How to Turn DIY Into $USD

Now, everybody can do something… You ever seen ‘Wild Kingdom?’ I mean, that guy’s been doing that show for thrity years.” — John Bender, The Breakfast Club

What can you do? If you can make a video that teaches other people how to do it, you might be able to make a few bucks.

MindBites.com contacted me not long after I posted my “Hypertufa How-To” video for Honda’s DIY contest on YouTube, and invited me to check out their site, whose philosophy is that “we all have something to share.” MindBites allows users to upload their own how-to videos, which are then available for users to download for just a couple bucks. And you split the money with MindBites, who pays you a dollar (via PayPal) every time your video is purchased for download.

What’s great about the “Web 2.0” concept is that it’s based around the notion that the internet isn’t just about getting information. It’s about sharing information. More and more people are turning to online media and resources to learn – whether it’s learning to knit, or learning what kind of camera to buy, or learning about people and faraway lands. My dad and I often joke when we’re stumped for an answer or a solution to a problem, “Ask the internet. It knows everything.” But the reason it does is because more people like you and me are starting to share their knowledge with the world.

So, what kind of video should you submit? They’ll take anything, really, as long as it’s educational, and not offensive. I’ve seen videos that range anywhere from Arts & Crafts to Tech stuff to Music Lessons to Travel and Languages… My 18-year-old stereo speakers needed repair, so that’s what I did:

Once your video is produced and uploaded, MindBites enables you to share it via e-mail, link, or by embedding on a web page. And you retain all ownership and rights to your material, to distribute and promote as you please.

So, will people pay 2 bucks to learn how to do stuff? We’ll have to wait and see about that. I will say that there are things you can do when considering what to submit:

  • Make sure your how-to video is thorough, accurate, and explains things clearly.
  • Make sure it’s a subject you’re familiar with. Know what you’re talkin’ about.
  • Make sure the value of the knowledge obtained outweighs the viewers cost to obtain it. For a $2 download, and about $25 in materials, my video shows you how to save hundreds of dollars by repairing your old speakers rather than buying new ones.
  • As always, keep it short. Remember, time, too, is a cost for viewers.

And for Pete’s sake, have fun, huh? People like to see other people having fun. It’s infectious, and it makes learning easier. I’ll end with an appropriate quote from Fat Albert:

“This is Bill Cosby comin’ at ya with music and fun, and if you’re not careful, you may learn something before it’s done.”

Hey, hey, hey!

One Response to How to Turn DIY Into $USD

  1. I discovered MindBites a few months back and was also impressed by their model. Unfortunately, they don’t have much traffic/revenue yet, but hopefully that will change. One site that has thousands of professionally-produced how to videos is MonkeySee.com. They also accept high quality user submissions, and while I don’t believe you get $$ from it, they receive several million pageviews each month, so the potential exposure is pretty impressive.