useful, so that we're not just running in fear?

 

Andrea Hanson

Oh, gosh, this is such a good, good question. I would say, getting as much quiet time with yourself and your thoughts is huge, because with social media and busy families, and all the, you know… If you have kids, you're taking them to sports, and there's just so much chaos, that it's hard to, like, take a minute to ourselves and be like, okay, but what do I really want? I don't think it's wise for someone to just put their two weeks in and say sayonara, unless there is a plan. Like maybe you have a husband, or a partner that makes enough money for you to do that and that's fine. But just to leap without having a little bit of sense of, what am I going to do? That is going to bring me joy, not just necessarily, you know, how am I going to bring a paycheck in, because then you're just jumping from one place that doesn't fill you up to another place that doesn't fill you up and that's, that's not the point. The point is to chase after something that you are called to do that doesn't feel like work, but that you can earn an income around it. That's my absolute favorite thing to do with women is to brainstorm what are those things? What are the things that seems stupid, easy to you, that you could turn into a career. Teachers have so many transferable skills, but they don't think they do. They think it's just like, with these 30 tiny humans, or teenagers, and we, we know a lot of stuff, and a lot of skills that make us really good at other jobs as well. So, get some quiet time and figure out what is it that really lights me up? What were my hobbies when I was younger? You know, do some journaling, try to pull that stuff out, and start maybe stepping towards those things while you're still in your teaching job. So that you can get a sense of... is this the direction that I want to go?

Kristi Oliva 

So, you said to think about the question like, what are some hobbies that I have? What other questions can we ask ourselves if we are looking to career change? Like what would you point people to think about to help them get to that spot? Like I know, teachers, again, they just think that nothing's transferable because we're kind of just told that by society, that just stick to teaching. Pat, you on the head, right?

 

Andrea Hanson 

Yeah.

 

Kristi Oliva 

But obviously, there's a lot there. So how would you direct them to find that thing that they can pull out of teaching and shift into something else?

 

 

I would start with a joy list and force yourself to write down at least 40 things that bring you joy. And it may seem a little hard in the beginning, especially if you're in a burnout phase of life, but force yourself to get at least 40 on the paper. Also make a list separate of what are the things that I absolutely love about being a classroom teacher, like down to the nitty gritty. Do you absolutely love the crafting of your bulletin boards? Or do you love writing exams? Do you, I mean, we do so many things throughout the day, as teachers. All of those things are a benefit and an asset to somebody else who doesn't like doing those things. So you may have heard me say, cutting out things for your bulletin boards, and you'd be like, Oh, my gosh, I hate doing that part. There are teachers who love doing it and would create them for you and mail them to you. And so you can just put them up. You know, like, that's a business idea, as simple as that. So you can get... there are no limits to what you could create a business around and I love brainstorming that kind of stuff. But starting with a joy list, because I can't tell anyone what that thing is. That has to come from the other person I'm talking to, like, I don't say you would be good at this. It's more about drawing it out of that other person.

 

Kristi Oliva 

I love that because I think that's what helped me is once I was like, okay, well I've kind of moved out of... or when I left teaching, I had moved out of the phase where I love being in front of the class. And I just like doing the behind the scenes. And I remember thinking to myself, I wonder if I could just do that part and give all that stuff to teachers. And I mean, the answer is kind of yes. That's what I was doing as an instructional designer was I was building, you know, instructional designs, and then somebody else was implementing them and it was really nice. And now I've moved into program management where I'm just really good at efficiencies. So it was all the stuff I loved about teaching, but I had no clue how to get there. I think I just lucked out a little bit honestly. And so I love that you said that. Like, even if it sounds silly, if you love the bulletin boards, let's stick with that. And let's brainstorm around that of how we can make that work for you. Because you're so right. I think teachers will immediately be like, but nobody cares about that. Yes, they do. They do.

 

Andrea Hanson 

They absolutely do! And I think it's... I think you should pick the thing that just sounds like the dumbest, easiest thing to your brain where you're like, no one would pay me for this. This is just fun to me. That is your superpower. Lean into that, because then you could... you could spend your whole day doing that one thing that you absolutely love, and people are going to pay you for those things.

