Do you need to find an extra source of income? When it comes to side hustles, there are plenty of ways to make money from your existing knowledge. So whether you’re a project manager, a digital marketing guru or a creative copywriter, read on as we explore three income boosting ways to share your specialist subject.
1.Create online courses
The first step in the process of creating an online course is to identify the knowledge you want to focus on . This could either be work related knowledge or knowledge related to a hobby/skill you’ve mastered.. Whatever topic you choose, you’ll need to know that there are plenty of potential customers so we suggest taking a good look a look at the courses that are already out there.
Once you’ve done your research, try to come up with a unique approach that will make your course stand out from the crowd. Alternatively you could focus on a very specific niche within your area of expertise. We recommend testing the water a little by joining a few Facebook and LinkedIn groups related to your area of knowledge. You can then ask people in what they need help with and what they’re keen to learn.
The next step is to come up with a set of learning objectives and a list of subjects that your course will cover. Think about how you could break the content down into manageable modules and include a variety of formats such as videos, checklists, workbooks and quizzes.
Ready to start creating your course? Then you’ll need to decide whether to:
- Use an online course marketplace
- Use course creation software
- Sell the course yourself via a download linked to your website
Online course marketplaces
Online course marketplaces allow you to upload your course to an existing collection of courses. The host then promotes and sells the course on your behalf. While these marketplaces are free to join, there is a downside, as you won’t own any of your student data and the host will take a share of your course sales.
Popular course marketplaces include:
This video based marketplace will promote your course to 30 million students and collect payments on your behalf. However, Udemy tends to price courses cheaply and takes between 50% and 75% of the money you make.
Skillshare’s 7 million users pay a subscription to access at least 28,000 courses, many of which teach creative skills. If you want to make money, your course will need to be part of Skillshare’s premium catalogue. Even then you’ll only receive $10 per premium membership referral plus royalties which depend on how many minutes of your video a student watches.
Course creation software
This option offers much more in the way of customisation, as well as providing marketing tools which allow you to track your students’ progress. Access to most course creation software involves paying a monthly fixed fee, although some do also charge a fee per transaction.
Popular course creation software includes:
Teachable’s drag and drop method makes it easy to customise the appearance of course pages. If you’re tech savvy and keen to create a highly original look you’ll be glad to know that you can even edit your website’s code. The software also offers marketing tools such as advanced pricing options, coupons, affiliate programs and the ability to integrate email marketing.
Thinkific offers a variety of templates covering everything from mini courses and digital downloads to membership bundles. The software also reminds you to ensure that your course features plenty of interactive content and multimedia elements. If you want to customise your course’s appearance you can, as you’ll gain full access to HTML and CSS.
While Kajaba costs more than Thinkific there aren’t any transaction fees to pay. There are plenty of opportunities to customise your course and you can add various kinds of multimedia content. Thinkific also features automated marketing software and its own email provider.
Selling a course via your website
If you’re not planning to use a course marketplace you’ll need to work extra hard to promote your course This is where the Facebook groups you’ve already joined come handy, as you’ll be able to build a reputation for providing valuable content by sharing relevant blog posts or videos. You can Include links to your paid course at the end of each post.
Another way to whet people’s appetite is to set up your own Facebook group. Share high value tips with your members and once you’ve proven your expertise you’ll be able to let them know about your course.
Email marketing is also excellent for generating curiosity about your course. If you offer potential students a free mini course or blog post in return for their email address, you’ll be able to send them details of your main course via a newsletter or promotional email.
2.Write an Ebook
Digital book sales are now worth £543 million in the UK alone, so if you have a way with words, how about using your knowledge to write your own Ebook? When it comes to publishing Ebooks there are two main options. You could either sell them via your own website or use a third party site like Amazon or Smashwords.
To sell your book directly via your website is fairly straightforward, as it simply involves creating a PDF version of the text. Once a customer has paid for the book via a basic shopping cart or a link to PayPal, they’ll receive a download link and you keep all of the profits.
The advantage to selling your book via a third party site is that you’ll automatically gain access to a global audience of millions. You will be charged a commission on your sales, but this varies depending on the publishing platform.
Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing
This option allows you to create an Ebook and an on demand print version. Depending on the price you decide to charge you’ll receive up to 70% of the royalties. Your book will then appear in the Kindle store and on Amazon.
If you opt for Kobo’s service you’ll receive 70% of your Ebook’s suggested retail price. The minimum price you can charge for a a book is £1.99 but you can optimise your pricing for different regions.
