Nearly everyone is an expert: holding knowledge about a subject that is greater than that of someone else. If another person has need of your knowledge and is ready and willing to pay for that knowledge, then you are an expert. You do not have to be the person with the most knowledge on a subject; just enough that you can help someone who does not.
The subject of being an expert is of great importance today: particularly with regard to someone who is unemployed, underemployed or looking to diversify into multiple revenue streams as a hedge against the recession.
Setting a price on this knowledge is a key step in monetization of your knowledge and setting the stage for its sale. Answering the three following questions will help in setting a price.
The first question in valuing your expertise is the potential benefit to recipient of your knowledge. How will the recipient use your knowledge to solve a problem or seize an opportunity? Typically, the greater the benefit, the higher the price that may be charged. Pricing is not static. Since one size fits all because the value of one’s expertise is in the eyes of the beneficiary. One price for one person may be low or high for another person. Timing is important. Knowledge often loses value over time and often has little value if its delivery is too late to do any good. The benefits derived from your expertise may vary greatly and so should the price. The ability to offer your expertise at multiple price levels is important to realizing the full value of your knowledge.
The second question in valuing your expertise is how your knowledge is delivered. If you share your knowledge face to face in a custom consultation it may be valued higher than if the same information is incorporated in a book and sold in thousands of copies. However, even if you only make $1 a book instead of $100 per hour for consulting, you may earn more money if you sell enough books. The more your knowledge is fitted or customized to the recipient, the more value it will have. Therefore, a strategy for distributing your knowledge should explore everything from classroom instruction to YouTube to e-books.
The third question in valuing your expertise is the form of payment. Obviously, if payment is made in cash, setting a price is straightforward. However, if cash is not available or scarce, you may take payment such as equity ownership in a business or a royalty based upon sales. It may also take the form of barter: being paid in hamburgers, diamonds or landscaping services. Unless you are in the business of buying or selling these goods, the price you charge for your expertise must take into account your costs in converting the goods into cash or something you need.
In some cases either your knowledge or the form of payment is beyond value: this is where MasterCard promoted the concept of ‘priceless’ to describe those things where value cannot be quantified. This may be where your knowledge can save a life or where payment may be in the form of an endorsement by a major celebrity such as Oprah. In such cases you should set a price as a placeholder or simply accept the payment and do not worry.