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How to Monetize Your Passion

How to Monetize Your Passion

Ah, those dreams of being able to monetize your passion…

You’ve been working away on your project for a while now, haven’t you? Maybe you’ve switched projects a few times. You’ve tried a few things and it’s not quite brought in the cash you would have liked so maybe you’ve gone back to the drawing board. It’s got to the point where it’s all a bit of a muddle. You’re frustrated that you’re not making more money despite the huge amounts of effort you’ve put in. It even makes you want to give up at times.

If this resonates with you, then you’re not alone–and there is something you can do about it.

The Illusive Piece Of The Puzzle

Having coached individuals to rock their revenue for a few good years now, there are some patterns that crop up again and again, and here is what I can tell you for certain: You’re not the only one who is struggling to monetize their project.

The truth is, making cash out of your activities is the most difficult piece of the puzzle… if you don’t set it up right from the beginning. I’ve seen dozens of highly skilled, talented and driven individuals set up some awesome businesses: projects that could change the world.

They start with great ideas and they put in place awesome delivery systems, but getting the damn thing to cash flow can sometimes feel like trying to get blood out of a stone. If you can relate to this you need to know: the root of this problem, and the solution, starts way before you launch your product or service.

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If you understand what I’m about to outline, you will be able to position your business so that the monetization phase becomes the EASIEST part of the whole project.

The biggest problem you face is actually that monetization is the last thing that happens in the whole creation cycle. All the work has to be done upfront though. And even if you have cash, all of this needs to happen without even a minimal reward to spur you on.

It’s not that it is impossible, but it can be tough, and managing your own expectations from the start is key. There is a way to make all this MUCH easier.

Start with Your Day-to-Day Love

Every business becomes easier to get to (and through) the monetization phase successfully if day in and day out you’re doing something that you love. If you’re enjoying what you’re doing and not just doing it for the money then it becomes easier to go that extra mile to put in a few more hours, to influence one more person, to get up and dust yourself off and press on when the going gets tough.

In fact, if you love what you do every day, you’ll find very quickly that going to work on that project actually gives you energy. That’s right! You end up with more energy at the end of the day than when you started. Getting up and getting on with the tasks of the day becomes effortless because you’re aligned with what you naturally want to be spending your day doing. So you can see that monetising your passion is much easier to do than monetising any old business or side project.

This is a very important point, because it shapes everything that comes after it. This is where much of the pain and frustration has stemmed from already, because if you’re struggling to get to the point of it “working” (i.e. making a profit) it probably has something to do with you not being fully aligned with what you love to do. I mean this in both the conceptual sense, and in the day to day workings of what you do.

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When I work with clients we start with defining very clearly what they love to do and where their natural skills are, then align it with producing a business that delivers what the market wants. This is the step almost everyone misses out even if they’re passionate about the concept they are trying to deliver.

Concepts don’t get you to go the extra mile when you’re tired and you’ve suffered an intermediate defeat. Loving the day-to-day of what you do does.

Monetization: The Final Phase

When it comes to needing cash flow from your efforts you need to take lag time into account. Depending on how much ground work there is, being able to monetize your effort will vary from several weeks to several months. Heck, I’ve invested in companies that, three years down the line, aren’t paying dividends because they need to reinvest the profits into mega expansion.

The point is, you need to take this into account, whatever size you’re planning to grow the business to. You can’t start pulling an idea together and monetize it in a few days. Monetization is the *final* phase of a project. But here is how to short-cut it and stack the odds of success in your favor–BIG TIME.

1. Be Clear On Your Passion

Contrary to popular belief, your passion is what you want to spend your time doing and not some random vision written on a blackboard in the sky that you somehow need to “discover”.  Ask yourself what you love doing day in day out, because ultimately this is your passion.

2. Align Your Passion With What You Are Good At

Most people skip these two most important parts of the process, thinking it will get them to the money quicker. They think that there is more money to be made in another business, and that the grass is always greener. If you pick your industry based only on how much money you think you can make, then you can expect to always be chasing the money.

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If you take the time to align these two aspects effectively (your day-to-day passion and your skills) you will flat out make the rest of the process much easier.

3. Find A Market You Want To Work With and work out what their biggest pain is.

Again, most people do this the wrong way. They think “who is most likely to pay me money”, and even if they aren’t in the market they want to work with, they push on anyway. This again is the road to pain and struggle.

4. Tailor What You Offer (your passion, product or service) to the avatar of the people you most want to work with.

In other words, think of a character that represents the people you want to work with (your avatar) and design your offering for just that person. Give them a name, and describe every detail of their pain, their fears, their hopes, their current situation… down to even the more tangible aspects of their lives like where they shop and their educational backgrounds. This will allow you to hone what you have to offer precisely to what they want, and this will form the basis of your marketing messaging when you talk to them.

