There’s something more important than technical skill for making money with the Internet.
You already have it, and I’ll explain exactly how to use it in this article.
Every day, people of all ages and backgrounds are changing their lives using opportunities to make money online that didn’t exist a few years ago. You hear about some of them working from a laptop on some exotic beach.
Those people do exist–I meet them all the time here in Bali–but they and their lifestyles might have you thinking they know something you could never learn, or have some university degree beyond your reach.
That’s really too bad, because it’s not accurate.
These people simply combine an ability or interest they have with some marketing and tech skills, to serve a need or market they then reach via the Internet.
It has nothing to do with an exotic beach either: working from home and being one’s own boss suits most people better.
Nowadays I get daily emails from WageFreedom.com readers interested in getting started making money online.
The two main questions people ask?
• What is the best way to begin earning online income — what specific direction should I go?
• I’m not too ‘technical’. Is using the Internet to make money realistic for me, without taking months and months to get started?
If these questions have you stuck–or we might say, are the points from which you’re starting–please keep reading. I’ll help you understand the opportunity, and your place in it.
Because I believe there is a chance for you, if you want it. I really do. And here’s something: you might find that the LESS technical you are, the better suited you are to taking advantage of opportunity online.
You read that right.
- What’s the Opportunity?
- Stuck and Uncertain? Meet Domain Expertise
- So, what’s your thing?
- Getting (Re)Paid
- Case study 1: Existing Business, Add Marketing
- Case study 2: Turn a Hobby into a Business, Add Marketing
- The Non-Corporate Face
- The Shoe on the Other Foot
- A Name For the Monster
- But Really, it’s Too Late to get Started, Right?
- What You’re Made Of
- Case Study 3: Amplify and Redefine
- Freelancing: The Onramp to Client Work, and Much More
What’s the Opportunity?
One school of though says opportunity should frame your search and drive your efforts.
Look for an under-served market, or a product or service you can deliver as well or better than the companies or people who currently do so. Look for a new method to earn, and make use of it quickly.
The problem is that in the beginning you’re in a poor position to assess opportunity. If you’re stuck, this might be why.
Stuck and Uncertain? Meet Domain Expertise
A better question when you’re getting started is: What’s the best way for YOU to make money online?
The answer should involve domain expertise.
That’s a fancy business term which simply refers to your unique combination of experience and skills.
These are critical questions:
• What do you do better than almost anyone you know?
• Do you have an interest that borders on obsession, something you can talk about for hours?
• Is there an activity you enjoy so much you’d do it for free?
Your answers point to your domain expertise.
Pay particular attention to skills and interests which seem ‘non-technical’. Also, don’t discount obscure or narrow subjects or skills in which you imagine few people are interested. That’s a problem if you offer something only to people near you geographically. Online the world is your market, everyone is potentially your fan.
No matter how narrow your domain expertise, it can be turned into an income stream.
That’s because whatever it is, there are other people interested in:
• talking about it online
• learning about it
• buying it
• buying a better version of it
• reading guides or Amazon bestsellers about it
• joining an online community related to it
• buying your time to do it for them
• buying products you create to help them do it for themselves
There are endless ways to make an income once you’ve defined your domain expertise. We’ll get to some of them.
Chances are you already know of websites or people online who have built a presence, maybe a business around an interest you have. This is excellent. Please view it as validation of a direction you can go yourself to make an online income stream, not as competition that should dissuade you from proceeding.
Often the competition which exists amid the scarce resources of the offline world is replaced online by partnership. Counter-intuitive isn’t it?
You’ll notice experts on a topic tend to show up on each others’ podcasts and blogs. There’s a lesson there. The growing, changing Internet still lifts all boats in 2016–well, at least the boats skippered by competence.
(Freelancing would be an exception to this partnership idea–it’s more about competition–but let’s not think in terms of freelancing, yet. Selling your domain expertise by the hour is only one way to make use of it, and usually not the best way.)
We’re talking broadly about earning in various ways from authority.
You want to be one of the experts, and if you’re serious about your chosen topic you already are.
