5 Lessons I Wish I Knew Before Starting an Online Information Business
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Bailey / a business coach who helps individuals launch profitable online enterprises as “infopreneurs”: respected experts in their fields creating value and profit by sharing their passions with others in a manner that supports their ideal lifestyles.
Authors, bloggers, speakers, consultants, coaches – we’re really all in the same business: selling information. We “infopreneurs”, as I like to call us, have the passion, the experience and the know-how to succeed in our chosen fields, like love and relationships, home improvement, fashion, travel, beauty and more. Unfortunately, these areas of expertise do not necessarily translate directly to the kind of business knowledge required to succeed once we finally decide to start charging for our services.
In 2013, I began my infopreneur journey like so many others: learning by doing and collecting every bit of free advice I could scrounge from blogs, webinars and podcasts. But despite gathering social media strategies, blogging tips and sales tactics from even the best online business owners around, I still experienced a mix of failures and successes along my own path. In retrospect, there were a few key foundational business concepts, especially for online enterprises, I wished I had known before I had taken my first step, such as the following five pieces of wisdom.
1. Start small in everything.
In 2013 I spent nine months and hundreds of dollars writing, editing and publishing my first ebook – only to learn after truly getting invested in the ebook space that it was much different than the traditional publishing industry and that I was doing everything about my launch incorrectly. It is rarely the case as an infopreneur that our first anything – book, course, blog post, TV appearance – defines our careers. Rather, we are learning and tweaking our message and offerings after every new step. Given the option, always opt to start smaller when trying something new. You’ll save money and time, learn how to do it better and faster the second time around, and minimize the public face of your failures.
2. Outsource tasks not related to content creation.
Most infopreneurs are flying solo, and there is only so much one person can handle in any business. Email management, customer service, creating shareable social media images – these are all tasks taking you away from the real growth driver in your business: creating new content. You should be turning your complete attention towards writing new blog posts, publishing new ebooks, writing new keynote speeches and recording new online courses. You, as the information expert, are the only one who can do this, and this content is why your customers are handing over their money to you. To rise past the plateau of growth that occurs when you attempt to handle everything yourself, you must remove operational tasks from your plate by delegating them to someone else.
3. Set up sales funnels earlier.
I hear many online business coaches talk about how understanding and creating sales funnels are ‘advanced topics’, but I disagree. If you ever want to make the kind of money in your infopreneur business that you need to achieve lifestyle freedom, it is essential that you start implementing online systems from the very start to attract and convert leads automatically. If you do not, you’re going to be hustling every minute of every day trying to close enough sales just to cover your business expenses, let alone achieve your personal income goals.
4. Invest in a coach, not a “mentor”.
Getting free advice from someone who is successful in a similar field can seem like a sweet deal, but it’s best to keep in mind that a friendly mentor isn’t going to be dedicating their time to ensure your success like a coach would. If you really want to grow your business to the next level, you need more than casual touch points with an acquaintance who is not intimately knowledgeable with the growth of your enterprise. Rather, you need someone who is by your side every step of the way, invested in your success and offering guidance tailored to your needs.
5. Stop modeling your business after someone else’s enterprise.
To surround yourself with like-minded entrepreneurs is not a detriment to your success; it can be very motivating to have others with similar goals in your circle of peers. However, if you constantly see those competitors or colleagues as being models to which you should aspire, you may never escape the mindset that your business “isn’t good enough”. Or, you may start to think your business’ unique qualities should be tailored to mimic that of another’s, thereby robbing it of the traits you most loved about it.The truth is that every infopreneur business is different, from the clients we serve to the products we offer, and there isn’t one single mix of branding, web design, or marketing strategy that can effectively serve us all. Learn best practices in your industry and try out different techniques or systems to see how they benefit your business, but don’t uproot everything you’ve accomplished to this point just because someone else is doing it differently – especially if that strategy is working for you.
You may have the skills to be the best relationship coach, home improvement guru, or travel expert on the internet, but a solid foundation of business knowledge on which to build your online information enterprise is necessary to succeed as an infopreneur. If you want to learn more about infoprenuership or these foundational lessons, download my free introductory infopreneurship toolkit today to receive an ebook, flow chart and resource list to help you in launching your online information business the right way.
Copyright Bailey Richert – 2016