Article Summary:What is an information product, and how can it help your business?
We live in a post-industrial age where information is the coin of the realm. Knowledge is the most valuable asset that a business owns. For most businesses, that knowledge exists primarily in the heads of the people who work there. For entrepreneurs and sole practitioners, what's in their head usually is the business. That's both limiting and dangerous.
Let's take the example of a successful management consultant. Drawing on her knowledge and experience, she's able to hire herself out at a substantial hourly rate. The trouble is, every time she wants to make some money she has to trade away some of her time.
What happens when she goes on vacation and is no longer putting in time? Her income goes on vacation too. What happens when she's sleeping, or when she gets sick, or when she wants to retire? As soon as she stops putting in time, she stops getting money.
Even if she could work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, there is still a limit to how much money she can make simply because she can't create more time. When you trade time for money, you put an automatic cap on your income potential.
Something else also starts happening to our consultant. The more successful she is, the more her services are in demand, the harder she works. Did you go into business to work long, hard hours for limited reward? I didn't think so.
Information products create passive streams of revenue, that is, money that flows to you whether you're working at your desk, lazing on the beach, or snoozing on the couch. How? You create the products once and then sell them over and over again. You make an initial investment of time and money and then reap the benefits in multiples. You can't do that with time; you can't sell the same hour twice.
What Exactly is an Information Product?
Quite simply, an information product is any chunk of knowledge that has been recorded in some fashion - whether that be in a print format, an audio format, or a video format - so that it can now be passed on to others. There are dozens of ways to package and sell information. Some of the most common products are:
- Print books and e-books
- Booklets and special reports
- Manuals and workbooks
- Audio cassettes, CDs, or downloadable audio files
- Videotapes and DVDs
- Subscription-based web sites
I have sometimes heard information products referred to as "artifacts." This term, borrowed from the field of archaeology, captures the idea that an information product is something you leave behind for future generations.
Every process you employ to serve your clients, every piece of information you glean from media sources, every past experience you carry with you, every original thought you conjure up is a piece of information that can be recorded and shared. What's stopping you?
Jennifer Tribe is the president of Juiced Consulting, a company that helps business owners turn their expertise into money-making information products like books, special reports, teleclasses, and audiotapes and CDs. Jennifer holds a degree in journalism and has worked extensively as a writer and editor. Her articles on information products have been published in Management Magazine, Home Business Magazine, BusinessWoman Canada, and other leading publications. Subscribe to her free e-zine, Infopreneuring Strategies, at www.juiced consulting.com.