If you’re wanting to start business now, Knowledge Commerce is the business to start
At Solohacks Academy we’re exasperated. Why? Because nine out of 10 people looking for business ideas to start with online are those who’ll never settle for an idea. They’d rather chase ideas around in circles wondering how to know which one has the best potential, least competition, most demand, huge money, and is easiest to start on half a shoestring.
If you too are one of those who search for the right business ideas endlessly, but land on nothing that excites, stop looking out there. Start asking yourself “Surely I have some quirky knowledge in me I can package and sell to others?” We are all walking reservoirs of strange bits of knowledge that we don’t know we have – or don’t know how to bring out, blow up, brand, package and sell.
If you could only ask yourself once “What peculiar smarts do I have?” you could end up things like this:
- “I’m damn good at ducking conflict”
- “I am brilliant at collecting outstanding dues from clients”
- “I’ve learned the trick of de-addicting from my mobile”
You could publish some eminently valuable ebooks or courses, or offer consulting services in your quirk. People nowadays don’t want only formal courses online. They are intrigued when they see new types of practical knowledge they didn’t know they could have fun learning, plus it’s easy to buy in a snap.
Before examining excuses, know 3 reasons why Knowledge Commerce is ideal for everyone
1. Research suggests that Knowledge Commerce will reach $325 billion by 2025
Research and Markets predict this market will grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 7%. This is within the next decade.
You may think of Knowledge Commerce as businesses started by those who have left their jobs. But an enormous number of side-giggers, freelancers and moonlighters have started such businesses. Their Knowledge Commerce businesses augment their other day jobs.
There are also people of all ages in this kind of business. At-home moms, student millennials and even retired octogenarians are into Knowledge Commerce.
2. Knowledge Commerce is among the most profitable business models ever pursued
The whole production, marketing, and sales processes are all done online. It’s all digital all the way through. Nothing can be as cost-lowering or value-increasing than that.
Some solopreneurs have learned to handle it all themselves. They do without expensive tools or hires. They operate at as close to 95% profitability as they can get away with.
Some even add an affiliate program to enlist others to help sell their products. They are able to afford to pay high commissions and get the best of breed affiliates.
3. In Knowledge Commerce, every person is a “unique niche”
There are no two people like you, knowing or doing what you’re special at. You are a “one-and-only” species.
At no time is there any real competition. Your uniqueness will never go out of fashion. Especially not if you re-relevance yourself with technological progress.
In fact, you can premium-price your products and services, even as you begin. It takes some smart launch brand-building. Your prices can then only climb as you reinforce your topic authority.
People must learn to trust your credibility. You have to develop a hierarchy of products and services they can buy from you. If you can get customers invested in working with you, they’ll stick with you.
Blow the 6 big myths that hold you back from starting in Knowledge Commerce
This list below contains the common myths we love to believe. We think we have to second-guess our ideas till we’re dead, before starting a business. Instead, I hope you have heard of the Nike tagline “Just Do It!” Read on below all the myths you can be waylaid by.
Myth #1. The world out there is where to look for what’s in hot demand
If Steve Jobs had been outward-looking, what are the chances he’d have found the “hot demand for an iPhone”? Did people out there even know or imagine what an iPhone could be like or what it could potentially do?
Here’s what Steve Jobs had to say about relying on the outside judgment of what new business to start:
Some people say give the customers what they want, but that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me a faster horse.”People don’t know what they want until you show it to them. That’s why I never rely on market research. Our task is to read things that are not yet on the page.”
So if Steve Jobs did not get his idea by looking outside of himself, where did he look? He looked inside of himself – at his own imagination.
But why and how did he know he could look into his own imagination? That’s because he must have asked himself, “What peculiar smarts do I have?” And he would have answered to himself, “I keep imagining digital gadgets that don’t exist yet”.
We come back to the idea of quirks of knowledge becoming business ideas. In Knowledge Commerce, you do ecommerce with your quirks of knowledge. That’s why it pays to look inside of yourself for the strange ways your brains work.
Myth #2. Reading about others’ business success stories will fuel yours faster
I don’t have to tell you this, but I still will. No two people are identical. No two people succeed in exactly the same way, even if they apply the exact same formula. You see this every day with people who claim: “Follow my method and earn 7-figure incomes as I did.”