You’re just moving your domain expertise to a new medium online, maybe sharing with more purpose than ever before, certainly with more people than ever. On top of making an income from it, it sounds like a good way to spend your time, doesn’t it?
And, you’re building an income or even a career essentially customized to you.
Note that I did not say you have to be THE expert on a topic, the ultimate authority online. Sharing with enthusiasm and sincerity to people with interest or a real need to know about it is enough.
They’ll have plenty to learn from you.
Does tech knowledge seem less important to building an income online than it did a few paragraphs ago?
I hope so: I’m suggesting you simply use various tech channels to present yourself or distribute your domain authority, and/or to sell products of that authority and expertise.
You’ll be judged not on your tech savvy, your clothes or anything except the value you bring—to the conversation, to the client, to the person reading.
Lack of tech knowledge might hinder you at first but your domain expertise—and taking action—will open all the doors.
The tech just serves your domain expertise.
I said earlier that less technical people might have an advantage when sharing domain expertise. So might older people. The sheer range of your experience might have been more varied in the years before ubiquitous Internet, and it can be a source of uncommon domain expertise.
Varied experience and more years of it can give you an edge. Also, other older less tech-savvy people might be unlikely to be making use of their domain expertise for online income. It’s can be legitimate competitive advantage for you.
So, what’s your thing?
As you consider your ‘knowledge assets’, include domain expertise deriving from jobs you’ve had, if it truly interests you. Naturally what you’ve learned in years or decades on the job has huge value; it did to your employers!
Making a leap to online income doesn’t mean changing everything just for the sake of disruption.
In fact, some smart people point to on-the-job experience as the best source of legit domain expertise for your own enterprise. Don’t ignore it.
Still, I think you should take into account all your interests and experience as you’re initially deciding on a good path to earning online for yourself, because life is short and because deep enthusiasm for an activity is a multiplier by which people sometimes conquer the world.
This is your chance to build a future that’s more than just an extension of a past about which you might be ambivalent, a career you might have fallen into to pay the bills.
Well, bills must be paid. It’s what adults do.
But this is your chance for an income or career that fits you better, and if you’re still reading there’s a part of you that believes you can have it.
We’ve defined a method for finding your direction, instead of just listing ways to make money online. That’s a huge step forward.
But how does domain expertise translate into online income, especially if you have minimal technical skills?
The simple answer is three-fold. You ‘use technology’ to:
• reach people
• demonstrate authority/domain expertise
• sell to them
The strategies, tactics and tools you can use to accomplish each of these would fill a library (or a server farm). Don’t panic, your education will be ongoing. But as you read through the case studies–each based on a real person–and examples I’ll share, please note how each of these goals is addressed.
If a paycheck is the only way you’ve ever earned money it all seems audacious, doesn’t it? Maybe even impossible.
Choose to think of it not as being paid, but as being repaid for ‘value you provide’, in the largest sense.
It’s what your employers have always done for you, but now your customer is different. Instead of stepping into a role defined by someone else you’re constructing transactions built on what you are good at providing, as determined by you.
Your customers could be other people, or companies, or both. They’ll need what you have as badly as Boeing needs engineers, or Walmart needs their floors swept.
They will repay you for authority you demonstrate, then expertise you share. Audacious? Sure. But the need is real.
The strength of your enterprise will be how well you match a need or needs with your domain expertise.
Case study 1: Existing Business, Add Marketing
My friend Jim is a legit expert in the premium real estate market in Indonesia. With decades of experience buying, selling and facilitating deals Jim’s particular domain expertise is uncommon and no doubt extremely valuable to his clients. With Jim’s contacts he keeps fairly busy. He has no online presence, so his clients are limited to people who know someone he knows.
Would a presence helping him reach new clients double or triple his income, or just increase it by 10%?
Who can say?
But the real question to ask is this: is the cost—time and money—of constructing this online presence and scaling his efforts worth the probable increase in revenue?
The answer has to be yes.
Unfortunately Jim assumes it costs more time or money than he wants to commit, or require more technical ability than he has, so he doesn’t get started. This means a hundred people with marketing ability and a small fraction of his knowledge of the Indonesian property market are helping people who are really looking for Jim.