 

Kristi Oliva 

Yeah. I love that. It's so true.

 

Andrea Hanson 

So doable.

 

Kristi Oliva 

So, let's shift a little bit to some of the struggles that teachers encounter when they're trying to leave the classroom. Namely, the guilt and the naysayers that come with that. Most likely people you're working with, sometimes it's your own work bestie. You know, it's like, no, you can't leave me, like and you feel that guilt. So how do you... How did you wrap your head around that and overcome that, and how do you help other teachers do that, too?

 

 

So first of all, know that those people are 99% of the time coming from a good place in their heart. Like they're doing the best that they can with the information that they've just been given that you're leaving the classroom, and they have a lot of feelings, and it has really nothing to do with you. They're going through their own crud with this new information. So know that they're doing their best, and you do not have to absorb it, which is a lot easier to say, than to actually live it. But they are most of the time projecting their own fears onto you. So, they don't believe that they themselves could leave the classroom and do something else. So, they're going to project that fear onto you. So do your best to remember that truth. And I would also just say, if they're not like your best, best bestie, and they're kind of an acquaintance, and they're just kind of spewing some negativity your way about how that they don't think this is going to work out. You can use their doubts, to fuel your success and prove them wrong. So some of them are good fuel and others, you do have to have kind of a boundary set up in your heart and be like, I know they care about me. But I need to follow this knowing that this isn't the right place for me anymore, and I need to transition into something else and you just kind of need to trust. That's part of that leap of faith is knowing that a lot of people, most of the time family, is going to be like, Well, what about and what about? And what about? And you won't have an answer for all of it. And you just kind of need to say Yeah, and I'm gonna figure that out along the way.

 

Kristi Oliva 

Yeah.

 

Andrea Hanson 

It's hard. It's... I don't... I wish I had like a cookie cutter answer to like, make all that go away. But that's an inevitable part of transitioning away from the sainthood of education, because everyone thinks of us as these like, holier-than-thou people. Which kind of feels good. If I'm being honest, when I'm in… You know, when I was in teaching and be like, oh, I don't have to explain what I do. I say I'm a teacher, and they're like, oh, I could never do that. You're such a good person. But you kind of have to, like allow that ego to melt away too.

 

Kristi Oliva 

Yeah, well, I compare it to an abusive relationship. I truly believe the education system is abusive towards teachers. And I'm not talking about your specific principal, or whoever, you know, people who are listening, but... because I had great principals, but that doesn't mean that the system was not abusive to me. Right? When you have to prove that you were sick. Like I've never had to do that since leaving teaching and it was one of those things where I thought it was normal. I thought everybody had to prove they were sick for a sick day.

 

Andrea Hanson 

Yeah.

 

Kristi Oliva 

And no, it's not normal. And I think that that is a key to being an abusive relationship. As we thought this abusive behavior, we had been so normalized to it.

 

Kristi Oliva 

So it can be really tough to break out. And I think that can be some people's biggest, biggest hurdle is just being able to get out because it just keeps sucking them back in. Or, you know, they're afraid to lose their certificate. They're afraid, you know, they try to just leave in the summer. It reminds me of like, leaving when their abusive husband is at work, you know what I mean? They just have this small window, but it's not long enough, right? It's not enough time to grab all your things and get out. And so teachers need to be okay with like, leaving in plain sight a day of you know, winter break to, like, you're allowed to leave whenever

 

Andrea Hanson 

Yep.

 

 

Yeah. I will say though, with the amount of teachers that are leaving the classroom right now, if you're afraid that you are going to not be able to get your job back, you're insane. You could go to a neighboring district, and they're looking for teachers. So if your reason for not leaving is because you think, well, I'm gonna lose all this seniority. You can negotiate that. Everything's negotiable right now. Do not allow that to keep you stuck where you are. Give this a try, like a genuine, honest try because you might learn quite a few things about yourself.

