If you’ve always wondered what it takes to start your own online business, you might be surprised how many ways there are to go about it. Because the internet reaches so many people so easily, you don’t always need a fortune in start-up costs in order to make money online. Are you great at repairing cars? Grooming dogs? Playing the cello? Doing algebra equations? One of the biggest hidden markets on auction sites like eBay is for instructional DVDs, which give customers an affordable and accessible way to learn a new skill from someone with experience and ability in the arena. There are instructional videos for literally thousands of topics – there are even instructional videos on making instructional videos! When you have a skill you think others would benefit from, you can devise a plan to market it.
All the right online packaging won’t help you sell DVDs if you don’t provide good content. Your instructional video should be as professional as possible, using good lighting, sound, and editing techniques to create something people can enjoy and understand. Recruit your friends or hire help with equipment and set-up. Have a rough outline of what you need to say in the order you need to say it. Don’t make your video sound over-rehearsed, but do more than just ramble at the camera. Use all the requisite materials, along with anything else you need like chalkboards or slides. Remember, instructional videos appeal to the visual learner – someone who doesn’t want to read a book or a manual about how to do something. Your video should feature as much hands-on demonstration as you can possibly fit.
Once you have your video, you need to mass-produce it in order to begin selling. Luckily, DVD duplication is fairly affordable. Find a reputable, ISO certified company to work with and you will have an impressive product. You will have to spend some time deciding what you want to list on the packaging. Title, date, running time, your name, and a brief description of the DVD’s content should be included, along with any disclaimers you need to make. If someone who buys your video sustains injury or property damage, they could come after you with a legal claim, so it’s best to research your obligations and what you need to clearly state on your DVD. Never pretend to have more expertise than you do or suggest anything on your video or website which you think may be unsafe.
Every small business needs a website, even if you’re simply marketing yourself. Your website is your first chance to appear professional, and hiring someone to help you design it will be an investment that pays off. According to a 2012 Personal Finance survey, 60 percent of internet users research products and services online, creating a huge potential market. Your site should contain all the relevant information customers need to trust your expertise enough to buy your DVD. Depending on the subject of your instruction, this can involve highlighting your experience, providing images or videos of your work, and promoting your own personality. And of course, you need to include pricing information and shipping availability. Branching out to Facebook or even Twitter can help you promote your site, as well. Make sure you include an email address where customers can reach you if they have questions.
Businesses use instructinal videos in all kinds of ways, from training their employees to teaching the public about a new product. But personal instructional DVDs are a means of sharing your skills and passions with a wider audience, and if you can create a product with professional in-depth content, people will want to hear what you have to say. Studies show that the most successful businesses come from entrepreneurs who are willing to use what they know. There’s no easier path than sharing what you know with the world.