When it comes to business, the desired end result is to earn money. Many small businesses make money in one of two ways: they provide a service or sell a product. Yet in both cases, you can increase your income by adding information products into the mix.
For example, one of our clients is an organic farm. At their farm, they produce products, i.e. organic fruits and vegetables. However, right now we have a couple feet of snow on the ground, so needless to say not much is growing. Realizing that information is not seasonal, a few years ago the savvy owner of the farm wrote a book on how she sells her produce to restaurants. Other small farms purchase this book, which sells year round.
In our case, our company Logical Expressions has offered services for many years. We have done programming work, created Web sites, and offered editorial and print design services. The good news is that we've been able make a nice hourly rate because we're good at what we do. The bad news is that there's a limit to what the two of us can produce and the amount of money we can earn. When you trade your time for dollars, you can't earn money while you are on vacation or taking the dog to the vet. Plus it's all too easy to slave away and get burnt out working long hours. In fact, it's one of the big reasons people tend to bail out on self-employment.
Although we do still offer services to a few select clients, we have transitioned into selling information products as well. This morning, after I had my coffee, I turned on my computer and saw that we had orders for a couple of IdeaWeaver licenses and a book. I checked my Amazon sales and discovered that a number of books sold there too. Some people clicked on Google ads on our Web sites, so a little more income came from that area as well.
Last night, I literally made money while I was asleep. Passive income is the concept of making money while you are actively doing something else. Information products offer a new level of freedom because instead of selling a product or service, you are selling your knowledge. Unlike an hour of your time, which is finite, an information product can be sold many times over. Plus, it is uniquely yours because no one else knows exactly what you do.
The term "information product" is somewhat generic, but it usually refers to some type of specialized knowledge that has been packaged together. A few common information products are:
- Printed books (like the ones we sell in our online store and on Amazon.com: Web Business Success, Vegan Success, Happy Hound and Happy Tabby).
- Ebooks, booklets, or special reports (which can be downloaded immediately)
- Audio products (such as recorded teleseminars, workshops, or other downloadable audio)
- Software or templates (we offer Word templates for common documents and writing software called IdeaWeaver, for example)
- Content sites with articles and information (some are private subscription or "membership sites;" others are freely available but make money through advertising like our Computor Companion site)
- Videos or DVDs (often these are used to show a process, such as cooking or to help users learn software like the IdeaWeaver getting started videos)
Almost every business has some specialized knowledge that they can share. When you start looking at your goals for the next year, consider adding information products into your marketing mix. Although you do have to spend some up-front time creating the product, once you have finished it, a good information product is a gift that keeps on giving.
Can You Really Earn Money with Information Products?
If you are feeling overwhelmed with questions about creating products or mystified by confusing publishing issues, our Book Brainstorm call can help. It's amazing how much ground we can cover in an hour. One call may be just want you need to get over your "stuck spots" and move forward. We can even record the call, so you can listen to an audio recording of the discussion again later.
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