(c)1999, Dale Armin Miller
A number of articles tout the benefits of selling your own products. (You get all the profits!)
There's a lot written about how your product should somehow be "information." (This being the Information Superhighway, that's why people are here, and all that. Besides information is cheap to reproduce and can often be delivered immediately.)
Yet there are few attempts to explain just how to come up with your own information product.
Some of those point out how you should identify what you are already interested in; I agree with that.
And there's (the adaptation of) Thomas Edison's formula: Find a large audience with whom you can have easy, cheap, frequent contact; find out what
they are in fact buying; then sell them a better and/or less expensive version of that.
That, I think, is essential.
However, I have not seen any attempts to explain exactly what steps you can take to develop your own information product.
I think maybe part of the reason for that is ... it's impossible! (Stay with me, here.)
Everybody's different, with different interests, and every information product came about differently. So it's probably not possible to explain what steps *you*
should take to develop your own information product.
But you can learn how other people developed their information products. In fact, I know exactly how I came up with mine. Maybe that's the next best thing. Wouldn't you find it instructive to know how someone else did it?
That should serve at least to indicate what steps you can take.
Maybe that's all that's possible. (In any case, it's all you're gonna get.)
And for all the details, just send $19.95 before midnight tonight. (Sorry -- I couldn't resist.)
Actually you don't want all the gory details. Just a way to come up with a saleable information product. Right? Maybe a couple examples.
Bookmarking For Dollars
The last three products I developed are somewhat dissimilar in their format, yet their origination followed a similar path. And you'll be glad to hear that you're probably already following that path yourself!
To make sense of it, I have to mention what I was involved in.Now, this may be different than what you're involved in. But
you are doing something similar! ... just on different subjects, perhaps. I know because you use the World Wide Web and, as a person, you have interests. (And it is important to realize that no matter how bizarre they may be, there are others who share those interests.)
To start, I was led to believe that a million people had already bought something.
Being modest, I thought, "Great, then --unless the market is saturated-- I ought to be able to sell a million of these myself!" (Keeping your ego out of business decisions is the subject of a separate article.)
Now, it turns out that a million units had
been sold ... but mostly to suckers, um "Supervisors," like myself, and hardly any had actually been sold to end users.
But I didn't know that at the time. (Any similarity to the Lifetime Reminder Service is purely coincidental.)
was trying more and more strategies to get more and more people to my website. People would come, but they wouldn't buy.
So I'd study more about website design, then change the site.
Then I ran out out visitors, so I'd have to find an new way to attact people. Round and round.
"I must be doing something wrong," I thought, "after all, a million people have already bought this." So I kept at it, harder and longer than I would have without the "million people" part.
I had been bookmarking helpful
sites all along the way. Hundreds. Some good, some bad, some offering good-sounding advice that didn't work, many saying the same thing, most worthless. I kept dividing them up into categories, sorting, resorting.
Wouldn't you pay me money for that list: marketing sites collected for over a year, filtered, sorted, categorized?
You are doing something like that right now!
Aren't you collecting favorite places, bookmarking a lot of sites? Sure, many are unrelated: stock quotes for Amazon Books, The DAM (Mothers Against Dyslexia) Homepage, and alt.erotica.iguanas don't match up.
But you have a special interest represented by a lot of links that *are* related. Skateboarding, nudism, accounting, nude accountants skateboarding, ... I don't know what. But *something.*
Whatever it is, other people have that same interest. I promise.
There are five billion of us -- that's five thousand million to you Brits. Somebody has the same interests you do. And some of the ones online are actually willing to send you money in order to avoid going through what you went through to accumulate all those bookmarks.
I have bought more than one list of webpages, myself. Indeed,
I see that as a trend; in many ways, search engines just don't cut it any more.
Also, you probably learned some things about your special interest as a result of
reading all those websites ... and had some knowledge even before you started. Write that up into a report. Just start writing; you can edit later.
And don't let that word "write" scare you. It seems that as soon as someone starts to consider writing something, they are overwhelmed by the ghosts of everyone from Shakespeare to this year's Pulitzer Prize
winner. True, style is very important in fiction and poetry. But you're not writing fiction or poetry; you're just revealing facts. And all you need be able to do is explain things in such a way that people know what you're talking about.
You don't need to come up with "What light through yonder window breaks;" you only need "I done this and it worked
gooder for me."
I probably too-often get silly; perhaps you wish to retain your dignity. Just use whatever style comes naturally. But WRITE. (Then sell it!)
You can also combine links and a report. That's what I did. I took my links, added
commentary and advice (like what you're reading right now) and software, ending up with a whole website:
The Success Arsenal!. $69.95 and I sold hundreds in just the first couple months.
Another example from the same time:I was unhappy with my
online credit-card processor. I found another one, one which also paid commissions. I promoted it. Eventually, competitors sprang up. As I found them, I book- marked their sites. When I had half a dozen, I wondered which I should promote. Then it occurred to me, "Why not promote them all?" I came up with a few more resources and this became the free website GetPaidOnline.[tm] But, as at least one writer insisted, the information could have been packaged instead as a report; $19.95
Finally (actually, this was the first of the three): I had joined a couple hundred email discussion groups that allow free ads from members. I slowly whittled them down to about 100 productive ones. Along with free updates for a year, I sold that list for about $50. Just a list. I set a limit of 40 sales; it sold out in a week or two. (And judging from
the results I get from that list, I am now convinced I sold it too cheap!)
My three examples relate to marketing. That's because it's one of my passions; it's what I do, and have been doing most of my life.
But it doesn't matter what the subject
is. It could have been herbal gardening, cooking recipes, graphics software, or any of the multitude of interests and obsessions that fascinate the human mind.
As long as you explore your passion and bookmark the best sites you come across (Aren't you already doing this?), you can create your own information product. As long as you can find other people who share your
passion, YOU WILL MAKE MONEY with that information.
[Part of the Creating Value section of The Success Arsenal!,