|Like most things in life, there are 'secrets' to being
successful. Creating info products is no different. And
like most things, the 'secrets' are there for all to
The first problem that most people face when starting
out as an 'info-producer' is in coming up with ideas to
Initially, you have to be a thought recorder. Write
down every crazy (or not so crazy) idea that fleetingly
crosses your mind. Carry a notebook. This not only lets
you capture the brilliant ideas that have a habit of
disappearing, but also starts to train your mind into
an opportunity state.
Opportunities are like cosmic rays: they are
everywhere, but most of the time we can't see them.
With the right training, our brains can easily become
very sensitive opportunity detectors.
At some point you will start to notice that many of
your brilliant ideas are rubbish. Don't worry. Keep on
writing them down. Even a bad idea can sometimes be
You will notice that a lot of your ideas fall into
patterns. This is your subconscious mind's way of
pointing you in the right direction. If it keeps on
returning to a theme, the chances are that somewhere,
buried deep inside you, is gold. Now go digging.
When your notebook is growing, start thinking about
your ideas bank. Be objective and ask yourself, "If
this was the only project that I could ever do, would I
Take all your top scoring ideas. Take a little time and
expand each one. Write a broad synopsis of each so that
you have a concrete idea of what the final product will
look like. Don't try to write it - just outline it.
What do you put in your outline?
Remember the old adage: 'I take advice from five wise
men: Mr Who, Mr Where, Mr What, Mr Why and Mr When.'
Add to those two more: How and How Much.
Make every section or chapter answer one of these seven
questions (and you can ask each of them in different
ways) and you have the outline of your book.
Now you should have a shortlist of realistic, doable
projects - any one of which you would be happy to run
Next comes the most important step of all: do your
homework. The best product in the world is worthless
unless there is a market for it. So how do you find
1. Take your shortlist and talk to 5 good friends. See
what they have to say. Do they all favor one over the
others? Why? What is it about it that captures their
imagination? Would they buy it? Who do they think would
2. Pay attention to their advice, but don't even think
of acting on it. Even if they all think every one of
your ideas stinks, it could easily be them that is
wrong: they may simply be the wrong audience.
3. Write a very detailed description for yourself of
exactly who you think will buy your products. Really
try to get inside the mind of someone who could use
what you have to say.
4. Write down at least ten words (or 2 word phrases)
that most sum up each of your possible products. Define
your keywords, in other words.
5. Get yourself online and search every search engine
you know for every one of those key words or phrases.
Check out as many sites as you can that the engines
throw up (and don't just look at the first page of
listings either). Get a feel for the market. What you
are doing here is trying to find out if there is
already a market for your product, and what the people
searching for it are being offered.
6. Be brutally honest with yourself. If google only
comes up with 10 sites for one of your keywords, and
none of the sites are particularly relevant, then you
can bet that right now, there isn't much of a market.
If this is the case, ask yourself honestly if you have
the staying power and specialized knowledge to carve a
completely new niche. And where would you go to reach
7. Find newsgroups and forums that are relevant and
lurk. Are people asking questions that your product
will answer? Can you discern a need?
8. If you can, you may have the next super-niche
product all ready to be written. Congratulations!
9. If you can't, move on to the next project on your
list and repeat.
This might all sound rather long-winded - and it
certainly flies in the face of the proponents of
'create a product fast' philosophy, but it needn't take
all that long.
At the end of the day, you will have achieved three
things. You will KNOW which project to work on, and
why. You will KNOW who to target. You will KNOW what
your future projects (and backend sales) will be.
And, as a by-product, you will have become a super-
powered opportunity magnet in the process.
As you can see, the real secret is taking action. But
if you are like 99.9% of people, you will find excuses
for not taking action.
Every single excuse is 'getaroundable.' For example:
"I don't know if anyone will be interested."
It certainly helps to write about your passions - if
only because your time spent in research will be
minimized. But it isn't strictly necessary. Do you
really think that people who write fascinating fact-
filled articles in magazines are all passionate about
their subjects? No, they are just writers who are given
If you can't find a subject that YOU are passionate
about, find one that SOMEONE ELSE is passionate about.
Maybe that someone else is a friend or family member -
great! Start a joint project.
