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TB#44: Monetizing your Knowledge is a Privilege


Let’s address the 1000-pound pink gorilla in the heads of far too many:

“Wow I have a job, am you even allowed to build and sell stuff?”

And here’s how I think about it:

Sharing vs. Selling: A Moral Debate

For anyone not living under a rock, it’s pretty clear we’re in a new era of knowledge sharing. It’s a paid model that benefits those who have something to teach.

But those someones are often the same people who gained that knowledge under someone else, in the good ole 9-5.

And that’s a slippery slope to heated questions of fairness and ethics.

The evolution of knowledge sharing

Before we had the luxury of books and YouTubes of the world, skills and ideas were shared through mentorships and apprenticeships. Obviously, this is an intimate and direct form that does not scale to the masses.

And so… as time and tech moved on, we moved to institutions and “mass lecturing” and in most cases put a fat price tag on education.

Fast forward to today…

Online courses.



God forbid, TikToks.

All out there in abundance, 24/7.

And for most topics, it’s all free.

So it becomes baffling to choose between charging for your knowledge.

Well, let me argue it’s not only possible to charge but it’s your moral duty to do so!

The many faces of a single choice

The decision to monetize isn’t just your personal choice. It’s also a societal one. And obviously an economic one!

Expert knowledge has value, that’s a given. Companies and your employers spend millions to train people to possess that knowledge. They wouldn’t do that if it knowledge didn’t have monetary value.

So why should you give it out for free?

Also, does it say somewhere in your job contract that your employer owns the things flying between your ears, your knowledge?

Sure, there are non-competes.

But they don’t own the knowledge.

Nobody can own knowledge.

So, once you get over the idea that they own your thoughts and realize you’re potentially sitting on top of a goldmine… the choice becomes easier!

Now, there are still different models you can (and should) consider:

  • Teach for free, charge for 1-1 coaching.
  • Teach for free, charge for structured lessons.
  • Give it all for free, charge for affiliate products.
  • …and an endless number of other options!

Monetizing your Knowledge = Investing in Continuous Learning and Growth

It’s not about the money. It’s about growth.

It’s a cycle!

When you charge for a course, especially as a side business, your best position is not to desperately need the income for daily expenses.

It’s to be ready to invest.

Invest…in what?

Better equipment. More research. Get coaching for other areas of your life?

Higher quality in everything.

The people who buy from you benefit. They get better and more polished stuff.

You benefit. You have more resources to get better.

Everyone benefits: even the people you buy your upgrades from.

This cycle pushes forward the industry standard, raising the bar for everyone.

It’s not just a transaction

Monetizing your knowledge is not a cold exchange.

It ripples far away from money changing owners.

If your course (or coaching, whatever you’re using as your vehicle) is great, it’s good for the entire niche/vertical. Others will have to get better.

If yours suck, you’ll have to be better.

Value, value, value.

And then there’s you. The you in the mirror. Take pride in your creation! There’s not many more satisfying things than teaching and getting great feedback about your materials.

In seeing people thrive because of you.

It’s a professional and personal evolution!

And so… if you believe in the idea of getting better as one of the key purposes in life in general, it’s an obvious choice to capitalise on what you know.

Recap of The Box this Week:

  1. It’s okay to wrestle with the idea of monetizing. Just remember it’s not a black-and-white issue.
  2. By monetizing, you can reinvest in advanced training for yourself, creating benefits for everyone.
  3. With a good resource, you’re pushing forward the entire field.
  4. Charging for your knowledge and seeing people succeed is a personal growth catalyst.

About the author 

Simo Hosio  -  Simo is an award-winning scientist, Academy Research Fellow, research group leader, professor, and digital builder. This site exists to empower people to build passion projects that support professional growth and make money.

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