Among the smartest things to sell to make money online is Knowledge Commerce. Sell your knowledge to others.
“What can I sell to make money?” … it’s the one question that seems to be the first hurdle of anyone wanting to start an online business. Hidden in the question are three other questions.
- “What can I sell to make money without spending much money (that I don’t have}?”
- “What can I sell to make money, when I don’t know what I’d like to be selling?”
- “What can I sell to make money when I’m not sure what people would like to buy?”
This kind of starting trouble is very common. You have to know how to prioritize these hidden questions so you can make a start. Begin with ferreting out any unique knowledge you have. It’s often the least expensive thing to research and sell. It’s also the most profitable thing to sell. So, once you discover your unique knowledge niche, don’t wait to see if there’s demand. Create it.
In Knowledge Commerce you don’t even need a product to sell to begin “selling”
Did you know this? In Knowledge Commerce, when you start your business, you don’t need to know what to sell. You needn’t have even a clue. You will need to know your knowledge specialization area, though. But you may or may not know the specific products you want to create in your unique knowledge area.
You can get started with audience-building. You can later let the audience show you what they may like to buy from you. Start writing blog posts and social media posts first. Build a solid reputation as a domain expert in your area. Build a community of loyal readership.
The idea here is not to sell anything yet. Wait until you have wooed a “Minimum Viable Audience” (or MVA) – to opt into your mailing list. What is a Minimum Viable Audience? It’s the least number of subscribers you need who can give you quantity and quality of feedback. If you were to survey them, their responses should be dependable.
There’s no set rule on numbers here. You’ll know from the feedback whether audience suggestions are worth following up on. If there is a sizeable demand for certain types of products, your audience surveys can tell you this. Your audience can also tell you what price-points they find viable.
You have less risk in business and can spend less time, effort and cost on trial-and-error.
Brian Clark, Founder of Copyblogger, made his millions by this Knowledge Commerce model. Clark says he owes much of his success to the power of listening to his audience’s desires. He then built products to satisfy those desires.
So did Joe Pulizzi, the ultimate guru of Content Marketing. Joe is an evangelist of this type of business model. He writes in his book “Content Inc.”:
Through a lovely accident, I stumbled on a powerful way to build a business in the digital age—and now believe there is no better way to go to market. By focusing on building an audience first and defining products and services second, an entrepreneur can change the rules of the game and significantly increase the odds of financial and personal success.
Let me repeat that: I believe the absolute best way to start a business today is not by launching a product, but by creating a system to attract and build an audience. Once a loyal audience is built, one that loves you and the information you send, you can, most likely, sell your audience anything you want.”
6 reasons why Knowledge Commerce is the fastest and easiest way to wealth
Read on below on why it’s easy and clever for budding entrepreneurs to enter the world of Knowledge Commerce …
#1. It’s actually smarter to start with small Knowledge Commerce products
A major mistake of knowledge product creation? People push themselves to try to make that one perfect masterpiece product. They try to write the most thorough ebook … or develop the most comprehensive course, with a certificate et al. The common belief is that this is the best way to impress a potential buyer. It’s also the belief that such a product will command a great price. That, in turn, would lead to a shorter route to greater wealth.
Here’s the truth though. You may make an early lucky sale for a large item in your product repertoire. But, it may not be the best thing for you. It’s better always to aim to begin Knowledge Commerce with low-priced products and go up the ladder. There are distinct advantages to this method. Here’s why.
Knowledge and trust go together. People will never choose to learn anything from people they don’t trust. If you try to sell something too big too early, you won’t have created an aura of trustworthiness. You will feel very diffident … and so will your customers. The aim should be to build market trust as you create products that go up in pricing.
It’s like dating someone. You can’t – and shouldn’t – expect them to marry you on the first date before you’ve had time to build mutual trust. You know that’s a recipe for disaster. But, if you took it all slowly, from dating to popping the question, the relationship will last longer.
Knowledge products are best sold by growing trust as you grow your product range. This suits most beginners. Startups will feel no pressure to produce extravagant ebooks or courses. Begin small and make that climb. The easier way is actually the smarter way.
#2. The Knowledge Commerce market is poised for boom – so get in early
The statistics on the imminent boom awaiting the Knowledge Commerce economy are all pointing to huge success for early-birds. Jonathan Cronstedt of Kajabi.com (one of the important tools that Knowledge Commerce entrepreneurs use) has this to say:
First, this is a $243 billion industry. In other words, 2,430 entrepreneurs could build million-dollar businesses. With that kind of income potential, there’s no reason to avoid getting involved in the Knowledge Commerce industry.
Our research has also shown that Knowledge Commerce represents an excellent point of entry for women who want to start their own businesses. Nearly 900 million women will enter the workforce in new ways by 2020.
