Making Money With Information Products
I actually know a few people who are making millions a year through home-based operations (and a few others who have been able to subsidize their incomes from low risk business ideas). In most cases, all it took was some good market research and the get up and go to actually put the information product together.
Believe it or not, the biggest obstacle to overcome when putting together an ebook or DVD product is actually having the motivation to get started - it's not as hard as it sounds!
The most common, and usually the most successful information products are e-books, audio cd / tapes and increasingly, DVD's. We'll take a look at each of these categories in more detail below:
Writing a successful ebook
You really have 2 options here. You can develop the content of the e-book yourself, or you can get someone to do it for you. There's a few other ways you can go about creating an e-book, for instance, obtaining the rights to an out of print book, but these methods and considerably more complex and don't offer any guarantees.
If you're a semi-confident writer, my advice would be to try and write the book yourself. A good way to start is to write about something that you are interested in - spend 15 minutes a day putting down your ideas, if you find you are struggling, do your best to outline your ideas and then investigate the possibility of hiring a writer to research and draft the remainder of your ebook.
There are loads of good writers around who will put together polished and concise copy for around 10 cents per word. Take a look at www.profitpuppy.com/freelance-sites.htm">http://www.profitpuppy.com/freelance-sites.htm for more information about finding a freelance writer.
Some writers expect up to $175 US an hour for their services, although thanks to the internet, it's not impossible to find a reasonably talented scribe for around 10 cents per word. It's important that you are clear in what you want to achieve when advertising a project so that you attract someone who is well suited. If you don't have any luck with Elance or Freelance Writers, you could also try posting to Yahoo Groups or approaching people at your local uni.
It's important to remember that your reader probably won't be too concerned about your command of the English language - just make sure you clearly explain your concepts and ideas (especially if you are writing a "how-to" style ebook). For more information about writing and marketing e-books, visit www.profitpuppy.com/writing-and-selling-ebooks.htm">http://www.profitpuppy.com/writing-and-selling-ebooks.htm where you will find a number of valuable resources.
Audio CD's and Tapes
If you don't fancy yourself as a writer whatsoever, another option you have is to create and audio tape or CD. It's not as expensive as you might think, and audio products still have great appeal for buyers.
While DVD's and Videos have become easier to create, tapes and CD's are still the mainstay of the information product world. The reason of this is that media savvy buyers aren't enticed by the often amateurish production qualities of video or DVD info products. Another advantage of tapes and CD's is that you can listen to them anywhere, for example in your car on the way to work.
To produce a CD or Tape of reasonable quality, you are going to need to purchase (or hire) the necessary equipment. If you can afford to buy some studio time, it's worthwhile, but if you just starting out, it's an undue expense that you can avoid. Your local electronics store should be able to arm you with a noise reducing microphone and some high quality audio tapes (another option is to record to your computer first). You can expect to pay around $50 - $80 all up. You don't need expensive equipment to get started, although you may have to upgrade if as you go along?
Assuming that you've researched your topic (and target market properly), you can begin working on your information product which should give some step-by-step advice on how to overcome a particular problem or achieve a particular goal (there's more about picking your topic below). Just remember that when you start recording you deliver the essence of your experience (or research) in an entertaining and concise way. If you are producing an instructional CD or tape, a simplified and bare bones approach is often best. Come up with steps that will help your customers achieve their desired goal/s.
When you're ready to go, shut off the phones and start recording (it's also a good idea to have a script in front of you). Record your tape in less than 60 minutes. Play it to your friends, make any changes you think might be worthwhile based on their advice. When you're happy with the final product, create some duplicates (or get someone to do it for you) and then start selling your product on the Internet - It's that easy!
Making your own DVD information product
If you think your idea is an exceptional one, or something that could work better visually, then you might consider producing your own DVD of Special Interest Video (SIV's). This type of information product (often referred to as Guerilla Video) is becoming more popular as the required production technology becomes more accessible. Anyone with a DVC, a computer and some editing software can now make fairly professional looking DVD's.
DVD's like tapes and CD's are also more valuable in terms of what your customer might pay for them; although they are more expensive to produce, people are more likely to pay extra money to watch a DVD (especially if it can show them how to do something instead of having to listen or read about it). For example, showing someone how to dance or swing a golf club would be much more valuable then telling them how to do it.
Remember that the 'if you can't do it, get someone else to' principle applies for DVD's and audio information products as well. It will cost you a little extra, but will usually be worth it in the long run.
Regardless of your current level of video expertise, if you have the basic equipment, you can produce your own SIV. The first time around, you should consult with a sound and lighting technician and hire a video editor who can help you assemble your masterpiece.
Picking a topic and selling it
I probably should have covered this at the beginning? Anyway, by now you've probably got 3-4 ideas for your own e-book? If not, you'd better get brainstorming!
Have you ever trained an animal? There's a product right there. Do you have a fantastic way to save money? There's another product. Do you know how to build anything? That's definitely a product. There's potential for information products all around you. The most important thing is that you research you target market properly and find out what they are interested in. A great way to do this is to post a short online questionnaire which you can advertise through pay per click Google Adwords. You could offer to give away a free copy of your product to anyone who helps you out with your market research.
Before marketing your product, decide how much it's worth: as a rough guide, you can sell an audio tape for at least $10 - $30 or a series of tapes for a lot more (depending on the subject) and you should be able to double that price for a CD or DVD product. At the end of the day you really have to test your price -you need to understand how much the market values your information. If your product can help other people earn money, you should be able to sell it for $97 per unit or more. If you're trying to market a dog grooming manual you may find it more difficult to generate good returns - you must pick your topic carefully.
Some killer website copy, targeted ads and packaging can all help add value to your product. You will also need a merchant account so you can accept payment for your information product.
Visit www.profitpuppy.com/accepting-payment.htm">http://www.profitpuppy.com/accepting-payment.htm to learn more about merchant accounts.
E-books, tapes and SIV information Products can be the ideal business to start - they are easy to produce, simple to ship, and enjoy high returns because people aren't paying for the physical form the product is delivered in. Remember, that after you've completed your product, you'll be making nearly 100% profit (that's if people are interested enough to buy it). For example, if you produced just 1 DVD and can sell 500 copies at $50 a piece, you stand to make $25,000?
Regards, Rob Rawson