There are a number of ways you can monetize your craft. There’s the traditional “pay to play” model which is much like traditional distribution. If you’re a creative entrepreneur then this is often the biz structure you have for your craft. If you have a film, play or web series then generally speaking you collect money when people watch it, eg. tickets.
What happens when this model doesn’t work or worse, what happens when this model gets over saturated that it becomes that much more difficult to turn a profit off a project?
What about recurring income?
Have you thought of creating a business model that allows you to monetize your craft in a non-traditional way?
What other skills do you have?
Are you great at teaching others how to audition?
Do you have the chops in video editing?
Have you cracked the code with social media?
Do you moonlight as a life coach for struggling creatives who can’t seem to get their ‘ish together?
If so then you’ll want to consider creating a business model that works in your sleep. How so?
If you’re great at teaching others how to audition then you can create a 6 week audition training program.
If you have stellar editing skills then you can create a course on editing videos for the rising niche of Youtube personalities.
If you’re a social media pro then you can create a training series showing other content creators how to master Pinterest, Instagram and Periscope.
If you’re a coach then you can create a DIY virtual program.
These ideas sound great in theory and I’m going to break it down into simple steps that will have you opening your new business in less than 1 hour.
Follow these steps:
1) Get your namesake URL.
Sure you can use your own URL but I would actually recommend you get a different URL so that it’ easier to manage the backend. You’ll also want to get something catchy and memorable like “AceYourNextAudition.com” or “SocialMediaForDirectors.com” or “InstagramForFilmmakers.com.” FYI, at the time I wrote this ALL of these URLs were available.
I recommend using namecheap.com for your URL and purchase the SSL that they upsell you for $1.99. Visit https://www.namecheap.com/promos/coupons.aspx before you get your URL and grab the monthly coupon code.
2) Get web hosting.
Let’s look at real estate when understanding the difference between a domain name and web hosting. Your domain name (URL) is your address. Web hosting is the actual land where you build your house. Once you get your URL you will need web hosting.
Asking people about web hosting is like asking people if they like Pepsi or Coke. Some people will love Hostgator while others will love Bluehost. Then there are those who, for whatever reason, swear by Godaddy.
Tomato, Tomatoe. It’s all the same thing.
I recommend using the Optimized WP package with either bluehost.com or hostgator.com.
3) Install WordPress.
Once you’ve got web hosting, installing WordPress is a breeze. Your web host, whether it’s Hostgator or another, will provide you with documentation and tutorials for how to install WordPress.
If you find yourself spending more than 15 minutes to install WordPress, call your web host and ask if they’ll do it. Most will do it free of charge.
4) Sync your domain name with your web hosting.
This might sound complicated but it’s pretty easy to do. Make sure you’re logged into both your domain name and web hosting accounts. When you signed up for web hosting they sent you an account overview email with your details. In this email will be the domain name servers for your account.
It will look something like this:
You may need to browse the FAQs section for your domain name server provider. The interface will change from provider to provider. What you want to do is assign the name servers that your web hosting provider gave you when you signed up so that your URL is pointed to it.
Again, if in doubt contact your domain name server provider. Changing your domain name server (DNS) takes less than 5 minutes so many providers will either walk you through the process or do it for you.
Now that you have your WordPress installed and you can access it with your URL, let the fun begin!
If you’ve never used WordPress before then the dashboard might be overwhelming. Don’t worry. Once you get the hang of it, WordPress is pretty easy to use. There are a ton of plugins you can use for your site when creating an online course, training series or digital program.
For the sake of time and ease, I’m going to show you the very basic setup to get you up and running in under an hour.
5) Decide what you want to offer.
Is it a 6 week course with one module per week? If so then you’ll want to create 8 pages that go like this:
Page 1 is your sales page. This is where you write what the course is about and add a way for people to register.
Page 2 is your welcome page. This is where you thank people for signing up and you include the links for where they can access the 6 modules.
Pages 3-8 are for modules 1 through 6. Assign one module per page so that you have enough space for all the materials that you want to share. Your modules can include videos, audio recordings, PDFs for downloading, etc.
Password-protect your welcome page and all the module pages.
When you publish a page on WordPress, you’re given an option to keep the page public for everyone to view or change it so that it’s private or password-protect. Select password-protect and assign a password for the page. This way only those who have the password can access the contents on the page.
6) Create your sales page and include a way for people to pay.
You can select Paypal or Stripe. Both give you embeddable buttons that you can use on your site. Sign into your account, designate a price and create the button. Then add them to your sales page.
Once you have this set up, you are technically “open for business.”
Now all you have to do is get people enrolled!
These quickie steps are designed to demystify the tech logistics so that you can diversify how you monetize your craft. Keep in mind these are steps designed to get you up and running in under an hour.
The structure is not complex enough to operate on auto-pilot, nor does it allow for any kind of automated sequencing. Follow these steps if this is your first rodeo and the sound of tech speak gives you moderate anxiety.
Setting up your website to work for you and your business will give you the competitive edge over your non-entrepreneurial peers
*photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club