Note that the tech infrastructure–this marketing–only supports the business idea, Jim’s domain expertise.
Also, Jim doesn’t have to build his website and the rest of his presence, though if he chooses to do so the instruction he’d need can be found for free online.
He will want to add content to his presence to demonstrate his expertise (writing, photos, speaking on video shot from his phone, etc.) and engage with people on social media, but these tasks are about communicating what he knows very well, and do not require deep tech skills.
You’ll find education on ways to engage everywhere online, on YouTube and a thousand websites (like WageFreedom.com!).
I’ll be more specific, to show that many marketing starting points will be familiar to you.
Jim—and you—should have a business website, which in 2016 is still the hub of your overall marketing. A blog is the dynamic part of a website, updated regularly with timely content and a place to interact with site visitors. Augment the website with an email newsletter and Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media ’spokes’ appropriate for your presence and you have a comprehensive, professional way to showcase your domain expertise.
By the way, click the picture below to read a comprehensive tutorial/article I wrote for you about starting a blog: step one in building your presence. Follow me as I start a new blog for a business idea I had, and cover everything you need to know. I assume no prior knowledge of tech at all. There’s even a video of the process if you learn better by watching. Click here:
I’m amazed at how many existing, real businesses don’t have this, or have an outdated presence that probably hurts business more than it helps.
Here is a list of ways to connect. The goal isn’t to learn to use them all. The tech only supports your presence.
You may have to learn methods to use these for business, but you won’t have to invent the methods. There is a big difference.
Remember: 1) reach people, 2) demonstrate authority, 3) sell something to them. These all help with #1 and #2, some also with #3.
• Blog articles
• Email newsletter campaigns
Here’s another example of amplifying an existing business. Tim Sykes had a business and domain expertise he turned into a book, but decided he could do the work of promoting it better than a conventional publisher. Now his website itself has grown into a huge (money-making) presence in his niche–you can read a quick version of his story here, but three quotes from this Forbes article stand out:
Hone your expertise. “No matter what you are an expert in–if you collect insects or whatever your weird hobby is–if you are a true pro and have been doing this five, 10 or 20 years there is so much money to be made,” Sykes says. “Some of the people who make their money on the internet are just nerds.”
Don’t worry about exhausting a subject. “You can never write too much about any topic: mistakes, losing passion, gaining passion, what you’ve learned over the years, interviews with people who have similar experience,” says Sykes.
“As the internet evolves more experts are going to make money—but screw money,” says Sykes. “You get to focus on what you love. That’s the best part.”
Case study 2: Turn a Hobby into a Business, Add Marketing
Neal has a gift for fixing up classic cars. He’s a magician. The before/after photos of his projects are hard to believe. He aims to complete one per year. For him it’s truly a labor of love, and I’ve heard him refer to his job as nothing more than the activity that funds his passion.
Standing in his garage one night I asked Neal if he’s ever considered sharing his expertise via a paid online course or a membership website.
Use video to show and tell all the details of cutting out rusty floorboards and welding in new panels, or how to do a paint job properly from bare metal.
Share stories of finding unrestored classic cars and methods for rebuilding them in a forum attached to a website.
He looked surprised. There are millions of people out there with expertise, many of whom think they already know more about cars than everyone else!
True enough. Sounds like the interest is there.
I looked around at his welding equipment and the expensive paint shop, and asked how many other people he knew who have invested in such a high-quality operation.
Anyone who walks into his garage would be impressed. But Neal doesn’t see how special he is, how unusual his talents and level of commitment are.
Most people don’t see their best qualities the way others do, because they live with their domain expertise every day.
But for people looking for a no-nonsense authority with the equipment to demonstrate it, Neal is a personal connection to expertise they want, a mentor they might not have in the offline world.
It wouldn’t be hard to scale his ability to provide first rate instruction into a presence that would reach, demonstrate and sell 24/7 for years into the future.
Please take a look at these real-world examples of making a business out of a hobby, then adding marketing:
You can’t beat Scotty Kilmer for knowledge and enthusiasm(!), but Neal doesn’t need to. Everyone’s style and domain expertise will be different, as are the specific areas on which you can focus. Remember the spoke and hub idea? Scotty Kilmer on YouTube and his website .
