What type of infopreneur are you?

As infopreneurs, we all wear many different hats.  I came up with at least 25 skills that are “must haves” for building a successful infoproduct business.   There are at least 100 different types of professionals who can help infopreneurs.  However, when it comes down to it, there are really just three things you need to have: (1) content; (2) marketing; and (3) systems.  These are three legs of the stool.  You cannot have a successful infoproduct business without all three.  If you are missing any one, the stool falls over.

Infoproducts are well suited to apply the Lean Startup method developed by Eric Ries.  In applying this methodology, it is critical to acquire customer feedback during the development process to ensure that the resulting product does not miss the features or services that customers really want.  This is one of the biggest mistakes infopreneurs overlook.  They design information products (and create them) before incorporating customer feedback.  It’s no wonder their products are hard to sell!

In the infoproducts world, I would argue that systems is just as important as marketing.   You do not want to design products that are hard to deliver or support.  You need great systems.  If you don’t build great systems, your competition will.

So, how are you going to build your team?  Make sure you have all three legs of the stool: (1) content; (2) marketing; and (3) systems.

We use these three categories as self-identifiers for the new InfoCrowd Meetup.  These three identifiers make is easier to find other people with whom to collaborate.  There are a broad range of skills you need to be a successful infopreneur and no one person has them all.  It is much easier to collaborate (and save time getting your product to market), than to learn and master all of the skills yourself.

One of the goals of the meetup group is to facilitate this collaboration.  The problem is that people too often confuse which label they should have.  First,  you want to pick the label that reflects your strengths so that you can share your skills with others.  If you have never written a blog or an ebook, then maybe “content” is not your strength.  Second, you need to distinguish between creating content and delivering, marketing and selling content.  Video shooting and editing is not “content”, it is really systems.   Knowing how to use the video camera and editing software are extremely valuable skills, but those skill are not “content” unless the topic is “video editing”.

So, to help the meetup group distinguish between the three different categories, and to help all infopreneurs identify the three legs of the stool that they need to build a successful business, here is my attempt at defining them:

Content

Content is about creating products.  They say “content is king“.  What they mean is that without compelling, insightful, and engaging information, a website (or other infoproduct) will not attract an audience.  Content is not something that is “cut and paste”.  It needs to based on original thoughts expressed in creative new ways.  Every word or concept does not need to be original, but it does need to be expressed in a new and creative way.  Innovation or newness will score more points than clarity and consistency every time.   Content is a skill…you have to think independently, put together new ideas, and express them in new ways that synthesize knowledge by using frameworks, systems, paradigms and insights.

Marketing

A true marketer is one that engages the customer.  Using social media, selecting key words for search advertising, or building a website is not marketing.  Those activities are just the tools for marketing.  (As lawyer, I draft legal documents.  But legal documents are just the tool for applying my legal knowledge and advising clients.)  Those with skills as marketers understand how to identify the customer, learn what the customer wants and needs (those two are often different), and then refines the process for delivering a product that meets (or exceeds) the customer’s expectation (e.g., think Apple).

Systems

Systems may well be the single most important skill for infopreneurs.  You can have great content that customers really want to buy.  But if you don’t know how to format that content and have great systems that reliably deliver and support that content, then your competition will and no matter how well your product is received, you will not realize the full potential of getting your product into the market place.  Systems are all about leveraging your time and increasing the value of your business.  If you know how to use them, you can become a successful entrepreneur over night (think Facebook).  If you don’t then you will struggle to survive (think Sears vs. Amazon).

I hope these descriptions start to get the ball rolling and help infopreneurs to self-identify their strengths and look for other infopreneurs with whom they should collaborate.  What are your strengths as an infopreneur?

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 LEXpertise.com, a collaboration and networking site for lawyers.

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