So you’re ready to pursue passive income, the type of money that comes in while you are sleeping, working on other things or out having fun. I applaud your initiative! Just make sure you don’t fall victim to the top two pitfalls I observe in action again and again.
The biggest mistake I see others making is starting off too big. Many think the smart move is starting out with a book, or something equally ambitious. They outline and go to work on their book or complicated home-study course that would have to take years to finish, given their overall plan.
One product developer, for example, asked to interview me as one of 12 experts in a big home-study course and promised to send me the whole package when it was done. Every couple of months I would email her to ask if she could please send me a copy of the product. However, it still wasn’t done yet. It took her almost two years to finish creating that course! And when I did finally get a copy of it, I could see half a dozen ways that she had made her project much harder and more complicated than it needed to be. Worst of all, some of the information from the experts in the course was already out of date.
Both books and big, complicated infoproducts each have their place. Just don’t start with one. Start with an easy project that you can start and finish in a week or less. Then set it up to start earning from it. Then you’re ready to tackle a bigger project.
The second most common deadly mistake of first-time information marketers is creating a product focused on what people should want to know, what’s good for them to know, not what they actually want to know.
For example, a psychotherapist I know believes that unacknowledged shame is the root cause of many people’s unhappiness. She may be correct about this. However, unless people are very knowledgeable about psychology or have been in therapy for a while, they won’t identify shame as their core issue. And in that case, they’re not going to buy a report or course about getting over their shame.
Similarly, maybe you are a copywriter and have a terrific workbook on how to translate features into benefits. This would be extremely beneficial to anyone who wants to find more customers or clients. You hope to sell this to owners of small and medium-sized businesses. However, the average business owner is not aware of features and benefits, so this is not going to be a big seller to the business community.
For one more example of this, imagine that you’re a financial planner and see over and over again families coming to grief because they’ve neglected to create a rainy day fund of emergency cash. You might then decide to create an audio course teaching families how to do that. It certainly would be good for them to have this information. But since they aren’t already seeking out this information in droves, you have a hard sell ahead of you.
As an information product developer, you must always separate the solutions or insights people deliberately look for from those they don’t realize would be good for them. Concentrate on the former and you’ll have the greatest chances of a first-time infoproduct success. Later on, when you have a customer list and a reputation, you can sneak in the “good to know” stuff, and fans may snatch it up.