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Fast growing opportunities: What is content entrepreneurship?

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There are many types of entrepreneurship — from inventing and building prototypes in your basement or garage to side hustles to raising venture capital and developing the latest new software to change the world. One of the fastest-growing is also one that got its name most recently: content entrepreneurship.

Curious? So was I. So, here’s what I’ve learned about what content entrepreneurship is, how it’s different (and similar) to blogging or being an influencer, and how you can make money as a content entrepreneur.

What is content entrepreneurship?

Historically, businesses have provided one of two things: physical goods (either as makers or resellers) or services (accountants, plumbers and virtual assistants, etc).

There are also subcategories of entrepreneurship. First is innovation entrepreneurship, which focuses on developing, implementing or commercializing novel ideas and technologies. Another growing type of entrepreneurship is social entrepreneurship, where leaders build businesses to solve social problems like access to food, money and education.

Now we add a whole new type of entrepreneurship: content entrepreneurship.

The phrase content entrepreneurship was introduced by Joe Pulizzi, who also introduced the term content marketing. A content entrepreneur creates and distributes a blog, podcast, or video series for their audience to generate revenue.

Once they have built an engaged following, content entrepreneurs monetize through several revenue streams, increasing their profitability and growth.

What it means to be a content entrepreneur (vs. influencer or blogger)

On the surface, it’s easy to think that being a content entrepreneur is the same as being a blogger or an influencer. First, let’s look at the similarities.

First, bloggers, influencers and content entrepreneurs all spend the bulk of their time creating content. For bloggers, the content is written, but influencers and content entrepreneurs may also leverage podcasts, video channels and social media platforms to build their reach.

All three types of entrepreneurs sell to their audience to make money. Influencers sell access to their audience through sponsorships — they recommend products and services. Bloggers often monetize their audience using affiliate programs, earning a commission on products they recommend, or through ads that appear on their site, leveraging their traffic to make money.

But there are a few things that all three types of businesses do differently.

The difference between being an influencer and a content entrepreneur has to do with the intent — an influencer does not try to generate revenue through their content; they just want to make money by influencing others. They develop content to connect with their audience. Then they make money through those audiences.

Bloggers are somewhere in between: while a blogger may also have other businesses or jobs and is generating income from that, their blog generates some revenue. Blogging can be done full-time, part-time, at night after children go to bed, during your lunch break, etc.

Content entrepreneurs focus on building a sustainable business and often tie their content to a unique niche brand.

Content entrepreneurs are focused on building a sustainable business. Their content is often tied to a unique niche brand rather than their personal brand.

Inside the business, it also often looks more like a traditional media company than an independent blogger or influencer. They leverage teams to help them build and distribute content in sustainable ways and have repeatable processes for success.

In many cases, content entrepreneurs may have started as bloggers or influencers and then expanded their business operations and processes to grow into content entrepreneurship. In fact, many of the bloggers or influencers you follow now fit the mold of content entrepreneurs.

How content entrepreneurs make money

money sitting on a laptop

One of the most significant differences between content entrepreneurs, bloggers and influencers is how they make money. Content entrepreneurship has an entrepreneurial approach to diversifying income streams which can include:

Advertising

Placing ads on a website or in an email newsletter. These ads appear with the content the business would be creating anyway to appeal to their audience. The content entrepreneur can either make money from each placement or based on the ad’s impressions, called a CPM basis in ad sales.

Sponsored content

Creating content from blogs and articles to videos and social media posts paid for and promoting a specific product or service. The content entrepreneur can make money for making the content and may also earn a percentage of sales.

Affiliate programs

Either working directly with brands or through programs like Amazon Associates to promote products and services. The content entrepreneur makes a commission when someone purchases a product using the affiliate link.

Donations and audience sponsorship

With the rise of services like Patreon and Buy Me a Coffee, content entrepreneurs can also earn directly from their audience. A content producer will offer bonus or premium content in exchange for subscriptions or donations.