How many students of these experts have you seen replicating their teacher’s success? No doubt there are testimonials from these students. They may say, “I followed the teachings of XYZ and made my own first million in 30 days”. But if you are a person with a bit of smartness, you’re likely to be a healthy skeptic of testimonials, right?
The truth about business is that any business idea is this. If worked at consistently, it will show you over time, what you are doing right. It will also show what you are doing wrong (and need to tweak). That’s how you iron out the failure-potential in your own business idea. That’s how you increase its success-potential over time.
What makes you fail is that you don’t give yourself the time to go through a “learning curve”. You think following another person’s formula will give that learning shortcut. It will take you faster to your million (faster than that the other guy got to his first million).
The moral of the story: Don’t waste an enormous amount of time trying to ape the success stories of others. In the same time, you can easily start a business based on a simple, reasonably good idea. Use the time from today to start a Knowledge Commerce business. Start with whatever you can teach others. and create your own unique learning curve. Give your idea time to be tweaked for success.
As Mark Twain once said:
To succeed in life, you need two things: ignorance and confidence.”
In starting your own Knowledge Commerce business, forget the success routes of others. Be confident of the success route you will find for yourself, given the time and effort.
Myth #3. Don’t start unless solid research validates your intuitive pulls
Have you ever seen how one piece of research usually cancels another one out … or worse, seems to be constantly updating itself? Experts tell us to make data-driven decisions about starting or running a business. But if data is never perfect, how do we base decisions on that.
I came across one expert who emphasized that the reason for data never being adequate:
When you broaden your research to a wider audience via social, you’re not necessarily getting contradictory data but rather you’re getting new data.
In a focus group you’re asking specific, pre-determined questions, which can limit the responders’ answers. You’re setting them up to answer one way or another. The goal is to avoid that in focus groups, but alas bias creeps in despite all efforts to the contrary. You introduce bias simply by being in the room during a focus group.
Social data might seem contradictory, but it’s a new view on what the data might be and can take you down roads and surface topics you didn’t expect to encounter when you embark on a research project. It reveals new areas you’re not usually exposed to with traditional research in the form of surveys or focus groups.
Social research allows you to select a very general topic without having to determine the parameters of how they may be discussing that topic – be it product, industry, trend, or even a specific spokesperson.
Social then does the work of gathering and showing you what everyone is saying on the topic which brings up many different ways they’re discussing it.”
I am not for one moment decrying the value of analytics. But I feel that data analytics is good to do after an event to see how the performance went. I’d rather not use data to drive an initial decision on whether to enter a business line or not.
Remember, even the best researchers believe data is a fluid, ever-changing scene. It can probably point at trends, but it can never quite forecast very accurately. Instead, there’s a machine inside your brain that will tell you if something is worth doing or not. It’s called enlightened intuition.
It’s a hunch you have – followed by some intellectual assessment within yourself. Do you have a hunch that your own knowledge will be worth something if you productized and sold it? Then go with the hunch, because the inner intuition is invariably your North Star. The more you try to put it down, the more loudly it whispers. Maybe it’s your inner trying to tell you something that data cannot.
Myth #4. You’re a Jack-Of-All-Trades ill-fit to compete with “domain experts”
Do you have an enviable education with a high degree in some subject? You can make it your marketable expertise. That’s how domain experts usually grow themselves. They grow linearly, by acquiring more and more knowledge in a single subject.
But consider this. What if you have not grown in a single path? What if you’ve followed your bliss to branch out into many different areas of interest?
What if you have a Master’s Degree in Ecology plus a strong extra Certification in, say, Spanish. Is this a blessing or a curse? In the yesteryears, you may have been seen as someone without “fixity of purpose”. But in the current world online, you may have acquired that coveted “competitive edge”.
For example, how much competition would you face from other Spanish-proficient Eco-Experts? Are there many? Could you not cream the building construction market expanding to Spanish-speaking countries?
One track specialization does have its advantages, for sure. But being a rarity because of your peculiar education mix could be even more awesome.
People can get vertical expertise from good books and other domain experts. But consumers want mixed skills. It’s a world where multi-talentedness creates an unbeatable advantage.
If you are a Jack-Of-All-Trades you may feel inadequate among “domain authority” figures. Tell yourself this over and over again. The business of Knowledge Commerce is one that respects everyone. That includes the linearly talented experts as well as multi-faceted experts.
