How do you build a successful information business?

Jeff Walker originated the Product Launch Formula, which many infopreneurs have used to launch multi-million dollar campaigns. Jeff is one of a small group of information marketers I really admire because he knows how to create value, build an audience and then, in a nice way, ask the audience to support his products without selling the hell out of them.

In August, Jeff posted his 16 Rules of Internet Success. I agree with all of them except #2 – Only Sell What the Market Wants. Yes, it is good to sell products that people want to buy. But, that is not the only reason to sell products.  You also want to sell (or give away) products that can make a difference and have a positive impact on the world.  Those products may not always translate into sales or at least not right away. It is too easy to focus only on the money.

Most people leave their jobs because making good money is not enough.  They want more.  I like to think of it as “psychic income“.  There are some things in life you do because it feels good or it is the right thing to do.  In order to be happy in a job, a career, or an information products business, or life in general, you need both psychic income and economic income.  If you only have one, then either (1) you are not fulfilling your great purpose in the world and feel unsatisfied or (2) you are struggling to make ends meet.  You need both.

The information industry gets a bad rep from having too many snake oil salesmen. What’s good for the industry is to focus on what “serves”, even if it doesn’t “sell right away”. If Jeff removed the word “only”, I’d agree with him on all 16 rules.  There’s more to building a business or building products than making money.  In fact, many people start an information business because they have other goals in life like “solving problems,” “having impact,”  or “helping others.”

If I could add a 17th rule to Jeff’s  list, I would say “Do What Serves.”  Sharing information is a lasting legacy.  It’s not just about money, but what feeds your passion and how you can share your perspective in ways that help you, help friends, help customers, or help the world.  When the focus is on “serving” not “sales” you start thinking bigger and having a bigger impact.  Doing what serves generates psychic income that feeds the soul as well as the bank account.  You can have both.  You need both.

What do you think of Jeff’s 16 rules?  What rules would you add?

Roger Glovsky is co-founder of Indigo Venture Law Offices, a business law firm based in Colorado and Massachusetts, which provides legal counsel to entrepreneurs and high-tech businesses. Mr. Glovsky is also founder of InfoCrowd, a networking group for information entrepreneurs and, a collaboration and networking site for lawyers.

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