After my husband passed away, freelance writing became a side hustle that supplemented my income as a therapist. I wrote for a variety of websites and my content ranged from short articles about marketing to long series about mental health. The extra income I earned from writing gave me peace of mind and a few extra spending dollars.
That all changed in 2013 when my article, 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, went viral. Within a few days of publishing it, millions of people read it. Then, Forbes reprinted my list on their website and within a couple of weeks, it attracted 10 million more viewers.
Suddenly, major media outlets—from Fox News to Business Insider—were contacting me to talk about mental strength. It was definitely an exciting time, but I knew if I didn’t capitalize on my opportunity, my article on mental strength would become yesterday’s news.
Despite the exposure I was getting, I wasn’t earning any money from it—aside from the whopping $15 one publisher paid me for publishing it on their website. I knew I needed to take immediate action to capitalize on my opportunity.
Fortunately, around the same time, a literary agent called and suggested I write a book. A few weeks later, I landed a book deal and began working hard to build my business.
I discovered there are many ways to gain multiple revenue streams from a single piece of content. Although I’ve made some mistakes along the way, I’ve turned those original 600 words into a 7-figure business.
If you have a good idea—whether you know the secret to growing the best garden or you excel at teaching people how to cook healthier meals—there are several ways you can turn your content into a business:
1. Write a book
Traditional publishers pay well for interesting ideas and helpful content. If you think you have what it takes to write a book, start looking for a literary agent. Although an agent will take a portion of your earnings, a good agent is well worth the cost.
You can also self-publish your book with relative ease. While you won’t earn an advance like you would if you go the traditional route, you also won’t have to share the profits with a publishing house. And you’ll have more control over the pricing, cover and design of your book.
2. Create a course
Online learning is huge right now. On the bright side, that means you have endless opportunities to attract students. Unfortunately, it also means you’ll face steep competition from other course builders.
While you could use Udemy to build and sell your course, you might find you’re better off creating it and selling it on your own website. You can hire freelancers to do much of the work for you, such as creating graphics or videos.
It takes a fair amount of time to create a course, but it can be a lucrative opportunity. Marketing your course is the key to success, but there are many ways to spread the word, like offering free webinars and working with affiliates.
3. Give talks
Depending on your topic, you may find speaking to be a helpful way to boost your income. Organizations often pay top dollar for keynote speeches that will motivate, inspire and teach their employees.
Not everyone uses talks to earn money. Some people use speeches to gain exposure for their books or to sell courses. It’s important to decide what type of business plan will work best for your content.
If you’re serious about speaking as a way to earn money, hire a speaking coach. The better you become at speaking, the more money you can charge. You can also sign up with speaker bureaus to help you land more gigs.
4. Offer consultation
If people seek your expertise, consider charging for consultation. Whether you offer meetings via Skype or you charge for your webinars, answering questions and offering guidance can be an excellent way to earn money.
It can be hard to place a dollar value on your wisdom, but if you know you are providing valuable content and helpful advice, charge for your time.
5. Publish content for other people
Writing for magazines or creating content for other people’s websites can help you attract a new audience. In addition, many publishers pay well.
The good news is, when you’ve established solid ideas, writing about them should be fairly easy. It might not take very long to create your content.
Create opportunities for yourself
Even if your content doesn’t go viral, you can still create opportunities to turn your good ideas into a business. Build a platform and pay attention to which ideas spark the most interest. Develop expertise and gain credibility for your ideas. Over time, you’ll discover which revenue streams make the most sense for your business.