The Internet has made it easier than ever to earn passive income on the side. It’s simply provided the average person with more opportunities to sell goods and services. For instance, many people who have succeeded at creating passive income streams did so by self-publishing e-books or online courses, leveraging their own expertise to offer others valuable information.
However, this method isn’t technically an entirely passive endeavor (most “passive income” businesses rarely are). You’ll typically need to invest some degree of time and effort before you’ll start reaping the rewards.
That doesn’t mean the process needs to be cumbersome or draining. Writing an e-book or designing an online course can be very enjoyable if you have an interest in the subject matter. But of course, you need to choose the right subject matter. You’ll waste a lot of time if you start off choosing a topic that doesn’t appeal to customers. It’s important to thoroughly consider topic ideas before committing to one.
Read on for some tips that can be helpful if you’re trying to come up with a strong topic for your book or course.
Always Offer Value
You can only make money off an e-book or online course if customers buy it. Additionally, if your goal is to earn a substantial amount from passive income, you need to focus on a topic that’s immediately appealing to your customer base. You shouldn’t have to convince them to buy your book. They should be motivated to buy as soon as they find out what it’s about.
Rather than writing a book or designing a course solely about how to bake chocolate chip cookies, for example, you could also offer your family’s recipe for a unique type of pastry, something that is appealing to consumers because of its originality. This can draw in customers looking for traditional baking recipes as well as new ones.
It’s important to focus on providing the most value you can to the most people. Don’t think about just what you would like to read. Think about a topic that you know about but still appeals to a wide audience—while remaining novel enough that it stands out in the marketplace.
Fill an Unfulfilled Need
In addition to appealing to your customers, you’ll need to figure out what their unfulfilled needs are. Is the market oversaturated with book topics or online courses just like yours?
For example, maybe you’re a personal trainer, and you decide to publish an e-book on the best exercise routines for losing weight. This is a broad topic that has been covered extensively by many other books. All you need to do is head to a bookstore and quickly browse the Health & Fitness section to find a wide range of titles just like yours.
What reason would your customers have to buy your book one if it doesn’t offer information they can’t get from these other books?
It’s not enough to come up with a strong topic for your book or course. You need to make sure no one has covered the topic in the exact same way as well. There are many different ways to differentiate your book from similar titles. Maybe you could refine your idea to cater to a more niche audience. For instance, a fitness book or course explaining how to get in shape using household items may have a greater chance of succeeding than a general overview of working out.
It’s also possible that existing books and courses on your chosen topic simply aren’t strong enough to fill the gap in the market effectively. It might be possible to make yours stand out by creating something that’s more informative than what’s currently available.
Honestly Assess Your Expertise
Choosing the right topic is important, of course, but it’s also essential to be thoroughly confident in your ability to cover the topic from an informed perspective. If your goal is to create practical, valuable content, you can’t if you’re covering a topic you don’t understand or lack expertise in.
This doesn’t mean you can’t develop the necessary expertise. Passive income guru Pat Flynn started earning big money on the side when he began blogging about the process of studying for a notoriously difficult architecture exam. As he continued to blog, his expertise continued to grow, until he was able to write and publish an e-book on how to study for the exam. This was a topic that a) he was knowledgeable about, and b) appealed to his audience (fellow architects looking to pass the exam).
Keep these points in mind if you want to earn passive income via a book or online course. This is a smart way to earn extra money. You just need to make sure you’ve chosen the right topic.