Turning your computer into a money making battle a
HOW TO TURN YOUR COMPUTER INTO A MONEY-MAKING BATTLEAXE!
By Pat Flanagan
Why did you buy your computer? Did you buy it to play games? Fair enough.
Did you buy it to help you keep track of your current business? Good
answer, too. Not sure why you bought it? That's okay, that probably
describes most people.
Here's something you should know... your computer is an important tool
that can springboard you into a very high-profit business! How high?
1000% profits good enough for you? If not, you're too greedy, but if that
sounds good to you, read this report. You'll learn how you can start a
highly profitable business creating and selling INFORMATION PRODUCTS with
Selling information is, in my opinion, THE best business. Why? Well,
there are a number of reasons. Among them,
+ It's easy and inexpensive to start
+ It's easy and inexpensive to run on an ongoing basis
+ It can be run in spare time or full time
+ Anyone, young or old, male or female can do it
+ It can be run from the home
+ It can have incredibly high profits
+ There's no need to tie up a bunch of money in inventory
and there are many more reasons.
A very important aspect of this business is that people will ALWAYS want
information. It's not a business based on trends or fads (unless you're
writing about them), and competition isn't as big a factor as in other
businesses. There may be other people writing about the same subjects as
you, but there will always be many angles and approaches that can be taken
toward the same subject. This will make your information product unique.
There is no limit to the types of subjects that can successfully be sold.
People will always want to know: ways they can make or save money;
information about hobbies they either are involved in or want to start;
travel tips and techniques; how-to information about various trades and
businesses; and much more. The secret to doing this successfully is called
Targeting means that you are producing specialized information that will
appeal to a specific group of people. To paraphrase an old adage, if you
try to be all things to all people, you won't succeed. But, if you try to
be a certain thing for a certain group, you WILL succeed.
The trend that has shaped and reshaped this business more than any other
has been the explosion of direct mail marketing. People are buying more
and more by mail, and it seems like each year doubles the previous year.
The great thing about direct mail marketing is that there are many ways you
can isolate a specific group of people and market directly to that group.
To put this another way, if you put an ad in a newspaper that has a
circulation of 25,000, maybe only 5,000, or even 1,000 or less, will be
interested in what you have to offer. However, if you put your ad in a
publication that has a circulation of 25,000 people interested in fishing,
you've just targeted a group that will be interested in what you have to
offer (as long as your offer has to do with fishing). The more you narrow
down your target group to the exact people who will be interested in your
information products, the more success you will see. This is targeting.
So how does your computer help you in this business? Well, besides the
obvious uses of keeping your customer list and organizing your accounting
needs, your computer can completely eliminate the need for inventory.
That's right! Create your info-products with your word processing program,
and you can print them out whenever you need them, however many you need.
That way, you don't tie up a lot of money in printing and storage, plus, if
you happen to create an info-product that DOESN'T sell (everyone does -
just ask me!), you don't get stuck with a bunch of product you can't sell.
Also, the computer makes it easier to create these products. You say you
can't write? Well, don't get scared away. You don't have to be Tolstoy in
this business. Here's the secret: WHEN YOU WRITE SOMETHING, PRETEND
YOU'RE TALKING TO A FRIEND! MAKE IT LIKE A CONVERSATION, AND IT WILL BE
EASY TO WRITE, AND EASY TO READ. That's exactly how I write. I do all my
writing just like I'm sitting across the table from a friend of mine, or
writing a friendly letter. Too many people churn out stilted, boring,
college professor-type writing, thinking it sounds "high-minded" or
"educated." It's just hard to read, that's all. Conversational writing is
the best, and the computer makes it easy. If you can type with any
reasonable speed, you can type faster and longer than you could write,
without getting tired.
PICKING YOUR SUBJECTS
What to write about? Make a list of everything you know. I know, that can
be easier said than done. You may think you don't know enough about much
of anything to write about, but that's not true. All of your hobbies,
interests, work experiences, etc. can be great starting points.
Don't worry about how much information you can pull out of a subject.
Info-products aren't all 200 page books. Successful information products
have ranges from large books all the way down to single page reports! A
three page report that costs less than 50 cents to print out and send can
be sold for $5. What percent profit is that?