Then there’s the consumer side. Between 3 and 5 billion consumers will enter the market in the coming years, creating even more income potential for entrepreneurs who harness the power of Knowledge Commerce.
We also know that the freelance economy is growing rapidly. People want to work for themselves. Experts project that 40 percent of workers will be non-traditional employees by the year 2020.”
In another article by Andrea Durkin she says nearly one-fourth of the business-folks are solopreneurs. She quotes MBO Partners (the research firm) to say that:
According to MBO Partners, about 48 percent of working Americans report spending time at some point in their careers as independent workers. MBO has upped their projections – they believe independent work is growing at 3 times the rate of overall employment. By 2024, the total number of independent workers could rise to 47.2 million Americans.”
If we put both these pieces of research by Kajabi and MBO Partners together, most of these independent workers will no doubt be launching into selling their own unique knowledge to others.
In any market that is poised for boom it pays to be among the early adopters. Sure, the going feels a bit harder in a semi-ready market. But think of all the room you have to grow fast, and become a known brand, before competition wakes up.
#3. You need no other advantage than being willing to share what’s unique to you
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.
Most people enter Knowledge Commerce, looking at their education or career highlights. Sometimes they go further afield and take on areas of passion or deep interest. But you may have to look a little beyond your professional or interest strong points. You may have to identify a competitive or “differentiating tilt”.
Again, this tilt needn’t be something spun out of thin air. You can discover it too when you look into your repertoire of expertise. Many of us think of ourselves as single-dimensional professionals. Whereas, we may have many facets to our knowledge that remain unexploited. Also, our knowledge facets may have unique nuances.
Sometimes you don’t even need to be a knowledgeable expert to get a great following. You can be a “go-to guy” if you have a passion for a topic that you’ve never tried before. You could teach people how your fumbling experiments can help them.
A man I know had an abiding passion for playing the mandolin. But alas, his job as a factory supervisor never gave him the time to learn to play the mandolin. When he perchance lost his job, he wanted to try and build his own Knowledge Commerce business. He would have loved to teach mandolin-playing, but he couldn’t teach what he didn’t know himself.
That was when the idea dawned. He called his classes “Follow Me As I Learn The Mandolin”. He made himself the guinea-pig. His students had immense fun learning through his mistakes and theirs. The moral: if you are willing to share what’s unique to you, there are takers.
#4. Knowledge Commerce has the lowest startup-costs and highest profit margins
Knowledge Commerce products are easy and cheap to create. You can make a knowledge product using nothing but time and mental energy. That’s free. You need ideas. Then you write your ebook, film your video, record your audio or create your webinar.
If the product doesn’t sell as well as you like, you haven’t sunk any money into the project. That reduces your risk and financial exposure. There’s also no inventory going to waste.
Now, look at the profitability angle. If you’ve spent little or no costs in creating the product, everything you earn from it is profit. You have no one else to share the proceeds with … excepting the small sales fee to the payment processor.
Further, not just the product, but the whole process is digital. The creation, promotion, sales, and customer service are all digital. Digital is generally equal to “free”. There are enough and more free resources online as good as paid resources.
All told, if you a smart entrepreneur, you can do a no-cost or low-cost job if you have a Do-It-Yourself attitude. The world online is kind to DIY businesspeople.
Further, Knowledge Commerce marketers pay out some of the highest affiliate commissions. They have the profit margins to woo the best affiliates in the business to sign on.
#5. Productizing your knowledge can provide passive and scalable income
What is this beauty of a concept called “passive income” and what does it have to do with selling your unique knowledge? Here’s a sensational explanation of it all by Zach in his article “Productize Your Knowledge To Earn Passive Income”:
Whenever you trade time for money, there is an inherent upper limit on how much you can earn. This applies to freelancing, consulting, day jobs, and any other scenario in which you’re trading your time for income. There is only so much time in the day. Fortunately, there exists another way to earn income that doesn’t require you to trade your time for money: Productize your knowledge.
To productize your knowledge means to create some type of product that you can sell that encapsulates your knowledge on a particular subject. For example, I have knowledge in statistics. When I was tutoring people in statistics, I was providing a service. This meant that they gave me money in exchange for my knowledge.
However, I could instead create a product such as an ebook, a course, or paid tutorials on statistics that I could sell to people. This meant that I didn’t need to exchange any of my time to earn money. People could simply buy my products and use those products to learn about statistics on their own time without my help.
The beauty of earning money this way is that I don’t have to be physically present to earn money off of my statistics knowledge. I can create a tutorial on a certain topic one time, publish it, then walk away. Now, instead of getting paid to help one person face to face, I can help hundreds of people each day and receive passive income in return.”
