A lot of small business owners like the idea of creating information products. They like the benefits of creating passive revenue streams, demonstrating value, and establishing their expertise.
But a lot never get past the idea of information products because they worry they’ll need to learn all sorts of special technologies and buy expensive software to create one.
If your concerns about complicated technology and steep learning curves are keeping you from creating an information product read on. It’s a lot easier than you think.
To do this, I want you to start thinking like the TV action hero, Angus MacGyver.
In the TV show, Angus MacGyver (known to his friends as MacGyver or “Mac”) who favored brain over brawn in order to solve desperate problems. MacGyver’s main asset was his practical application of scientific knowledge and inventive use of common items. (Source: Wikipedia)
Need to defuse an advanced nuclear weapon? No problem. MacGyver did it with a paper clip. Worried about that sulfuric acid leak? Give MacGyver a chocolate bar and he’ll plug it. Need to read teeny tiny secret spy notes? MacGyver created a magnifying devise using a hair clip and a few drops of liquid.
Your Information Product Toolkit
Now I know it’s highly unlikely that you will ever be in a situation in which you need to defuse an advanced nuclear weapon much less with a paper clip.
What I want you to take away is the idea that with a little know-how and resourcefulness, you already have the tools you need to create a good information product.
MacGyver’s basic tool kit was duct tape and a Swiss army knife plus whatever was lying around.
What about a tool kit for the small business owner who wants to create information products? Here’s my list:
- Own or have access to a personal computer.
- A word processing program like Microsoft Word or OpenOffice (free)
- (Optional) A digital recorder like the Olympus VN-4100PC which retails for less than $50.
Most if not all of you reading this have #1 and #2. You can get by without #3, the digital recorder but it’s very useful and I’ll say more about that in a moment.
Six Information Product Ideas MacGyver Would Approve Of
Okay, so let’s say, you hire MacGyver and you say, “Mac, I want an information product, fast, and all I have is my 3-year old Dell computer, a copy of OpenOffice, and a friend with a digital recorder. Can you help me?”
Here are six information products that you have all the tools and know-how you need to get going:
1. Giving a Presentation? Record it!
Nothing blows my mind more than when I talk with a business owner who tells me about a great presentation they did for a local service organization or a customer. “Did you record it?” I always ask them. They look at me like I’m completely nuts, “No, why would I?”
Why? Because in most cases, you have an instant information product.
When I do presentations, I always record them on my little Olympus DS-30 digital recorder. Do I use them all for information products? No. But I like having the option.
2. Don’t Forget Your Presentation Slides
If your presentation was accompanied by clear, user-friendly slides, I encourage you to use those as information products as well. Even better, bundle the slides with the audio recording and make both available.
Note: Not a big deal if you don’t own software to create presentations such as Microsoft PowerPoint. There are free options you can use such as OpenOffice Impress and Google Docs.
3. Write How To’s and Tip Sheets
Very few people will pay for a 500-word tip sheet. However, people will pay $10 and up if you take 20 such tip sheets on related topics, create a table of contents, and put them together in an e-book.
4. Leverage Your Research
A travel agent I know was frustrated because she spent several hours putting together a vacation package for a prospective customer who booked his trip with another agent. She wondered if there was a way she could earn money doing the research regardless of whether the prospect did business with her.
I suggested she use the research to create one to two page “tips” articles and sell on her web site.
For example, “Five best cruise vacations for budget travelers.”
Regardless of whether she gets the business, she now has something useful she can sell to website visitors. The articles also help to establish her as an expert in budget travel.
5. Audio Recordings
This is when having a digital recorder comes in handy. Anything you can record: a presentation, an interview, a class; even reading a written article out loud, can be transferred to your computer and distributed on the Internet.
Important: If other people are involved (for instance, you’re taping a workshop), let them know upfront that you will be recording. This is especially important if you intend to sell the resulting product.
6. Interview Other Experts Whose Work Complements Yours
No small business is an island. We all depend to a greater or lesser extent on the talents of others to stay in business. As a marketing consultant I need the services of an accountant, graphic designer, Web and blog designer, a PR expert, and a printer, just to name a few.
What types of questions do you ask these folks? Do you think others in your profession might be interested in the answers? Yes, probably.
I recommend recording your interview so you have the complete conversation. You can then write a question and answer article on the parts that are most relevant to your audience.
You don’t need to be a technical wiz to create information products. Nor do you need to buy expensive software or hire a film editor. You just need to think like MacGyver; have the basic tools, know how to use them, and think creatively.