Or maybe you don't have friends who are passionate
about anything (hard to believe, but possible). Then go
and find a subject that a lot of people are trying to
find out about. Do a search on the most popular
keywords. I just did that and these seven all came in
the top 50:
Now, I'm not passionate about any of those, but I can
clearly see how any one of them could be turned into an
information-packed special report that would sell for
10 bucks or more. Can you?
Weight Loss: What are the most popular diets in America
today? Go to newsgroups, find out what people are
saying about them. Find two or three people who have
succeeded in losing serious weight on each diet.
Interview them. Package the whole thing up as an
'insiders guide to today's diet plans.'
Jobs: How about a state-by state analysis of
unemployment figures. A regional plan for optimizing
your chances to find a new job. A directory of job-
seekers resources. A book on 101 thing you can do if
you are laid off. A report on 'home workers guide to
surviving the recession.'
Prom Dresses: Now I know nothing about dresses, and
I've never been to a prom, but this subject is not only
highly important to those involved, it is also
emotionally charged, and perennial. What more does a
business need? Subjects that could be included: this
years styles and colors. How much should you pay? The
best suppliers. It is highly researchable and I'd bet,
very much in demand. This search term came 28th out of
500 so the market is pretty big!
Travel: Where do you live? Folks come there. They want
to know the best places to go. You can tell them. I'm
not going to labor this one, the scope is so huge, but
you could do a lot worse than visiting Mike McGroarty's
see what he has in mind for the future of travel
booklets. Very exciting!
Recipes: This is a big field, but you can narrow it
down. Everybody loves cook books. Take a look in any
bookstore. And there is a world-wide market. The secret
here is to link it with something else that people
want. So, to use our example above, you could produce a
series of recipe books for each of the top diet plans.
See where I'm going?
Dogs: Dog lovers are obsessed. If you own a dog you'll
understand. If you don't, you will be baffled. Yet
canine = cash. You can write about breeds, training,
behavior, exercise. Just go to the library, or search
on google and facts will fall at your feet. Pick them
up and put them in your book.
Baby names: Okay, there are books in the stores with
lists of names. SO WHY ARE PEOPLE SEARCHING ONLINE?
There is a market. People want the answers NOW. Not
next Saturday when they can get to a bookshop. What can
you do that is different? How about a list of all the
names celebrities have called their kids in the last 5
years? What about a list of names with all the
meanings, plus the numerology forecast for each one?
See what I mean? You may not be passionate about any of
these things, but if I told you that when you have
finished writing your book 1000 people will pay you $10
each to read it - will that spark a little passion in
your belly? It does in mine!
"I can't write that well."
That is really just an excuse for not doing it.
It doesn't matter one little bit if you can't spell -
the software will sort most of it out for you.
So what if you don't understand grammar? Most ebooks
are written in a very conversational style. Can you
talk to your friends? Write like that. Totally correct
grammar is often a disadvantage online.
When your book is written, give it to a few friends to
read over for you. Listen to their suggestions because
no matter how good at writing you are, other people
will always spot your mistakes. You can even post on
forums for people to review/critique your work.
"It's not that easy. I have been trying for six months
or better to find something to develop and cannot seem
to find that one big hit-that home run."
The problem here is that you have paralyzed yourself by
wanting to see the end result before you have put pen
to paper (or finger to keyboard). That is where you
have gone wrong. If you tell yourself that you can't do
it, then GUESS WHAT? You CAN'T!
The only way to finish a project is to start it.
# Create your own ideas bank.
# Find out what people are interested in.
# Find a subject that you like (passion is optional).
# Write your 7-question outline.
# Research until your eyes hurt - looking especially
for facts that are not easily accessible.
# Write, write, write. Don't even think about if it
sounds good, or reads right. Just get words on paper.
# When it is done, read it over and then put it aside
for a week or two.
# When you come back to it, re-read it and then start
to rewrite it.
# At the point that you feel you can't do any more, ask
other people to chip in.
# Then, if you have done a little each day, you will
have a product to sell.
There is an old writer's mnemonic: WRITER
Do you want to have an information product of your own
to sell? Then congratulations, it is right there for
you to take.
Or do you want to find more excuses for not doing
anything? It is your choice.
Go and get you book started. You know you can.
About the Author
Martin Avis is a management and training consultant.
To get your unfair advantage in Internet marketing,
business and personal success, (and 6 free gifts),
subscribe to his free weekly newsletter, BizE-zine.
mailto:subscribe5@BizE-zine.com or visit his
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