To monetize your expertise you must get clear on what you know, its value, and who can benefit from it.
The following six questions will help you figure that out so you can create value for your customers, clients, and yourself.
They’re based on what I’ve learned in the process of helping thousands of creative entrepreneurs grow their audience and business…while building a six-figure media and consulting business of my own.
1. What single topic of expertise is your focus?
I’m sure you know a lot of things. Good for you.
But the more focused the expertise you choose to monetize, the easier it will be to do so.
To figure this out, try completing this sentence:
“I use my expertise to help people ______.”
Boiling down your expertise to one sentence helps focus your efforts and define the value you offer.
Avoid generic terms and focus on a specific result you provide for people.
For example, my sentence isn’t, “I use my expertise to help people do social media and marketing” because that doesn’t speak to a concrete result.
Instead, my sentence is, “I use my expertise to help creative entrepreneurs grow their audience and business.”
(Btw, if you want help growing yours check out my free For The Interested newsletter.)
2. What separates you from other experts in your field?
Anyone can monetize their expertise, so it’s crucial to position yourself in the market and make it clear why people 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 anyone can claim.
In my case, what separates me from other audience and business growth experts is my experience:
I’ve created content an grown audiences for 20+ years, have run digital media for The Oscars, major movies, and a variety of independent creators, in addition to growing my own audience and business.
Your points of differentiation won’t make you the right choice for everyone, but they will make you the perfect choice for someone.
And that’s how you attract business.
3. Who needs your expertise?
This is a trick question.
You’ll be tempted to answer with a description of 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 someone who seeks a solution than someone who doesn’t know they need one.
For example, a relationship counselor can help anyone 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 that 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 business:
“Creative entrepreneurs who pay for my expertise go from wasting time, effort, and money on content and marketing without getting any tangible results to using it in efficient ways that grow their audience and business.”
(Btw, if you want some one-on-one help figuring that out, here’s how I can help.)
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 need to figure out how best to deliver it.
The answer to this question informs how you package your expertise and format your product or service.
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 your target audience will most want to consume, and how you’re most comfortable or skilled at delivering it.
6. What are your monetary goals?
Why do you want 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 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: It’s easier than ever to monetize your expertise, but it won’t happen overnight and without significant time and effort.
When I left my full-time job to build my own consulting and media business, 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, products, and target audience.
I know what you’re thinking at this point…
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 — For more on this topic check out my suggestions about how to get coaching clients.