Recently I decided to add an online course to my multiple revenue streams. I wanted to have a way to bring in money during my slower months and setting up a short course seemed like something easy to do. The problem was: what to teach?

I’m an illustrator by trade so obviously with 4.5 years of art school training, there’s a lot I could teach. But teaching people how to draw was SO daunting, not only to me but also to possible students. Learn how to paint? No problem. You can paint like Jackson Pollack after all and call it art with a capital A. Mention drawing and everyone jumps back like you have the plague.

So what to do?

I took a cue from my favorite childhood movie and went back to the beginning.  (Bonus points if you know the movie.)

I went back to the “why” behind my business: rekindle wonder. I also looked over my social media and the things my fans responded to the most. What messages were they constantly telling me? What were they always hinting at? That would be my direction.

Put simply, the message my fans kept giving me was: You are so imaginative! I wish I had as many ideas as you!

It’s such a silly thing (to me) for people to say because I’ve always been plagued with an overactive imagination. Also, I never think anything is too crazy.

They say the best idea is a simple one, and in this case, something that seems so simple and natural to me is the best thing to teach.

Lots of people hold themselves back from adding an online (or in-person) class to their revenue streams because they fear copycats or working with video to shoot their process. If you come at it from another direction and look at what your business is really all about and what your fans constantly remark on, it’s much easier.

Instead of teaching how to upholster a chair, what about teaching how to shop for antique chairs to upholster? Or how to arrange your furniture to fit your specific needs (or feng shui)? Instead of teaching how to sew a dress, what about a guide to finding your perfect dress shape? Or how to accessorize like a fashion star? Or maybe even the best ways to organize your closet?

The possibilities are endless and you don’t have to go all out here. You could have an email autoresponder “course” or an e-book. Fit the format to the need. Just don’t be afraid to add this new revenue and remember that oftentimes the best thing to teach is that which comes easiest to you and is obliquely related to your talent/skill.

Oh, curious what I’ll be teaching in October? I’ve crafted Ignite Your Imagination, a 3-week course that teaches people how to be more imaginative with your creative writing. From idea to planning plot, I’m helping people write silly stories that make them smile.

My partner, Mister Scheimpflug, also took this message of going back to the beginning to heart.  With 8 years of photography education and practice under his belt, there’s a myriad of photographic nuances he could teach.  However, the easiest thing (for me) to teach is the basics of lighting your work.  That’s what made him create Essential Product Photography.  He’ll be working one-on-one with makers to help them take those glamorous shots we all see in our favorite magazines or online at Anthropology.

So what’s your easiest skill?  And what class could you create around it?

{Featured image via Belly Babies}