A shift has occurred in the entrepreneurial landscape with individuals the world over, harnessing their unique skills, expertise, and passions to craft businesses where they, themselves, are the product. Smaller business owners are going one step further than selling their product, by capitalising on their skills and specific abilities behind the product, offering customers specialised services, knowledge, or experiences.
For example, imagine you have a passion and talent for crocheting, but instead of an Etsy shop selling crochet items, you’re venturing into a business realm of hosting online or in-person crochet workshops, crafting tutorials, or courses. This evolution from selling products to monetising on your skills represents a departure from conventional business models, and its allure offers plenty of benefits, which extend beyond making money.
Building a business rooted in your passion fuels intrinsic motivation and purpose. It transforms work into a fulfilling endeavor where you can indulge in what you love while sharing your knowledge or talents with others. Leveraging your personal skills can unlock new realms of innovation, creativity, and adaptability as you’ll constantly have to find new ways to package your expertise—be it through workshops, courses, consulting services, or digital products. You’ll also find more flexibility in terms of work structure, schedule, and scalability.
If you’re reading this post and thinking that you don’t have a skill-set that you could monetise, nor the ability to create a course that anyone would want to attend, we’d say don’t sell yourself short. For the web truly is your oyster when it comes to weird and wonderful online courses – those we couldn’t have imagined existing a few years ago. We’ve picked our five favourite you can enrol in, that have blown our minds:
1. How to become a mermaid: If you thought ‘becoming a mermaid’ was a niche course to study, you might be surprised to learn that the biggest player in the diving industry, PADI, offers both basic and advanced ‘mermaiding’ courses for anyone looking to channel their inner Ariel.
The PADI Advanced Mermaid™ course promises to go beyond its ‘Basic Mermaid™’ option by helping you expand your understanding of the physical properties of the underwater world and how they affect you as a mermaid, while learning additional routine, exhibition, problem-handling skills, and underwater self-expressive art’.
In the PADI Mermaid course, you will use a monofin (i.e., mermaid tail), mask, snorkel, and fins, must be over 10 years old and able to swim at least 50m/160ft without swim aids. If you meet the requirements, then for a cool $475 investment, you can find out if it’s really ‘better, down where it’s wetter, under the sea.’
2. Clowning around at college: Offering everything from online courses to weekend workshops, six-month programmes and artistic retreats, Clown College takes itself surprisingly seriously.
The business was created during lock-down, and kick starts with a six-week course including one-to-one coaching sessions, group sessions, homework and ongoing creative community and accountability support, designed to ‘merging the work of Clown with personal development tools.’
3. Study exorcism – it’s a hell of a topic: Exorcism courses are almost as popular as baking and gardening. Think less horror film and more ordination (becoming a minister). Different religions have varying definitions on what it means to be an ‘Exorcist,’ and there are guidelines offered by The Church of England, but in short, ‘exorcisms are, very simply, a particular form of prayer, delivering people from an external force.’
Courses can vary from the International School of Exorcism in Arizona to free online course on the introduction of Exorcism, covering everything from history, prayer and basic rituals.
4. Branch out and take a tree climbing course: Whether you’re an arborist, or just a kid at heart, everyone loves to climb trees, which is probably why there are several levels of tree climbing courses offered all over the world.
From basic backyard tree climbing, professional treehouse building, Amazon expeditions and even Ivy League options with Cornell University’s Outdoor Education’s Tree Climbing, if you’re looking for a tree-climbing course, you certainly won’t be stumped.
5. May the course be with you: From free courses on ‘how to talk like Yoda’ to specialised workshops teaching you to ‘fight like a Jedi’ and Open University courses offering cultural studies on Star Wars use of ‘myth and fairy tale,’ you don't have to be in a galaxy far, far away to learn more about Star Wars….
Whatever your passion or unique skills, not only does launching a business where YOU are the product offer several benefits, they also require minimal initial investment, reducing financial barriers to entry. So, why not make like a mermaid, and dive in today!
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