Earning With Your Creativity
As we start the second half of 2014, I would like to encourage all of you to look at ways in which you can create your own income, instead of just depending on what a job income can provide. While you don't have to run a full-time business, you can definitely try to earn extra cash in your spare time.
One way to start a profitable part-time enterprise is to use your creativity and natural abilities to provide a product or service for sale. Let's look at some of the steps that are involved in tapping into your talents in order to generate more money.
Assess your skills
The first thing you need to do is take a comprehensive look at some of your talents that may currently be underutilised. Your God-given gifts are not limited to artistic leanings such as singing, dancing or painting. Very often, your natural tendencies or traits contain clues to very marketable skills.
For example, if people usually remark that you have a beautiful voice and they say that you sound like someone on a radio show, then this could be a gift that has the potential to help you generate income. One earning possibility is becoming a voice talent for commercials and other advertisements.
Let's say that you love to exercise and eat healthy, and you're always giving hints to friends and co-workers who are struggling to control their weight. You could turn your way of life into extra cash by organising workout sessions where you help your colleagues to meet their fitness objectives.
Determine your target customers
Once you have identified something that you do well that could possibly have a benefit to others, then consider the type of person who would really desire your offering. Even though people may need what you have to offer, they aren't potential customers unless they are willing to pay money for it.
So, if you love to dig up information on any topic and could easily win a spot on the Jeopardy trivia game show, think of persons who might require the services of a researcher. These could include university students, book authors, or producers of television or radio programmes.
It's important to carefully select your prospective customer base, as you will find more success in trying to sell your offering to persons who are actually interested in the related item or area. You also need to ensure that what you are selling can adequately meet the requirements of your target group.
Package your offering
Providing a product or service that people demand is not enough; you must also present your offering in an attractive package. For example, if you are a math whiz and want to teach others, you could design a tutoring package that outlines different concepts in two-hour modules.
You could consider converting your service-oriented talent into a product, as a physical item may enable you to sell to more customers than just providing a service. So instead of tutoring mathematics in person, you could create training DVDs and sell them in tertiary institutions or high schools.
You should also think of how your customers may want to receive your offering when designing your package. Let's say that you are making a training product for senior citizens, then you should not put your offering into a format that requires using a computer, as they may be less likely to utilise it.
Test your ideas in the market
Before you start promoting your product or service, it's advisable to first get feedback from a sample of persons in your target group. Test out your offering with a few prospective customers by asking them to provide their honest comments and suggestions for improvement.
If you get a less-than-positive response to your testing efforts, don't be discouraged and quit, or worse, ignore their comments and proceed anyway. Delve deeper with your focus group to understand what they are really looking for in the product or service you had originally presented.
If you are responsive to constructive criticism, you have the opportunity to adjust your offering so that it will be more desirable to your target market. You may even have to create something completely different, but at least you will have a very good idea of how best to serve your potential customers.
Promote your product or service
If you're satisfied that your product or service is 'ready for the road' then you need to start letting your prospective customers know about it. Think of the best places to locate these persons and the ideal medium to use that will focus their attention on your offering.
While technology can increase your ability to reach customers, don't just send out generic emails or text messages to hundreds of people. It may be more effective to speak directly to your prospects or send a customised message, as you can allow your personality to help cement the sale.
If you really believe in the benefits of your offering, then you need to be enthusiastic in your efforts to promote it. Understand that you're selling a product or service to people whose lives can be enhanced by what you have to offer, and don't be afraid to let your target group know that it exists.
Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, The 3 Ms of Money will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Read more on money and business matters at financiallysmartadvice.com and entrepreneursinjamaica.com. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.