Pick what you have an interest in: Digital photography, web design, gardening, relationships, financial planning, event planning, starting a business, cooking... the possibilities are endless.
Take what you know and organize it into a booklet. It doesn't have to be 100 pages, even 20-30 pages can work. You don't need fancy graphics or a fancy cover. Eventually you will have copies made. I occasionally do presentations and here is exactly how I create simple booklets like this. I go to an OfficeMax store nearby and give them a flash drive with a PDF file of my booklet on it. I also include a simple graphic for the cover which I have printed in color.
I have them print my booklet out directly from their printer. They then bind it with a plastic spiral binding. I have them put a clear acetate sheet over the cover and a black vinyl back cover on.
I then prepare some notes and create some master pages outlining key points related to my topic. These will serve as speaking notes you will use later. I go to an office supply store and photocopy them on to transparencies.
Then contact area school districts by phone. Ask for their community education director. This person is responsible for offering the public enrichment classes on various topics. These are evening classes that run from an hour or two.
Explain that you would like to offer a class through their program. Tell them a bit about it and offer to send them one of your booklets. Many of these programs charge registrants from $10 to $50 per event. Explain you would be willing to split registration fees with them. If you make a reasonably good pitch they will accept your offer. They promote such classes in mailing out brochures to tens of thousands of area residents. They will collect registration fees and pay you after the event is over.
Ask them if they could send you one of their recent catalogs. Many schools run these programs three times a year. BIG NOTE: Consider writing your own copy for your class and submitting it to them. Your description is what brings in people to register. It must be compelling or you will get few attendees.
On your end you simply need to make a presentation lasting an hour or so. Mine would run for three hours but that was longer than most. You show up and give your presentation. Almost all schools have overhead projectors you can use--make sure when you talk to the director. Use your transparencies as guides to lead the attendees through your presentation.
Make your presentation and answer any questions. You don't have to be a super presenter, you just need to offer good information. One key is to offer attendees to purchase your booklet. Even if you just sell them for $10 you can take in some good money if enough people show up.
This isn't fantasy. I did this for a period of two years. My wife passed away a couple years before I started doing this and my kids were away at college. I sold a publishing business I had just after my wife passed and had just gone through two years of severe depression without writing or selling any books. This helped me get back into the real world. I eventually developed an online class and stopped doing the live events. I then got into selling my stuff online.
Here is the bottom line. I did a course about writing books and ebooks. I created a manual for the course titled Big Money Writing Little Books which I still sell. Now it is about 400 pages but back then it was only about 150 pages. I sold it at my events for $39 and about 80% of the attendees would by one. Back then it was simply GBC bound and photocopied.
I would pull in between 20 and 40 attendees per event. We would charge either $39 or $59 depending on the size of the school district. With only 20 attendees that would bring in 800 dollars even at the $39 price point. I would get half or about $400. On top of that I would sell about 15 books bringing in another $500 or so in instant cash (or checks).
My worst nights I might only make $200, but I would often make $500-$1,000. My biggest night was around $1,100. You could do this once or twice for fun, but I did a lot of background work. I had these set up at around 30 different sites and would do them M-Th in many different cities close to on another. I could schedule as many of these as I wanted in bigger cities. I also did this at community colleges offering one-night classes. You don't need any kind of degree to do this.
I went way beyond what most people would do with this. Sometimes I would run 30 second spots on local radio stations 2-3 days before the event at $10-$20 a pop. Sure it cost money but it would bring in more people. You can also contact feature editors at area newspapers and send them a press release and provide them with contact info in hopes of them running an article about you and your event.
Many talk radio stations are willing to do live in-studio interviews with people doing things like this. Tremendous publicity at no cost. If you do an in-studio interview make sure to take pictures for publicity down the road. Most stations will also do call in interviews by phone.
In my case I would schedule events in a big city like Detroit and drive there on Monday afternoon and stay through Friday morning. To be honest, I stayed in some pretty nasty $30 a night dives sometimes. You do what you've got to do sometimes.
There are some people who make a full time income doing similar things. You can also offer bonus PDF files or videos to those who buy your printed manual. But you're not done!
Make sure you take pictures of you doing this--you know, standing making your presentation. Use them for publicity later. Turn your booklet into an ebook, beef it up a bit if needed. Find successful product vendors in your niche and contact them about doing a webinar with you on the topic. Ask them to hit their list with promos for the event. Do an hour, even a 30 minute webinar with them. Give people attending the webinar info on how they can order your ebook and give the product vendor helping you a 50 or 60% commission on all sales. If they have a good sized list you can make a killing.
Once you get rolling there are all kinds of spin-offs you can work into the thing. Does it work? Yes! Can you make money doing it? Yes. Can it help you build credentials and credibility you can leverage down the road? Most definitely.
Again, this may sound like work. It is. But if you're willing to do some advance work such things can make very good money for you. This is the exact method I used that led into my doing over 100 such events and nearly as many radio and television interview promoting the book I used in my seminars and turned it into an ebook to sell online. It led to where I did presentations at big convention centers in places like Detroit, Pittsburgh, Chicago... and it helped me get on major radio stations to promote my book and even landed me on a 6 minute author interview on ABC World News a few years ago.
This is not for everyone. I realize that. But it can be at least one route you get your great ideas out there and into the marketplace. Like anything else, the more you put in, the more you get out. --My Best, Mike
P.S. This isn't very polished, but it gives you the basic concept.