 

Kristi Oliva 

Thank you for saying that. I think that's... I just think that needs to be said more often. Like you can go back, like, even if they take your certificate, they are so desperate these days, I'm sorry, you'll be able to find something. You'll be okay,

 

Andrea Hanson 

100%.

 

Kristi Oliva 

But you'll find something that's the thing and you will not go back, you won't. So let's move on to more of like the logistics of what life looks like for you now. So I know that as an entrepreneur, I know that you don't have like a day to day that looks the same. But walk us through your days, what part of teaching was the part that you love so much that now you're using every day, I want to hear more about that.

 

Andrea Hanson 

My favorite part of teaching teenagers was actually study hall because I got to hang out with them and talk about what do you want to be when you leave this school? What does that look like? Let's figure out a game plan. So, I was literally coaching them without knowing I was coaching them, which is what I do now with my most recent business. And I also with my boutique, I just get to have those genuine conversations with women who come in. And maybe they have some self-image issues where they're like, well, I can't wear that because my mom always told me, whatever. And we get to kind of break those down and help them see themselves in a different way. So as an introvert, I don't like the small talk side of owning a store. But I can usually bypass that pretty quickly with people and start asking them deeper questions and just getting to know them. So, the connection piece is what I loved about teaching and I still get to do that through everything that I do.

 

Kristi Oliva 

That's awesome. And I love how you simplified it just like that. Like it's something simple that yeah, we can all relate to if you love the connection piece, and you've just transferred that right over. Okay, so if you had to pick three skills that a teacher already has, that they can transfer to entrepreneurship, right now, what are those three skills?

 

Andrea Hanson 

I would say number one, is organization, because I found it pretty rare in the people and colleagues that I had in education that I didn't know any of them that didn't have some ounce of organization, or you will lose your ever-loving mind. Because there's just so many moving parts and classes coming in and out. And so, I would say we are really good at being organized. Leadership, because it's literally your job, you're leading a room of kids every single day. So, I do think that leadership roles are very, very good for us to transition into. And creativity, because we're constantly thinking on our feet, and a behavior comes up and we have to get creative on how we're going to deal with that. So, I would say those three things are just kind of the overarching general skills that we teachers are really, really good at. But every other skill, I feel like is going to be very specific to you, similar to what we were talking about at the beginning, like do you like the fun, artsy crafty pieces of it? Do you... It also probably depends on what age level you taught but being a math teacher, I love numbers and data and I use that in, you know, tracking all of my accounting and QuickBooks and things. And I love that piece of it. So we each kind of have our own personalized skill set as well.

 

Kristi Oliva 

That's so true. Yes. Like not every teacher is going to be happy transitioning into the same role. Going back to what we were talking about, like you said at the beginning. And I think that shows just how diverse the teacher has to be to be in the classroom. That we could each take a set of skills that is completely different from each other and be super successful outside of the classroom like how... I bet you can't take another role like that and do something like that with it. No way. Teachers are so amazing. This has been so fun, Andrea. What's the best way for people to find you connect with you, get with you, receive your coaching, all the things?

 

 

I would say Instagram is probably the easiest place to find me. That's where I hang out the most and that's Andrea.Hanson.82. 82 was when I was born, so just pigeonholed myself into a genre there. But I have links to everything on there and I'm on stories every day and sharing my heart. So that's where you can find me.

 

Kristi Oliva 

Great. Well, thank you for being here. Andrea, it's been really nice to talk to you.

 

Andrea Hanson 

So fun. Thank you for having me.

 

Kristi Oliva 

Do you want to connect with Andrea and find out more about how to follow that nudge to leave the classroom? Check out the show notes for a link to set up a free coaching call with Andrea. It's time to take control and make the career change that will change your life. It changed mine. See you next time.

 

Kristi Oliva 

That's all for this episode, but you can find more at idolcourses.com or subscribe to the podcast. And if you are ready to leave the classroom, use my code classroom100 and get $100 off enrollment to IDOL courses Academy.

 

Send your stories or questions to [email protected] or share them with me on Instagram @leavingtheclassroom.

Join Andrea for Sunday Sessions: https://andrearaehanson.myflodesk.com/sundaysession.

 

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