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Sell Your Knowledge on the Side

Sell Your Knowledge on the Side

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    Having a side line of income can come in handy — but not everyone is in a position to set up a full-fledged business or even take on freelance projects. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t any opportunities to make some money on the side. If you’re knowledgeable about a specific area, you can sell your know-how, rather than selling your time. You’ll still need a little time, of course, but there are several ways to come up with ways to make a little money within your time constraints.

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    1. Write an ebook or white paper

    You can turn your knowledge and experiences into a document on your own schedule. While it does take an investment of some serious time to translate an ebook into serious earnings, you can start selling your work through sites like Scribd almost immediately. Your vendor will certainly take a cut, but the publication process is easier and faster than for print. There are also simple ways to up the likelihood of earning some good money: even something as basic as laying your document out in something besides Microsoft Word can give you an immediate boost. As far as topics go, how-to guides tend to do well, as do papers that address current issues in most fields.

    2. Offer a seminar or class

    While seminars and classes are generally a little more time-sensitive than projects that don’t require you to interact with other people, there are a long list of ways to make them a little more flexible. One of the most basic is picking a time and date for the class that works with your schedule and then taking care of planning and other details when ever it’s more convenient for you. Another option is offering a class online, even by email if that’s what it takes. The biggest difficulty with selling slots in a class is that you have to have a good reason for prospective students to buy from you. If you aren’t a well-known expert in your field, you’re going to have to do some marketing to make sure that your class is full.

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    3. Tutor on your topic

    If you specialize in a topic that is taught in school — from kindergarten through grad school — tutoring is an option. You don’t even need to worry about trying to find local students: you can tutor online. That can make managing time easier, because you can work with students in different time zones so that you can better take advantage of your time. Sites like Tutorz, offer an opportunity to list yourself for a variety of subjects.

    4. Write for websites

    There are many websites that allow writers to post any number of articles and take a cut of the profits. You’re not going to get rich off of such articles, but there’s no problem if you need to write on an odd schedule — or even stop writing suddenly. You can write about pretty much any topic, although you’ll probably be able to write more often if you focus on a topic you already know well. There are thousands of such sites. HubPages and Triond are just two examples.

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    5. Provide advice or consulting

    You can offer your consulting services on your own online, but if you don’t have a lot of time to devote to the project, it may be better to offer your services through a site that connects experts with individuals looking for advice. There are quite a few out there: one example is LivePerson.com. It’s a pretty typical site. You post your information and then clients can hire you through the site. You decide on the time and date you’ll actually talk to clients.

    6. Answer questions

    The number of websites offering payment for answers to specialized questions seem to grow every day. SmallBizAdvice, for instance, offers payment for answers to questions about small businesses, for example. There are also plenty of sites with multiple topics, as well as sites specially for students to post questions they have with (or, more often, from) their homework, like Student of Fortune.

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    Selling your knowledge

    It’s worth noting that none of these approaches are exactly get rich quick schemes. In some cases, they may not even be get rich quick schemes. You have to have some knowledge worth sharing, although that list can be pretty long — you’d be surprised what some people are willing to pay for video game tips or basic technical support — and you have to be able to share it in a fashion that other people can understand relatively easily. If you can handle those requirements, though, selling your knowledge can be a good way to bring in a little extra money. It doesn’t hurt that there are plenty of websites and online services ready to handle much of the marketing and promotion, and let you focus on your own expertise. The pay goes down when you work through these sites, of course, but the amount of time you need to devote to finding clients and related aspects of being in business also goes down. It doesn’t hurt that being associated with a larger site also establishes your credentials a lot faster than you can if you aren’t already particularly well known.

    If you’ve worked with a website beyond the ones I’ve mentioned here, please note them in the comments — there really are thousands of websites providing similar options out there, and I only discussed a handful here.

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    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    The Gentle Art of Saying No

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

    1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
    2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
    3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
    4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
    5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
    6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
    7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
    8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
    9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
    10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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