When Dorie Clark, business consultant and bestselling author, began writing her new book, a surprising thing happened. As she implemented the strategies in the book--before it was even published--her income grew. Not by a few thousands, but by over $200,000.
The book is Entrepreneurial You: Monetize Your Expertise, Create Multiple Income Streams, and Thrive and, to write it, Clark interviewed over 50 successful entrepreneurs about how they made money from their expertise.
At the time, Clark was already a successful business coach, professor, and author. And yet even she stood to benefit from new monetization strategies. She had been relying on traditional marketing and was running herself ragged servicing her many clients.
"The elephant in the room of modern entrepreneurship is that even people who seem to be at the top of their game aren't always monetizing successfully," Clark wrote, "Learning to make money from your expertise is a different skill set from what's needed to become excellent at your work or well known in your field."
In the book, Clark summarizes what she learned into a 3-step process that relies on online marketing. If you're not yet familiar with online marketing, you might hesitate to get into it, afraid you'll come off as yet another sleazy online marketer. But as Clark herself found, "online marketing done right didn't have to be exploitive or crass."
Here are the 3 steps to monetize your expertise:
1. Become a trusted resource.
First, establish your credibility, not just as someone knowledgeable in your field, but someone who isn't going to scam people. The strategies in this step include creating valuable online content, building an email list, and nurturing a connection with your audience.
One powerful way to become a trusted resource is by writing a book. Getting published traditionally--complete with an agent and publisher--is potent, but self-publishing no longer has the stigma it used to have. So don't let the lack of a publisher stop you from becoming a published author.
The next step is to monetize or get paid for your expertise, an area some experts, Clark observes, are uncomfortable with. They're afraid to charge what they're worth and may feel anxious it will turn off their audience. As a result, many experts undercharge, which keeps them working long hours to get to their target incomes.
Clark advises experts to build up the courage to charge reasonable--even premium--prices. This entails constantly upgrading your skills and knowledge and getting clarity around how much your competitors are charging.
It's also important to diversify your revenue sources. Clark says she herself has seven income streams. Her book covers coaching and consulting, public speaking, podcasting, blogging, vlogging, and live events as just a few of the possible income sources for experts.
Diversification is a good idea even for experts who are employed. "Even if you currently work for an organization full time and have no desire to become self-employed," Clark wrote, "developing entrepreneurial pursuits on the side can provide an additional income stream, as well as unexpected professional development opportunities."
Finally, when the expert has built a critical mass of followers, Clark recommends further expanding their reach and impact in ways that bring even more income: online courses, digital products, and affiliate marketing/joint ventures.
Ultimately, Clark reminds us, it's not about the money. It's about being able to sustain the lifestyle you want to live. She goes on to warn against business models that may bring in a lot of income but, at the end of the day, doesn't bring fulfillment and satisfaction.
"The real goal is freedom--the independence to live your life as you'd like, doing work you're passionate about and allocating your time to the things that matter most to you," Clark wrote.