The simple explanation:
Step 1: find something you enjoy doing/a problem you have in your life
Step 2: connect to/create a community that relates to your activity/issue
Step 3: document your progress from journeyman to expert
Step 4: create a presence in your community
Step 5: create a product
Step 6: market to your niche community and sell your product
Let’s take yoga for example. My sister enjoys yoga, she loves it. In fact she recently spent six weeks in India acquiring accreditation to be able to teach it. However yoga is a saturated market, with well-established teachers, various styles as well as thousands of hours of dvd’s and YouTube content and walkthroughs etc. What isn’t a saturated market is yoga for people whose life is complicated via stressful workloads, balancing social and romantic lives and family planning in their 20’s and 30’s. This is a surprisingly large market that not only is my sister positioned within, but all of her friends are as well. If my sister decides to have a family she could then enter the market of yoga for pregnant and child-rearing women. We now live in the world of the long-tail, it pays better to cater to increasingly niche markets compared to the masses. So with that in mind how would she approach step 1 and 2?
Her activity is yoga. She has a passion and love for it and engages in it every day, willingly too. She doesn’t even consider it work. So this is step one solved. For step two she has three choices, she can:
- Choose location independence and use YouTube videos, live streaming on platforms such as twitch or periscope, personal coaching sessions for her exclusive market of young professionals struggling to get that work/life balance.
- Choose to tap her social network and run boot camps and classes. Friends, friends of friends and family will arise early and start their day in the best way possible through gentle exercise and social connection.
I would personally recommend doing the second and then when she has a solid clientele base, branch out into the first option. It’s her choice however.
When creating/connecting to a community it is absolutely necessary to harness the infinite power of social media. The breadth and depth of social media is unfathomable, it’s changed the world in breathtaking, irreversible ways – for better or for worse. She will NEED to create a presence on Instagram and Facebook. Twitter could be useful but not so much as the other two. She will need a personalised website. It wouldn’t hurt to be listed as a business on google and be on LinkedIn. She could post ads on craigslist, gumtree and meetup. She could join forums and micro communities centred in her area. These are not hard to find. There are so many ways to join micro-communities and build a network of potential clients as well as a network from which she can source invaluable information.
In conjunction with her personal website, I strongly advise keeping a blog. I might be biased because I am a writer, but I believe the most important and most overlooked step is step number 3, documenting the journey. This step has three benefits. The first being the whole world enjoys seeing the process of progress from novice to expert, the second being it will allow Rebecca to keep an eye on the bigger picture. How far she’s come, how far she has to go to reach her goals, her progress, her pitfalls etc. The third being documentation will further immerse her in her journey, a little more dedication and motivation if she needs it to keep on track.
With her blog as a testament to your expertise, she can place herself as an authority on the subject in her community. Rebecca will also have word of mouth and friends to vouch for her. When she has created a presences, anywhere from 3 months to 6 years, she can then think to market a product. In Rebecca’s case, I believe she should start with small, free lessons around holidays marketed toward a specific goal; ‘end of financial year stress relief,’ ‘summer body blitz,’ or even classes for people in white collar jobs, ‘wrist and carpal tunnel workshops,’ ‘opening hips and lower back’ and things like that. After leading a few of those classes and receiving feedback, she could charge for classes. This would be a relatively quick process, she could do this after 3 months. She could then transition these classes into videos that she could market and sell once she’s become more of a presence in her community. Videos, coaching sessions etc.
Voila, she’s taken a core passion of hers, put work into marketing and getting her name out, and now she is able to make decent money out of a hobby.
NOTE: this is simple, not easy. The process will take, on average, 3-5 years and will require around about 400 hours work outside your core activity. Marketing and advertising, maintaining social media, creating meet-ups, dealing with accounts and other stresses etc. The upside of this is that it probably won’t feel that much like work. You are doing something for you, and you will be a kid again, kicking the ball against the wall for hours and hours on end, everyone staring at you wondering how you’re not bored yet. What’s more is that you will genuinely be uplifted that you’re providing a service that directly benefits people. Something you created is positively affecting other people and that is one of the, if not the most rewarding thing in this world.