This is the final article in a 3-part series on new income streams for your teaching business. Like I’ve written about before, there are many more ways to make money as a guitar teacher than just by collecting lesson tuition. It’s always a good idea to diversify your income streams as much as possible, just in case one or more of them slows down or dries up.
In the two previous articles in this series I talked about how to generate income in your teaching business by selling merchandise and by using affiliate programs. In this final article in the series, I want to tell you about how AWESOME information products are and why you need to be creating and selling them to your students and to everyone else!
What are Information Products?
Information products are basically any kind of product you CREATE and SELL that teaches someone how to do something. If you have expertise in a certain area (like PLAYING GUITAR for example), there are people out there who would love to pay you money in exchange for teaching them what you know. After all, that’s how you earn a living as a guitar teacher, right? The only difference is that you would package that knowledge and expertise into some kind of PRODUCT, instead of delivering it as a SERVICE.
Examples of information products include books (physical and eBooks), audio training, video training, home study courses, newsletters, reports, case studies, articles, etc. I’m sure if you looked around your home and your hard drive, you would find numerous examples sitting right under your nose. In fact, you’re actually reading one right now!
The interesting thing about information products is that people aren’t paying you for the actual product…they’re paying you for the information INSIDE the product, which can often allow you to charge more for it (depending on the value of the information). A paperback book is really only worth a few cents in and of itself…but if you fill that paperback book with instructions on how to build a business, how to do heart surgery or how to defuse a bomb, all of a sudden that book gets a LOT more valuable. It’s the INFORMATION that provides the value…not the format it’s presented in.
You can sell either PHYSICAL information products or DIGITAL information products. Physical products include the things you typically find at a Barnes and Noble store (books, CDs, DVDs, training courses, etc). Digital products have the exact same information as their physical counterparts, but they exist as downloadable or streaming files on the Internet (eBooks, web videos, podcasts, downloadable audio files, newsletters, reports, case studies, checklists…etc.).
I definitely recommend going with DIGITAL information products (I’ll tell you why in just a minute)…but you do need to be aware of something called “perceived value”. For some reason we humans tend to think something is worth more if we can actually hold it in our hands. If you have a set of DVDs for sale, the exact same videos might have a lesser “perceived value” if you stream them from a website. Just something to be aware of and consider when you decide how much to charge for your information products.
What can Information Products do for me? Why should I care?
So here’s the part where I explain why information products are so awesome, and why you need to jump on the bandwagon. With the emergence of the Internet 20 years ago, the world became a much FLATTER place…you now have the same technology sitting in your smart phone that an entire nation had at it’s disposal only 1 or 2 generations ago. And because of that technological advantage, you can compete with large companies and make pretty good money selling information with almost NO overhead.
Here are some of the cool benefits of making and selling your own information products:
- You create them once, and then you keep making money over and over after that…it’s like having your own little “money tree”
- It doesn’t cost anything to create them…you can create a money-making product for only the amount of time it takes to write it and put it together
- There are no inventory problems to mess with (one of the major hassles of selling products)
- There are no shipping hassles to mess with (the OTHER major hassle of selling products)
- Your customers can get INSTANT DELIVERY of your products…no lag time or waiting
- With almost no overhead cost to create and sell information products, your profit is pretty much 100%!
Information products also do wonders for your market positioning…they magically transform you into an expert in the eyes of your students. A teacher who’s written some “books”, even if they’re self-published, is more professional in the eyes of prospective students than 10 other teachers who’ve never written anything. I’m not saying it’s RIGHT…I’m just saying that it’s TRUE.
With all of these advantages, there’s no reason why you can’t create at least one guitar-related information product to supplement your teaching income. Here are some ideas for products you can create.
Types of Information Products you can sell
eBooks are a great place to start with information products. All you need is a word processor and a way to export to the PDF format. You can sell your guitar instruction eBooks on your website, or even give them away for free as incentive to join your email list.
Here are a few guitar-related topics that would make great eBooks:
- “How to play guitar from step one”
- “How to practice effectively”
- “What every new guitar player needs to know”
2) Training courses
You could even take the eBook concept a step further and turn that information into a full-blown training course. You would just expand your material a little bit, include some exercises, audio/video files and other supplementary content, and then publish the whole thing to a secure WordPress site. You could charge a one-time fee to access the course, or even do a monthly subscription model.
Here are some example training courses your students would probably buy if their guitar teacher made them:
- “Understanding the modes of the major scale”
- “How to learn, play and use triads”
- “Music theory fundamentals for guitar players”
3) Instructional videos
We’ve all seen (and probably owned) some of those guitar instructional DVDs they started putting out in the 1980’s. I had that one video by Paul Gilbert where he pulls a rabbit out of his guitar (pretty cool trick)! Just because you don’t play like Paul Gilbert doesn’t mean you can’t make your own instructional videos…there’s probably SOMETHING you’ve learned along the way that you could make a video series about, and again, you could host it on a WordPress site and charge money to see it.
Here are a few ideas for instructional videos your students might find useful:
- “Ear training for guitar players”
- “Sight reading fundamentals”
- “Licks in the style of (insert popular guitarist)”
4) Pre-recorded lessons
The last information product idea I want to mention in this article is doing a series of pre-recorded lessons. You could record these as audio or video files (although video is probably better) and sell them as a series on your website. You could maybe even video some of your live lessons (with your student’s permission, of course) and resell them as an information product.
Again, here are a few examples to help inspire some creativity:
- Series on building picking speed and technique
- Series on improvisation
- Series on the basics of soloing
I’m obviously just scratching the surface here…there are a bunch of other formats you could use and the actual content is only limited by your imagination and your expertise. These are just a few examples to help get you thinking in the right direction.
All it takes to get started with creating your first information product is for you to make up your mind and DO IT. Take a few minutes right now and brainstorm some ideas…it doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. You can even “steal” one of the ideas I listed here in this article. Just start small with something you think your students might be interested in…you can even do a short survey to find out what they might like. Then create an outline for the product and list all the different concepts that need to be included. The last step is to fill in all the details and then polish things up a little bit…but the important thing is to just TAKE ACTION! Make up your mind to try to create something this week. You can always expand it and improve on it later.
Information products are a great way to generate some extra income in your guitar teaching business…and you have nothing to lose by giving it a shot! If you create a small product every 3 to 6 months, before long you’ll have a whole catalog to offer people, and you’ll probably have a nice little stream of revenue coming in, too. Again, once you set it up, it runs pretty much on autopilot after that and your influence as a teacher and a guitar expert will grow exponentially.
Got any questions or personal experiences with creating and selling information products in your teaching business? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!