Let’s say you have a very unique, maybe eccentric, hobby. I’ll use taxidermy as an example.
So let’s say every spare minute you have, every hour you’re not on the clock at your regular job, you devote to taxidermy. Over the years you’ve developed certain skills and knowledge that only a few people possess. And, until recently, unless you owned a taxidermy business, your hobby would have remained just that: a hobby.
But since we’re living in the Information Age, this highly-specialized training you possess has some currency to it. It has become a commodity.
No matter if it’s taxidermy or how to install custom lighting in your home or how to setup a great home theater or how to create beautiful jewelry from piles of brightly-colored beads, you can bet that any specialized knowledge you’ve accumulated can be turned into practical advice. And those people just starting to learn about whatever it is that you are an expert at will seek you out and reward you for your help.
Identifying Your Commodity
Before I tell you how to make money giving advice, I’d like to help you focus on your own area of expertise. First, here’s a list of subjects I advise AGAINST:
• Love life
The reason I think you should steer clear of these areas is because unless you have some official specialized training – like you’re a licensed counselor or a lawyer, for example – there isn’t much of a market for your opinion.
Because, let’s face it, we all have relationships (parent, spouse, sibling, etc.), and we all have dealings with the law (even if it’s just a parking ticket) but unless you bring some “inside” information to your advice-giving, your opinion isn’t going to hold much currency. Even if everybody in your family and all your friends come to you for advice… that isn’t enough.
Also, the market is already flooded with Dear Abby-style advice columns. We don’t want you wasting your time in a saturated marketplace.
Not to worry! Here’s a list of the kinds of subjects I wholeheartedly recommend you base your little business on:
• Home repair
• Car maintenance
These are hot markets. But remember that your advice business can be anything you have a special interest in and a special knowledge of that is of interest to enough other people to make a viable business.
Remember my taxidermy example above: not exactly a mass-appeal area of expertise, but you can bet that the people who do enjoy it form a very loyal and interested niche willing to pay to access your expertise.
And that’s really the key to success in becoming an advice expert: finding your niche, your own corner of expertise where your opinion will carry an enormous amount of respect.
Finding that sweet spot is a matter of research. Scan the Internet for other websites. See how many books on the subject are on sale on Amazon. Frequent forums dedicated to that niche and ask people what information they’re looking for.
If you get good results in those areas, feel free to proceed.
Getting Paid for Giving Advice
The first step in becoming a money-making advice columnist is to establish your credibility. You can do this by starting a free blog and writing a few articles about your niche market. Once you gain a following, you can add a forum where people can ask you questions and you can dispense advice. A few tips for writing and running a successful advice blog:
• Write regularly
• Research the tough questions, don’t ignore them
• Promote your blog through social media
• Use good SEO practices
• Keep an editorial schedule
• Solicit questions through email, Twitter, etc.
That may seem like a lot to keep in mind, but the first bit is the most important: write regularly. Set yourself a schedule of answering, say, five questions a week. Keep up with it. Update regularly. Develop your own voice. Publish a new advice column on a certain day of the week, every week. By doing all these things, your readership will expand by leaps and bounds.
Which brings me to how you’re going to monetize your advice. Here’s the trick: all those articles you’re writing and questions you’re answering? You hold back the best information for your paid products like guides, ebooks, how-to videos, etc.
Using taxidermy as an example, you could have an ebook called 101 Ways to Stuff a Walrus. If you offer advice on visiting Disney World, your guide could be called Money-Saving Tips in the Land of the Mouse. If you’re a fisherman, How to Catch Bonefish in the Florida Keys would be an option.
Do you get the idea?
List those products on your site’s home page prominently with banners and be sure to have a Products page. And also mention these paid products and include a link to the Order page at the end of every blog post and article.
You can also make incremental income through advertising. If you have a large enough – and dedicated – following, you can contact companies who specialize in your area of advice-giving. If you’re not there yet, but would like to put advertising up, look into Google AdWords. It’s free and they will actually customize the ads to your website.
You could also make money by making a members-only section of your website where folks can pay to access certain content. This could be anything from videos, to lengthy and detailed guides, to audio.
Put a little hard work up front, and pretty soon you’ll become the guru of your own kingdom.
P.S. I just gave you the rundown on how to start turning a profit by giving out advice. But here are a few more resources to help you succeed beyond your wildest imagination!
Advice Sites Doing It Right
Places to Practice, Build a Reputation, and Get Inspiration