This is a guest post by Rachael Acklin.
Last time I was here, I yelled at you for pretending you don’t have a brand. I’m still feeling angsty about that, but Michael told me I can yell at you as much as I want to as long as it’s good for you, so today I am going to about something different, but no less important – info product abuse.
WHAT IS INFO PRODUCT ABUSE?
Info products, also known as Information Products, may include ebooks, digital downloads, audio files, video files, PDFs, worksheets, modules, weekly check-ins, forums, and bonuses.
Info product abusers have been discovered with hard drives full of partially-read PDFs; desks cluttered with worksheets that they printed out, forgot about, and covered in coffee cup stains; mp3 players jammed with audio that has never been listened to; and, worst of all, heads full of ideas that were continually discarded because they thought their ideas would be better once they finished consuming all those damn info products.
It’s a sad, sad commentary on our lives as entrepreneurs; not to mention the thousands of dollars we write off every year on Educational Expenses that do nothing more than make us feel like losers who never finish things.
The good news is, you’re not a loser who never finishes things.
The bad news is, you’re an info product abuser.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE ABUSING INFO PRODUCTS
STOP IT! Now! (Sorry, I’m yelling again.)
Step One: admit you are an info product abuser. Go ahead, try it out. Say it aloud. “Hi, I’m Jiminy Bloggerpants and I am an info product abuser.” (If your name is actually Jiminy Bloggerpants, I’ll buy you dinner.)
Step Two: stop buying info products. Seriously. I know you think you can stop any time you want, but I am telling you – now is the time to stop. Put away your Paypal card and stop joining things. It’s for your own good.
Step Three: take an inventory of what you already have, to determine whether it’s useful to you. I’ve included a handy guide to categorizing your info products to help you decide whether to keep or delete it.
GUIDE TO INFO PRODUCT CATEGORIES
These info products are the ones you bought to learn how to do something, or to improve the how-to knowledge you already had. They are specifically targeted toward making or doing something that will make you money, which is the other reason you bought them.
These info products can be tricky, because they often market themselves as instructional but are, in fact, more about ideas and overarching themes and philosophical things. They are for people who want to learn more about things in order to improve their understanding of the world.
This category is full of stuff you got when you signed up for someone’s list and then unsubscribed later when you forgot why you were on it in the first place. They are often very short, and range from well-written to my-five-year-old-has-more-coherent-thoughts. Some of these are useful, and most are not. They’re like collector’s items from McDonald’s.
This is the sort of info product that, every time you listen to it / watch it / read it, you learn something new and useful. These are the best products to have because they’re a gift that keeps on giving.
Now, some of your info products will probably fit into more than one category, which is fine. You may have to make this list while sitting down, possibly assisted by an adult beverage or at least a cup of tea, because you may be shocked to see how many info products you have; OR you will be shocked to see how many useless things you have that you thought were actually quite useful.
Step Four: delete the info products that do not serve you. No backsies on this one. Make up your mind right now, because you need to keep moving forward with your business and your knowledge and your life. If it doesn’t serve you now, chances are it never will, and letting it hang around in the periphery just gives it permission to fuck with you.
Step Five: make a plan, with a calendar, for using the info products you chose to keep. And don’t pile on five ebooks in one week, either. The only way to get something out of an info product is to consume the information, take notes, and decide how you will put it into practice – and that takes time and focus.
Step Six (optional): put yourself on an Info Product Buying Ban until you have used or consumed all the products you chose to keep.
BONUS: WHAT TO DO IF YOU’RE AN INFO PRODUCT CREATOR
If you are an info product creator, only make products are are relevant to a particular audience, and useful to them. And encourage them to use the products, not just buy a dozen each so you can take a long vacation. The purpose of creating information products is to facilitate growth and learning, which can only happen when the people buying the products have the opportunity to use them.
INFO PRODUCT ABUSERS, EMBRACE YOUR BRILLIANCE
So, to recap: you are not a loser who doesn’t finish things. You are a brilliant entrepreneur who knows you need more resources, more knowledge, and more information to keep moving forward with your business.
You’re already doing incredibly well just by realizing that. Just remember to trust your own gut first, and don’t buy into the line that you have to have some product or membership or PDF because otherwise you and your business will fail, because that, my friend, is bullshit.
Rachael Acklin is a web designer, brand expert, and business coach who would love to kick your ass if you need it. And don’t think she’s not kidding – she has four well-behaved kids, and that takes dedication.
Image by janetmck