I love infoproducts. It’s the lifelong learner in me, it’s the teacher in me, and it’s the entrepreneur in me: There’s nothing better than being able to turn what you know into a product you can sell.
It’s the teacher in me that needs to speak this morning ( and a little bit of the coach too) about something I’ve been noticing over the last years. As the idea of creating and selling information products has become more mainstream, I see people making a mad dash to get something out there. Note: I’m not talking about the get rich quick schemers that prey on people seeking answers. I’m seeing well-intentioned women with powerful messages that have been called to be coaches, authors, and speakers getting caught up in peddling hype rather than help.
Here’s what I see happening: In an attempt to bring in additional income into their business, they decide to create an ebook. They’ve learned to or have seen other people take a bunch of blog post or have a telecall transcribed and then put it in a pdf and say they have a product, so they set out to do the same. Sometimes they are creating a free product to use as a lead magnet for their opt-in list. Other times they are planning on selling their ebook. In some cases this is a great idea, especially if the product is done well and the information is deemed valuable and helpful by their audience – that’s a win for everybody involved. Unfortunately, what I see happening far too often is that the ebook may look good but it doesn’t actually help the people that buy or download it. help. Why not? Because everything can’t be learned in an ebook.
Information vs. Transformation
There is no shortage of information out there. Now, more than any other time in history we have access to information. What we are short on is transformation: being able to use the information we have in a way that helps us get from point A to point B. It’s why you can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on home study courses or other information products and still not make any progress with your marketing, getting clients, or booking more speaking gigs. Real transformation requires more than just having access to information. Information is a good start but at some point people want to actually get to results, and that’s where focusing on the type of transformation your audience needs is valuable.
My first year as a fifth grade teacher was both exciting and frightening. I was excited to have my own class and finally be in a position to sow into a group of students. I still remember the thrill of buying decorations for the classroom and creating name tags for their desk I had so carefully arranged according to the latest research about classroom management and learning. I had my lesson plans, an organized desk and the best intentions about how I was going to change lives. Then my students showed up. Twenty-eight kids with their own agenda, learning issues, parent issues and social needs. My “learning is fun and fundamental” attitude was of no concern to most of them, and I found myself frustrated at their lack of enthusiasm for reading, math and writing. I had a bachelor’s degree in education, I’d done 9 months of student teaching, served in AmeriCorps running school-baed programs, and passed the six-hour NTE (National Teacher’s Exam) which certified me to teach k-8th grade. And with all of that, I still needed support if I was going to really be able to teach.
Now, I could have read 5 ebooks about what to do your first year in teaching. I could have even watched 5 videos that instructed me on what to do. But those would have made very little difference in helping me get unstuck. What saved me that first year was my teacher mentor, Susan Wells. A former classroom teacher, she had the patience, experience, and insight to guide me through the emotions I was feeling and help me set up the systems and responses that allowed me to serve my students. I could not have gotten her feedback or listening from a book. And no amount of audio downloads could have substituted for her being in my class, seeing what I was doing and validating my approaches. To get from point A to point B, I needed mentoring and coaching, not just information.
Are you really helping your clients?
As you think about the clients you serve, are you offering what they need, or what’s easiest for you to create? Are you giving them mini-reports (information) when what they need is coaching that gives them feedback? Are you creating elaborate videos for them (teaching), when what they really need is a step-by-step reusable template? Or are you trying to push them through a 6-month coaching program when what they really need is live workshop (training)?
One of the reasons I started offering Brilliant Breakthrough Strategy sessions is because my clients were unprepared for coaching. They would want guidance, feedback and accountability on implementing a marketing strategy, but had no idea who their target audience was OR what products and services their potential clients were willing to pay for. Coaching is the perfect approach when someone has made a decision and has a plan in place. But when someone doesn’t have clear direction and vision, it is nearly impossible to coach them. Why? Because we’d spend valuable coaching time trying to get the to make a decision rather than putting things in place to prepare them to take action. We’d spend so much time on strategy and consulting (brainstorming and evaluating ideas) that we’d never get to taking action. This led to frustration and slow progress. Now I only coach people that have certain elements in place, if they don’t have a clear audience, message, and way to package their products, they start with the appropriate Brilliant Breakthrough strategy session.
Before you launch into creating another infoproduct,think about the transformation your intended audience really needs. One of the tools that can help you is something we cover in detail in my Infoproduct Intensive Workshop, it’s called the Eight Paths to Transformation. Click here to download your own copy.