Consulting and coaching services

When a content entrepreneur becomes a recognized expert in their niche, they can also monetize by offering to work directly with select people or organizations. This work is a premium service and typically is only available to a few people at a time.

Courses and memberships

Experts can also leverage creating courses and memberships to share their knowledge with more people at scale. Courses are offered live or asynchronously. Memberships typically provide a blend of education and community.

Product sales

In some niches, content entrepreneurs develop their own products independently or through a co-branding agreement. These products may be sold directly to their audience, through partners, or through retail businesses.

Licensing rights

From time to time, another company will pay to republish existing content on their site as part of a licensing agreement.

These arrangements are often highly lucrative for content creators, giving them both financial benefits and increased visibility.

Bloggers, influencers and content entrepreneurs can all use any combination of these tactics to generate income from their content. The difference is that content entrepreneurs typically leverage many of these.

Should you be a content entrepreneur?

Content entrepreneur on a WordPress blog

Content entrepreneur on a WordPress blog

If you’ve already started building a blog or have a following, you might be wondering if content entrepreneurship is a path you should take. Here are some questions to ask yourself when making this choice:

Is your business a project of passion or a project of opportunity? Content entrepreneurship is more similar to running a media company than a blog that feeds your curiosity.

Either way, it’s important to identify why you’re interested in creating this type of content.

Content entrepreneurship means you’ll be creating content around that topic for a long time.

Do you want to lead a team? To scale, content entrepreneurs often use a team to accelerate their content creation, amplify their messaging, and streamline their operations. To grow the business, you need to be willing and able to lead a team.

Is there a clear audience need? Content entrepreneurs don’t just create content because it’s what they’re passionate about. They’re producing the content to meet the needs of their ideal audience and target customers.

Which monetization paths interest you? Which of them make sense for the niche you’re considering? Successful content entrepreneurs leverage multiple income streams. Before you set a goal of building a content entrepreneurship business, identify which income streams make sense for your niche so you can set goals.

Whether content entrepreneurship is right for you now or a path you want to explore in the future, the business of content entrepreneurship is here to stay.



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How to Start a Niche Foam Party Business: Kid’s Party

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Foam parties have become popular and are great fun. If you didn’t know what a foam party is, it is a party or event where participants have fun dancing amidst foam created by a machine. The machine creates bubbles of foams that envelop the place, creating a fun environment at the party. If you are a business person, then a foam party business is a great idea.

You can get a foam machine and use it to throw foam parties and make money from it – relatively affordably.

photo credit: Roaring Foam

Can you make money through foam parties?

Yes, you can make money if you have a foam machine. Parties are common, and party-goers get bored with the usual stuff. A foam party is an innovative way of partying. It allows participants to let go, dancing in joy amidst the foam. This kind of party would be popular, and you can make money by offering a different experience to participants.

Creating a niche market

When you want to make money from a business, you will find that there are many others with the same idea. You need to do something different so you can succeed. This is where finding a niche market helps. A niche market is a specific category to which you can cater. Kids Foam Party is such a niche market. While there are many businesses catering to foam parties in general, foam parties for kids is a niche idea. This is a business idea that can help you succeed and make money.

Planning your business

Now that you have found your niche, it is important to plan your business before you get started. The first thing is to be clear with what you are offering. You are offering a foam party, which is an event where there is a dance floor filled with suds. When this party is offered for kids, they will enjoy it the most. They would not only dance but play in the foam and have a great time in general.

Taking proper safety precautions like setting the depth of the foam and insisting on face coverings ensure there are no problems.

What do you need?

It is obvious that you need a foam machine if you plan to run foam parties. A foam machine is not too expensive. However, you need not buy one immediately. Since you are starting off with a new business, you can get a foam machine for rent. This is a cheaper option allowing you to rent a machine and use it whenever you need it. This will allow you to do a pilot run of your party business.

If the response is good and you start getting many events, then you can consider buying your own foam machine. This would work out better for you.

