Information Product Disaster – Is Your Passive Revenue Product Gold Mine Doomed From the Start?

It’s a sad and tragic sight. But one I see all too often.

Scores of entrepreneurs and solo-professionals flying like lemmings off a financial cliff, creating information products doomed to failure right from the start.

They pour time and effort into products that have no chance for success. And become discouraged, never to try again, missing out on tens of thousands of dollars of potential profits.

However, you can avoid that fate by answering 3 simple questions:

1. Should I be creating this product in the first place?

Everyone assumes just because some hot-shot is making money with a product that they can too. However, nothing could be further from the truth.

Is there a demand for the product amongst your target market? Does it fulfill a desire or an urgent want or hunger they have? Does it leverage your unique expertise and viewpoint?

If not, you are staring into a bottomless pit that will suck your time and energy and give nothing in return.

The your prospects won’t buy anything that doesn’t meet their needs.

On the other hand when you answer yes to the questions above, you are well on your way to creating a hit.

2. Why am I creating this product?

Lots of folks often ask me “How do I create my product?” And rather than give them a pat answer, I always answer their question with one of my own: “Why do you want to create this product?”

A blank stare in return means that I have just saved them from an expensive boondoggle.

Your product must fulfill an important specific goal for your own business: more revenue, more subscribers, more exposure. It’s the only way to insure your production and marketing stays on track, on schedule and on target to reap the result you want.

Here is a very crucial bonus tip:

The more specific you can be about your product goal, the more likely you are to achieve it. How much revenue do you want it to produce? Over what period of time? How many new subscribers? How soon?

Getting specific can radically explode your chances for success. Without it, you are simply shooting in the dark.

3. Are you doing this because you want to, or because some marketing guru said you have to?

It sounds sentimental and syrupy sweet. But its true:

The more passionate you are about creating your product, the better the chance you will see it all the way through to its profitable completion.

The fire that creates a successful product must come from you. It’s the one thing you can’t get from a home study course. And if it isn’t there, your prospects instinctively know it. And a lack of sales will show it.

So are you creating your product because you want to? Because you are passionate about the material? Because you know there is nothing like it out there, and that your target market desperately wants it?

Or are you doing it simply because some hot-shot guru said you should?

The factors that create successful products are largely hidden and misunderstood. However, you now know three that save your own efforts from the scrap heap, and help insure one profitable success story after another.

How to Coach an Entrepreneur

What are the common traits of an entrepreneur?

The entrepreneur is a different animal to your average coaching client. They are futurists and have the capacity to see opportunities where others cannot. They are highly creative and are strategic thinkers. They operate best free of constraints. They are impulsive and risk takers. The opportunity will often outweigh the risk. Their impetuosity and spontaneity often leaving a trail for others to clean up. They love to have multiple ideas or projects on the go. They thrive on starting things and can quickly become bored. They often work best alone. They move at a rapid pace. They may experience frustration if those around them cannot keep up.

What common mistakes do coaches make with entrepreneurs?

Don’t try to change them or slow them down

Successful coaches appreciate the entrepreneur for who they are and don’t try to change them. Let them run and get out of their way. Watch and learn. They move at such rapid pace they may omit to consider risks or challenges. Help them expand their thinking, use brainstorming techniques, run scenarios, add clarity and detail to the vision, identify blind spots.

Preserve balance and sustainability

In their haste the entrepreneur may neglect basic aspects of their lives, eg diet, exercise, relationships, birthdays. Watch out for sustained periods of neglect. They are optimists and masters of illusion. Look for hidden signs of stress. The entrepreneur has the capacity to make small things big things – both opportunities and problems. Call it gearing. A good coach will realise this and role-play whatever role is appropriate. This is an art.

Respect their creativity and risk threshold

Entrepreneurs have a high threshold for risk. Accept it and work with them. You may need to be the flexible one. Their tolerance for risk, not yours, should determine the basis for strategies and objectives. Entrepreneurs love to brainstorm ideas. They also love to talk. So, let them. Coaching is about listening. Entrepreneurs want someone to listen and respond enthusiastically to their ideas. They seek positive reinforcement.

What advice would you give to public practitioners dealing with entrepreneurs?

Much of the above is also true for the professional advisor. There is one basic distinction. True coaches will not give advice. They will facilitate self-discovery through questioning techniques. Professional advisors such as accountants are expected to give professional advice. They are subject matter experts and required to interpret the law and share their knowledge. Remember entrepreneurs are the decision makers so offer them your considered opinion and let them decide. Give them options.