At this point, even early on in the process, you’re making it easy for them to buy.

5. Work A Marketing Plan

What I mean by this is simply create a plan around how you are going to connect with them.

Note: Facebook is not a marketing plan! Even those marketers who are rocking it on Facebook only get about 20% of their sales from it. If you’re in the online world you need an email list. Period.

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Create database of people you can email (or snail mail) and build up a relationship with them. This is your audience. These are the people who are an ideal fit for your product or service and are interested in hearing your message. Make sure you have an easy way to be in touch with them so that you can communicate about your product or service before it’s even ready. Part of this plan will then be to build a relationship with your audience, getting them involved in developing the product (or service), then communicate what is available and make it really easy for them to buy.

You Can Do It The Easy Way

What we’ve talked about are the first, most vital steps in creating cash from what you love to do, because they set the tone of everything else that comes later. The sales, marketing and positioning come much more easily once you’ve got the first few items figured out. In fact, monetising is just a process, one you’ve worked out what you want to spend your time doing, what your natural skills are and who you want to work with.

Remember lots of work goes in before you get anywhere near to being able to monetize. If you align with what you love to do every day, your natural skills AND the market you want to serve you will massively increase your chances of monetising your project effectively in the shortest possible time.

What Are You Going To Do About It?

Never leave the scene of learning something new without taking a new action. It’s time for you to declare which action step you’re going to put some attention onto and why. Share in the comments below.

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Last Updated on July 4, 2019

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education

Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless.

Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent free online education awaits on the following 25 sites.

1. Coursera

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    Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

    Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education, and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

    Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups.

    2. Khan Academy

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      Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

      Among the more well known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly useable, which may make it easier to keep learning goals.

      3. Open Culture Online Courses

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        If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos and podcasts from universities around the world. The site features a lot of material found only on universities private sites, all in easy to browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses, without having to visit and search each university’s own site.

        Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales and many state universities around the United States. A very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

        4. Udemy 

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          Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

          Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top quality content. This is another site however, that mixes free and paid content.

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          5. Academic Earth

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            Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources, and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

            Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

            6. edX

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              Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics.

              7. Alison

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                Unlike the previous sites on this lists, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

                It’s a great option if users need certification for their learning as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

                8. iTunesU Free Courses

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                  A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod, or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

                  Desktop users can access  iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

                  Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos, and paid content.

                  ITunesU does include courses on a pretty wide scope of topics, but does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

                  9. Stanford Online

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                    Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

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                    Stanford Online is a great site for high quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school.

                    10. Harvard Extension

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                      Like Stanford Online, Harvard Extension features free online education courses from Harvard only. This is another excellent source for top notch course material, though the course variety is less rich than multi-school sites.

                      Additionally, Harvard Extension allows you to search for courses by professional certificate. This makes it much easier if your online education goal includes certification.

                      11. Open Yale Courses

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                        Open Yale Courses echoes Harvard Extension and Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses, but learn better by watching than by reading.

                        12. UC Berkeley Class Central

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                          Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

                          13. MIT OpenCourseWare

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                            Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, plus includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

                            14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

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                              Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list, however, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics. But for the topics that are covered impressive, in-depth material is available.

                              15. Codecademy

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                                Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

                                The courses at Codecademy are well written and easy to follow and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, plus organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

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                                16. Code

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                                  Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

                                  In addition to kid friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics and Javascript.

                                  Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

                                  17. University of London Podcasts

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                                    The podcast page on the University of London website is another great source for free education. While the courses are limited to podcasts, the site features podcasts from it’s own campus, as well as eleven universities in and around London. This gives learners a wide base of topics and lectures, but still ensures in-depth material.

                                    18. University of Oxford Podcasts

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                                      Similar to the University of London, the University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

                                      The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. Another good site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

                                      19. BBC Podcasts

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                                        For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly, and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

                                        Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

                                        20. TED-Ed

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                                          Another great destination for more general learning is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all encompassing, motivational web series, comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

                                          Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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                                          21. LessonPaths

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                                            LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

                                            22. Memrise

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                                              Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

                                              Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

                                              23. National Geographic Kids

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                                                The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keeps kids interested on this site.

                                                National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

                                                24. Fun Brain

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                                                  Fun Brain is another good option for kids who want to learn online, but focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

                                                  Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

                                                  25. Whyville

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                                                    Similar to the sites for kids free online education is Whyville a destination for preteen online learning. The site includes a variety of social features, with a focus on learning materials geared for young teens.

                                                    Whyville also mixes in educational games, to make the site a well rounded option for kids too old for simple games, but too young for heavy reading based material.

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                                                    Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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