But I haven’t discussed how to actually deliver that value. What do you do in the day-to-day to monetize yourself? How do you get started?
Steve Pavlina distinguishes between the medium with which you present your message, and the message itself. The crux of the article is that the message is the most important thing, because it’s what people care about. So if you’re new to this blog, and thinking about monetizing yourself, I strongly recommend going back and thinking about your talents and skills, what value you can provide, and what you wan to accomplish.
But if you’ve been with me for a while (thank you!) you’re thinking, “Enough with this theory already! Tell me what to do!”
Part of the reason I’ve been avoiding this is because it’s such a huge project. There’s so much to talk about: not just the individual media you can use, but for each medium there’s how to use it, what to do with it, what your options are, and so on. Not to mention keeping up with changes in each area.
So this is, by necessity, a really broad, high-level picture. I’ll try to at least keep it coherent, but I certainly can’t cover everything. Help me out by leaving a comment or sending me an email, telling me what questions you still have.
Ways You Can Monetize Yourself
There are a bunch of different routes for monetizing the value you provide, at a bunch of different levels. I’ve broken it up into three broad categories, to avoid overload and really long blog posts. So today I’m going to discuss monetizing yourself and your expertise with your time.
Sell your time and expertise
If there’s something you can do that others can’t, you can charge people to do it for them. You can do this on evenings and weekends, in your free time, to get a little extra spending money.
Start your own business
This is kind of an ambiguous term, and the line between this and freelancing is pretty blurry. Generally people call it “freelancing” if you do it in your spare time, and “running a business” if it’s your primary income source.
There’s also an important distinction between “owning a business” and “owning a job”. Details are here, but Michael Gerber defines it this way:
- Go out to the lobby and call your secretary. Tell them you’re not coming back for a year. If they panic, you own a job. If they’re cool with it, you own a business.
(If they celebrate, you need to rethink how you treat your staff.)
Owning a business is more fun and more lucrative (I think). But owning a job is faster to set up and easier to get started on, so if you’re new to the monetizing yourself thing, I recommend starting there.
There’s also a terminology ambiguity about what’s involved in “starting a business”. Usually this term means that you’re starting what’s called a “small business”, which is actually owning your own job. But as I said in Annual Planning, I recommend you treat it as a business regardless of your monetization selection. Freelancing? I recommend you set up a business and handle the money separately. Selling a book? I recommend you think of it as a business with one product. You don’t necessarily have to legally set it up as a business, but the attitudes of a business person (What’s my ROI? Who’s the target market? How is my product perceived?) will help you monetize yourself more effectively.
On Monday I’ll discuss monetizing yourself by selling your expertise, writing a book or selling information products.