The 3 hurdles info product gurus never talk about that keep you from creating passive income

by | May 10, 2010

Have you ever wanted to create an information product–an ebook or audio, for example–and gotten stuck in the process? There’s a reason for this, and it’s not that there’s something wrong with you. When you understand the reason, you can jump the three hurdles that keep you from the holy grail of passive income.
Info product gurus make producing passive income sound easy. All you have to do is bang out a few pages of content or record a quickie teleclass, wrap it in a glossy package, and write some killer sales copy. Then you can relax while the money pours in.
But when you care at least as much about doing good work as you do about money, you instantly run into three hurdles.
1. The sleaze factor
2. The slickness factor
3. The hump factor
The sleaze factor
The first hurdle to creating an info product is that so many of them appear (I dare say are) sleazy. They’re not created to guide clients toward a desired goal but to lead them into buying another product or service. In other words, they are thinly disguised advertisements.
Even though you are clear that this is not what you’re up to, the sleaze factor contaminates the whole process, eating away at your vision and enthusiasm. It’s hard to even start an info product when the whole idea makes your stomach turn.
It can seem as if info products are for the sleazy-minded, and since you’re not, you figure they’re not for you.
Fortunately, this is a hurdle you can jump. But before we go into that, let’s talk about the other two hurdles.
The slickness factor
Info products that sell well are packaged well. Sometimes it seems they are packaged too well. More time and attention is invested in slick packaging than in valuable content.
The emphasis on slick packaging can keep you from promoting your product effectively because you don’t want your buyers to feel let down when they come to use the product. You need a good package to sell it, but what if your product doesn’t stand up to its image?
Because of the slickness factor, you can doubt the value of your product. And that can be enough to close off the income stream.
The hump factor
The third hurdle to creating passive income with an info product is the hump factor.
The good news and not-so-good news is that creating a product is a creative process. It’s got ups and downs, humps and bumps. And if you believe it’s supposed to be easy, you’ll think there’s something wrong with your idea. The product is stopped before it starts.
3 keys to jumping the hurdles and creating passive income
None of these hurdles is so high that you can’t jump it. In fact, when you can see them clearly, you may find that getting over or around them is pretty easy.
And to make sure of that, here are three keys to jumping the hurdles so you can create info products that delight your clients and bring in income.
The first key: Know where you’re going
A hurdle is only an obstacle if it’s actually blocking your path. When you are clear about what you are going to create and how it serves both your clients and your biz, the first hurdle tends to dissolve.
The sleaze factor dissolves because it doesn’t apply to you. The very fact that it turns you off proves this.
To be clear about how your product is not sleazy, you need:
1. A simple statement of what your product will do for your clients.
2. A simple summary of what the product will do for your biz.
For example, a graphic artist might write down the following for an info product about about do-it-yourself business card design.
Will do for my clients: Give people who aren’t ready or able to invest in professional design a template so their own designs are more effective.
Will do for my biz: Give new clients a way to make a small investment to get to know me. Show clients the limits of do-it-yourself design without pressuring them to hire me. Bring in passive income as it attracts new clients.
With these two things in mind, the graphic artist can jump the sleaze hurdle gracefully.
The second key: Understand how packaging helps clients
No doubt about it, packaging is super important for selling your info product. But that’s not it’s only function. Done correctly, packaging makes your product more useful and increases the likelihood that your clients will actually use it.
Packaging makes products more useful. A well-designed product is easier to use. Good packaging (which includes how the product is organized as well as how the outer package looks) makes the most important points stand out from the rest. It makes it easier to find specific bits of information. And it draws the user in so s/he engages more with the content.
Packaging makes it more likely your clients will use your info product. Who wants to sell an info product that ends up on a shelf or languishes on your client’s hard drive? That’s what usually happens with ordinary-looking info products. A stand-out cover and attractive insides make your product more memorable and thus more likely to get used.
When you understand how packaging helps the buyer, it won’t seem to be a slick gimmick. You’re over that hurdle.
The third key: Have a structure for the creative process
When you’re very familiar with a particular art or craft, you may not need to spell out the steps in the creative process. But when you’re creating something unfamiliar, knowing the steps of the process will help you get over the hump and stay on track.
When it comes to info products, one of the most misunderstood parts of the creative process is gestation.
Gestation is the phase where an idea goes underground. During gestation, your idea is less clear, even invisible. If you aren’t paying attention, you’ll overlook the idea when it sprouts. You’ll mistake it for one more random possibility that won’t turn into anything concrete.
To get over the gestation hump, record your idea so you can keep track of its growth. It’s like checking to see if a seed has sprouted so you can either tend it or start over.
You can do this
You can create info products that serve your clients and bring you passive income. With a little practice and support of others on a similar path, you’ll end up with a product you can be proud of–and one that your just-right clients will gladly buy and use.
Why this is up for me right now…
One of the things we’ve focused on in Shaboom County is creating info products. We did a teleclass on it and I even wrote an ebook about it for the Shaboom County Library.
Right now Shaboom County is closed to new members. But in a few weeks this online community will be open to new members for just one week. Before membership reopens, you’ll have a chance to download 5 different goodies from the Shaboom County Library so you can get a taste of what’s there for you.
In other words, stay tuned. 😉
Photo by: n.kuzma via flickr
Under a Creative Commons License