Pick a subject from your list that you think would interest a good number
of people. Now, list the possible questions you could answer. The best
way to organize them for an info-product is usually the "problem-solution"
method, where you state the problem or question, then give the solution or
answer. Now, talk to your imaginary friend! Tell him or her your story.
If it helps, talk out loud into a tape recorder! Then, type it with your
word processor. You've just created your first info-product!
Another, more powerful way to create an information product is to find a
market that is hungry for information, then research and write products
that will feed this hunger. If you know the market's already there, then
half your work is done for you!
How do you go about finding these markets? By doing a little creative
research. The simplest method is to go to your library, and get at least
eight consecutive months or more of magazines that have large classified
and mail order ad sections. Look through the ads and find the ones that
keep appearing in each issue. These ads are obviously drawing orders, or
else they wouldn't keep running. Make a list of the subjects of these ads.
These will be some good markets to explore. And don't worry about the
competition! Offer these markets something different and better, and
you'll find success.
WHY DO PEOPLE BUY INFORMATION?
An important thing to keep in mind is that every single person who buys an
information product does it for one of two reasons: to avoid a pain, or to
find a pleasure. Sometimes the reason they bought the product could be
both. For example, why did you buy this issue (or subscription)? Did you
want to learn ways to make extra money? That's finding a pleasure. Or,
did you want independence from working for someone else for the rest of
your life? That's avoiding a pain. Use this fact as a guide that will
help you attack an information subject from the proper angle. Show your
target market how to find the pleasure or avoid the pain, and they will
How do you find information on a subject you're writing about? There are
many ways. Your local library can provide most of the information you'll
need. You can interview experts on the subject, either in person, or
through the mail or phone. Write to groups and associations connected with
the subject. Whatever you do, though, DON'T just copy the information you
find. This will more than likely violate copyright rules.
DON'T WANT TO WRITE?
If you still don't feel like you can successfully write an information
product, or just don't want to, there is still a way you can get a
successful start in this business. What you need to do is find information
that is either PUBLIC DOMAIN or includes REPRINT RIGHTS.
Public domain means no one controls the copyright. Either it is older
material that never had the copyright renewed, or it was released free of
copyright to the public. One excellent source of copyright-free material
on a myriad of subjects is the U.S. Government Printing Office. If you
want some information on a certain subject, or want to get on their mailing
list, write: Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office,
Washington, DC 20402.
The best type of material to look for, though, is information products that
include reprint rights. In other words, when you buy the product, you also
buy the right to reproduce it and resell it. Many times, a sales flyer or
advertisement is included, with a spot left open for your name and address,
so you can immediately start making a profit. This is a secret of the
business that has been kept our of the general public eye. You can find
droves of material like this mostly from mail order dealers who specialize
in informational products. Everything from single page reports to full
books are available. Besides being great for starting out, reprintable
materials are also fantastic as add-ons to your own line of products.
That's what I do, and it works great!
When you purchase an information package including reprint rights, the
smart thing to do is type the material into your word processor, and save
it to your hard disk. That way, when you receive an order, all you need to
do is print out a copy.
A breakthrough in the reprint rights business has been the emergence of
reprintable material already on disk. Most of the products are contained
in ASCII text files, which can be loaded by almost any word processor.
Some of the disks even contain menu and printing programs, so your word
processor isn't required. I have an excellent product like this available,
called the INFO-DISK Business Report System, which contains over 120
reports that you can print out and sell. The package includes personalized
flyers and ads, so you can get started right away. I'll tell you more
about this later... back to the information!
By the way, you don't have to limit yourself to the printed page.
Information can be published on audio cassette, computer disk, video tape,
use your imagination! If you're writing about how to refurbish old
bicycles, make a video! You can do it with a regular home video camera,
with some practice. Or, create your product on audio tape. This can be as
simple as reading your printed info-product into a tape recorder. Thus,
your customer can listen and learn while driving, riding a bike, or
Whatever publishing method you use, be sure to copyright your original
material (even if you're creating a product that will be sold with reprint
rights - you still own the copyright, you just give certain people the
right to reprint your work). This can be done easily and with no expense
by putting a copyright notice on your product, such as this: Copyright
1993, Pat Flanagan Publishing & Design. Either spell out "Copyright" or
use the official copyright symbol (the letter "c" with a circle around it).
