We are living in the information economy, the information age. Information is a valuable commodity.
In the past, you learned a trade. Maybe you spent time as an apprentice or assistant of an expert master craftsman. You learned your skill over many years. If you have a hobby skill you learned this from classes and then spent years perfecting your craft.
If you have a trade skill you use it to provide a service for customers and deliver an income to you.
So why would you want to share this with anyone
The world is a big place. There are very few skills that you need to hold the monopoly on. Painter, Mechanic, electrician, web designer. The world needs tens of thousands of these people. So, if you shared your knowledge with a few hundred, would that stop you still doing the same job and helping people yourself?
If you are able to explain what you do, why you do it and have an interest in showing others, you can make a second income from your knowledge. Some people will decide to only train others in the future and stop providing the service themselves, or just cherry pick the big bespoke projects.
Another boundary to this in the past was the ability to bring all those students to one place and teach them. The internet has changed that and the growth of online content creation tools means that you can now create training programmes on a website. This means anybody can access the training, at any time, from anywhere. You now literally have the whole world ready to learn from you.
How my life has changed.
I used to design, host and support a number of customers with their websites. As the years have gone by this service has grown in what it offers, but my own time was limited. I was able to add some staff and give them parts of the service to provide, but my knowledge outgrew my customers and my local area.
My Lightbulb moment.
When I needed to learn some new skills I would Google the question, check youtube videos and sign up on some training websites. However, although I was often able to find the answers I wanted, it took information from multiple sources to make sense and took time. Many places offered advice which was out of date.
I found that if I could bring together all the knowledge I had acquired and provide a complete answer to the whole problem, that people would find value in that and because I had the complete answer, my advice was more valuable.
Instead of one article, I would have five, six or more. All looking at the same related issue from different points of view. Instead of one video explanation, I would provide multiple.
You too can follow this path and benefit along the way.
Step One: Share some insights
Take simple things that you do in your work and explain them. Especially those jobs you really don’t like doing because they are too simple and would prefer customers to do it themselves. This type of information will elevate you to Guru status. It will increase your profile in your industry. Your website will benefit from better search results because you are providing answers as well as a service. You will be able to increase your charges Becuase of your quality of service.
Your core business will improve and you did not even train anyone.
Step Two: Teach some process
The next level is to actually explain step by step how to do a particular task. You are now bordering on training. Depending on the quality of the content, you may want to ask for an email address before you send the information, you may even want to make a small charge for the information. Better still if this is one of the things you don’t like doing, or it’s not a good return on your time. When people ask for you to go it you now have the chance to say ‘here is the steps, it’s easy’ and charge a nominal fee. If they still want you to do it, you can now charge a premium for that job saying ‘I don’t usually do this, honestly, it’s so easy it’s not worth my time, so I to charge a premium when I do.’
Step Three: Rinse and Repeat and you have a course.
So, now create a training for another simple process. Soon you will have a mini course of tasks and you are on your way to having a knowledge course to sell.
All you need to do now is to package it up and sell it.
There are plenty of sites out there that will take your training product and then add it to their inventory. However, to really make money you need to now sell this product. To properly keep control over it and maximise your revenue from the work, and keep control, you need to have your website and system.
WordPress to the rescue
Yes, WordPress is a great platform for this type of business. If you have a website for your business already, and it runs on WordPress then you can add your course to the same site. The benefits will then work between the two halves of your business: – The training and the original service provided.
Training and Membership Site Plugins
Most courses will either use a training course plugin or a membership plugin. Both work by setting up pages that are part of the course and then limiting the access to these pages for people who have signed up.
Often I see private facebook groups set up to allow ‘students’ to interact and ask questions. This works well because students start helping each other and this reduces the amount of help you need to give to those who get stuck.
The first step
To DIP your toe in the water, why not add a post to your existing site and explain some idea or prove that people often ask about. Then when asked again, refer them to that page and then ask later for feedback. Better still, get out your mobile phone and do a quick and simple five-minute selfie video. You can post that to youtube or facebook. Don’t forget to promote it, and then see how it is received. Don’t expect hundred to view it, but even if only ten people watch it and one contact who was not sure decide to buy from you, is it not already worth the effort?
Congratulations, you have taken the first step to your own Information Business !!