First, you need to decide what skills you are going to learn. Don’t overthink it and apply a moderate amount of commonsense.
Digital skills like graphic design, web design, app development, content creation, and online marketing are a good start if you can’t think of any. Write down a list of your hobbies too and see if there is any gold in there.
If I gave you three months off work and forced you to stay home, what new skill would you want to learn?
That question seems to spark some good answers when I ask it on LinkedIn.
Once you know what skills you’re going to learn, pick a free place to start. I want you to choose a free option for learning to test out your decision.
Don’t blow $5000 on a course sold by a Lambo-loving Youtuber in a Hawaiian Shirt and then realize you hate what you’re learning…..or worse, you’ve been scammed. Your free options include Google Search, free blogs, or Youtube. There are more free options — but I’ll let you apply my advice on Google Search and let you magically find them. Thank me later.
Assuming your skill choice passes the free test and you’re feeling good about your decision, it’s time to spend some cash. Why?
Spending money to learn a skill gives you leverage on yourself.
When you’ve spent your hard-earned dollars on learning a new skill, you’re less likely to give up because then you feel like you’re going to lose.
Use your psychology to your advantage and screw yourself the way a used car salesman would screw you on a car they tell you is in ‘mint condition.’
Step 2: Practice Those New Skills
You now need to clock up many hours working away at this new skill. You’re not aiming for perfect or Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hour mastery level either.
Practice your new skills until you’ve gone from beginner to average. I know this advice probably sounds nuts but hear me out.
People wait way too long to monetize a new skill.
“); background-size: 1px 1px; background-position: 0px calc(1em + 1px);”>The lean startup approach taught by Eric Ries can be applied to learning new skills too. When you’re good enough, start using your new skill to help others.
If you only practice a new skill in front of yourself and the comfort of your nicely heated home, you’ll never truly test your new skill to see if it has money-making superpowers.
You don’t decide whether you have successfully acquired a new skill; the market decides.
Step 3: Experiment Earning $10 from Those Skills
Now we’re getting to the juicy part. Ayodeji Awosika suggested this one and I’ve altered it slightly to the humble figure of $10.
If you can make $10 from your new skill, a transformative shift will happen.
Earning $10 from a new skill is not about the money; it’s about the shift in your psychology. $10 is validation that you’re on the right track. Offering your new skill for free is selling yourself short and the feedback you get may be biased. But if you charge $10 for the use of your new skill, the customer gets a bargain and you get to validate that you are on the right track.
Cheap is hard to say no to but free feels creepy.
I mean if Donald Trump offered you a Ford Festiva for free, would you take it or think “Hmmmm…there is something fishy about this offer. Why is the president doing this and wasting his precious time?”
Step 4: Drive the Price Up
This is the biggest misunderstanding when monetizing new skills:
The price you start selling at doesn’t matter. The price you end up at does.
Sure, starting at $10 is a low price and can barely buy you a greasy hamburger from a rubbish diner, but the price can go up whenever you decide to raise it.
You can charge your first three customers $10 and the next three $1000. Nobody is keeping track of your prices even if they are advertised on the front page of your website. And on the off-chance someone sees the change in your prices, here is what you can say:
“Yes my prices have gone up as the original price included a completely different type of offering and the demand has significantly increased. I’ve also added many new features.”
After you say this sentence, almost nobody will question you. And the people who do keep questioning you and have lots of letters after their name and want to always be right, from experience, are not the type of paying customer you want.
You don’t want to offer your skills to everybody.
You want to offer your skills to those who need them and those you can help, for a price that is fair, and, most importantly, allows you to keep going and not give up.
Step 5: Repeat the Process and Further Diversify
This is my favorite step. Once you’ve proven to yourself that you can monetize new skills, you get to acquire more skills and monetize those too.
Why would you want to monetize more than one skill? Easy — you want to diversify your income streams.
If you only make money using one skill you risk your income being switched off by one of those once-in-a-lifetime events. You know the ones I’m talking about, where you can’t leave your home or shake/hug people anymore.
To help you picture what this looks like, I’ll give you an example from my life. I started out by monetizing my blogging. Companies paid me money to write — pretty simple, right? (You can do it too.) Then, I started charging for 1–1 coaching, and then social media consulting, then for an eBook, then for ghostwriting…and the list goes on.
When I lost my job, those skills I’d acquired saved me. Those skills paid for groceries, utilities, coffees with friends, entertainment to take my mind off things, and for smiles, I could put on my girlfriend’s face through romantic getaways.
You wouldn’t bet your entire savings on a single company listed on the stock exchange, would you? Of course not. So why would you bet your entire life on one skill?
Diversify the skills you can earn money from and your stress levels will be lower and you’ll be able to relax a lot more.
The hard part is not acquiring new skills; it’s monetizing them. I’ve been there too and there is a way forward.
The key is to start small and validate your skills with those initial customers who pay you peanuts, but not zero. You’re good enough to make money from your skills, and literally any skill can be a source of income for an economic future that is extremely uncertain.
Learn a new skill and enjoy the simple pleasure of having it earn you money.