(Hint: there is real opportunity on YouTube to be the Scotty Kilmer of motorcycle repair)
Amy at Knitting Help has a knitting empire. Take a look at her YouTube presence, leading to her site . Note monetization on her website too: Shop, premium videos, etc. with plenty of free content to reach, help and demonstrate her authority. Very, very well done.
You may know nothing about stock options trading, but by now you’ll hopefully appreciate how Gav at Options Trading IQ has turned his domain expertise into an additional income stream. He’s a pro trader, but (as with Scotty Kilmer above) I’d call the education he markets to new options traders a distinct vocation. At any rate, note the sign-up form for his email newsletter and how he establishes authority with free content (free courses and tutorials/blog articles/Youtube videos). For monetization there’s coaching, Amazon bestsellers in his niche, trade alerts, and advertising.
The Non-Corporate Face
To introduce this next section, let me ask you a question:
Why do so many corporations create a character with whom you can connect in their marketing? For example:
• ‘Flo’ from Progressive Insurance (she’s ‘Kitty’ in Australia)
• ‘The Most Interesting Man In The World’ from Dos Equis
• The Marlboro Man
• The Geico Gecko
It’s no mystery: as you connect with the persona, you connect with the product. These corporate mascots are a way to deploy the old sales maxim ‘They like you, they buy you’.
Huge companies are in effect telling us how important a personal connection is in marketing.
I bring these characters up because they describe what Neal, Jim and the entrepreneurs in the preceding examples are doing, and what you will be doing as you reach people who find your presence.
Except that you’ll connect authentically as you share domain expertise and some personality, without million-dollar ad campaigns and silly marketing personae.
And as we’ve seen, today you can make this connection via marketing techniques and tools that are cheap (or free) and relatively simple to set up and use.
I mentioned using domain expertise you’ve gained on the job as a starting point for your online efforts.
If you’re the friendly, competent, non-corporate face of a company that makes use of your domain expertise—say, in sales—you might have a certain competitive advantage over your employer.
Put your face on your own enterprise. For example:
The Shoe on the Other Foot
You sell shoes in an upscale shop. You actually love shoes and know more than a person probably should about high-end brands and models. It’s the job you dislike.
At work these products don’t sell themselves, right? That’s why you’re there, creating a connection with customers which becomes the real reason they buy, as you give detailed, personalized info and answer questions.
You are the critical component, the closer.
If you know a niche product line well enough to sell it for a company you can sell it yourself online. Build out a presence with marketing methods I mentioned earlier, into which you pour your expertise and enthusiasm.
Visitors will come. Interest can be monetized, one way or the other.
For a start, there are endless online retailers, from Amazon to small shoe stores happy to give you a commission for linking to their websites. It’s called affiliate marketing.
The company you work for already has a website selling shoes. How can you compete with them? Well, you aren’t exactly. Your market isn’t geo-specific. More importantly you’ll probably aim to appeal to the real shoe geeks who will most appreciate your level of expertise.
Funny how this might best apply to higher-end products, with higher commissions.
Start-up costs to test this idea will be very low—not much more than your time. Initial success will be just to bring in more than you spend. From there you can scale what works.
A Name For the Monster
In these examples ’technical ability’ is simply ‘marketing’ in service of domain expertise, albeit up-to-date marketing methods with which you might until now be familiar only as a consumer.
As we’ve seen, armed with it you can:
• transform and amplify an existing business by creating an influx of customers
• create a business where before there’d been only a passion-fueled hobby
• recycle years of domain expertise gained on-the-job into your own business
Would an hour or three each day spent communicating with people on a subject you know very well be that difficult or unpleasant?
Would it be a higher-value activity than what you do in your current job— especially since it’s building YOUR OWN THING, whose benefits can accrue to you for many years in the future?
By now we’ve given a name to the monster that is ‘tech expertise’. If you expected me to suggest you learn a programming language, maybe you’re a little surprised. I hope you’re encouraged.
We’re not done yet.
But Really, it’s Too Late to get Started, Right?
