The year was 1998.
Professional musician and circus clown, Derek Sivers had a new CD of his music he wanted to sell online.
So he created a website to sell it.
When his musician friends saw what he was doing, they asked him if he’d sell their music on his site too.
Then friends of friends asked him to sell their music too.
And that is how CD Baby, an online music store that sells indie musician CDs and song downloads, was born.
Sivers says he doesn’t consider himself too bright and that he just sort of stumbled into information marketing. Well he may have “stumbled” into it, but he certainly got the hang of it.
Ten years after Sivers launched his CD Baby site, he sold it for $22 million dollars.
Not bad, eh?
Today Sivers has another information marketing business called the Wood Egg which publishes annual guides for how to move to and start a business in 16 different countries in Asia.
I’m sure when Sivers decided to sell some of his CDs online he never imagined it would grow into a multi-million dollar business and provide him with incredible freedom to do anything he wanted.
But having an information marketing business turn into something unexpectedly great isn’t all that unusual.
Take radio advertising sales representative Harmony Tenney.
When she decided she wanted to teach her clients how to get the results they wanted from their radio ads, she had no idea how much this would impact her personally.
She created a “how-to” information kit for customers so they would know how to buy radio advertising better and get results that would grow their business.
When the kit created great results for her clients, testimonials came pouring in which built her into one of the most successful radio advertising representatives in the country.
Today Tenney has information products that target different niches such as lawyers, business owners, and nonprofits. These products teach her clients how to get results, grow their business using radio ads, and avoid getting caught up by a radio sales rep that might not have a clue.
Tenney’s information product has served her in four ways:
1) She’s able to out advertise her competition. Because she makes money from the sales of her information products, she’s able to use this income to do more advertising than other radio sales reps.
2) She’s built her reputation in the radio advertising community. The product provides information that business owners need to make good decisions about radio advertising. This has positioned her as an expert in the field.
3) She’s been able to eliminate cold calling. People in her community who invest in her products become prospects, allowing her to avoid having to cold-call and contact business owners who have no intention of buying radio advertising. This also frees up her time and eliminates marketing waste by allowing her to concentrate on the ones who are interested.
4) She boosted her income as a radio sales representative. Because her information products have positioned her as an expert in the field, people trust her and want to work with her. This combined with not having to waste time on uninterested prospects and having more money to market herself than her competitors, allows her to soar above the massive competition in her field.
So while information marketing can provide you with great income and freedom, there is a whole lot more that can be gained from creating your own information products for your business.
Are you trying to solve a problem for yourself? If so, maybe like Sivers, there is an information marketing product lying in wait, begging you to launch it.
Or maybe there’s something that could be done in a different or better way. Sometimes the best businesses are just improvements of ideas that already exist. (Tweet this!)
In Sivers’ case, selling CDs wasn’t new. But he came up with a different way (at the time) and in some ways, a better way to buy them than what already existed.
What about problems your customers’ have? Is there something there that will solve their problems and perhaps provide the same side effects as Tenney?
Often times I hear about the positive side effects of having an information marketing business that people had no idea would happen. So don’t worry if your initial goal is to make money or not. Just create an information product to do the thing you want—whether it’s to attract more leads, provide a way for your own clients to solve a problem, or improve your own situation. And watch the happy side effects unfold.
If you’ve created an information marketing product, what are some of the happy, yet unexpected side effects you’ve encountered? Let me know in the comments below.
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