One of the many ways you can leverage your digital media expertise and monetize it is by offering consulting services. Your expertise in a specific niche industry and experience with digital media make you a valuable asset to many businesses. Whether you consult for one company or several at once, your nearly free startup can end up earning you over $100 an hour or a 6 figure annual income.
Analyze the market to determine what services are needed, under-served, and fit your skill set. What can you do better, cheaper, or more creatively than your competition? Chances are that if you've had success with your media startup, you've proven strong skills with social media, content creation, copy writing, video production, thinking outside the box, and being resourceful with a limited or nonexistent budget. These are all incredibly valuable skills that many companies and other entrepreneurs need. Create a separate website, or a separate section of your existing website (and potentially a specific landing page), dedicated to these services. Promote these services on your social media, Google, networking sites.
Get creative but most importantly get the word out. Sometimes offline networking can be effective in finding initial prospects, clients, and referrals. There are plenty of free networking groups or opportunities to attend free Chamber of Commerce, BNI, or Networking Club events to make contacts. In my experience online, great paid (but very affordable) options to advertise and calculate an accurate ROI include Google AdWords and Thumbtack. Great free websites to focus on utilizing include LinkedIn, Alignable, Google Business, Yelp, Inbound.org, and countless others.
Working as a consultant can give you a great deal of flexibility with your work schedule and the dedication you can offer. When you're starting out and trying to make a name for yourself, or working with large clients, you need to understand that the workload will be tremendous. There may not be a lot of work-life balance at first and your side businesses may have to play second fiddle for a period of time. Getting results for your clients and establishing yourself as a dependable expert in your field is paramount.
Once you are more established or have more flexibility to dictate the quantity / quality of clients you're willing to take on, you may be able to devote more time and energy to your original media startup. You may even want to do consulting as a side business while working another full time job.
You can also earn "finder's fees" for referring prospects to specialists in your network for services like SEO, Web Design, Photography, Video Editing, Graphic Design, Google Advertising, etc. While you may not have the expertise in some of these very specific services, or you don't have time to work for them, friends or business partners that do are usually happy to pay you a small referral fee when you point paying clients in their direction. Some professionals I know could almost make a living on just the referral fees they generate by getting so many leads and having an effective business network.
But again, that is just one path you may choose to take. You can also create other opportunities for yourself such as working in-house for a company, becoming a writer, making a living as a public speaker, becoming a television or radio professional, working as a teacher / business coach, starting your own product line, or anything you can set your mind to!
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