In fact, the latter have little or no competition. Those straight-jacketed into a singular strength may be the ones feeling hemmed in.
Myth #5. You need to navel-gaze to see if you’re ready for the startup lifestyle
Reams of content are written all the time on the relief and ecstasy that the “laptop lifestyle” can bring. Especially to those who risk quitting the 9-to-5 job and leap into online business.
Many adopters the laptop lifestyle even publish their monthly income statements. that run into 6 and seven figures. They ask others to follow suit because of the freedom their lifestyle brings.
They evangelize living off tropical beaches on remote islands … or sipping fine wine in newly-bought French chateaux … or driving around in the latest sporty Lexus.
Yet many “wantrepreneurs” are still fearful of leaping into the laptop lifestyle. What fears could these be that make people balk at such big money-making potential?
It appears some of the biggest fears of Knowledge Commerce “wantrepreneurs” are these:
- “There’s no way I can create a business without spending quite a bit of money. And, it’s easy to lose it all online, because most online businesses are actually failures. Who’d buy knowledge products when so much of free knowledge is available online?”
- “Starting a Knowledge Commerce business is no easier than other businesses. I have to find knowledge to create products and services with. What I know won’t scratch the surface of expertise. I’m no PhD in anything except procrastination and self-doubt.”
- “If I don’t have genuine expertise of great depth and breadth in some area, I’ll get easily found out. I’ll be bad-mouthed on social media. Or my clients will ask for refunds. Better to shut up and have people take me for a non-starter than to open my mouth and confirm it.”
- “If and when I fail – as most online solopreneurs invariably will – what will I do? Go back to a job? Egads! And what will I say about myself on LinkedIn, where people are seeing my profile every day?”
Contrarily, I’ve spoken to many solopreneurs like me who are now into Knowledge Commerce. They too decided to sell their own unique knowledge to others. Many have seen success, in whatever way they describe success. This is what I’ve discovered from what they tell me:
- About 50% of the time, what you fear doesn’t even happen. Especially not in Knowledge Commerce. There’s no failure unless you give up because there is no endpoint to your knowledge actually. If one idea fails, you can try something else you know about. It’s not the knowledge that fails it’s the productizing and promotion of knowledge that fails.
- About 40% of the time, what you fear doesn’t happen with the intensity you thought it would. Hurdles in Knowledge Commerce are quite manageable. What’s the worst that can happen? There can be no demand for what you sell, right? There never is. You have to create demand! When you have something worthwhile to teach others, they won’t know they need … unless you show them how much they actually need that knowledge.
- About 10% of the time, the fear comes to pass and you come out the other side stronger. But other entrepreneurs and consultants are there to help you. And you get more equipped than if you hadn’t gone through it all. In fact, you learn by staying at it, by persisting. Weaknesses in your product creation and promotion systems get smoothed out over time. Soon enough you’ll become a well-oiled machine at Knowledge Commerce, and that’s when the money pours in. Most people don’t stick around to enjoy it.
Myth #6. You’re not whining, you really don’t have enough money to start
Sorry, but you ARE whining if lack of money to start a business is your excuse. For a Knowledge Commerce business, you don’t need resources, you need resourcefulness.
Let’s take stock of what you really need to get started. You need your laptop or any electronic device – your mobile or even a tablet. And you need an Internet connection. Most of us have that.
You need not even have a website. All you have to do initially is to choose your area of knowledge uniqueness and start blogging. To blog, you don’t even need to own a blog or set up one. You can blog on Medium which is one of the most coveted spaces. Topnotch bloggers congregate there. Millions of readers also read everything that catches their interest there.
Even if you had a website and blog, experts now ask you to get your traffic from Medium. They ask you to repost what’s on your blog in Medium additionally.
The skills you need are being able to write well. That comes from simply writing as if you were speaking. As long as your tone is conversational, and neither too lecturing nor too childish, you’ll do well, to begin with. As you write more and more the writing muscles in your brain will kick into action. Your vocabulary will improve.
You also need to read the writings of others. Especially, you must regularly read those whose writings impress you. The more you read great writing, the more you’ll find yourself following their style and language.
