Entrepreneurs – particularly online – divide into two broad camps. Some refuse to spend a penny more than they have to on their business; they want to bootstrap all the way. Others buy every new product which comes out, buying into the hype, certain that it’s their shortcut to success.
Neither extreme is good for your business.
The danger of bootstrapping is that you have to learn everything the hard way. You might make mistakes which could have been avoided if you’d paid for a class or an ebook on your particular topic.
On the other hand, buying every single information product going isn’t a good strategy either; you’d soon be broke.
So how do you sort the good from the bad, and figure out when it’s sensible to pay for information products?
Your Bottom Line
First, keep your bottom line in mind. Any good information product should lead to extra time for you to do productive work, or extra sales of your products or services. Essentially, for every dollar you spend on an information product, you should be making at least a couple of dollars back, just from using the information within it.
It’s particularly useful to keep this in mind if you’re thinking of buying a fairly pricy product. Sure, that ebook or online course might be $197 – which is a lot to spend when you’re trying to grow your fledgling business – but if that $197 results in an extra $500 of work for you, it’s probably worth it.
Don’t Discount Your Time
Your money matters, obviously enough. But your time is just as crucial. It’s easy to forget this – but if you’re spending hours searching the net for free information, those are hours that you can’t spend on profitable work for your business.
When you’re looking at products to buy, don’t be too swayed by the amount of content. In terms of your time, you’re better off buying an ebook which takes an hour to read – but which lets you earn an extra $500 – than an ebook which takes three hours to read for the same effect. It might feel like the latter is more valuable because it’s bigger, but what really matters isn’t the amount of information … it’s how useful it is to you.
Judging What to Buy
So, you’ve decided that you’re going to budget some of your profits for buying information to help your business grow. But what should you buy? There might be hundreds of courses, ebooks, teleseminars and membership sites devoted to your particular topic.
- Set a budget for your information purchasing. Make sure you’re not going to be getting into financial difficulties.
- Look for reviews and case studies about a particular resource. Don’t just read the testimonials on the sales page: search the web for “review + [product name]”
- Subscribe to the blogs or join the newsletters of the big players in your field. Get to know them through the free content which they provide – and decide whether you trust them enough to pay for their products.
- If you buy something you love, look for more information products written by the same person.
You Have to Use It
Finally, you could buy the greatest ebook or training course in the world … and it’d do you no good at all if you left it sitting unread on your hard-drive.
Make sure you use the books, ebooks and other products which you buy. Don’t just collect materials. It’s better to dig deeply into what you already have than to keep buying something new. You might want to print out ebooks, or put audio files onto your MP3 player, for ease of accessibility.
When you read through a book or listen to an audio, keep a notebook and pencil handy. Jot down any key points which you want to remember – and write down any ideas which occur to you in relation to your own business.
Information is valuable … but only when you use it.