Kid having fun in foam
photo credit: Roaring Foam

Planning and executing foam parties for kids

With these basic concepts in mind, it is time you start planning your parties. Since you have chosen the niche of foam parties for kids, you need to explore different options. You can have foam parties to celebrate birthdays. There can even be parties for no reason but just to allow kids to have fun. Explore different themes for foam parties and plan the events.

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind while planning and executing foam parties for kids:

  • You need to find a venue to host the foam party. The ideal location is outdoors, so the foam does not create a mess inside. When the weather does not permit, you need to find indoor venues with a fairly big hall to organize the event.
  • Apart from the machine, you need the foam solution to create foam. You need to have sufficient foam machine solution to last the entire party.
  • Safety is a very important issue in foam parties. This is all the more important when you are dealing with kids. You need to have a clear plan for ensuring safety in your foam party. Communicate the plan with your clients so they are assured of the safety arrangements.
  • If you are doing the party indoors, you need a tarp to cover the floor and walls. It is important to cover up all the electric and other outlets to avoid them being damaged.
  • Placing plastic furniture is better since it won’t get damaged due to bubbles.
  • Safety arrangements for the kids are very important. Wearing shoes is a must. You can insist on goggles or face coverings to prevent allergies from the suds. You need to take adequate precautions to prevent kids from skidding and falling during the party. There is always a risk of accidents at a foam party, and you need to do everything to prevent it.
  • Preferably, get a waiver from guests to protect against liabilities.

With all this planning, you are now ready to execute foam parties and make neat profits from them.

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What open source-based startups can learn from Confluent’s success story

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It’s common these days to launch an enterprise startup based on an open source project, often where one the founders was deeply involved in creating it. The beauty of this approach is that if the project begins to gain traction, you have the top of the sales funnel ready and waiting with potential customers when you move to commercialize your business.

In the past, this often meant providing help desk-style services for companies who appreciated what the open source software could do but wanted to have the so-called “throat to choke” if something went wrong. Another way that these companies have made money has been creating an on-prem version with certain enterprise features, particularly around scale or security, the kind of thing that large operations need as table stakes before using a particular product. Today, customers typically can install on-prem or in their cloud of choice.

“A key aspect of these kinds of technology-developer data products is they have to have a combination of bottom-up adoption and top-down SaaS, and you actually have to get both of those things working well to succeed.” Jay Kreps

In recent years, the model has shifted to building a SaaS product, where the startup builds a solution that handles all the back-end management and creates something that most companies can adopt without all of the fuss associated with installing yourself or trying to figure out how to use the raw open source.

One company that has flirted with these monetization approaches is Confluent, the streaming data company built on top of the open source Apache Kafka project. The founding team had helped build Kafka inside LinkedIn to move massive amounts of user data in real time. They open sourced the tool in 2011, and CEO and co-founder Jay Kreps helped launch the company in 2014.

It’s worth noting that Confluent raised $450 million as a private company with a final private valuation in April of $4.5 billion before going public in June. Today, it has a market cap of over $22 billion, not bad for less than six months as a public company.

Last month at TC Sessions: SaaS, I spoke to Kreps about how he built his open source business and the steps he took along the way to monetize his ideas. There’s certainly a lot of takeaways for open source-based startups launching today.

Going upmarket

Kreps said that when they launched the company in 2014, there were a bunch of enterprise-size companies already using the open source product, and they needed to figure out how to take the interest they had been seeing in Kafka and convert that into something that the fledgling startup could begin to make money on.

“There have been different paths for different companies in this space, and I think it’s actually very dependent on the type of product [as to] what makes sense. For us, one of the things we understood early on was that we would have to be wherever our customers had data,” Kreps said.

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5 Hobbies That Make Money and How To Get Started

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Money-making hobbies range from walking dogs to blogging to creating and selling homemade goods.

Read about these profitable hobbies, as well as what you can expect to make.

1. Driving

Enjoy cruising around town? Give others a ride and make money by becoming an Uber or Lyft driver. Uber drivers make an estimated $5 to $20 an hour, and Lyft drivers earn about $5 to $25 an hour, according to SideHusl.com, a review site for money-making platforms. Note that earnings depend in part on when, where and how often you drive.