When you read the writings of more than one person, you osmose into a hybrid of all those terrific writers. You then become your own unique person. We are all hybrids of the people we follow as role-models. Have you noticed this?
Okay, so much for starting with blogging. But how do you sell anything to make money? Well, here’s the secret.
By blogging, you capture traffic and visitors. Then you cajole them with some other downloadable written ebooks. You may them join your mailing list. Then you write emails to those on your mailing list about new articles you’ve blogged that they should read. You get them to become loyal fans.
You ask them about their problems and you create more answer-products (ebooks, courses, etc.). People always buy answers to their problems.
Next, you write to them to sell low-priced items first. You then sell them bigger-priced items eventually. You can collect money through Paypal, who’ll only take a commission if you make a sale – and not otherwise.
And then you write some more emails to those who bought stuff from you, to get them to bring other friends to buy from you. You’ll only pay them an affiliate fee or referral fee if they make a sale for you by their persuasion.
In all this, did you hear me say you have to spend any money yet? Nope!
Then who spends money on starting a business? Only those who feel daunted, incompetent – or even lazy – to put in all the effort themselves. They look for tools that will do the job; or fancy websites to impress others with; or paid help that can write for them.
If you have the guts, see how long you can get by in your Knowledge Commerce business without spending a dime! You’ll surprise yourself. That’s the beauty of the digital world.
In summary …
There’s a whole burgeoning market out there for Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs and entrepreneurs. And here you are still toying with the myths that are holding you back? What a shame if you can’t have a piece of this big lucative pie that’s going to be worth $325 billionn by 2025. Blow those myths away and get your grey cells into gear. Your unique expertise has a market so don’t waste time wondering if your knowledge can sell.
Remember that the opportunity for wealth is in these points:
- Start commerce with your quirks of knowledge. Look inside of yourself, at your imagination, for ideas.
- You don’t need to fear competition or be second to others, because every person has unique marketable knowledge.
- Intuition plus research is a good starter base. Research minus intuition just makes you go round in circles.
- Multi-faceted experts are hotter now than single-focus domain experts. Your confused background may be an asset.
- Wantrepreneurs remain in want of business ideas. Enterpreneurs make their ideas work and stay till the money comes.
- You can start business with nothing but brains and elbow-grease. Resourcefulness not resources is what you need.
So what are you waiting for?
Hear the experts on Anti-Procrastination in Starting Business …
Tim Denning in the article “How I Started A Business And Defeated 5 Years Of Procrastination When It Came To Doing So”:
If you have no ideas at all, then ask yourself “What can I coach people on?” Not everyone has a business idea they want to pursue. Some people just know they want to start a business. This was the same for me. I knew I wanted a business, but I had no idea what it was going to do. Then I went to an event and the speaker said that all of us could coach somebody, on something.
So I asked myself the same question and the answer I got back was social media and life. They are the two things I can coach everybody on. They are also the two things I’m passionate about. For you, the seed to your business starts with this same question.”
Linda Jones in the article “Start That Business! How to Crush Procrastination in 5 Steps”:
I always run across people that have great ideas for businesses, but never start them. Oh sure, they do some research, but that’s about as far as they go. At some point, their enthusiasm peters out and they stop trying. Deep down they feel the idea isn’t worth the effort or, worse, that they don’t have what it takes to make it happen.
It breaks my heart to hear these stories. More often than not, their ideas are good ones, and I know they have what it takes to build a business. Giving up before they even give it a chance is gut wrenching. Ditch your excuses and commit to taking one step. You will be proud of yourself for trying and may even end up a successful entrepreneur. Just try it.”
Ashley Hockney in the article “How to Stop Procrastinating & Launch Your Business”:
Psychology Today synthesizes a procrastination study done at the University of DePaul defining three various types of people who procrastinate: people who like the rush of finishing at the last moment, avoiders who might be afraid they’ll fail so why complete a tasks at all, or people who can’t make a decision.
While I find this to be true, sometimes procrastination comes from boredom, confusion or fear. For instance, we’ve seen people procrastinate on making a course because they don’t know how, they’re afraid to put themselves out there, or they just don’t think they have time.”
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of Knowledge Commerce solopreneurs would feel galvanized to hear from you … so do share your thoughts on this topic with us, in the comments field below this post.
Other articles in our series “Branding Your Unique Expertise For Knowledge Commerce”: