As a former Division I college basketball player, I never wanted to leave the game. So instead of keeping my expertise to myself, I decided to give back to young people as a youth coach and dedicate myself to helping them reach their potential.
Youth coaching has its perks. Rather than traditional 9-to-5 hours, I work mornings and evenings, leaving plenty of room for leisure during the week.
I can also adjust my hourly rate depending on the child. My rate ranges from $40 to $60 an hour, and I work about 20 to 25 hours a week. Taking in an average of $1,000 a week while you’re wearing basketball shorts isn’t bad, especially when you factor in the great work-life balance.
But the job isn’t perfect. The biggest problem with being a youth coach? There is only one of you and a million of them. By “them,” I mean kids — who are waiting eagerly to learn everything you have to teach them in your limited time.
This was my dilemma when I overbooked for a weekend and had to cancel a few training sessions. Those canceled sessions cost me $200!
That’s when I realized that I couldn’t be everywhere all the time, and it was hurting my income — so I decided to stop the bleeding.
I thought of training other young, ambitious coaches, but parents were paying for my expertise, not a clone. My rates would drop dramatically, and I would have to spend time training the coaches, then split the profits with them. No thank you!
I needed to keep my private training a one-man show, but how? I turned to the web for answers.
How I Took My First Shot at Being an Online Expert
After spending a few hours reading what other coaches had to say, I realized many platforms will pay you to share your expertise. Intrigued, I started researching blogs in my niche.
I Googled “basketball guest posting,” “basketball contributor” and “basketball write for us,” and read up on the sites I found. If I saw an article I liked, I would comment on it or share it on social media.
Before long, I came up with ideas for articles on my own and began pitching them to site owners. Most were open to me contributing for free, and I established a good track record online in the basketball realm.
After a few publications and a month of applying vigorously, I started pitching my work to paid sites, such as About.com and Fansided.com, which pay $50 or $75 per post, or a dollar amount per 1,000 page views. (If you’re offered the choice between a fixed rate and a per-view rate, I recommend taking the fixed amount. Unless you have a significant social media following or access to other platforms, it’s difficult to profit from the per-visit pay. It will require more writing, marketing and time you don’t have.)
Each week, I would set aside two or three hours to write a couple of articles for these sites. After two months, I started bringing in an extra $100 to $250 a month. It may not sound like a lot, but it certainly helped.
Why I Used Video to Up My Game as an Online Coach
I enjoyed writing, and my articles were doing well, but I didn’t stop there. After seeing experts teaching others about their passions through YouTube — everything from makeup tutorials to vocal lessons, for example — I thought to myself, “There has to be a way to create visual lessons that can be viewed by the masses.”
I bought an iPro Lens Kit for about $300 on Amazon and started recording my training sessions.
I could have uploaded my lessons to YouTube, but there are so many videos out there that I worried mine would drown among the rest. That’s why I researched other ways to share my content.
Unfortunately, the sports world has been a bit slow to transition to the digital realm, and it was tough to find platforms. Most of them were educational sites, such as Khan Academy, Udemy and Slideshare.
After researching instructional coaching videos for sports, I reached out to CoachTube and PlaySportsTV. My background in coaching and publishing articles were key to getting my foot in the door with the owners of these sites.
I submitted 10 videos of about three minutes each, and before long, I had training videos that I could direct players to at a price that I set. I was able to post my content for free (aside from the initial costs of $300 for the lens and $300 for Final Cut Pro editing software) and take in 80% of the profits in residual income!
Here’s Why it Pays to Work for Yourself in a Field You Love
With an established expertise online, I’ve been able to take on more clients, charge 10 to 20% more for my time and help kids I wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach around the country.
In a typical month, I still bring in $100 to $250 from writing, but my online courses give me another $250 to $350 for a few hours’ work.
My best month of income to date from these side gigs was November 2016. I took advantage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday to bring in an extra $1,200.
I am now helping young people on social media as a contributing writer and an online teacher. I have made myself a go-to source for many young players. The entire process took about two months before I saw a profit, but it has been on cruise control ever since.
My advice for anyone who has an area of expertise, a blog or is just trying to make some extra cash on the side: Start branding yourself. The moment I started thinking of myself as a brand, I was able to find more outlets for my business.
We all have something we are passionate about, and people are willing to pay for your knowledge. If you are in the sports realm, you can follow what I did step by step. If not, the web has a ton of tools just like it for your niche. Start writing and developing relationships online, make your lessons visual, and become an expert in your field.
Trust me: There is nothing like receiving multiple deposits every month for work you did a year ago!
Your Turn: What is your favorite online learning platform? Let us know in the comments below!
Derek Brown is a former Division 1 basketball player and current youth coach with 10 years’ experience based out of Southern California. When he is not working, he is often playing with old teammates, buried in a book or finding the next best movie to see. Contact him on Twitter at @D_Brownjr.