People love to buy packaged learning and experiences (AKA: Information Products). They’re easy to understand, and therefore easy to buy.

Perhaps you think that your service may not be as easily defined as a packaged product or program, and necessarily has a high barrier for entry. You might be underestimating what you have to offer.

Let’s take a quick look at the benefits that you get from producing information products:

  • Products create opportunities for multiple streams of passive or leveraged income.
  • Having a product enhances your credibility with your prospects, your peers, meeting planners, and the media because it establishes you as a category expert and sets you apart from your competitors.
  • Products can help you book more clients because they speed up the sales cycle. Since your services have a high barrier to entry, your potential clients may need to jump a few high hurdles to persuade themselves they need to hire you. Having a product to offer based on your services gives potential clients the opportunity to test you out without having to take a big risk. Then if they connect with you and are well served by your product, they will upgrade from the lower-priced product to the higher-priced service.
  • If you use public speaking as one of your marketing strategies, having a product at the back of the room when you speak gives you credibility, and you also have a relatively low-cost way to introduce prospects into your business and generate ancillary revenue at the same time.
  • Products leverage your time. One of the biggest problems service professionals face is the paradigm of trading time for money. If all you ever do is trade your time for money, your revenues are limited by how much you charge per hour.

Start with the End in Mind

You may be in the beginning phase of building your business and just be setting out on the course to book yourself solid, but as Dr. Stephen Covey says, “Start with the end in mind.” If you want to seriously build a long-lasting career as a service professional, you’ll want to start thinking just as seriously about creating information products.

Don’t let the idea of creating products intimidate you:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Don’t overwork it or feel that it needs to be perfect.
  • Don’t worry about being wildly original.
  • Tips, guides, or resource manuals are great formats.
  • Continually strive to add value to your clients’ lives in any way you can.

When considering how to create an information product, start by examining the different possibilities and ask yourself, “How can I leverage my existing knowledge and experience to create a quality product that I can produce and launch in the shortest amount of time possible?”

Be sure you don’t overlook any content you may already have created.

For example, if you’ve written an article, you have content that you can leverage into multiple product formats. You can quickly and easily turn your article into an e-course, use it as the foundation for an e-book, print book, or program, or present it as an introductory presentation or teleclass.

A single article can be leveraged into any or all of these formats, making it possible to create an entire sales cycle from a single source of content.

Case in point: this blog post is based on a chapter in Book Yourself Solid.

Define Your Product or Program

Choose the one product idea that you’re most passionate or excited about right now—and most important, one that is in line with your current business needs. If you’re starting out and need to build your subscriber or follower base, you’ll need to create a lead-generating product first, a product that you give away to create connection with a potential client.

You will then leverage that free lead-generating information product into other monetized information products over time. If you already have a lead-generating product and you’re ready to produce higher-priced information products like an video program or a book, then go for it!

As you define your product, you will need to consider not only the type of product you will create but to whom you’re selling it, the promises it makes, the benefits and solutions it offers, the look and feel you want your product to convey, and the ways in which you can leverage the content.

It’s important to be clear about your intentions for your product or program, and it’s critical that your product or program meet the needs of your target market. No matter how much you might love to create something, if your target market doesn’t need it you’ll be defeating your purpose.

A Written Exercise to Get You Started

For now, keep it simple. Just get your ideas out of your head and onto paper.

  1. What type of product or program would you most like to create? What would you be most passionate about creating and offering to your target market?
  2. To whom would you be offering this product? (target market.)
  3. What benefits will your target market experience as a result of your product?
  4. How do you want your product to look and feel? What image or emotion do you want it to convey?
  5. How might you leverage the same content into a variety of different formats and price points for your sales cycle?

Five Steps to Developing Your Product

I have identified five simple steps to developing your product.

Step 1: Choose the role you are playing

Step 2: Choose your product framework

Step 3: Choose a title that sells

Step 4: Build your table of contents

Step 5: Create your content

While teaching my process for creating information products to my clients, Jamie McKean, recorded a mind map of the lesson. It outlines the five steps and their many component parts.

DOWNLOAD THE TEMPLATE, follow the process and you’ll be well on your way to hearing the beautiful, melodic ka-ching, ka-ching sound of your web-site-turned-cash-register as the orders come rolling in.

If you found this helpful, please share it with others that will also find it helpful. Keep thinking big about who you are and what you offer the world.

UPDATE: Here’s another worksheet just created by another one of my clients, Lauchlan Mackinnon, to give you a more linear perspective on the process.