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Escape the time for money trapDo you sell your time for money, perhaps because you’re a coach, a consultant, a therapist or trainer? The problem – as I’m sure you know from personal experience – is that when you trade time for money, you very quickly reach a ceiling on what you can earn unless you put in longer hours or keep increasing your prices.

And what happens if you unexpectedly have to take time off because you or your children are poorly or because there’s a family emergency? Even with the best laid plans, life can get in the way of our businesses sometimes. But how will you continue to bring in money if you’re not available to sell your time?

Surely, there has to be a better way to take the pressure off, monetise what you know and still give your customers the value of your expertise?

 

Creating information products

Whatever your business, the reason people come to you is because you have knowledge or expertise that makes a positive difference to their lives. If you offer a hands-on service, like reflexology or hypnobirthing, or coach individuals in the workplace, for example, it can be hard to imagine a different business model, one that allows you to step back from the business occasionally without things very quickly breaking down.

Information products could be your solution. By information products, I mean ebooks, podcasts, videos, audio recordings, workshops, webinars, courses, membership clubs and other items that package your knowledge in a way that doesn’t require one-to-one time.

Do you have a service that’s really popular or is there a question that your clients always ask? If you create an information product around this topic, you could make it available to many people at the same time and only have to produce the content once. Your customers could buy from you at any time of the day or night from anywhere in the world, giving you a passive income and a very real opportunity to earn money while you sleep.

 

Not sure where to start?

It’s worth spending some time thinking about what information product(s) would give your customers the best value and have the greatest appeal. If you’re targeting busy mums, for example, you might create ten-minute podcasts that they can listen to in the car, on the school run or while they’re making dinner.

Would your customers prefer videos or audio files? Would it help them to have exercises to complete in monthly workbooks? Would they want a transcript to refer back to? Do they want knowledge about a particular topic, such as creating a money-making website in WordPress or using PR to promote their small business?

 

Begin with understanding your customer

So often my advice starts with ‘Know your ideal customer’ but with good reason. By identifying your customers’ biggest pain points and the knowledge you have that means the most to them, you’ll have a clear starting point for creating your first information product.

If you’re not sure, you could always send out a survey to your mailing list or ask your most engaged customers to be part of a consultation group, perhaps in exchange for a special offer or bonus material.

 

The next step in beating the time for money trap

Once you’ve pinpointed what your first information product is going to be, you face the challenge of creating it. Whatever your product, it’s essential to spend quality time on getting your copy right (or bringing an experienced copywriter on board to help you). After all, your information product will hopefully be available for some time to come and should reflect positively on your knowledge and experience.

  • Think about your tone of voice
  • Plan out the content
  • What key points do you want to make?
  • What is the purpose of the product?
  • What do you want your customers to be able to take away from it?
  • When do you plan to launch it?
  • Have you built your mailing list to give you a group of warm leads for your new product?

Some of the most successful information products that I’ve come across recently are packed full of personality. The writers let their tone of voice shine through, as well as their passion for the topic, but what they all have in common is a professional finish. The copy is well written, engaging and attention grabbing. In turn, this tells customers that these products have been produced by people who care about quality, attention to detail and, most importantly, the customer experience.

There’s no doubt that when done properly, information products really can offer a profitable and fulfilling escape route from the confines of the ‘time for money’ trap.

 

Are you caught in the ‘time for money’ trap? Have you thought about information products and how they might work for your business? Or do you already sell information products? How successful have they been? I’d love to hear your experiences in the Comments section below.

Photo credit and license information: h.koppdelaney via photopin cc

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Emma Heasman

Emma Heasman has been an in-house and freelance copywriter for the past 13 years and launched The Freelance Copywriter in 2003. Ever passionate about copywriting, she now works with small businesses to help them write copy that speaks to their ideal customers. Connect with Emma on Google+

One Response so far.

  1. Nicola says:

    A great post Emma. I realised about 6 months ago that I was never going to have enough time in my business to generate the money that I needed and have decided to take the plunge and dedicate 100% of my time to going down the information product route. I love what you say about ‘personality’. There is very little new and innovative information out there but what will differentiate people is the way that they deliver that information. As the old saying goes – be yourself, everybody else is taken!

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