We’ve spent the last couple of weeks exploring how to get ideas for your own home-based business. Are you pumped and ready to jump in with both feet? Today’s column will give you a great way to get started. For a low-investment, fast start-up kind of business, information products can’t be beat.
What are information products? Strictly speaking, information products are knowledge-based media. Books are the most common type of information product on the market today, but the information product market is huge. It encompasses other formats such as special reports, tutorials, workbooks, online courses, ebooks, CDs and DVDs.
The advantages of creating, marketing, and selling information products like these are enormous. Two of the biggest challenges in starting a new business are capitalizing it and working out the logistics of distribution. With information products, these hurdles are very low. Information products are usually inexpensive to create and produce, and convenient to manage. Best of all, they’re ideal for “solo-preneurs” and families – a perfect off-the-grid business venture!
Little to No Overhead
Hard goods usually require a large up-front capital investment. Besides the costs of raw materials, machinery, and equipment, you may need to hire employees for manufacturing and production. Don’t forget office and warehouse space, management, inventory, maintenance, and shipping costs. You’ll need someone to run those departments as well. Overhead quickly adds up, making it expensive and even more difficult to be competitive.
With an information product, you’ll avoid costly manufacturing, and distribution is far easier. In today’s marketplace, many – if not most – information products are available directly online. Digital goods are delivered to the consumer via email or by instant download. Delivery is immediate, which means the consumer gets instant gratification.
Find a Niche, And Go Deeper
The most successful information products target a very specific audience. Too many information products simply recycle canned information that isn’t particularly new or compelling. Don’t repackage the same old tired information. Consult top-notch experts. Dig up truly valuable information. Gain a new perspective. Give your customer access to information that nobody else has.
When I created my How to Jump Higher videos, I did those same things. I firmly believe that is what set my product apart and made it as successful as it was. I interviewed experts in the field of sport science physiology to make sure my videos contained one-of-a-kind information that people couldn’t find just anywhere. I gave them an insider’s look into fresh and new information that would help them achieve their goal of dunking a basketball.
When you learn to be ultra-specific, the possibilities are endless. You can continue to create more and more products out of one main artery of information. Look at the “Idiot’s Guide” and “Dummies” series of books, for example. Let’s apply the same principle to cookbooks. What if, instead of creating just another cookbook, you developed a line of specialty books aimed at a more specialized audience? How about cookbooks for people with special dietary needs? Your offerings could include gluten-free recipes for diabetics; a no-wheat, no-corn, no-soy cookbook for those with food sensitivities; heart-healthy recipes with 5 ingredients or less. How about information for people who want to return to traditional foodcraft? You might create a how-to course on making artisan cheeses in your own kitchen; recipes for cooking in cast iron over an open fire; how-to information on home fermentation using foods from your vegetable garden. You can build a whole line of products and dominate your niche by offering narrowly targeted products.
Top-notch, niche-specific information will make selling your product much easier. Why? Because it’s easier to market when your product has attributes that sharply and clearly differentiate it from what everyone else is offering.
Some information product gurus will tell you that presentation doesn’t matter, but I disagree. As human beings, we’re naturally attracted to things that look nice. Your information product is no different. I’ve received books made with comb binding that fell apart the first time I opened them, and special reports that looked like they were tenth-generation photocopies. My first impression was that I overpaid for them. My second impression was that if the seller didn’t care about how it looked, I wondered if he cared about the quality of the content.
Twenty years ago, a poor presentation would have been acceptable. Today, it is not. With inexpensive desktop technology, there’s no excuse for shabby looking information products. Always aim for great visual quality in your informational products. In today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever to make your products look great with relative ease. Once upon a time it was expensive and time-consuming to even print color copies and graphics. Not so any more! With minimal training you can easily learn to add sharp color, beautiful photographs, and graphics to your product, whether it’s a print or a digital format.
The bottom line? Create a fresh product that you are proud of; one that you would buy for the same price you’re asking.