Start an Informational Product Business — Step by Step Guide 15

This is a guest post by Rishi Shah. He is the CEO of Flying Cart, an easy way to create an online store. Over 10,000 successful small businesses use his service.

Screen Shot of Valuable Original ContentPhoto by 10ch
Do you have knowledge that other people need? BOOM! Start an informational product business!

What is an informational product business?

It is where you sell your knowledge through e-books, PDFs, live speaking engagements, webinars, and more. The most recognizable informational product business is The Video Professor – where he teaches novices how to use eBay, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop, and more. So you can be “The Video Professor” for whatever you know best. Okay… this is the hard part. Starting an informational product business is easy. Actually making money on an informational product business is really hard. It is all about consistency and sticking with it. The way you need to approach this is to develop yourself into a brand. People should associate YOU as the expert in your ¬†subject. Here is how YOU can pull it off:

Photo by vaXzine

Step #1: Let’s Make a Bet

You need to make sure you are serious about doing this and do this for the next 12 months straight. We should actually make a bet. If you quit on me in 12 months and don’t complete all my steps, you owe me $1k – send me a tweet if you want to take this bet. Based on all top informational product gurus the only true way to become successful in this game is to keep at it. Make a goal to create new content everyday (this is a tip I learned from Jerry Seinfeld).

What a Brainstorm looks like - Post It Notes Everywhere!Photo by boetter

Step #2: Create an Editorial Calendar

Brainstorm and list all the blog posts you are going to write in the next six months. Can be anything that will help, motivate, or teach people about your particular subject. Things like case studies, hacks, things you have seen in other products, screenshots, interviews with famous people in your subject area, etc. Each blog post must contain an image. You can buy a yearly calendar like this one to keep you in line.

Step #3: Promote Each Blog Post

Create a list of 10 places you are going to promote your blog after you publish it. Here is my list.

Step #4: Start Collecting Email Addresses with a PDF

Create a one or two page PDF and leverage this PDF to collect email addresses. This PDF has to be something exclusive and amazing. It can be a case study, checklist, or a mini e-book. The title needs to be catchy. Something like “10 ways to become an amazing {insert your subject here}” or “Secrets to {your subject here}”… Be creative here (no wrong answers here whatsoever). Two examples of this would be my keyword template on Finding Keywords that Lead to Paying Customers and DIYTheme’s free ebook on “How Nonverbal Website Communication Gets You Sales and Subscribers.”

Use or mailchimp to collect email addresses. Send your blog posts as newsletters. Most people don’t use RSS feeds and sending emails will create more engagement on your blog. Ask people to leave comments in your email newsletters.

Ask returning website visitors that haven’t signed up for your newsletter yet to submit their email address so they can get the newsletter.

Sign Up Form to Collect Email Addresses

Sign Up Form on the Kissmetrics Blog

Step #5 Do Guest Blog Posts

After two months worth of blog posts, research 10-40 high profile blogs that talk about your subject and reach out to them to do guest blog posts. This is how you will bring more traffic and establish credibility to your site. I wrote up a super simple step-by-step method on how to research blogs that you need to do guest posts on; get it here for free.

Step #6: Do a Live Webinar

Once you hit 100 email subscribers, launch a free live webinar with the one and only YOU! This webinar will be focused on helping your readers out. You can use Go2Meeting to do the webinar and Flow Player to record the video.

Step #7: Sell a Recorded Copy of Your Live Webinar

Take the recorded video and sell it on your blog and via your newsletter. This will be your very first informational product. Use PayPal to collect funds.

Step #8: Rinse and Repeat

Repeat steps 1-7 until you reach $5k in revenue. Once you hit $5k in revenue, invest in customer support, affiliate marketing, advertising, and operational systems (for example, your own cart). Start using Infusionsoft to track inbound leads, email marketing, and affiliate sales.

