The new world economy has irrevocably been changed by rapid technological progress. In the United States as an example, new and novel ways of creating value have sprouted up by the dozens over the last decade. When I was in college a few years back I was inundated by stories of California’s Silicone Valley technology hotshots, who were selling companies for hundreds of millions of dollars. The widespread proliferation and utilization of the internet, which began as an information source in its infancy but grew to become far more then that, including a booming hub for commerce, has been part of that changing landscape. Take for instance the value of a collectible or an antique you might have had. In the past, that item would be worth what you could get from a garage sale or through a local auction. Now with eBay, Craigslist, Etsy and many others, you are connected to a vastly larger pool of potential buyers. I think it is important to note that these changes also change the way we can create value.
An example of this new methodology of value creation can be seen with my experience of creating an eGuide. When I was in college I enjoyed casually buying and selling Magic the Gathering cards (a trading card game). While this was fun and profitable, it lacked a mechanism for sustainability and it was time consuming. Thus, after about a year of success with this I decided to write an eGuide, a short but informative 5-page PDF, outlining my journey with selling magic and list it on eBay. At the time I was not as aware of the different platforms to sell eGuides or eBooks but I think it was for the best, because I began to sell that guide through eBay’s generated traffic. It was essentially marketing my guide by showing individuals interested in buying and selling cards to my listing, in exchange for a 10% cut. The guide ended up being a moderate success and I sold a few hundred copies and made a few thousand dollars. The success, however, in my eyes, was not the guide itself but the new possibilities it showed to me. I could add value to an industry by writing a piece of instructive work and then sell it instantly over the internet. All my opportunity costs are essentially on the front end since once the piece is composed I can send it with just the click of an email. I began to peruse the internet for other individuals utilizing similar tactics and found that across the globe people were creating eBooks, Eguides, Ecourses and generating passive income in a way that was unprecedented. I just read an article today on BusinessInsider about an individual who combined his knowledge base in online pocker and computer science to help teach people poker productivity. He states in his article,
“Now that I have online products, it’s just so much better. It’s so great because you do most of the work in the beginning and then you just keep earning money over time,” Bozic says. “You can write from a coffee shop, you can write from a plane, you can even write from a beach in Thailand. And it’s just so much better because it’s inspiring and it’s exciting”
The possibilities and flexibility that open up with that reality are remarkable. Individuals in the software industry have realized the power of instant transactions for years. I remember a former boss of mine at a technology company, when I discussed my eGuide and the thoughts I had about the possibilities, he told me, “Casey this is something my industry has realized for years now. It is why more and more companies are going for software versus hardware. Better margins, rapid scalability and less fixed costs”.
If you are reading this article and thinking about how it applies to you, think about your areas of knowledge. It can be anything from finance, to education, to sports. Find a niche that you have a specialization in and try and create information that would help other people. If you struggled with certain aspects of learning a new coding language, think about how you could teach it differently. If you wished you had known certain information about buying a house, that was hard to find through online information gathering and would be beneficial to buyers, write a guide about how to buy a house. I would contend that the majority of individuals reading this article have some deliverable value that they could write about in a certain niche and monetize it. Don’t be intimidated into thinking it has to be a full novel. The only thing that matters is it is valuable enough that your consumer is happy that they purchased it and ready to come back if you come up with other related products later.The new economy that we live in allows you that ability and it is still largely untapped. So instead of thinking about that next get rich quick scheme ask yourself, what do I know a lot about that could help others that were/are in a similar position, and write about it. I would love to hear your stories.