If you’re considering entrepreneurship, you know one of the challenges you’ll have to face is figuring out how to set your business apart. Around 3 million businesses are started each year in the United States, all vying for the attention and pocketbooks of the country’s consumers.
In order to succeed, every one of those businesses has to figure out the answer to the question: why would someone choose my business? What makes it special?
One path some new businesses are taking to set themselves apart and gain the trust of potential customers is becoming infopreneurs.
What is an Infopreneur?
An infopreneur is an entrepreneur who builds a business based on information products. Instead of selling items or services, they sell knowledge.
That’s a simple definition, but infopreneurship – as with any type of entrepreneurship –involves a good amount of research, time, and work to do right. But if you have knowledge you know other people can benefit from and are willing to put the work in, becoming an infopreneur can be both profitable and fulfilling.
How Becoming an Infopreneur Can Pay Off
Infopreneurship offers some key benefits in comparison to other types of entrepreneurship.
The overhead to get started is low.
When you’re selling a product, you have to purchase inventory. If your business requires an office or storefront, you have to pay rent every month, along with all the supplies and furniture needed to turn those spaces into a business.
An infopreneur doesn’t need to deal with any of those costs. To start an information business, you need a website, time to create information products, and marketing knowledge. You may want to hire some people to help make your information products look or sound good, like a graphic designer or editor, but that’s likely to be the most expensive part.
When the financial investment required to get started is low, it keeps your risk low and makes the path to profit faster.
Information products usually only need to be created once and can be sold over and over again.
Creating information products does take a lot of time and work, but once you’ve finished one, you can make money on it again and again – as many times as there are people who want to buy it. Service providers have to continually provide their services, and businesses that sell physical products have to repeatedly buy more inventory to sell. But if you create something that’s high quality and market it well (that’s the ongoing part), you can profit off the same information product for years to come.
You can work from anywhere.
When your work isn’t tied to any particular office or city, you can work anywhere that has internet. Information products can be created just as easily from a house in Idaho as from a coffee shop in Berlin. Some infopreneurs take advantage of the location independence by traveling all over the world to work, while others like the freedom of staying home and working in pajamas with a dog as their officemate.
Any place where you can stay productive is a place you can run an infopreneur business from.
The Main Tools of the Infopreneur’s Trade
There’s not one right path to infopreneurship, but these are some of the most common tools, resources, and product types to consider.
An Infopreneur’s Products
You could share your knowledge on a street corner, but no one is likely to pay you for it. To sell your knowledge, you need to package it in a form that people will want to buy. For most infopreneurs, that means a mix of:
- Ebooks – An ebook is a lengthy text that provides thorough information on a subject that interests your audience. Before publishing, it’s often worth hiring a graphic designer and editor to make sure your grammar is correct and the ebook looks just right.
- Tutorials – Tutorials provide step-by-step instructions on how to do something. They’re often videos, but can also be thorough blog posts that include specific instructions and helpful screen shots.
- Videos – Sometimes videos are tutorials, but not always. Informational videos can take on a wide array of formats including: interviews, presentations and . Just make sure they’re entertaining and packed with valuable information for your audience.
- Webinars – Webinars are similar to videos in a lot of ways, except that they’re live and interactive. You provide a presentation of valuable information over video conferencing software and take questions as you go.
- Podcasts – For many information consumers, podcasts are a preferred type of content due to the ability to multitask. Your busy audience can listen to the information you have to offer through headphones while going for a run, or in the car while driving.
- Courses and Workshops – Probably the largest and most valuable information product of all, courses and workshops combine multiple information products. These are usually best for a more in-depth topic, as courses can often run a span of several weeks. Courses are difficult to put together and do require some ongoing work helping students as you go, but they’re one of the information products you can usually charge the most for.
Most successful infopreneurs offer some of their information products for free as a way to promote the business and build trust, then charge for the products that go more into depth or provide extra value in some way.
An Infopreneur’s Toolkit
There are a few things every infopreneur will need to succeed, and a handful of other resources and products worth considering to make your infopreneur business work.
- Website – First and foremost, you need a space online where your business will live. Your website will be the cornerstone of your infopreneur business so make sure it’s well designed, you invest in reliable web hosting, and that the style and domain name reflect your brand.
- Blog – A blog is an important tool to demonstrate knowledge to potential customers and build trust in your infopreneur brand. It’s also an invaluable tool for building your email list.
- Email marketing software – That email list only matters if you have a means to contact your followers and keep the relationship going. For that, you need an email software like Constant Contact to keep your lists organized, create emails that look good, and track the success of each email you send.
Those are three resources you should plan on investing in no matter what type of information products you create or what type of information you build your business on. But most infopreneurs will find they need to build up a toolkit with a few additional resources and investments, such as:
- Distribution platforms like Amazon for ebooks, Udemy for courses, YouTube for videos, and iTunes for podcasts.
- Products to help you produce higher quality information products, such as good microphones for recording podcasts or editing software for videos.
- Resources needed to learn and do marketing for your business like SEO, PPC, and social media.
- The services and products most businesses need, like a computer and accounting software.
This post really just covers the barebones basics of creating an infopreneur business. If your interest is piqued and you think infopreneurship might be for you, check back soon for more posts that will get into the particulars of how to create and promote different types of information products.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.