|In my scrapbook is a page of Making a Living Without a Job memorabilia that I’ve titled “The Class That Became a Business.” Indeed, it was only after people repeatedly said, “I’d love to be doing what you do,” that I began to realize there was an opportunity to share what I had learned. You may have your own opportunity hiding in plain sight.
“The new source of power is not money in the hands of a few,” said John Naisbitt, “but information in the hands of many.” This boom in information, technology and communication has made creating and packaging information a popular enterprise for self-bossers. And rightly so. Not only can you capitalize on years of experience and learning, you can start building your own information brokerage immediately—and do it from the comfort of home.
Information packagers are often people who have a real passion for their subject; others are passionate about communication and may write and speak about a number of subjects. Good communication skills are, of course, basic to making this work.
While it does take planning to create and produce information packages, you can get started with a minimum of expenditure. People are turning to experts with practical experience—people who have done what they’re teaching. Whether you are a world-class mountain climber, financial planner or legendary party giver, your audience awaits you.
Here’s a quick overview of the possibilities for packaging and marketing the information that’s already at your fingertips.
Teach a class or seminar. You can, of course, market your own classes. If you’re just getting started, however, you’ll save a lot of frustration if you join forces with someone who can promote your teaching such as a community college or professional association. Community education programs, art centers and even libraries are also possibilities.
Give a speech. Conventions and professional groups are always seeking speakers who can motivate, train and educate. Professional speakers need stamina, but the financial rewards can be great. Many successful speakers begin their careers more modestly, however, offering to speak to local groups which offer exposure and experience—not much money.
Write articles. Magazines, newsletters, newspapers and association journals, which number in the tens of thousands, are good markets for how-to information. Some online sites also pay for material. You may be able to produce articles that you can sell several times to non-competing markets.
Self-publish. Desktop publishing has made it possible for impatient authors to produce their own reports, books and so forth. The profit margin is greater than with conventional publishing, but distribution can be more difficult when you do it yourself. However, self-publishing makes a great mail order venture. Or you can follow the lead of other successful self-publishers who also do public speaking and market their books at the same time.
CDs, DVDs and videotapes. The market for tapes and CDs has grown so large that many publishing houses have audio/video divisions. Again, tapes make a wonderful product to sell in conjunction with classes and public speaking.
Newsletters. While a newsletter can be a good profit center, it may not be profitable enough to be your single source of income. Newsletters are a great way to update and expand the information that you dispense in other formats.
Consulting. Working with others on a one-to-one basis can be a lucrative way of sharing the information and experience of a lifetime. Many consultants limit their work to a few select clients, leaving time for other information pursuits.
Internet. The world of cyberspace offers ample opportunities for sharing information. Since much of it is free, you need to establish your own position about how you want to operate online. Some websites share free information and market additional products, such as books and tapes. Becoming an online expert for someone else’s site is another way of taking advantage of the Internet.
There’s more where this came from.
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