Want To Make Money From Your Expertise? Start Here.
Six questions to ask yourself.
This post won’t tell you how to get rich quick.
But it will help you figure out how to monetize your expertise in an authentic way that generates real value for you and your customers or clients.
I’ve monetized my own expertise in audience growth and the expertise of numerous clients over the years and believe it’s crucial to be strategic in how you approach doing so.
The more clear you are about your expertise, its value, and who it benefits, the easier it becomes to monetize it.
To get that clarity, ask yourself the following questions.
1. What single topic of expertise do you want to focus on?
I’m sure you know a lot of things. Good for you.
But the more focused you are with the expertise you choose to monetize, the better you’ll be able do so.
To figure this out, explain the wisdom you plan to share by completing this sentence:
“I use my expertise to help people ______.”
Boiling down your expertise to this one sentence will focus your efforts and clearly define the value you provide.
Try to avoid generic terms and instead be specific in the result you provide for people.
For example, my sentence isn’t, “I use my expertise to help people do social media and marketing” because those are broad terms and don’t speak to a concrete result.
Instead, my sentence is, “I use my expertise to help people grow and activate audiences.”
2. What separates you from other experts in your field?
Since anybody can monetize their expertise, it’s important to position yourself in the market and show people why they should choose you as opposed to other experts.
To figure this out, come up with 3–5 unique things that separate you — these are your competitive advantages (and everybody has one).
Don’t settle for statements like, “I’m better.” Even if it’s true, better is not a brand — it’s a judgment call.
Choose traits few others have as opposed to opinions anybody can claim.
In my case, what separates me from most social media consultants is my experience (I’ve been doing this for 20+ years, have run digital media for The Oscars, major movies, and a variety of independent creators), my unconventional beliefs (most people overpay for social management and underpay for strategy), and my experience building audiences for my own projects such as my For The Interested newsletter.
These points of differentiation won’t make you the right choice for EVERYBODY, but they will make you the perfect choice for SOMEBODY.
And that’s how you attract business.
3. Who needs your expertise?
This is a trick question.
You’ll be tempted to answer it with a description of the people who will benefit from your knowledge, but the real question is who is actively seeking it?
Lots of people have problems they don’t realize are problems. But it’s easier to sell to somebody who seeks a solution than somebody who doesn’t know they need one.
For example, a relationship counselor can help anybody in a relationship — but their ideal target audience is people who know they need help and are actively seeking counseling.
Your answer to this question will determine your target audience so give it some serious thought.
4. How will your expertise change a person’s life?
People buy things that provide value and the way to provide value is to enable transformation.
You need to figure out how your expertise helps people move from point A to point B in their lives or careers (and they have to want to get to point B).
To clarify it for yourself — and your customers — fill in the blanks on this sentence:
“People who pay for my expertise go from ______ to ______.”
Here’s how I complete that sentence in my own consulting business:
“People who pay for my expertise go from wasting time, effort, and money on social media without getting any tangible results to using it in efficient ways that accomplish their offline goals.”
5. What’s the best way to deliver your expertise?
Once you define your expertise, who it’s for, and how it helps them, you must figure out how best to deliver it.
The answer to this question informs how you package your expertise and the format of your product.
Will your knowledge be delivered through private coaching? Consulting calls? E-books? Video courses? Subscriptions? Memberships?
Any of these can work, but it’s a question of which will be the most effective way to deliver the information, which way your target audience will most want to consume it, and how you’re most comfortable or skilled at delivering it.
6. What are your monetary goals?
Why are you looking to monetize your expertise in the first place?
Is it a secondary revenue stream? Is it to enable a new lifestyle?
How much do you need to make from whatever you come up with to justify the time and effort you put into it? And how quickly do you need to get to that level?
Don’t be fooled: While it’s easier than ever to monetize your expertise, it won’t happen overnight and without significant time and effort.
When I left my full time job to become a consultant my initial goal was to earn at least half the salary I previously made in the first year and grow from there.
(I’m happy to report I hit that goal and then some.)
There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, but it’s important to consider because your monetary goals will influence your approach, the product you develop, and audience you cater it to.
I know what you’re thinking at this point…
Now that you’ve read this post, I bet you’re thinking one of two things.
Either you’re discouraged because this sounds like a lot of work and you were led to believe “passive income,” “information products,” and being an “influencer” are paths to easy money.
I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but they’re not.
(Side note: Please beware of internet buzzwords in the future.)
Your other potential reaction to this post is you find it inspiring, are excited to answer these questions for yourself, eager develop an approach that provides valuable expertise to people who need it and profit yourself in the process.
If that’s you, I wish you luck and can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Thanks for reading.
PS — Here are a couple other recent posts I wrote that you might find helpful.