Turn your expertise into a river of gold: part 1
I love the internet. Always have, always will.
And not just because it allows me to conveniently and cheaply feed my various music, sport, business, networking and attention-seeking habits.
What I think I love most is that it allows ordinary people to access the millions of people that once only media or entertainment moguls could.
And see the ensuing spoils in their own hands instead of those of a litany of intermediaries. Or at least the bulk of it.
Performer Rundgren first saw the subscription light
As we have outlined in these pages before, cult singer songwriter Todd Rundgren first saw the light back in the late-90s when he launched his own online entertainment portal, TR-I.
His vision was based on the reasoning that because most people could access the internet, most of his fans could access his songs, videos and other work without requiring the traditional middleman of the record company or publisher.
And in many ways he was right. His TR-I (Todd Rundgren Interactive) was probably the first artist website in the world to make revenues from subscriptions as he offered a range of popular and rare audio and video recordings, mixes, web conferences and online only concert webcasts.
Unfortunately, for many years now the service has ceased to accept subscriptions, claiming that it could not keep up with a range of technology incompatibilities.
Technology now very affordable
For the record, this claim should not have stopped the service. The technology required to run such a service is now available for next to nothing in many cases. More likely the cost of creating and maintaining high quality content outstripped the number of those prepared to pay.
But let’s not throw the baby out with this subscription bathwater.
The point is that the internet and its myriad of software platforms is now more than mature enough to support a subscriber-based service.
And contrary to the belief that everything is free on the internet, it's now possible to deliver value added content for a fee.
An alternative to the free content model
The standard model of online content is epitomised by this very article. You are essentially getting it for nothing because the benefits of providing it for nothing outweigh the benefits of the few who would be prepared to pay for it - something media operators like Rupert Murdoch are still grappling with.
But in this case, publisher SmartCompany makes revenue from the advertising surrounding it. I make money when a reader follows the links to my business website and enquires about its services.
So it is as much a free sample of both our capabilities as loss-leading single releases are for performers. They lose money on the single, its video and associated marketing in the hope of recouping it on the more expensive album it is lifted from.
It's interesting to note too that the innovation and perseverance of the amazing Apple organisation has meant that its iTunes platform is now making millions from what was thought to be a dying medium – music downloads.
But what pray tell, do you have in common with these creative wunderkinds?
As it turns out, plenty.
From selling books to selling memberships
Music is simply a form of intellectual property. And intellectual property is something that anyone with any degree of expertise possesses.
Take one of my clients for example. Dawn Hartigan is a Melbourne based specialist in fitness for older people. She has written successful books on the subject and is regarded as an authority in her field.
Of course printed books are the stuff of previous generations. Nowadays, you can deliver your content via ebooks, websites, extranets (password protected websites), webconferences, webinars, podcasts, document sharing, video etc etc.
They in turn can be delivered via affordable content management systems, extranet platforms, shopping carts, webconferencing and webinar platforms, collaboration software and so on.
So in addition to her readers accessing her material via print, she can now earn ongoing, near-passive income streams by providing a range of content and advice which is essentially instigated via her website.
I am now assisting her to develop these packages so as she can realise these exciting and hitherto impossible income streams.
Next week I’ll provide some pointers on how you can do the same – whether you’ve written a book or not.
For more Internet Secrets, click here.
Craig Reardon is a leading eBusiness educator and founder and director of independent web services firm The E Team which provide the gamut of ‘pre-built' website solutions, technologies and services to SMEs in Melbourne and beyond.