Be proactive

Entrepreneurs move fast. They subject themselves to risks and make frequent decisions. They do not and cannot know everything. They place a premium value on astute professional advisors who can give them considered opinion proactively and foresee scenarios or risk exposure they cannot.

Be accessible and responsive

When entrepreneurs want an answer they want it now. They make rapid fire decisions and have short concentration spans. They don’t want to dwell on the detail. Big picture, clear guidance, fast turnaround.

Service focus

Tune into what your client wants. Take time to learn how they tick. Be flexible with your communication style to accommodate your client. They talk fast, you talk fast. They want succinct information, give it to them. They want options, run scenarios. They expect you to be there when they need you not return my call two days later.

Questions are the answers

Learn how to listen. Learn how to ask powerful questions. The techniques of a skilled coach are just as relevant for an accountant or sales professional. Ask open questions, eg what, where, when, how. Practise questioning techniques such as probing, clarifying, paraphrasing, summarising.

Restate commitments

Once you have reached agreement with your client, repeat it back to them for clarity, “So, it is my understanding that you want me to submit your tax return by Monday, 31 July, is that correct?” or “My expectation is that you will sign and return the contract to me by Wednesday, is that reasonable?”

Real-time information

Nothing irritates an entrepreneur more than old information. Time is money. They want both lead indicators (prospects, conversion rates, average sales, purchase frequency) and lag indicators (customers, sales, profits) in their management reports. Sales pipelines are essential management information.

System and structure

The entrepreneur needs system and structure. They often aren’t the best person to deliver it. That’s why they hire a coach, personal assistant, consultant or accountant.

Coaching an entrepreneur is an exhilarating and rewarding experience. It can be a roller coaster ride and is never a dull moment. Supporting them in your role as a public practitioner can be just as rewarding. So, get yourself ready and hang on for the ride of your life.

15 Characteristics Of Successful Entrepreneurs – Do You Have Them?

Most people are longing to start their own businesses. But do they know what it takes to become successful entrepreneurs? What about you? Which characteristics of successful entrepreneurs do you bring in the business you have or you intend to begin? Before going any further into the details, let me define an entrepreneur as someone, who makes money by starting businesses with some kind of financial risk-taking involved. Is that what you are?

Well, every person joins business with various reasons. These reasons usually determine the performance of the business. I have discovered that many people think that success in business depends upon being highly educated, having lots of money and a supportive family. However, the bottom line of success in your business is motivation, fuelled by the desire to achieve and the enthusiasm to do your business. A highly motivated person tends to behave in a certain way that leads to success and it’s a distinguishing factor of all successful entrepreneurs. How motivated are you?

Through this article, allow me to share with you 15 characteristics of successful entrepreneurs that are fundamental to building a successful business. If you are aiming at succeeding in your business, then it’s high time you started acquiring the following behaviors.

1. BE AN INNOVATOR. To succeed you have to be creative. All successful entrepreneurs think a lot differently from ordinary people. They see things other people have not yet mirrored and are able to introduce new things and new ways of doing things.

2. LEARN TO SOLVE PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS. Successful entrepreneurs are problem solvers. They have the ability to identify specific problems of a given customer group, which require their products or services to be solved. As they solve their customers’ problems, they end up making money. Turning people’s problems into great opportunities is one of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.

3. BE AN INFORMATION SEEKER. There is no successful entrepreneur who is not hungry for knowledge. You have to get new knowledge, new information and new skills for you to become successful in what you are doing.

4. PERSISTENCE WILL HELP YOU TO SUCCEED. All successful entrepreneurs keep on and on no matter how hard the going may be. They are success-conscious and believe in succeeding despite all roadblocks. They believe that riches come only to those who work hard and long. Indeed! By working hard and consistently long, riches begin to power so quickly and in such a great abundance that you even wonder where they have been hiding during all those years of toiling.

5. LEARN TO SET GOALS. This helps them to know where they are going and how to go there systematically. Without setting goals you are like someone who is blindfolded and asked to shoot the target. You will never know where the target is and you will only be gambling.

6. COMMITMENT TO WORK. How committed are you to your work? Successful entrepreneurs are able to initiate and to pursue their work contracts to the end. They are self-driven and do not need anybody to drive them, to supervise them.

7. DEMAND FOR EFFICIENCY AND QUALITY. Demanding for efficiency and quality is one of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. They detest mediocrity and can never settle for that. They are able to achieve the desired results without wasting their energy. They always aim at offering goods and services of the highest quality.

