Make money while you sleep — ah, the ultimate dream of today’s Internet marketers. Information products are a great way to do it. And the web makes worldwide distribution feasible. But how to get started? Before you dive in, learn a few principles pioneered by today’s software entrepreneurs. 

Long before the Internet became a reality, information products were one of the fastest ways to build a business. After all, what is a book? It’s an information product, whether it’s a how-to, an inspirational book … or even a novel. And the Internet has made it even easier and cheaper (practically free) to distribute information products in the form of ebooks, videos and podcasts. So let’s turn to today’s popular Lean movement and learn how to create something called a minimum viable product (MVP). Here are the guiding principles.

 

1. Create something people are willing to pay for.

If you’ve been in business a while, you’re probably an expert in your field, or at least a segment of it. If you’re just starting out, you may have some research ahead of you. Your goal is to identify information that your target market would find fascinating and (more important) highly useful. Something people would be willing to pay for.

 

2. Identify the essentials.

Here’s a big mistake that’s oh-so-common and oh-so-easy to avoid. Beginning Internet marketers want to build a “Barbie Dream House” version of their information product chock-full of everything they know. It’s a worthy ambition, perfectly understandable … and totally wrong-headed.

Instead, ask yourself this question: “What is the minimum my audience needs to learn in order to feel they’re receiving value?” In that answer is the key to your first MVP.

 

3. Deliver it fast.

If you’re a Fortune 100 company, you may have a vast budget for research and development. Good for you. The rest of us fight a never-ending battle to generate cash to invest in new ideas.

The solution is to reduce your development cycle to a minimum. We’re not talking years. We’re talking a few weeks, maybe a month or two, to create your MVP and deliver it to an audience.

 

4. Get a reaction.

Speed is essential, because you’re not aiming for immediate profitability. Your goal is to get feedback from your audience — real people who are willing to pay hard-earned cash to learn from you. Why waste years (and a small fortune) developing something that may not sell?

5. Iterate.

Iterate means to start the whole process over again at the beginning — with one big difference. Now you have clues about what your audience truly wants. So based on this valuable feedback, ask yourself the same question with a small twist: “What is the minimum I can add (or eliminate) to make my audience feel they’re receiving even more value?”

 

Get the idea?

Instead of wasting months or even years developing something nobody wants, you’re creating a cycle of never-ending improvements. And since your standard is “create something people are willing to pay for”, you’re much more likely to turn your information product into a money-maker in a time frame that makes sense.

 

Other paths to profit

Maybe you’re not into selling information products. Your greatest challenge may be getting the attention of those in your target market. If so, free information products could be the solution. The process is exactly the same as the one outlined above. It’s still a sale, but you’re selling your information in exchange for something valuable — attention.

 

What if you’re wrong?

Worst-case scenario, you’ll find out you’re on the wrong track — that your idea isn’t as salable as you thought. That’s something you want to find out as quickly as possible, before you waste precious resources and irreplaceable time.

Best case scenario, even if your first try creates only a flicker of interest, you may on the road to creating an evergreen information product that will generate income for years to come — even while you sleep.

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Posted by Agnes Jozwiak

Agnes is the Brand & Communication Director at ClickMeeting.

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One Comment

  1. JC Consad Lahayon January 26, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    desire to have an extra income?

    Reply

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