A couple of decades ago, pursuing self-employment in the information industry was pretty difficult. Starting a publication was cumbersome and costly, blogging wasn’t an option and podcasts hadn’t even been dreamed up. For most aspiring entrepreneurs, making a steady living sharing your professional knowledge with others was an impossible pipe dream.
Thanks to the dawn of the web and a wide range of emerging technologies, that dream is now completely attainable for anyone and everyone — and those who choose that lifestyle are generally referred to as “infopreneurs”.
What is an Infopreneur?
Simply put, an infopreneur is a professional who collects information from multiple sources and personal experiences and uses it to create a unique package for consumers. And although the internet has hugely simplified that process, the term itself actually predates the era of digital celebrities. Harold “Skip” Weitzen coined the term in the 1980s elaborating on his own interpretation of what it means to be an infopreneur in the 1988 book “Infopreneurs: Turning Data Into Dollars”.
In the 20th Century, aspiring infopreneurs produced value-added reports and professional advice through mediums like self-published books, audio cassettes and CD-ROMs. After establishing personal a brand, an infopreneur could then work to establish sustainable self-employment sharing his or her insights on regular conference circuits and earning passive income generated through product sales.
Fast forward to 2017, and the internet, the emergence of social media and breakthroughs in self-publishing technologies have all made it far quicker and cheaper to get a foothold as an infoprenur. Sites like WordPress, YouTube and Facebook mean that anyone and everyone can share information and distribute it in a matter of seconds for free. Meanwhile, advertising services like AdWords and a variety of other methods of monetizing content mean that the right individual can start seeing steady income in record time.
To be clear, the ever-increasing simplicity of web publishing and distribution does not guarantee success — and in order to be a successful infopreneur, you will need to exercise plenty of effort and cunning. The web is absolutely flooded with self-labelled experts and professional bloggers in various fields. In order to stand out from the crowd and generate a following, you’ve got to establish your own unique selling points and some sort of signature style and flair.
Why Be an Infopreneur?
Just like any type of self-employment, pursuing a career as an infopreneur comes with plenty of perks. You get to choose when and where to apply yourself, and chase work that genuinely interests and engages you. At the same time, unlike other kinds of business startups, becoming an infopreneur carries far fewer risks.
First and foremost, it’s not hard to bootstrap a career in selling information. One of the easiest ways to begin establishing yourself as an infopreneur is to launch a blog or YouTube channel. Hosting fees for sites like WordPress are quite affordable and producing a quality eBook costs only time. Distributing self-published books and magazines online via Amazon and other platforms can be fairly cheap, too.
Meanwhile, infopreneurs generally don’t have to worry about ordinary startup overhead like brick-and-mortar costs or eCommerce support. It’s also far easier for infopreneurs to start generating some form of return on investment.
Can You Succeed as an Infopreneur?
If you feel like you’ve got the drive, determination and experience necessary to establish yourself as a credible source of useful information, you may want to consider pursuing self-employment as an infopreneur. So long as you’ve got internet access, you can produce and widely distribute content at virtually no cost. You’ve got little to lose, and plenty to gain.
Yet in order to taste success, you’ll need to come up with something unique. Every month, bloggers churn out about 73.9 million posts on WordPress, and there are literally millions of eBooks doing the rounds on Amazon. If you want to stand out from the crowd, you’ll need to do market research and establish a built-in online following for the content you produce.
The road to success for infopreneurs is never easy — but that doesn’t mean you can’t achieve it.
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