If you want to make someone pay for your content, you should have something which I may call a product. That might sound a bit odd if what you are offering is a Youtube-channel full of pranks, a collection of Instagram-posts, gaming streams on Twitch or a blog focused on new techniques of breeding reptiles. But all of these ventures must have something at their chore which makes them unique. Obviously at the very least this is YOU as a unique person. But only few persons are unique in a way that people other than close friends and family would bother to follow.
A self-publisher usually will mix his personality and an area of expertise or special interest into something unique. The area of expertise can range from speed knitting over low-temperature cooking to the admirable ability to turn nearly anything or anybody into some funny stuff (jokes, pranks, satire, impersonation… you name it). The more focused on a topic you are, the less central is your personality and vice versa. But whatever you do: the combination of you as a person, your content, and your way of presenting that very content is something unique. That combination is what I call a product. Marketing profs would call it a ‘USP – Unique selling proposition‘.
A SELLING proposition because that is what you want to monetize.
So the first step to monetize your content must be an answer as precise and short as possible to the question ‘what is your product?’.
If your answer to this question is: “whatever I feel like putting up online” that is perfectly fine. Only that you should stop thinking about monetization here. IF you want to earn money through publishing, your answer should rather start with “giving my audience…” or “enabling my audience to…”. If your answer starts this way then, be sure, there is a way to make people pay. Only those people who appreciate what you are giving to them, of course.
Thing is: there’s a very good chance, that there are quite a few people out there who fit into the grid. The internet is darn big. The sheer fact that you are motivated to set up your project, to think about monetizing it, is a good indication of there being other people out there sharing your passion.
I know people who earn money by reviewing cookbooks, reporting about public transport, teaching people chess openings, podcasting stories about hacks&hackers, publishing paragliding videos, who earn money by answering questions on certain topics, who earn money by sexting, texting about local events or sports or by generating horoscopes.
My theory is: if there’s enthusiasm enough to set up a publishing project there’s also a market. Yours to go for!