Smashwords will distribute your Ebook to major booksellers including Barnes and Noble, WH Smith and Sony. However, If a customer buys your book from one of these retailers you’ll only receive 68% of your book’s list price. Books bought from the Smashwords store will earn you 80% of the list price.
Apples’s iBook Author
Available from the App Store, iBook Author includes templates to create books for iPhones, iPads and Macs. You then sell your Ebooks or offer them for free on the iBooks store.
Of course it’s perfectly possible to sell your books via your own website and a third party site. Why not publish one or two Ebooks on Amazon but include a bnous offer which can only be claimed by visiting your website? Readers will then be able to see the other books that are available.
What do I write about?
Written any blog posts related to your specialist subject? If you sort them into an order that makes sense you may well have the beginnings of an Ebook. If you don’t have enough material and you need to write your book from scratch, we recommend creating an outline based on the questions you’re commonly asked or advice you’re constantly giving.
The next step is to schedule in some regular writing time so that you stay motivated. You book needn’t be long, in fact it’s short Ebooks that are currently selling the most copies on amazon. The emphasis should be on quality rather than quantity.
Polishing your book to perfection
Once you’ve written your Ebook it’s worth getting a proof reader to take a look at it. The Society for Editors and Proofreaders is the best place to find professionals, but you could also look on freelancing websites such as People Per Hour . However, if you take this route always check for professional qualifications and read the reviews carefully!
Assuming that your Ebook is error free, the final task is to think about a cover design. If you’re using Amazon you’ll have access to their cover creator, but some authors prefer to pay a graphic designer to produce a more original cover.
Whether you publish via a third party site or not, marketing your self-published Ebook is essential if you’re going to make money. A simple way to start building a following is to set up social media accounts and begin interacting with other authors on Twitter. You can then retweet each other’s announcements, and run competitions to win free copies of your book. It’s also worth giving away free sample chapters in return for your followers’ email addresses.
3.Create a membership site
Setting up a membership site involves offering a group of paying subscribers exclusive access to premium content which could consist of :
- video tutorials
- industry insights,
- cheat sheets
- Mini courses
- How to guides
- Member only discounts
To decide what the focus of your website will be, its a good idea to join some Facebook and LinkedIn groups that are related your your specialist knowledge. This will enable you to check out what kind of questions people are asking and what types of content they like the most. Don’ be afraid to test the market a little by sharing some of your own content with the groups you’re in.
Most membership websites charge a monthly fee and deliver fresh content on an ongoing basis. To keep your members happy This needs to be more in depth and valuable than any free content you offer to non subscribers. How much you charge depends partly on how hands on you want to be. For example, people are generally willing to invest more in a membership that includes a regular coaching calls.
What kind of website should I use?
There are two main options here:
1.Build a WordPress site with a membership plugin.
WordPress plugins like MemberPress, Paid MembershipsPro and LearnDash will transform your WordPress site into into a membership website. As well as giving you control over the way your website works and looks, these plugins will handle payment and user registrations for you. However you will have to build your own site or ask a web developer to do it for you.
2.Invest in software
If you’re not a fan of WordPress, you could opt to use software that’s specifically designed for membership sites. Software such as Wild Apricot, ClubExpress and White Fuse will help you to build your website and manage all of your member interactions. The only down side is that your payments will increase as your membership grows.
When it comes to creating our membership website You overall aim should be to create a site that is welcoming and easy to use, so why not consider creating an introductory video so that your new subscribers can get to know you a little? You could also add a get started page.
Creating a community
Running a membership site isn’t just about the resources on offer. It’s also about building a community. This is why many membership site owners set up a private forum where subscribers can interact and ask you questions. This could be a Facebook group or a WordpPress add-on like BuddyPress that adds a community feature to your site. Alternatively, you could use advanced forum software like XenForo, if you have the technical skills to link the software to your site
How to launch successfully
Before you launch your site it’s important to create a sense of anticipation and excitement. Tried and tested ways of doing this include:
Making regular announcements on social media
Offering sneak peeks of the content available
Posting videos and podcasts about what’s included
Offering special early bird offers
Offering free trials
Running competitions to win free membership
Publishing blog posts and articles
When it comes to the day before you launch, we recommend running through the entire registration and payment process and checking that every single page and feature is in good working order.
If your membership site takes off it’s likely to provide you with a steady source of income. To keep your community happy and boost their loyalty, we suggest inviting your members to share their wins on a regular basis. You can also encourage discussions by adding posts and questions to your forum or Facebook group.
Whether you decide to create a course, write an Ebook or start your own membership website, I hope my guide has inspired you to make the most of your specialist knowledge. Good luck!