Step #9: Launch a Mini e-Course

Your e-course can be in the form of a one-day webinar, a series of emails, or an e-book. This will get people to sign up and get used to reading your emails. After the e-course, automatically enroll them to be email subscribers (make sure you give each subscriber the option to unsubscribe in one click at the end of each email, otherwise you will have spam issues).

Picture of Tony RobbinsPhoto by Jurvetson

Step #10: Launch an In-Person Conference

Okay, this might be a crazy jump. But understand that steps 1-9 will take you a year or two. You’ve built an audience and you have paying customers. The time has come for you to take the stage and launch an in-person conference in, for example, San Francisco. The starting price will be $499-$1,499 and it is one day only where you will teach people about how to be amazing in your particular subject. You can use this venue finder to figure out where to host your event. The goal is to really motivate people РTony Robbins style. They should come out of your workshop with a ton of energy and knowledge!

Step #11: Enjoy Life!

Enjoy your awesome informational product business and thank me for writing this post just for you!


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  • Rishi

    Hey guys – this is Rishi (the author of this article). I will be in the comments all day if you have any questions… anything at all!

  • Kai Davis

    Hey Rishi,

    Great post! I love it. I’ve got a question: How do you go about creating the PDF in Step #4? Do you use InDesign, Photoshop, or something simpler?

    • Rishi

      Kai – Use whatever you are comfortable with. For most of my PDF’s I start with Microsoft PowerPoint and turn those into a PDF. Sometimes I like to mix it up with some sweet designs and I use Photoshop.

  • Alex

    I’m stuck at Step #1. I’m not really an expert in anything. Do you have any ideas for me?

    • Kai Davis

      Hi Alex,

      It could start out with anything you have an interest in – music, writing, an area of the world. Pick something that you’re passionate about and start writing. Once you get in the habit of reading and writing about the topic, you’ll find yourself becoming an expert.


      • King

        Clear, informtvaie, simple. Could I send you some e-hugs?

  • Meg Collins

    AWESOME post, Rishi. You make it very easy for non-techie people to do this stuff. I appreciate the advice!

    • Rishi

      Hey Meg – Anytime! You are doing great with Lucie’s List – you were a definite inspiration for this post.

    • Kai Davis


      I just checked out Lucie’s List and was blown away. It’s a wonderful example of an informational product site. When did you start the site?

  • Pingback: How To Start a Business selling informational products

  • Jenni

    How do you come up with ideas for ebooks, webinars and stuff like that? I’m always afraid that I don’t have anything useful to teach anyone. How do you create content that hasn’t been done 100 times before?

    • Rishi

      Hey Jenni,

      >> How do you come up with ideas for ebooks, webinars and stuff like that?
      Just start writing about what you know best. You are really awesome at design (based on your web link so start teaching people how to make cool things in photoshop and CSS. One of your strong skills is how to be super creative and create fun icons and characters.

      >>I’m always afraid that I don’t have anything useful to teach anyone.
      Let your audience decide this. I get self conscious right before I publish any blog post I write (including this one), you will be surprised out how much people will value you sharing your knowledge with them.

      >>How do you create content that hasn’t been done 100 times before?
      Yes, its true. There probably is already content about your expertise on the web. However most content on the web sucks. Good content will always win on Google and with Paying Customers. The key is to write content that is easy to learn from and really helps your customers/readers out.

      • Kai Davis

        However most content on the web sucks.

        Rishi’s right. Just start writing and slowly get better. Don’t shoot for 10,000 visitors on your first day. Shoot to publish 1 piece each day for a week and then see how you’re doing.

  • John Vender en internet

    Hi Rishi, thanks for writing this article. This information will help me a lot and you should write more articles like this one. This is easily one of the most useful articles I’ve read this year. In other words the content of the article is all positive and it is a great start of people would get a chance to read this.

    Great work!

    John Vender

    • Kai Davis

      Glad you liked the article, John. You can also check out Rishi’s blog Getting More Awesome

    • Rishi

      Hi John,

      Thank you very much for the compliments! I will continue to try to write more articles like this one :)