Discover more from Creator Economy by Peter Yang
The 5-Step Playbook to Turn Your Knowledge into Income Online
How to make money on the internet while you sleep
Level up your product and creator skills in just 5 min a week. Join 50,000+ readers:
Today, I want to share how you can turn your knowledge into income online.
I believe that anyone can make $100 online as a creator. And if you’re persistent, you can turn that $100 into a thriving six-figure internet business.
But it’s a long journey and there are many pitfalls to avoid. Let’s dive into how you can:
Find your niche
Interact with top creators
Show up everyday
Own your audience
Create revenue streams
Why create content online in the first place?
This path isn’t for everyone, but here are a few benefits:
Build something for yourself. In the ups and downs of tech, it’s great to build something that you have full control over.
Meet great people. I recently watched a wrestling show with a well-known VC and a famous tech journalist. I would never have met them if I didn’t do this.
Make a living. It’s not easy, but creators can make six figures or more online if they work on their craft and put in the reps.
So why don’t more people do this? The most common excuse I hear is:
“I don’t have anything interesting to share!”
Which brings us to step one…
1. Find your niche
Find the intersection
Your niche is at the intersection of what people want, what you’re good at, and what interests you. Let’s break it down:
What people want. People want to achieve a specific outcome. Have a clear definition of: “I will help user X get from point A to B.”
What you’re good at. You don’t have to be the world’s expert on a topic to be good at it. People often learn best from someone who’s just a few steps ahead.
What interests you. Pick a niche that motivates you to create content everyday. If you don’t have genuine curiosity for your niche, you’re unlikely to last.
Let’s use this newsletter as an example:
People want to level up their PM skills and turn knowledge into income online.
I’ve been a PM and creator for many years.
I love writing about creator products and businesses.
Pick a niche within a niche
If your niche is already crowded, try to pick a niche within a niche. For example, although there are many PM creators, you can stand out by owning a sub-niche like “Help new PMs launch their career.” or “Help PM managers empower their team.”
Update your social for your niche
Once you pick a niche, update your social handles so people know what you create content about. A simple line like “I write about product management, creators, and tech.” should be good enough to start.
If you still don’t know what your niche, don’t stress. Steps 2 and 3 will help you uncover it.
2. Interact with top creators
Reply to their content
Find top creators in your niche on Twitter, LinkedIn, and other platforms.
Follow them and build a habit of leaving thoughtful replies on their posts. This is a great way to get discovered because these creators already have huge audiences who may be interested in your content.
Learn from their best content
Whenever you visit a creator’s profile, you’ll see their best content on the side bar. This is a fantastic way to see what content resonates the most for creators in your niche.
You can provide a lot of value to top creators even if you’re just getting started.
For example, you can create a Twitter thread or post that summarizes their content. You can also reply to their content with a compliment about how it impacted you.
Creators love followers who express genuine interest. Just avoid being self-promotional or DMing with the dreaded “Can we set up some time so I can pick your brain.” The response rate for that is 0%.
3. Show up everyday
You’ve picked a niche and have started interacting with top creators in that niche. Now it’s time to start creating content yourself.
Publish a tweet or LinkedIn post every single day. For now, don’t worry about whether it’s good enough. Measure success by showing up every day vs. how many likes or comments you’re getting.
To save time, use a tool like Typefully (Twitter) or Buffer (LinkedIn) to schedule a week’s worth of content ahead of time. Reply to people’s comments on your posts. Show your early followers that you care.
Understand what’s working
After 2-4 weeks of publishing everyday, look at your analytics to understand what content is getting the most interactions (e.g., likes, comments) and profile visits.
Publish more of what’s working and less of what’s not. Be wary of a few things:
Not all content helps you build a business. For example, I’ve gone viral through shitposting, but it’s questionable if people who follow me for shitposts will buy an online course or digital product.
You still need to have genuine curiosity. For example, I’ve stopped writing about crypto because I lost my curiosity last year.
Create a content system
It sucks to stare at a blank page everyday. The best creators have content systems that help them write once and publish multiple times. Here’s my system:
I write a newsletter post every 1-2 weeks.
I break up the post into 4 social pieces.
I schedule the social pieces over 4-6 weeks.
I still randomly tweet stuff, but with 2 kids and a full time job that I care about, the above process helps me be much more efficient.
4. Own your audience
Once you have 1,000+ followers on social, you should start building an email list. Emails are important because they’re a direct channel to your audience. There are two ways to collect emails:
Start a newsletter
Offer a free digital product
5. Create simple revenue streams
Most people overcomplicate things when it comes to revenue. I recommend sticking to 1-2 simple streams when you’re getting started:
Coaching and consulting: This is a great way to get started because it helps you build deeper relationships with your true fans and also serves as customer discovery for a future digital product or course.
On-demand digital products and courses: This lets you create once and make money while you sleep. You should set your on-demand product at an impulse buy price point (e.g., $150 or less) and keep it short and to the point (e.g., don’t make 200+ page PDFs or 10+ hour courses).
Other revenue streams include newsletter sponsorships, subscriptions, live cohort courses, and paid community memberships. I’ll dig into these in a future post.
To recap, here's my advice:
Find your niche: Find the intersection of what people want, what you're good at, and what interests you. Pick a niche within a niche and keep your social updated.
Interact with top creators: Reply to their posts, learn from their best content, and provide value to them. This is one of the best ways to get discovered early on.
Show up everyday: Post everyday and look at your analytics to understand what's working. Create a content system to write once and publish multiple times.
Own your audience: Start a newsletter or offer a free digital product behind an email sign up form to start building an email list.
Create simple revenue streams: Consider coaching and on-demand digital products and courses to start.
Again, this path is not for everyone - you need to put in the reps over a long period of time to get results. But I really do believe that anyone can use this playbook to turn knowledge into income online.
Besides, it feels great to make money on the internet while you sleep.
Let me know in the comments if you have any questions.
Subscribe below to level up your product and creator skills in just 5 min a week:
If you enjoyed this post, consider taking a moment to: