Starting a Business: Monetize What You Know

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Are you sick of slogging away at a career that you just don't like… let alone love?

The American Dream is to achieve success and prosperity through hard work and determination. But what if there was a way to do this while actually enjoying your work?

The answer lies in entrepreneurship. Specifically, the key is finding out how to take what you know and enjoy and turn it into a business.

Now, I'm not going to lie and say that turning your hobby into a successful business is easy. It still involves plenty of blood, sweat and tears. But with a solid business plan, you can make at least a profitable side hustle from your passion. After all, part of what makes a successful business is knowledge. And what do you know better than your favorite hobby?

Identify Your Skills

The first step is to think about what you know and determine if it could be useful to someone else. Chances are, it could be.

The trick is figuring out how to monetize your hobby by finding a market for your skills. Sometimes, this might be easy. If you spend every evening building things from wood, for example, it would be a no-brainer to start selling useful or decorative items that you have made.

However, if your hobby is a little more obscure — let's say, underwater basket weaving — you might need to think a bit. Perhaps all the time spent in the pool could lead you to becoming a swimming and diving instructor.

Think of the challenges to your hobby and how to solve them. Innovation can often be monetized.

Share Your Knowledge With the World

By now, we all know that the saying “Those who can't, teach” is total baloney. And if you're passionate about a subject, your enthusiasm will be infectious. So you might want to consider teaching.

Community colleges can be a great resource here. They are often looking for new instructors for life enrichment or adult education programs. The college in my neighborhood offers everything from stained glass making to boating, to local history. These classes aren't taught so that students can receive credit. Instead, they're offered to the community as a whole on the evenings and weekends just for fun. If you are passionate about a craft or subject, consider contacting the community college and offering to teach it. These “jobs” tend to pay pretty well per student enrolled.

Another option is to monetize what you know online. If you know a great deal about a subject, you can share what you know through a blog. It takes time to build up a website, and earn money from it, but there are ways to make money through advertising and affiliate programs. Those who truly understand their subject matter can build a following — and an online business — around what they know.

You can turn your hobby or your specialized knowledge into a blog that could eventually bring in supplemental income, or even replace your primary income some day.

Spreading the Word

In any case, monetizing what you know requires that you spread the word about your abilities. Whether you are trying to drive traffic to your website, or looking for clients for your consulting business, it's important to market yourself in some way. Some of your options include:

  • Social Media: Use the power of social media to help you reach more people. Focus on niche sites, submitting to social sites frequented by your audience or potential clients.
  • Show Your Expertise: It's important to “prove” you are an expert in your field. This can be done through your blog, allowing you to establish your authority, and it can also be helped when you create guest posts for other blogs.
  • Networking: Let people in your social network, online and offline, that you are looking for clients, or that you have a new blog. You don't have to push the information on others, but you can let them know. Also, attend local networking events and meet others who operate in a similar field.

Avoid the Burnout

Any type of business is going to require hard work. And that can lead to the danger of burnout.

Burnout occurs when you become too frustrated and fed-up with what you're trying to accomplish. And when it happens with one of your hobbies, it can be a disaster. After all, hobbies are supposed to be fun, right? If they stop being enjoyable, you're going to stop being passionate about them. And then they're not going to be quite as marketable.

Here's a way to tell if you're headed for burnout. At the beginning, spend at least 15 minutes every single day on your hobby. Does it become a chore? Or do you wish you could spend 30 minutes a day at it? If you still love it, chances are you're not going to burn out anytime soon.

Another key is to be open to constructive criticism. When we love something, we often don't want to hear the negatives. But when trying to monetize a hobby, this can make all the difference. Pay attention to what your friends and family and — eventually — customers tell you and always be open to improvement.

Whether you're looking for a new full-time career or just a simple side hustle, doing what you love can reap rewards. Remember to be patient and persistent. But the odds are, if you love what you do, others will too.

Here at Investor Junkie, we've got plenty of inspiration for you. Check out our favorite books to help you get kick-started as an entrepreneur. And when you're ready to start making money, we've reviewed a number of small business solution apps and software that can help you every step of the way.

>>Further Reading: Best Business Checking Accounts

Miranda Marquit

Miranda is a journalistically trained freelance writer and professional blogger specializing in personal finance. Her work has appeared and been mentioned, in various media, online and off. You can follow Miranda on: Twitter

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8 Comments

  1. A blog is such a great platform to market your business. I’m imagining all the possibilities once I’m retired and living on an island!

    The older we get, the more we know, and therefore, the more secure we become!

    Sam

  2. The most miserable times of employment is when I have worked for people chasing dollars. They didn’t care about the product they were pushing or even understand it. They just wanted money. Conversely, working for companies where people are passionate about the product… they don’t even try, and they make money.

    To your point, don’t blog about something because you think it’s going to make you money; blog about it because you love it. If you are passionate about vacuum cleaners, blog about that. The internet is big enough for any niche!

  3. So true, stick with what works. I tried to force a few things that I was not good at and just put a lot of money into it, in the end they failed because I was not the right person to be doing it.

  4. I love reading these types of posts. Everyone has something to share, and the profit & loss test is a good way of seeing if what your sharing is valuable to others. Chances are, it just may very well be!

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