How can there still be opportunity to make money online today, when every niche and subject has been explored/blogged about/podcast-ed seemingly to death?
People have been asking this for as long as the Internet has been used for commerce. Business is always competitive and there are always reasons to avoid taking action. Take action.
The types of domain expertise I’m describing in this article are enough to build income upon if they’re communicated well, because there is always interest in competence, and interest can be translated into income.
Here’s another thing: if you can create quality content and information you have an upper hand, probably from now on.
You might know that most new visitors come to websites via Google search. You won’t surprised that Google’s algorithm (its complex method of ranking websites for every typed-in search query) gets smarter as the years go by.
It’s still far from perfect, but as a person with ‘the goods’–the domain expertise–you’re in an increasingly better position to benefit from smarter search engines than people who used to have an easier time ranking websites with poor content highly in Google, by reverse-engineering the algorithm. Yes, this was a common activity. And it still happens.
But the fact is, Google is looking for you and the fruit of your knowledge, so it can deliver the best content to users.
It’s a competitive advantage you have, which trumps the old marketing methods.
I’m not disparaging anyone’s ways of taking advantage of opportunity; we use the weapons we have. But you know there’s been a shift when you see people who previously used the old methods proclaiming quality content as the way forward.
Domain expertise is the way you’ll create quality content–articles, video, podcasting, etc.– it’s the substance that will outlast sheer marketing in this race, in the long run.
What You’re Made Of
Okay, what if you don’t have an existing offline business or all-consuming hobby to which you can point, where the marketable results of your domain expertise are already defined?
If your tech skills aren’t strong it might seem like a hopeless situation.
Well this section is for you.
I believe everyone reading this can leverage a more basic ability into domain expertise. I’m taking about a core skill, for example:
• mechanical expertise
• musical ability
• speaking ability
• artistic talent
• Vocal talent (that’s right)
• sales talent
• teaching ability
• language skills
I’m not referring to marketing the basic skill here. I’m talking about supercharging it with tech methods and tools to build new, marketable domain expertise.
It’s similar to Neal’s example above, leveraging a fundamental skill rather than a developed hobby. (The distinction can blur somewhat. That’s OK.)
There are at least two ways to do this.
1) Polish your talent, package it and market it online. For example:
• Leverage a knack for learning languages into teaching people how to do it rapidly—with personality! Benny the Irish polyglot shares his methods and engages site visitors with free lessons, specific language hacks and stories of his travels, while offering premium membership to his website, coaching and writing an Amazon bestseller. Look at the occupation he’s made for himself: YouTube and website.
• Leverage painting and drawing ability into an art education empire. Matt offers a ton of free courses, and a paid membership area of his site giving access to premium courses on video, ebooks and even lesson plans for teachers. As you look at how professionally he presents and markets his domain expertise don’t be intimidated. His presence evolved to this point over years no doubt; you can and should start slowly, testing what your target market responds to: YouTube and Website.
• Clearly classical musician, world traveler and academic superstar Rebecca Zook has several talents she could share, and professionally marketing her teaching and math ability to help young people is certainly commendable. Note how well she connects to people who might be anxious about math by communicating in her relaxed, informal way, and by sharing plenty of detail on her blog as well as testimonials and video.
The range of opportunity is as wide as the range of basic skills people have. The markets are as deep as the Internet, which is to say nearly endless. You’d never copy the marketing approach of these three people (or anyone else), but even if you had a similar skill in math for example or an art sub-genre, there is room for you in any market you’d like to reach.
The second way to put what I call a ‘fundamental skill’ to work for you?
2) Learn application software that essentially lets you express the skill in the digital realm.
This turns it into domain expertise that’s useful for customers who require digital end-products (most companies today), and also easily discoverable and marketable online.
You have a much wider range of opportunity than you did in the days when people used MS Office competence to get a foot in a door!
From graphic design to illustration to bookkeeping to music production or video editing software suites, there are more tools like this than ever, giving you a wider range of directions.
There also are dozens of specific ways you can apply domain expertise you develop, just within graphic design/illustration/animation for example.
