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Money, Money, Money: Turning an Adjunct’s Skill Set into Potential Profit

posted: 12.3.09 by archived

The holidays are here, and the annual crush of spending, gifts, family, and celebrations have returned. While the holidays are a fantastic time to reconnect with loved ones, the cost of travel, food, presents, and unexpected expenses can ignite financial and emotional stress. For adjuncts, this time of year can stretch bank accounts and credit card limits. Since most adjuncts will be off for at least three or four weeks, many times without any unemployment coverage, the pressure can threaten the holiday spirit.

Rather than getting lost in the stress, I prefer to track down possible solutions. Over the past couple weeks I have been searching for additional income sources. I do not have the time to actually take another job, and I need to have flexible hours. Some weeks I have no spare time, and other weeks I have plenty. Unfortunately, few employers are interested in having a brand-new temporary employee with a varying schedule, but I am currently reviewing another potential solution: information marketing.

Yes, there are plenty of scams in the Internet marketing and information marketing business in which customers are tricked into paying good money for a product no more valuable than the next one. But frankly, the same thing can be said about brand-name sneakers, overpriced food, luxury cars, and designer clothing. People usually pay for things they believe have specific value, whether or not the world agrees in the estimation of worth.

I won’t try to sell you on information marketing for your own holiday purchases, but I believe it offers a viable option to adjuncts who need the extra income. First, most information marketing businesses are based upon the purchase of a Web site name and host, free blog software like WordPress, and the creation of digitally delivered products. There are few out-of-pocket costs beyond the $20 or so it costs to purchase a domain name and hosting service. Many information marketers author and deliver digital educational products in the form of audio downloads, video, and PDFs; others offer online virtual training, teleseminars, Webinars, and courses through a variety of interfaces.

The difficult part of information marketing, or of almost any Internet marketing, is the creation of a community and the development of an e-mail list of potential buyers and interested parties. Adjuncts have several strengths here. Most adjuncts are familiar with at least the most basic e-mail and blogging software, so this part is not new. Adjuncts also have well-developed research skills, and they know how to present that information to diverse audiences of learners. Finally, effective teachers create community and a shared sense of purpose and goals. These skills, all vital for the classroom, are invaluable assets in information marketing. It can be seen as another form of instruction, an alternative mode of teaching that delivers very specific information to a paying audience.

Naturally, large percentages of information products fail, and they fail for diverse reasons. I do not offer information marketing as a guaranteed solution to adjuncts’ financial troubles, but I do think that adjuncts’ skill base and the low cost for entry into the market provide a viable opportunity for those looking to expand their horizons. Even better, you can devote as much or as little time as you have to the project; you are, after all, your own boss and can determine your own hours.

During the holidays, when you are with the people you love, why not ask them what they like most about you? Why not ask them what they think you can offer to the world? Perhaps you’ll discover something new about yourself and your interests that will help you worry less between paychecks.

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Categories: Adjunct Advice, Gregory Zobel
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