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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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    Last Updated on November 5, 2019

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive

    Assuming the public school system didn’t crush your soul, learning is a great activity. It expands your viewpoint. It gives you new knowledge you can use to improve your life. It is important for your personal growth. Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” — Mark Twain

    But in a busy world, it can often be hard to fit in time to learn anything that isn’t essential. The only things learned are those that need to be. Everything beyond that is considered frivolous. Even those who do appreciate the practice of lifelong learning, can find it difficult to make the effort.

    Here are some tips for installing the habit of continuous learning:

    1. Always Have a Book

    It doesn’t matter if it takes you a year or a week to read a book. Always strive to have a book that you are reading through, and take it with you so you can read it when you have time.

    Just by shaving off a few minutes in-between activities in my day I can read about a book per week. That’s at least fifty each year.

    2. Keep a “To-Learn” List

    We all have to-do lists. These are the tasks we need to accomplish. Try to also have a “to-learn” list. On it you can write ideas for new areas of study.

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    Maybe you would like to take up a new language, learn a skill or read the collective works of Shakespeare. Whatever motivates you, write it down.

    3. Get More Intellectual Friends

    Start spending more time with people who think. Not just people who are smart, but people who actually invest much of their time in learning new skills. Their habits will rub off on you.

    Even better, they will probably share some of their knowledge with you.

    4. Guided Thinking

    Albert Einstein once said,

    “Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”

    Simply studying the wisdom of others isn’t enough, you have to think through ideas yourself. Spend time journaling, meditating or contemplating over ideas you have learned.

    5. Put it Into Practice

    Skill based learning is useless if it isn’t applied. Reading a book on C++ isn’t the same thing as writing a program. Studying painting isn’t the same as picking up a brush.

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    If your knowledge can be applied, put it into practice.

    In this information age, we’re all exposed to a lot of information, it’s important to re-learn how to learn so as to put the knowledge into practice.

    6. Teach Others

    You learn what you teach. If you have an outlet of communicating ideas to others, you are more likely to solidify that learning.

    Start a blog, mentor someone or even discuss ideas with a friend.

    7. Clean Your Input

    Some forms of learning are easy to digest, but often lack substance.

    I make a point of regularly cleaning out my feed reader for blogs I subscribe to. Great blogs can be a powerful source of new ideas. But every few months, I realize I’m collecting posts from blogs that I am simply skimming.

    Every few months, purify your input to save time and focus on what counts.

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    8. Learn in Groups

    Lifelong learning doesn’t mean condemning yourself to a stack of dusty textbooks. Join organizations that teach skills.

    Workshops and group learning events can make educating yourself a fun, social experience.

    9. Unlearn Assumptions

    You can’t add water to a full cup. I always try to maintain a distance away from any idea. Too many convictions simply mean too few paths for new ideas.

    Actively seek out information that contradicts your worldview.

    Our minds can’t be trusted, but this is what we can do about it to be wiser.

    10. Find Jobs that Encourage Learning

    Pick a career that encourages continual learning. If you are in a job that doesn’t have much intellectual freedom, consider switching to one that does.

    Don’t spend forty hours of your week in a job that doesn’t challenge you.

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    11. Start a Project

    Set out to do something you don’t know how. Forced learning in this way can be fun and challenging.

    If you don’t know anything about computers, try building one. If you consider yourself a horrible artist, try a painting.

    12. Follow Your Intuition

    Lifelong learning is like wandering through the wilderness. You can’t be sure what to expect and there isn’t always an end goal in mind.

    Letting your intuition guide you can make self-education more enjoyable. Most of our lives have been broken down to completely logical decisions, that making choices on a whim has been stamped out.

    13. The Morning Fifteen

    Productive people always wake up early. Use the first fifteen minutes of your morning as a period for education.

    If you find yourself too groggy, you might want to wait a short time. Just don’t put it off later in the day where urgent activities will push it out of the way.

    14. Reap the Rewards

    Learn information you can use. Understanding the basics of programming allows me to handle projects that other people would require outside help. Meeting a situation that makes use of your educational efforts can be a source of pride.

    15. Make Learning a Priority

    Few external forces are going to persuade you to learn. The desire has to come from within. Once you decide you want to make lifelong learning a habit, it is up to you to make it a priority in your life.

    More About Continuous Learning

    Featured photo credit: Paul Schafer via unsplash.com

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