monetizing

Start a Small Business by Monetizing Something You're Already Doing

Do you love to garden or knit or advise friends about growing their business? You can potentially make money off any of these.
Start a Small Business by Monetizing Something You're Already Doing
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Guest Writer
CEO of Integrity Marketing & Consulting
5 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There are many paths to entrepreneurship. For some, it’s the “aha" moment when they have the brilliant idea that disrupts an industry. Others find success by improving an existing product or service. And then there are those who realize that something they are already doing is valued by others.

Want to get better at market research and figuring out what your special sauce should be? Learn more in our online Intelligence course.  

This transformation from hobby to business creates entrepreneurial avenues for people who might not otherwise have chosen this path. There are several types of activities that can be successfully monetized.

Blogging

Not every blog can be monetized, but those that deliver value to a global audience have the potential to generate significant income. Before you explore ways to monetize your own blog, you should know that this process will take time and money, with no guarantee of success. The experts at Blog Tyrant predicted that 99 percent of blogs would fail in 2018 and that over half of those failures would be due to a loss of interest by the blogger.

Related: How to Turn Your Hobby into a Profitable Business Venture

Despite that dismal statistic, many bloggers who started small are now earning hundreds of thousands of dollars each month. One of the best-known examples is the Huffington Post, started by Arianna Huffington, which today generates over $29,896 per day.  Smaller blogs that have gone big include Lifehacker and Gizmodo, and each generates over $7,000 per day. There is no guarantee that you can monetize your blog to this level, of course; but if you deliver consistent, quality content, you may generate enough cash to help pay the bills. 

Websites

Some people love minutiae and enjoy spending a lot of time and effort researching the best products or finding the best online deals.

Others have a developed an expertise based on the activities they pursue in their personal lives, such making healthy baby food or caring for an aging parent. Websites that deliver this type of information save other people time and hassle and often establish a strong following. Look at the activities you yourself do or any unusual expertise you’ve developed that other people would find valuable, helpful or time-saving. 

Related: Is It a Hobby or a Business? 5 Things You Need to Know to Monetize Your Hobby.

Once you've determined a theme, you can monetize your special skill through a website by accepting advertisements, commissions, sponsored posts and more. These types of websites rely on accurate, quality content as well as continually updated information, and that requires significant effort. However, if you are sharing information that you enjoy creating, you may actually find it easy to stay on track.

Teaching

Some people teach for a living, others for fun, and there are those who begin to lecture on a favorite topic any time they have an audience. If you fall into any of those categories, you can monetize your expertise through teaching.

This process is such an effective way to earn money that it has its own term, teacherpreneur. If you are currently teaching in a traditional classroom setting anywhere along the educational continuum, you can develop courses for home-schooling programs; virtual K-12 classes offered by a growing number of school systems; and online classes for colleges and universities.

The benefit of this type of teaching is that the information is often “evergreen,” meaning that it doesn’t change over time. Once the course is developed, it will generate money for years. And even if teaching isn’t your career, there are still many teacherpreneur opportunities.

Udemy offers courses across a wide range of software, business and fitness topics and is always looking for new classes. Craftsy specializes in all things creative, including sewing, knitting, baking and more, and accepts quality classes from new instructors.

Products

Are you an avid knitter who has already gifted socks and scarves to everyone you know, or do you weld horseshoes into sculptures of your own design?

Whether you enjoy working with paint, leather, metal, stones or wood, if you're craftsy, you can monetize your efforts in several ways. An excellent way to test the marketability of your products is to get a booth at a local arts and craft show. You can also sell on Etsy, Amazon Handmade, eBay and other sites.

Each site has its own pros and cons, around fee structure, ease of use and shipping suppor. And not all are a great choice for every type of handmade product; so do your research. For example, thredup is a great site to sell used clothes on, but deviant art is where to go to sell your prints and designs. This option also has a significant customer satisfaction component since you need to address the expectations of your purchasers.

Consulting

Another excellent way to turn your expertise into a business is through consulting. While business consulting is popular, you can consult on a wide range of topics, from gardening to stress management. Consider your skill and honestly evaluate whether it has enough depth and perspective that others would purchase it.

You will need to target your market and profile those people or businesses that are more likely to utilize your services. Develop a marketing campaign and build a network to build your business. Consulting can be time-intensive at the starting stage but can generate significant income. You can also build up your clientele over time or set limits to create work/life balance.

Related: 7 Steps to Make Your Side Hustle Your Main Gig

Bottom line

You don’t have to search for the next great idea to launch a successful business. Instead, look to your interests, passions or activities that others will value, and find the best avenue to monetize them.

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