Teaching sells. This has been a fact for many years, but now that 1.4 biliion people on our planet have internet access, it has never been more true. There is even a post over at Problogger, written by John from Ace Online Schools, that addresses this very topic today.
When I got started online in 2005, I wasn’t sure exactly what my niche would be. I felt like I knew a lot about many different topics, but not enough about any one of them to be able to turn it into a business, especially an online business.
I made a list of everything I was interested in, liked to do, and had a passion for. This list became quite lengthly as I included subjects such as Yorkshire terriers and other small dogs, buying and selling real estate, and healthy eating, which included vegan diets, and organic gardening.
Then I made a second list. I wrote down all of my life experiences over the past 20 to 30 years. I had worked as a classroom teacher in the inner city of Los Angeles, real estate broker, and as a residential property appraiser. I had raised two stepchildren from the time they were toddlers, survived cancer three times, and still care for my 91 year old mother.
I compared both lists to look for what I refer to as the ‘sweet spot’. This is the area where your interest and passion comes together with your experience. It is also the area that your friends and family will tell you that you have specialized knowledge in. It is what people who know you think of when they think about you.
My sweet spot is in teaching technology and helping people with their writing. It took me almost a year to come to this conclusion, because it was just too close to me. I took it for granted that I could help someone from age 8 to 80 write a letter, essay, or narrative report. I was also the person my friends and family called when they were about to purchase a computer or needed helping in learning a new software program. When i finally realized I would do either of these things even if I wasn’t being paid, I knew I had found a niche that would make me feel like I would never work another day in my life.
What can you teach others to do? You may need some additional training to teach them to do it well (I continue to learn more technology so that I can pass what I learn on to my students), but remember that you are an expert if you know more than the person you are teaching.