“Productize” your knowledge

All the things you’ve learned during your life and your career, all the little tips and tricks you’ve picked up to get things done better and faster, could be very useful to other people as well.  You could share these nuggets of wisdom the old-fashioned way by chatting with your friends over a drink.  You might also write to the newspaper (like my Dad does) or start a blog (like I did) and share what you know or are learning.  Another alternative is to build a business around your knowledge by productizing it.

What does “productize” mean?

The simplest form of productizing your knowledge is to write a book.  Tim Ferriss wrote one.  Nick Savoy wrote one.  John Jantsch has one.  A product is one step in the process of getting your potential customers to know, like and trust you.  It proves to your audience and customer base that you know what you are talking about, that you understand your industry and that you’ve accumulated enough experience doing what you do to write about it in an intelligent and coherent manner that contributes to the dialogue.  These are all very good things to prove.  Any way of making your knowledge “static” or consumable without your actual live presence counts – blogs, articles, books, web seminars, or recorded interviews, for example.

Build your system first

Before making your product you need to develop a system first.  Cautionary note: A system doesn’t have to be revolutionary or change “the world as we know it”.  If you’re a rock star, than go for it.  For the rest of us, building a system on the shoulders of those who have gone before you is perfectly acceptable.  Add in your own unique voice, your experiences and your vision on what can be improved or combined from existing systems and you’ll be on your way to creating a new process.

Where to begin

I’ve just started building a product with a musician I work with.  He has successfully gone from part-time Starbucks barista to full-time recording and touring rock star.  He’s sold thousands of albums and has had his videos viewed online hundreds of thousands of time.  He’s even hit #1 on MTV LOGO!  He gets approached nearly every day for advice on how he built his fan base and his income.  While he’d like to help everyone personally, that’s really just not possible.  So we’re writing a book to share his process with anyone who’s interested and teach them the methods of the independent music business.

Yeah, a book.  We’re writing one!

1.  Outline –  Start by outlining your ideas.  Or write down the process as you see it.  Try and write the table of contents for your book.  Get everything on paper in a general form and this humble document will be a roadmap for the rest of the writing process.

2.  Draft one-page chapter summaries – This is the meat of your book.  Here you’ll provide more details on each step of the process.  This will be an eight to ten page document, that with a little editing, will serve as your free report to entice prospective customers.

3.  Fleshing it all out – This can either be the hardest or the easiest part, depending on your personality.  All of the overarching ideas have been collected in step two.  Fleshing out is best viewed as a Google Maps printout: it’ll take you from point A to point B and show you the turns along the way.  Point A and B will be left for your reader to better define.

Anyone else trying to productize their knowledge?  Any success?

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