As service professionals and freelancers we face the age old problem of uneven income. Income is restricted because we are selling time and are directly involved in serving clients and trying to find new ones. As a consequence, there is very little time left to do anything else! This can mean irregular income, some months are good and some not so good. Online publishing is one way to combat this to create additional income streams but there are others including...
- 1Become an invaluable asset to your client for natural repeat business
- 2Offer up-sells, different packages and additional bolt on services
- 3Offer a monthly retainer for maintenance and on-going support
- 4Offer a discount to your clients in exchange for active referrals
- 5Earn affiliate commission from IT and web services that would benefit clients
Of course, all of these can be elaborated on but for the purposes of this post we are going to focus on creating, selling and licensing information products from your knowledge and expertise. However, before you even consider creating an information product, the NUMBER (1) consideration is ...
"Who am I Going to Market it to?"
This is a very easy trap to fall into because I've done it myself! You have a great idea for a product, spend a lot of time creating it and then scratch your head wondering how are you going to sell it and to who? If you are lucky enough to have your own 'opted in' email list that's great but if not you need to find out if there is a willing market for your product.
A much better way is to look for a need and gaps in your business niche. They can present ideal potential product opportunities. For example:
Obviously, if your product saves your potential buyer time or money that's good but you also need to answer the following questions before you consider creating a product:
Speeding Up Product Creation
Once you have established a potential demand for your product and can reach and market your product effectively, it's time to consider product creation. However, I know and fully appreciate the biggest obstacle is TIME. Everything looks good, you really want to create your product but you just don't have the time to do it. Especially while serving clients and trying to find new ones! However, there are three big ways to speed up the process:
Sometimes you need to start from scratch but you may not need to. Look at the content you already have. If you are writing a book or need content for a course, see if you can take extracts from the content you've already created. For example; you might be able lift content straight from your blog, product manual or past communications with clients.
Take extracts from your workshops, seminars and public events. Ask authors and other product developers if you can use some of their content on condition that you include their name and contact details. This is a win-win. You get free content and they get free marketing in your product.
If you need a book written and don't want to write it yourself, consider hiring a ghost writer from one of the many freelance outsourcing websites like upwork.com, freelancer.com, fiverr.com and many others. If you don't want to outsource the whole content writing process, you can dictate your content and get the audio file transcribed by one of many freelance transcribers on these sites or get it done locally if you prefer. If you need more technical help for apps and software, there are plenty of coders to help you too.
If it's going to be a big project, give your outsourcer a small job first so you know they are competent and their communication is good. It's better to find out early on if they aren't up to the task than to give them a big project straight away that could end in frustration and be a costly mistake.
By automation, I mean software to help you automate product creation as much as possible. There are so many good paid and free tools out there to help you. You don't have to sit at a computer screen and do it all yourself unless you want to. Please consider my list of great free tools to help with product creation at the bottom of the 'IP Development' page.
Here are a few examples; Speech to text: Google Chrome Speechnotes, Record & upload speech to text: speech-to-text bluemix.net, Jing screenshot and video recorder: Jing TechSmith, Royalty free music: audionautix.com, Comprensive audio editor: Audacity, Video file optimisation tool: handbrake.fr, Online photoshop image editor: photopea.com, Easy to use graphic software: Laughingbirdsoftware.com
Packaging and Licensing
To automate product fulfillment, it makes sense whenever possible to digitise your product. For most product payments this means using PayPal as your payment processor. Once payment has been made the buyer is sent to your download page where they have access to your download link. A zip file is normally downloaded containing the product. There are many hosting options for your digital products but one of the best and cheapest is Amazon S3.
Once uploaded to your hosting service, you will be given a download link. This is usually quite long so it makes sense to re-name the link with your product name using a URL shortening tool like YOURLS. You can then put your product link on your download page.
There are several options for selling your product. Which option is best for you depends on the type of product and your target market:
Licensing Your Digital Product
Of course, the simplest way is to sell your product direct to the end user using the methods above. However, it's worth seriously considering a licensing option too. Especially as you can charge many times the retail price for a re-sellers license. Other service professionals in similar fields could be very interested in selling your product to their clients so licensing can be very profitable!
You can tweak your product or course to suite different markets, thereby opening up multiple income streams. Of course, you stipulate the terms and conditions of the license. In other words, what they can and can't do with your product and if there are any geographic restrictions.
It's important that your contact details are included in the materials. This is powerful free advertising and it gets your name out to a much wider audience than you could reach by yourself.
The licensing agreement is provided along with the product at the point of delivery. As such, it's important to carefully consider what you want to include in the license before having a license created. Here are a few options to consider but you might want to add some of your own:
Before considering creating and selling an information product, look at what you've already got. If there is a ready market for your information, you might be surprised that you already have a lot of content that when compiled has the potential for a very good product.
Try something small to start with that won't take too much time; for example a guide or booklet. If it sells well and you are able to license it, you can build on your success with bigger and more expensive products.
Set aside some time each week so you can start to build your own product portfolio and in time you will develop independent income streams to help increase and stabalise your monthly income.
All products ready for licensing can have a free listing on this website. If you need any help with getting your product ready for licensing and marketing it, please don't hesitate to get in touch using our contact page.