8. BE HARD WORKING. Successful entrepreneurs are hard working people. They spend a lot of time, energy and other resources working on their businesses to achieve the desired results. They inspect to get what they expect. They think big and strategically.

9. AIM AT ACHIEVING YOUR GOALS AND DESIRES. All successful entrepreneurs are achievers. They do not give up when faced with a temporary defeat. They do not despair because they are highly motivated people. Whatever they put their hands and their minds on, they commit themselves to achieve it. Until they achieve it, they do not stop. Even after achieving it, they look forward to strengthen their achievements.

10. BE A RISK TAKER. Taking moderate risks is another characteristic of successful entrepreneurs. They don’t fear to take risks. FEAR to take risks discourages initiative, brings about uncertainty of purpose, destroys ambition, kills enthusiasm, destroys good reasoning and stops you from taking action. Besides, there is nothing you can engage yourself in without any risks involved.

For instance, by just driving your car to go to work, you risk getting involved in an accident. But if you already know it, you take precautionary measures to avoid getting an accident other than opting not to drive. That’s how successful entrepreneurs go about their business. They anticipate the risks involved and think of how to overcome them in case they manifested.

11. DESIRE TO BE INDEPENDENT. Desiring to become independent is one of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. They have a strong drive to be masters of their own life, to take their own decisions and to pursue their own destiny.

12. LEARN TO CONTROL YOUR OWN DESTINY. Successful entrepreneurs control their own destiny. They don’t lose focus of what they pursue. Having a strong desire to walk their road to riches is one of the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. The end justifies the means.

13. BE DETERMINED. Successful entrepreneurs are so strong-minded that they do not give up despite any obstacles. They are always determined to transform their desires and thoughts into their monetary equivalent at any cost.

14. HAVE SELF-CONFIDENCE. Successful entrepreneurs don’t depend on luck. They are able to visualize and they believe in the attainment of their desires at all cost. Ability to visualize and to have faith in the attainment of your desires is an important factor in building your self-confidence.

Developing a high level of self-confidence is a key element in effective business management and success. You need to be sure of yourself to tackle the tasks at hand. You need to have high expectations of achieving success. If you think you can, then you can. But if you think you can’t, the chances are that you cannot. “Yes, we can”, is the winning formula President Obama applied to become president. You, too, can follow the same principle to become a successful entrepreneur.

15. Last but not least, BE CREDIBLE. Credibility is an important element to the success of any businessperson. In my article entitled “Personal Branding, A Key To Success In Your Business”, I emphasized the importance of credibility. Let me not overemphasize the same point but it’s the absolute truth that successful entrepreneurs are credible and honesty paves the way for them to succeed. Will this information help you?

How Do You Protect Your Information Products? Part 1

We infopreneurs (information entrepreneurs) are a breed apart in the publication industry. We specialize in making money with information products and at the same time we give away a lot of our information products. We know that free stuff sells stuff. We have learned that lesson well.

All profitable infopreneurs usually give away products to build an “opt-in” mailing list. They then use this mailing list and the permission granted by the opt-in system to sell, up-sell, and to build a marketing funnel that lets them sell increasingly higher priced products to the same clients.

We qualify our freebies by insisting that redistribution of these information products be distributed with all our identifying information and links back to us. We want to freely give but always expect ultimately to profit while helping others.

After all, infopreneurs are information entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs expect to make money. So, how do we balance creating widespread availability of our products with some degree of protection?

With printed books (as opposed to digital books), two methods are used to identify and protect the author’s rights.

  1. Copyright is the first method. It protects the rights of the author and restricts the product’s use and dissemination by others. It protects the specific expression of ideas but cannot protect the actual facts and ideas. Copyrights are used for protection of both written and electronic information products. Placing a copyright symbol, the date of the copyright, and the owner of the copyright on hard copies or digital works provides the first line of defense against someone using your work as their own. I suggest that you place a copyright notice with the date of production even on your drafts. It provides one more piece of evidence of your authorship if a question of authorship arises later.
  2. Registration of an information product by the author through nationally and internationally recognized “serial” (identification) numbers provides a second line of defense. These include ISBN numbers (for books); ISSN numbers for periodicals (both printed and electronic); and ESN’s (for electronic media). These three are not the only “serial” numbers in use, but are the most common ones. Each provides some degree of protection for the author by registering the information product under the publisher or author’s name.

You are not required to have a copyright or any other type of identification number on your publications, but not having one is an open invitation to unscrupulous readers to steal your works.