Do this First – How to Make Money from Content

To make money from your content, what’s the first thing you must do?

If you start in the wrong place, you’ll slow down your progress and waste your time effort and attention.

In this post, I’ll show you the step-by-step process where I start – including the three things I consider to make money from my content.

Simon Sinek: Start With Why 1 Start with Why

The first place to start is with your why or your reason for taking action.

This is an old advertising phrase that was made popular by Simon Sinek – which is no surprise given Sinek’s early career was in advertising.

Your why is often talked about as your purpose in life or business. What’s your deeper why? Today you are looking at your immediate why – which is to make money from your content.

If you want to go deeper with this, check out the post: Create your Personal Vision in Four Simple Steps. That can help you define the reason why you want to money from your content based on the lifestyle you want to live.

2 Start with the end in mind

Stephen Covey - The Seven Habits of Highly Effective PeopleThe second place to start is, to begin with the end in mind.

This one was made popular by Stephen Covey in his best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. This is habit number two.

This is like ‘Start with why’ but more about the specific outcome you want to achieve.

Simply saying ‘I want to earn money from my content’ is vague. For instance, I want to earn $1000 from my content for three months in a row by May 2023.

What’s your specific and measurable outcome?

If you want more on this, check out the post, Content Strategy 2022 – The best framework for Thought Leaders where I talk about setting your business goals. It works for Content Creators too.

3 Start with the Opportunity

The third place to start and the one I want to focus on today is to start with the opportunity.

When you start with the opportunity, you answer the question: What should you focus on?

There are lots of ways you could make money from your content. For instance, you could sell an ebook, offer a video course, set up affiliate income streams, a membership site, provide coaching or a design for you service.

But which one is best for you? And which one is best for you, right now?

In other words, what’s your best opportunity for making money from your content today?

Here’s how I made my decision about what to focus on.

Three Ways to Start to Make Money from Content

The Opportunity Table

To reveal the best way for you to make money from your content you must create an Opportunity Table.

I’ve created mine in Notion. It is an online platform where you can create, plan and capture your ideas. You can also use Word, Google Docs, a spreadsheet or the good old pen and paper – anything that will let you create a table.

What are your best assets for making money from your content?

The starting point to identify your best opportunity is to write down all the assets you could use.

An asset has two qualities.

  1. It’s a resource that is valuable in some way.
  2. It’s something you own or have access to.

1 Current Content

For content creators, the obvious asset is the content you have already created.

For me, that’s my blog posts and my videos. I have over 1000 blog posts here on my website and over 60 videos on my YouTube channel.

2 Previous Content

Next, you want to add any other assets that you have created previously.

For me, given I’ve been creating content for over 20 years, I have lots of other content that I could use to make money in the next few months.

  • For instance, I’ve written 12 books – ten of these have been published, two of them are finished but not published.
  • I also have 20-30 ebooks that I’ve written on various topics. They’re scattered all over the hard drive on my computer.
  • I’ve run over a dozen different courses on topics from creativity and innovation to content creation, information products and project design.
  • Plus, I’m most famous for my Book Rapper book summaries – I have over 60 ebooks that I have previously sold via subscription and syndication. The best thing about these ebooks is that I know they are valuable because people have previously paid for them.
  • Finally, I have over 100 podcast episodes including over 50 interviews with business experts.

That’s a lot of content and assets that I can use. But which one should I focus on?

Two Qualities of Assets

How to turn your Assets into Opportunities

Next, you want to look at your opportunities.

Now, an important point to note here is that an asset is not an opportunity. Just because I have written a book, that’s not an opportunity by itself.

For instance, I have around 20 copies of my book Done in the shed. If I leave them in the shed, that’s not an opportunity. It’s only when I do something with that book that I can turn them into an opportunity. If I want them to be a way to make money, then I need to make them available for other people to buy. Then they become an opportunity.

In the second column, you want to review each of our assets and create some opportunities for them.

This could be simple and obvious. For instance, I could turn my blog posts into books and then sell the books. Or I could sort through the courses I’ve run and decide if they are worth repurposing.

You might want to challenge yourself by writing down at least 3 opportunities for each asset to fully explore your options.

How to Identify Your Best Opportunities

Your third step for identifying your best opportunity is triage.

If you’re thinking you want to pursue several opportunities at the same time, don’t! You’ll get better results if you focus on one. But which one?