For example, browse through the broad ‘design and multimedia’ category listings here on Elance and be astounded at the range of skills—and skills augmented with learn-able tech—which are needed. Look at the left sidebar too. Also, see:
Before you head boldly off to become a freelancer, please follow me on this final case study, showing how far an aptitude/basic skill—mechanical ability here—can take you. It might be the most important one to which I’m pointing you.
Every word of this case study is true by the way.
Case Study 3: Amplify and Redefine
A good friend of mine was an aircraft maintenance technician, with his professional A&P certification.
On the job he often took direction from engineers responsible for a fix or a design change, and with years of hands-on experience he saw that he often had as much or more expertise than the people supervising him, engineering degree or not.
Their work was more interesting to him, and the money much, much better.
He’d always had mechanical ability and he knew he could speak the language of design, as it were. He just needed a way to prove it, a way to express his expertise.
Rather than mourn the unfairness of life he decided to learn the Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software used to model and refine parts before they’re produced and assembled. He knew he was on the right track when he saw he had a knack for the tool itself—there’s a lesson there for you.
In the terms of this article, he expanded and amplified his basic (mechanical) aptitude into cutting edge, 21st-century domain expertise.
He got computer time during off-hours where he worked, modeled parts in 3-D, asked questions and took notes. He found no conspiracy against him to learn, and later to get hired.
Enough people are happy to share their knowledge that you’ll be able to make a gap in the wall through which you can squeeze.
My friend found there was room on the other side of that wall for competence.
He found contract work as a design engineer, for clients in need of designers proficient in the use of the expensive CAD software used to work on enormous, expensive airplane programs.
On the job his years of practical experience paid off just as he’d hoped. This wasn’t six figures a year income either. With tight schedules, missed deadlines and long hours on which my friend thrived, it could be six figures in a few months.
Eventually my buddy started his own company.
Yes, my friend has palpable confidence about him. Yes, he was motivated with innate mechanical ability, an autodidact willing to learn, to totally change his life.
Many people reading this article won’t be able to point at a basic skill in which they have his level of basic competence.
But some of you will, and you already know what it is.
You may never have made money from this skill, or even thought you could, but if I’ve done my job over these last few thousand words maybe you sense a new possibility.
You might not turn it into the success my friend did.
How much success do you want?
Will you take his example as encouragement, or will you look for ways in which you’ll have a more difficult time getting started?
This is an important choice, and it is entirely up to you.
Before you decide, you should know this: you have help my friend never had.
He did all this in 1989, before the Internet could help him the way it can help you, with education, access to software tools, ways to market yourself to clients or customers.
You can learn with online tutorials, from websites geared to teaching a thousand specializations. You can network with social media. Just LinkedIn is a huge improvement in inserting yourself into an industry: learning to use it aggressively–contributing content, joining Groups, reaching out directly to decision-makers–might be all you need to get more interest than you can handle.
If software is the way you augment and express your basic skill, you’ll find free trials of even expensive software packages. There are often student discounts on software suites; your local community college can be a huge help here and naturally formal education should be embraced if it is available for you. If it is not available do not let it stop you.
Use the terrific educational website Lynda.com and many similar sites to augment your education, for many, many types of domain expertise.
And, to determine your direction, is it ‘allowed’ to start with interesting, well-paying areas of domain expertise as defined by websites like Elance.com and Lynda.com and work backward to a skill you might possess only small amounts of, but be able to develop?
Why, yes it is!
Motivation is the great playing-field leveler, and can make up for a lack of almost anything…
Hopefully though, you’re sitting there with a basic skill you haven’t thought of as the basis for a career, or haven’t quite known how to translate into a better occupation, or believed you could.
I hope you’re thinking about it now, with an idea how to proceed. More than anything I hope you believe you can.
Matching software tools to your basic skills will take some digging. Again, Elance and Lynda can be good starting points for discovering categories of vocationally-oriented domain expertise you didn’t even know existed. Also, you can Google
“software for ?”
“? software for small businesses”
where ‘?’ describes the domain expertise that fits the basic skill you have.
