What to do With That Song in Your Head

By Beacon Staff

A few weeks ago, I talked about some examples of how to leverage all that stuff you’ve got stored away in your head – and how to monetize that knowledge by repackaging it into something someone would actually pay for.

At the time, we talked about some opportunities that a welder might have. Shortly after that, a reader suggested that experienced welders were still in demand and that I should explore other fields such as musicians or construction workers.

So let’s do that.

We’ll start with musicians.

Like any other group, musicians have a wide range of skills so I’ll have to make a few assumptions about what our mythical musicians might do to create a new career for themselves.

I’m going to assume that the musician plays at least one instrument and can sing a little (that means somewhere between Roseanne Barr and that amazing British lady from Britain’s Got Talent).

Some of the obvious choices include teaching, either individually or in groups, doing voice-over work; and/or creating jingles and other kinds of commercial music.

Sit down and decide what is most important to teach, whether we’re talking Beginning Guitar or Memphis blues harmonica.

Start by answering a question like “If I started today, what are the first 10 skills I would want a student to learn?”

Do the same for additional levels of skill that you feel confident teaching.

For each one, break things down into manageable pieces that you can summarize, teach, demonstrate and wrap up in a 15 minute lesson. The easier they are to consume, the more likely they will be.

Groups leverage your time but also make it more difficult to provide a high quality experience for your students. Bottom line, that means that you have to be more prepared and have spent more time fine-tuning (much less practicing) your teaching skills.

Individuals are easier to teach because you can customize the instruction, but get you into a mode where you are effectively creating a job as opposed to a business. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it will limit your ability to leverage your time.

So what do you do? Why not both? Record individual lessons and sell them to a group.

For production, teach each lesson to a friend or a student. Record the lesson on digital video. Create a transcript. Pull the audio out. Each of these is a component of your lessons. Some people learn best visually, some don’t.

Get past the idea that your teaching is limited to local folks. With a little effort and some technology, you can teach someone regardless of where they live. That’s where the leverage comes in. If you can teach 1, via video you can teach 1000.

If creating jingles and other advertising tunes is your thing, you’re going to need to become fairly adept at marketing your skills and finding those folks who need that work.

I suspect you’ll find that this might be your most competitive area unless you think a little differently: What about the businesses that can’t afford (or think they can’t afford) a custom-composed 15 second piece of music?

You can create a series of jingles and sell them, offering customization to those who need them. You can sell them locally or online. These things are easy to download, and custom work is as easily delivered.

A friend of mine is the famous voice that says “Thank you for using AT&T”. Voice-over work is what she specializes in, and in fact, she coaches and consults to help voice-over artists expand their business.

These folks use their golden speaking voices for a number of things beyond advertising – including narration, fade-in/fade-out announcer work for people who do a lot of teaching using online and recorded media and similar tasks. If you have the voice for it, you can be kept rather busy and most likely, doing it for people who teach things you might never have thought of.

Now, we talked about this whole thing in terms of musicians. You could do the exact same thing if you are an expert at reloading ammo, tuning pianos, inspecting homes for real estate sales or repairing lawn mowers.

Want to learn more about Mark or ask him to write about a business, operations or marketing problem? See Mark’s site or contact him via email at mriffey at flatheadbeacon.com.