Turn what you know into cash: the art of selling knowledge

Written on 23 August, 2018 by Julia Hammond
Categories E-commerce

In the current job climate, it’s not actually imperative for you to have one. The ‘gig economy’ has revolutionised the way people work and, whether as a full-time income strategy, or simply for a bit of extra cash on the side, you can (and should!) put a price on what you know.

How can you provide value?

We have all built up a bank of experiences and, from those experiences, have seized a wealth of information over the decades we’ve been on the planet. You may have experienced what someone else is going through now – your advice could be highly valuable to them. Maybe you are the key to the missing information needed for a particular project – your assistance may help get it across the line. Perhaps your network of contacts is useful to an organisation and you could play a part in connecting the right people.

We are all brimming with potential but, before you start flaunting expertise, you need to understand the value you provide to potential clients. What benefit would they see from partnering with you? This can be a big question to answer and it may not be as obvious for some as others; however, each of us have something we can offer. Let’s break it down to get a better sense of the knowledge you have that you may be able to profit from.

Step 1: Think about your skills

What are your best qualities? What can you teach others? What can you share? Write a list of the things you’re good at. This list should cover everything from brushing your teeth to astrophysical data analysis (if that’s your bag!).

Step 2: Narrow your focus

Once you have an exhaustive list, think about how many people might be interested in paying for your help on the topic. For example, most people brush their teeth and, unless you’re a dentist, it’s unlikely anyone would pay for your advice on this matter. So, you can cross that one off. Continue to cross them off until you are left with a list of fields that are the most ‘niche’ qualities on your list.

Step 4: Identify your audience

With your shortlist, take a look at each point and establish the type of people who would benefit from the knowledge you have to share. This will come in handy later when you’re looking to monetise your knowledge through marketing and promotions. Do any of the audiences overlap? If so, can you think of a catch all “service” you could provide to that audience. For example, if you have listed SEO strategyPPC advertising and Social Media separately, perhaps you could broaden to a single term, Digital Marketing.

Step 3: Find your passion

If you’re going to be investing your time and energy into this venture, it’s important that you select something you enjoy. Of your shortlisted qualities, you need to make a choice – what do you love the most? What can you see yourself spending time on? Use a process of elimination if a single option doesn’t jump out at you, or rank your options in order of enjoyment if that makes it clearer for you.

Step 5: Find your point of difference

After long, hard deliberation, you should be clear about the knowledge you are going to sell. The last and most important step is to figure out why a potential customer would choose to employ you. You will have the most success if you are clear about the benefit of your expertise, as you will have something to use as a primary selling point. It is important to note the difference between the benefit of the knowledge you have and your point of difference. Realistically, there are probably many people capable of providing what your audience need. Why should they enlist your help? In marketing, this is called a unique selling proposition (USP). Once you have this documented, it’s time to start thinking about logistics.

How can you monetise your knowledge?

Once you have a service to sell, you need to think about how you’ll package it up and sell it. In what format will you provide your knowledge? There are many options here, each of which has its own benefit to both your customers and to you as the provider.

Write articles for websites

You can start out by writing articles for websites that cover your field of expertise. Reach out to the editors of publications that would benefit from your knowledge and, while you may need to work for free to establish yourself as a valuable resource, you will be able to roll this into an income-generating endeavour before too long.


As a consultant, you can provide advice on a case-by-case or contractual basis. This means that you have the flexibility to take on only the tasks you wish to. This, of course, will be hugely influenced by supply and demand. You can’t expect to turn away jobs if you’re just starting out. However, once established, you may get to a point where you are bringing in enough clients at an adequate frequency to be able to rely on this work full time.

Write an eBook

Putting your knowledge into written format and selling it is another great way to maximise income with minimum long-term effort. The internet has made it easy for anyone with decent connection to self-publish. Platforms like Amazon sell eBooks written by all sorts of independent writers and you could be one of them. By bundling your knowledge into an eBook, you can make money electronically, without the need to worry about distribution.

Online Course

As a way to supplement your income, you may like to set up an online course for clients to participate in. This is as great option for those who are time poor but still have a lot to offer. Digital technology these days is advanced enough that you can put together a training program online, set up automated digital marketing and, more or less, just wait for the money to roll in. These types of ventures have a high effort requirement in the beginning, but the maintenance can be really simple. Chat to a Digital Strategist today to discover how you could “set and forget” your digital marketing!

Where does digital marketing come in?

The world is more dependent on technology today than ever before. You are in the minority if you’re not online. Digital marketing is the most cost-effective way to promote the knowledge you’re selling. With a website and SEO strategy, you can earn traffic and get found by the people who are looking for your assistance. With PPC advertising, you can ‘skip the queue,’ so to speak and hit the top of Google search results in the short term. Finally, with social media and content marketing, you can prove your value to your audience and build trust and authority. With these tactics, you can effectively build your reputation and client base and start selling what you know. Good luck – and be sure to check in with us to let us know how you fare!

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