Kristen Fonte’s path to the side gig life began as many do. She was a broke college student trying to make ends meet between classes and other side jobs, like waitressing. After all, the thought of graduating with piles of student debt terrified her.
By her sophomore year of college, she was introduced to and hooked on Zumba, a Latin-infused dance workout trend. When she saw how much fun her instructors had leading classes, she thought: What better way to put a love of working out to good use than getting paid to sweat?
Six years, two academic degrees and two Zumba licenses later, Fonte teaches classes at local gyms and community centers around Long Island, New York, on top of her full-time hospital job helping patients recover from physical illness and injury.
Here’s what keeps her moving.
The Side Gig: Zumba instructor
My Day Job: I have a bachelor’s degree in human services and a master’s degree in occupational therapy. I currently work as an occupational therapist at a hospital in the inpatient rehab department, so I help adults recover from various conditions such as stroke, orthopedic fractures and other illnesses. My mission is to help them get stronger so they can return home with as much, or close to as much, independence as they had prior to their illness or injury.
How I Got Into Teaching: I was always into running and going to the gym in high school. To change up my routine, I started taking Zumba classes the summer after my freshman year of college. I became officially hooked on the trend by sophomore year, taking two to three classes a week, and thought it would be a cool experience to teach after seeing how much my instructors enjoyed it.
The following summer, I made it a personal project of mine to become a licensed Zumba instructor.
It’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Teaching was my main source of income while I was in school. And even though I have another full-time job as an occupational therapist now, I still love teaching in my spare time and could never imagine giving it up.
Article originally published on learnvest.com