Don't use ©, as this is not legally acceptable. If you have put together
valuable information that people may want to copy, you can officially
register your copyright. Call the U.S. Copyright Office at (202) 287-9100,
and they will send an application form, along with full instructions.
MARKETING YOUR INFO-PRODUCT
I've written a lot about marketing in many of the articles in my own and
other publications. All of the methods I've discussed are applicable for
info-products. For example, read the report on this disk titled
"Powermarketing with your Modem" for some good low cost publicity methods.
The most important marketing methods you can use are press releases (send
them frequently); reviewers (get your product to as many of them as you
can); articles/columns (offer to write articles on your subjects for
publications free of charge - as long as they include a short paragraph you
supply that contains your name and address, and a short description of how
readers can benefit from you and your products); and, of course
When advertising, the best method to use is the two-step. That's not a
dance, it's advertising that asks for inquiries, instead of selling the
product outright. People write for more information, and you send them a
ton of info on your products and services. This is what draws the order.
It's much less expensive, easier, and produces better results than a bunch
of expensive ads which will send you to the poorhouse if they don't pull.
There are many ways to cut your mail order ad expenses. You can use
expanding classified ads (your classified ad gives a "teaser" message with
a phone number - callers get an answering machine that delivers a 2-3
minute sales message, and takes credit card or COD orders); you can use
print & mail dealers (they will print and mail your flyers or ads by bulk
mail to large numbers of people - usually opportunity seekers - for much
cheaper than if you tried to do it yourself); you can advertise
electronically on computer Bulletin Board Systems; you can create your own
ad sheets (your ad takes up part of a sheet or sheets of paper, and you
sell the rest of the space to pay your ad's way - this is a business in and
of itself); and you can set up your own advertising agency (most large
magazines and newspapers give agencies a 15% discount and an additional 2%
discount if paying in advance - create a new business name with new
letterhead to do this).
IMPORTANT RULES TO FOLLOW FOR BUSINESS SUCCESS
Guarantee your products - Offer a money back guarantee on your products.
If you feel uneasy doing this, maybe your product isn't as good as it could
be. If you are proud and confident about what you've created, you
shouldn't have any qualms about doing this. A guarantee will boost your
sales by building customer confidence.
Always be good-natured with your customers, even when they complain - If
you're surly with your customers, they'll tell others not to do business
with you. Enough said.
Keep your ears and eyes open - Watch what others in your field are doing.
If you see a company that has come up with a good idea, think about how to
adapt it to your own business.
Walk a straight path - Be honest, pay your taxes, be ethical, etc. You'll
sleep much better at night.
Don't be afraid to admit your mistakes or failures - You won't hit a home
run every time you go to bat. If you create a product that doesn't sell,
don't run your business into the ground trying to get it to sell. Drop it
and move on. Keep plugging away, because mail order is a "get-rich-slow"
business when done right.
Share your knowledge - Once you're good at this business, help others get
in. Teach a beginner what you've learned. This is called mentoring, and I
feel it's an important concept. It helps you stay in touch with your
business, and helps the home business and small business industries grow
Above all, HAVE FUN! - Why work so hard to get into your own business if
you don't even like it? Take things lightly, and have a bit of fun. Self-
publishing can be a very rewarding, relaxing and fun business. Stay at
home with the family, work a few hours a day, and enjoy what you've
Self-publishing your own info-products can be done by anyone who's willing
to apply themselves and reach past their limits. It's not as hard or
expensive as you think. Start small, with a few short reports, and work
your way up. Look at me - I've publish a newsletter, a book, this disk,
and literally hundreds of info-products, all from an office in my home. If
I can, you can too!
ARE YOU READY TO START YOUR OWN INFO-PUBLISHING BUSINESS WITH YOUR
If you are, then you need to take a look at my Info-Disk Business Report
System! It's a disk with over 120 reports on it, with full reprint rights
included, so you can sell them and keep all the profits! It also includes
professionally designed, personalized flyers and display ads, so you can
get going right away.
For full information on the Info-Disk Business Report System, take a look
at my Total Business Success Catalog contained on this disk. You'll find a
full listing of the reports included on the disk, as well as more
information that will show you why you need the Info-Disk!
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