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by DP Taylor | Updated Aug. 5, 2022 – First published on May 18, 2022
Image source: Getty Images
You’re an expert.
Now, I know what you’re thinking — “I’m not an expert in anything. I mean, sure, I know how to do some things, but I’m no genius.”
Don’t sell yourself short. You are an expert who is very good at what you do. You’ve been doing it for so long, how could you not be? And rest assured, what seems simple to you is maddeningly difficult to others.
Realizing your expertise is valuable raises an interesting question — could you monetize your knowledge? You could with the right approach.
It’s called infopreneurship, and you can make it a full-time profession or a lucrative side gig. Here’s what infopreneurship is all about, and how to get started working for yourself and becoming an entrepreneur.
The term “infopreneur” is a portmanteau of “information” and “entrepreneur,” referring to a type of entrepreneur who is selling their knowledge or expertise as a source of income. This person collects information from multiple sources or their own life experience and then creates content they can sell.
These sole proprietors or solopreneurs have an entrepreneurial mindset and often integrate personal experiences and create a unique media product. Examples of this are podcasters like Joe Rogan, bloggers and e-book authors like Mark Manson, and niche media platforms like the Drudge Report.
Not everyone is cut out to be an infopreneur. In general, you should possess the following four characteristics before embarking on this sort of career.
Introverts will struggle with becoming an infopreneur, because an essential part of this lifestyle is to be outgoing and open with people. You must expose your personality and your ideas, and partnering with other experts and infopreneurs is necessary. You must explore new ideas and concepts and be receptive to new forms of technology as well.
And if you’re afraid of failure or of being wrong, this may not be the career for you.
Anyone in the knowledge business must have an innate curiosity about the world, particularly in their subject. Infopreneurs must be interested in all aspects of their subject area and be willing to adapt to new information.
They should live their lives constantly seeking and exploring, and be driven to use that curiosity to inspire their audience. An infopreneur enjoys being challenged and they have a questioning mind that is seeking the truth at all times.
Infopreneurs, like all entrepreneurs, must be willing to accept risk as part of their profession. They should be comfortable with questioning the status quo and be willing to embrace controversial ideas. They commonly challenge authority and are willing to risk public failure. However, they learn from mistakes quickly and use those experiences to continue to build their infopreneur brand.
Infopreneurship is a subset of entrepreneurship, so you will need the fire that all successful entrepreneurs have to succeed. You must be able to self-motivate because no one else is going to push you. You should have a burning desire to become an expert and to help others with their problems.
If infopreneurship sounds intriguing to you but you don’t know where to start, here are a few ideas you might try out.
Once a fringe hobby, infopreneur podcasting has entered the mainstream, and some of the biggest infopreneurs have their own podcasts. They use their podcasts to build a brand around a subject matter or idea with regular discussions around those concepts.
They have guests on their podcasts to network with, and they make use of low-cost platforms like YouTube or iTunes to host these shows. They build an audience over time and eventually are able to advertise products to monetize the show.
Vlogs, or video logs, have become popular on platforms like YouTube and Instagram. These infopreneurs cultivate a brand using videos on a subject matter or idea, usually on subjects like travel, do-it-yourself, cooking, and toys — anything that lends itself well to video. Like podcasting, these vloggers gradually build an audience and may become influencers who can make money recommending products or hosting ads.
Some examples of successful vloggers include the Vagabrothers — two brothers who vlog their travel experiences — and Sawyer Hartman, who vlogs about his life experiences.
If you have extensive knowledge that others would find helpful, putting it in e-book form is a solid idea for infopreneur success. Like regular authors, e-book authors write and publish books on a subject in which they have expertise, but they take advantage of digital marketing and publishing tools to produce the book at a very low cost, keeping their overhead low and profits high while building a loyal following online.
This requires time investment and the willingness to go in-depth on a subject — and it may require a lot of research. They may partner with traditional publishers sometimes, but their bread and butter is digital publishing.
Sometimes, people just want to figure out how to do something. Perhaps they broke the plug to their treadmill and want to find out how to fix it, so they search YouTube for help and come across an infopreneur’s video that takes them step-by-step through the process. If you’re, say, an expert mechanic or carpenter, why not share that expertise with a series of clear instructional videos on YouTube?
Or you could become a technology infopreneur and help people figure out how to use the latest gadgets. If you build up enough of a library and gain a following, you could get a large enough audience to collect ad money — a nice side gig to your current profession if you don’t want to become a full-time infopreneur.
An online course is another infopreneur business that involves selling your knowledge to the world, although in this case, it’s for those who are more serious about absorbing your knowledge about a subject.
If you’re a mechanic who works on refurbishing old cars, you can provide an online course for others who want to get into this hobby and charge a fee for the education rather than go with the advertising model like other infopreneur ideas.
If you want to interact directly with your audience, webinars are a great option to both share your expertise and start a conversation. This is great for building a brand, and you can make money either from advertising or from subscription fees, or both.
This is a more personal method of infopreneurship that involves having one client who pays a premium for your expertise. An example of this is a consultant in the business world or a personal trainer who helps someone get in shape. With coaching, you still need to have a marketing plan in order to attract these high-dollar clients, although you may be able to rely on networking alone if you’re connected enough.
Entrepreneurship in general is challenging, and infopreneurship is no exception. Even if you want to do it all on your own and not hire help, software will keep you organized and automate a lot of the tasks you don’t want to do.
Entrepreneur e-commerce solutions can help you set up an online store to sell your information products. Email marketing software will help you build a client list. Project management software will assist you in crafting your next information product. Many other solutions can help you with just about any business issue you are having, so give a few platforms a try to see how they might help.
DP Taylor is a business software expert writing for The Ascent and The Motley Fool.
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