There is nothing but smartness in converting your knowledge into products and services. These will sell themselves even while you are asleep. You can have more customers that way than you can ever handle as one-to-one consulting clients. Passive earning businesses are also eminently scalable. There’s no limit to how big you can grow.
#6. There’s no limit to multiplying your knowledge for endless business expansion
Once you get into a unique knowledge area of your own, don’t ever think you’ll exhaust the area. The world of ideas is full of “shoulder niches” you can exploit. Brian Dean of Backlinko.com (an SEO expert) has popularized this idea of shoulder niches.
A shoulder niche is a topic area related to your main topic area. For example, look at Brian Dean’s example below. The main niche is Pest Control. But related areas of interest could be DIY, Home Improvement, Environment, Gardening, Entomology – and even Home/Mummy.
Image courtesy: Backlinko.com
The most common tool people use to explore the many new branches and routes of their topic expertise is a Mind Map. Below is an example of an elaborate mindmap centered around Time Management. Notice how the branches could lead to many new areas related to Time Management, and even beyond.
Image courtesy: Mindtools.com
With this brainstorming technique, you’ll never be stymied about ways to grow. With broader and deeper your expertise area, you’ll also reinforce your brand authority. Venture without fear into Knowledge Commerce. There can never be a day when you can’t multiply your operational area.
In summary …
If you’re still asking “What Can I Sell To Make Money?” you aren’t looking hard enough at your own storehouse of knowledge to sell. All of us are walking-talking encyclopaedias of some rare knowledge that others are willing to buy. Why look outside when the treasure-trove of convertible wealth is inside of us? Get into Knowledge Commerce today and exploit what you have as marketable knowledge.
Remember that the opportunity for wealth is in these points:
- It’s actually smarter to start with small Knowledge Commerce products
- The Knowledge Commerce market is poised for boom – so get in early
- You need no other advantage than being willing to share what’s unique to you
- Knowledge Commerce has the lowest startup-costs and highest profit margins
- Productizing your knowledge can provide passive and scalable income
- There’s no limit to multiplying your knowledge for endless business expansion
So what are you waiting for?
Hear the experts on Solopreneuring & Knowledge Commerce …
Zac Johnson in the article “How to Start Selling Your Expertise Online in 3 Simple Steps”:
The dream of making money on the Internet is quickly becoming a reality for people around the world. Years ago, if you wanted to start an online business, you would likely need to know how to design a website, understand the process of search engine rankings and also have a lot of money to spend on product, marketing and also hiring employees and building a team around you.
That was the past, and this is now. It’s now easier than ever to get started with an online business of your own. One of the fastest and most effective ways to start making money online while also building a business in the process is through the use of selling online courses or digital products based around an expertise or skill you can offer to others. More often than not, an individual with just a couple hundred dollars could actually get their own website or online course selling online within just a few days.”
Shane Barker in the article “How To Sell Your Expertise In Three Easy Steps”:
You’ve had several years of experience in a field that you’re passionate about. This could be anything from photography and graphic design to marketing or real estate. You could turn this experience into a valuable resource and make money from it. I’m a digital marketer. And apart from offering my services, I’ve been able to monetize my expertise through mentorship programs, e-books and live workshops. There are tons of options if you already have the resource: the expertise. So I’m going to provide you with a few easy steps to help you get started.
The first step, of course, is to have a clear idea of what your expertise is and whom you can help. In other words, you need to clearly define what problem you can solve. For example, let’s say you’re a conversion rate optimization expert. So, the problem you solve is low conversion rates. You provide online businesses with practical tactics to optimize their websites and increase their sales.”
Gladice Gong in the article “How To Make Money Selling Advice Online: A Step-By-Step Guide”:
When it comes to selling your expertise & knowledge online, you should be relieved that you don’t have to create a 10-module course that comes with videos, audios, PDF downloads, worksheets, case studies, word for word scripts and etc. All you need to do is to find people who are willing to pay for your advice. Then, you offer your advice to them 1-on-1 via Email, Phone or Skype.
So, I would say that this is probably the easiest online business model to start with. Once you have some success and experience with 1-on-1 private coaching, you can move on to do group coaching, workshops, masterminds or seminars where you can leverage your time and make much more money. Of course, you can also choose to productize your expertise in the form of an online course.”
So what are your thoughts on this topic? Do share!
This post is incomplete without your input. The community of content-marketer 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 “Learning The Arts & Smarts Of Knowledge Commerce”:
- What Is Knowledge Commerce And Why It’s A Perfect Solo Business Idea
- Sell Knowledge Online: Learn The Ins And Outs Of Knowledge Commerce
- Start A Business Now In Knowledge Commerce: Blow The Delay