Medical Triage

You often hear of the word ‘triage’ in a hospital setting where the doctors and nurses decide who needs to be treated first. It’s a French word and it means ‘to sort’.

Prior to World War Two, those wounded in battle were treated on a first come first served based. If you were taken to the medical tent first with a broken arm, then you would be treated first and the person who comes in behind you with a gunshot wound would have to wait – even though they may be dying and you’re not. While this might seem fair, it meant more people died waiting for treatment than needed to.

The triage system works because it is a simple way to place patients in one of three categories.

  1. If your vital signs are stable and you are likely to die from your injuries you are labelled ‘green’ – but you will have to wait.
  2. If you were unlikely to survive regardless of how we help, you will be put into the ‘black’ group and probably be given pain-killing medication.
  3. And if you won’t survive unless you get help right now you are labelled ‘yellow’ and given high priority. For instance, stop that blood loss now!

If the medicos had any more rules than that it would take a long time to sort through who was next and that would be self-defeating.

Opportunity Triage

Opportunity Triage

Likewise, to sort through your opportunities you want a quick general guide – an Opportunity Triage.

Sure, if you’re deciding which opportunity to pursue a billion-dollar project with hundreds of people working on it, then you need to do a more detailed analysis. But for today to make money from your content this will be enough.

And even if you are fairly clear about your best opportunities this process is quick enough to do a check and confirm your choice.

The three questions I ask myself about my money-making opportunities are:

1 Return on Investment

What’s the return or return on investment? Here, you want to know if it is worth pursuing.

And keeping things simple, I suggest you rate your opportunities based on their potential to earn:

  1. Lots of money
  2. A little money
  3. Not much or no money

2 Ready

Is this opportunity ready to go? In other words, how much time, energy and effort is needed before you can start selling it? Clearly, a book that you’ve already written is ready compared to one you haven’t started writing yet.

Rate the readiness of your assets based on:

  1. It is ready now
  2. It’s almost ready
  3. No, it’s not ready

3 Right

Third, is this right for my audience? In other words, is it a good fit and something they are likely to be interested in and purchase? For instance, while I have written 12 books, one of them is a children’s book and another is on the future of architecture. That’s not what my current audience are interested in. But my four books on productivity and Done probably are.

Rate the level of your opportunity being right for your audience based on:

  1. It fits
  2. It could fit with a bit of tweaking
  3. No, it’s unfit or unlikely that your current audience will buy this (at this time).

Note: This is also about timing – the right fit right now. If I were to change my audience back to architects, then my book on the future of architecture may then become a good choice.

Rate Your Opportunities

Now that you’ve rated each of our assets, you want to find the winner. Which opportunity will you focus on first?

This step is to turn your ratings into numbers. Here you want to give each item a number score based on the 3-2-1 rating you’ve just done. For instance, if it could earn you lots of money give it three points, a little money scores two points and so on.

Add up your scores to see which is your best opportunity.

For me, my best opportunity right now to make money from my content is to sell my Book Rapper book summaries. It scored a perfect nine out of nine. There were several items that scored eight and they might be worth pursuing next. But now I only want to focus on one thing. It’s like spinning plates – get one plate up and spinning before you add a second and a third.

Opportunity Table - Geoff's Example

Opportunity Action Plan

Now, that you have identified your best opportunity for making money from your content, you want to design a plan for making this happen.

For me, this means setting up a store and a promotional campaign to sell my book summaries. This includes talking more about my books and summaries in my upcoming videos and blog posts – look out for that.

How to Double your Opportunities for Making Money as a Content Creator

Today I’ve shared a step-by-step process for identifying your best opportunity for earning money. But it’s only an opportunity if you make it happen.

And the good news is that these are only the opportunities that you can see from where you are standing right now. One of the magical things about life, business, and your career, is as you grasp and fulfil one opportunity, other bigger, better and different opportunities will then show up.

For instance, you might think back to the first jobs you applied for coming out of school, university or college. But ten years later with a decade of experience under your belt you were able to apply for and gain bigger and better opportunities.

My advice is to simply pick the best opportunity right now based on the three criteria of Return, Ready and Right. (Or perhaps that should be Relevant). Then go and fulfil that opportunity before you tackle others.

In my next post, I’ll share why the first action I took to make money from my content was to create a Co-fi page and not a Patreon page.

More on how to Make Money from Content

If you want more on how to Make Money as a Content Creator here are three recent posts to consider:

And let me know in the comments below: What are you going to focus on to make money from your content?

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