To become an Uber or Lyft driver, you must be the minimum age to drive in your area. You must also meet specific requirements related to your driver’s license, insurance and vehicle. Learn about these exact requirements in our guide to becoming an Uber or Lyft driver.

If you enjoy driving but don’t want people in your car, look into becoming a full-service Instacart shopper, which involves shopping for and delivering groceries. Uber Eats and Amazon Flex also offer opportunities to deliver food and other products to homes. Each of these gigs has its own set of requirements, though, so do your research before signing up.

2. Caring for dogs

If your favorite hobbies involve belly rubs, smooches and long walks in the neighborhood, try Wag or Rover. These apps enable you to walk, dog-sit or board pups overnight for money.

Rover and Wag work in similar ways. They both require you to be at least 18 years old, pass a background check and meet other requirements. For both, you create a profile, set your own rates, and use the app to choose which gigs to take. (See our Rover vs. Wag comparison for more specific sign-up and payment information, as well as how the apps vary in the services they allow.)

On both apps, the amount you earn depends on what you charge, how much you receive in tips, and which types of services you provide. As you would guess, boarding typically pays more than walking a dog, for example. But both companies take a bite from your earnings. Rover charges a 20% service fee per booking, and Wag takes 40%.

3. Blogging

If you have a blog that gets decent traffic, try making money from it. Blogging for money can take a few forms. One way is to host ads on your blog through a service like Google AdSense, which is free. Here’s the gist, according to Google: If your website is approved, then you choose where on it you would like ads to appear. Then advertisers bid to place ads where you designated, with the winner’s ads appearing in that spot. (People make money on YouTube through the same service.)

You earn some money when a reader clicks on one of these ads — but determining exactly how much you’ll make is tricky. Explore our guide to Google AdSense to learn more about it.

You could also try writing sponsored content, meaning companies pay you to write about their products. Or, become an affiliate through the Amazon Associates program. That involves linking to an Amazon product from your content and earning a commission when one of your readers clicks through and buys that item. Learn more about how to make money on Amazon through your blog.

4. Posting to social media

Love posting to social media and building a following? On Instagram and TikTok, many users earn money through sponsored photos and videos. Say you regularly post about your at-home exercise regimen. You may agree to post about a retailer’s resistance bands or sweatpants in exchange for cash or free products. (Sponsorships and affiliate marketing are also ways to make money from podcasts, in case that’s one of your hobbies.)

Sponsors may reach out to you to set up this kind of arrangement; you could contact them; or, in some cases, you may consider working through a third-party agency.

The type of content you post, as well as your number of followers and their engagement, will likely impact sponsorship opportunities. Learn more about how to make money on Instagram or on TikTok.

5. Selling your wares

There’s a marketplace for just about everything. So if you’re skilled in a hobby, consider trying to profit from it. For example, if you create jewelry or have an eye for thrifting quality clothes, try selling those items at a local flea market or yard sale, or on a neighborhood website such as Nextdoor or Facebook Marketplace.

Or look into an online market that could attract a wider range of buyers. Consider Etsy for crafts or Poshmark if you want to sell clothes online.

These websites charge fees that will cut into your profits. This guide to selling stuff online will help you think through the math and determine if your hobby can become a viable business.

What to consider before making money from your hobbies

Before taking any of the routes listed above, keep in mind that this work will likely affect your taxes. See our guide to self-employment taxes, which includes expenses you can deduct, and how to avoid penalties.

And as you aim to profit from your hobbies, consider whether you will continue to enjoy them through this new business lens. Let’s say knitting helps you relax. Will it continue to do so if you’re pricing, promoting and shipping your homemade wares through an online marketplace? And that blogging hobby: Will writing still be fun or cathartic if you’re occasionally throwing in a sponsored post?

It may be hard to answer these questions until you give the money-making approach a shot. But it’s worth reflecting on the potential trade-offs as you think about turning your hobby into a job.

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