A few examples:
• ? = ‘SEO’ if your basic skill is writing
• ? = ‘bookkeeping’ if your proficiency is math
• ? = ‘graphic design’ or ‘commercial illustration’ or ‘commercial animation’ if you have artistic ability
And, if you’re a mechanic or gear head reading this, wondering how you’ll ever get a chance to get to the next level, why not take a chance? Look at free introductory CAD packages online. Dip your toe in, model a few parts. If you find it fun–that’s right, fun–then do not stop. You might be developing a skill that will change your life. We’re moving into a world of 3-D printing, where there might be even more demand for CAD proficiency than there is now. Chaotic new industries are an ideal place to aim to participate. In five years the landscape will look different. Start now.
It all comes back the skill you have, and to domain expertise, the thing you want to create.
If you respond well to a challenge and are not afraid to leverage your ability to learn something complex, you have no idea as to the doors you can open by learning a software tool with commercial application. No one does.
Freelancing: The Onramp to Client Work, and Much More
Freelancers often take advantage of the “basic skill + software” idea, maybe because companies are willing to embrace efficiency via capital expenditure on tech tools, processes and software. At any rate, demand for people who know how to use the latest, most efficient tools, especially in new disciples created by the very existence of new tools, frequently outstrips supply.
It also happens that people with competence in a software tool are sometimes as valued as people with years or decades of experience in a discipline who are unable or unwilling to upgrade their skills. The fact that the tools are constantly evolving works in your favor, especially in the beginning.
I’m not saying it’s fair, I’m saying it adds up to opportunity if you are aggressive.
By the way, becoming a high-tech freelancer may not sound like ‘making online income’, but note that the Internet facilitates every step of this journey.
And really, freelancing most likely shouldn’t be your final professional destination.
I’d never, ever disparage it, especially if you’re looking for income quickly or on-the-job experience, but I hope you can also see how almost every domain expertise can be marketed in a better way than freelancing.
Choose to see it as a starting point for new income streams, positioning yourself as an expert as in the case studies and examples I have shared, once you can offer real domain expertise.
Freelancing can become client work on retainer, then ‘productized services’ to customers online or offline: from ‘writer’ or ‘editor’, the next step can be to start a company that provides tiered service offerings to companies.
Offer content marketing, but go further: setting up basic WordPress sites for companies, offer on-page SEO services, manage social media accounts, etc. maybe with a partner with complementary skills. You see where I’m going. Your hard-won domain expertise is the foundation for a business in whatever way suits you.
Protip: in 2016 the ‘next level’ begins when you’re making use of LinkedIn more than you are Elance.
Competence is rewarded, especially when you’re doing something where the means to monetization are set up by you.
• This article looked at ways to make money online emphasizing your experience, skills and domain expertise. Searching for opportunity is an different way to approach it, and I’ll cover ways to do that in another article.
• Whether you’re starting with an offline business, established domain expertise or a basic skill in which you have some proficiency, there’s a market waiting for you, reachable online using methods you can learn, without having to invent.
• You can combine domain expertise or a basic ability with enough specific technical skill to serve your market in the digital age. Ways to learn an endless range of tech skills are online, and often free.
• Add appropriate Internet marketing techniques to amplify its distribution and presence in the world. Freelancers can apply Internet marketing to scale their efforts into productized services or other types of B2B (business-to-business) or B2C (business-to-consumer) enterprises.
• Online business is more about business than the ‘online’ part. The tech only serves the business, and you’ll be selective about what you implement. Making money online doesn’t mean to start a blog.
If you found this article thinking you lacked the tech background to start making money online, I hope you don’t feel that way anymore.
There is still room for you among the millions of people who have created their own income streams or occupations, which are in effect customized to take advantage of the best part of themselves.
‘Customization’ implies getting a little creative, and that’s a very good thing.
It’s you exercising a liberty you might not have seized before.
And you have help, you know. If you’re having trouble thinking of talents you can use or develop to take advantage of online opportunity, talk to friends and family.
Suitable directions for you might be painfully obvious to people around you, even as you’re scratching your head.
The time and effort it takes to get started are worth it. This is a front-loaded effort in building for your future, with potentially life-changing effects later on.
It’s time for you to seize your day.
Are you ready?
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