What Type of Digital Product Should You Create?

Digital products are increasingly the top choice of consumers. Whether it’s something as simple as a Kindle book or something more complicated like a video tutorial, digital products are increasingly being chosen. But what type of digital product should you create? Here are some of the major types and their associated pros and cons.

Kindle Books

If you’ve got a word processor then you can type away and let Amazon handle the conversion process into a Kindle format.

Which means that you’ve got an easy conversion process. All you need to do is come up with the content.

Amazon also handle all the sales and distribution. Sure, they take a commission for that, but within their preferred price range of $2.99 to $9.99, they’ll give you a generous 70% commission most of the time.

The negative is the price point of most Kindle books. Lots sell for 99 cents and that only pays out 35% royalties. So if you think you can be another John Locke and sell over a million sub-dollar Kindle books then you’ll make a decent income. But for mere mortals, selling a few dozen or even a few hundred low price Kindle books a month won’t allow you to quit your day job.

PDF eBooks

These are usually priced higher than Kindle books and you get more flexibility with layout (Kindles don’t even accept basic formatting such as tabs or bullet points).

PDFs are usually sold from your own site, so your “royalty” can be as high as 100% of the retail price, give or take payment fees. So a $7 PDF will earn you about the same as selling a $9.99 Kindle book. And chances are that it will be an easier sale from your own site rather than competing with hundreds or even thousands of other books on Amazon.

And if you can get as much as $17 or $27 (not that difficult, honest) then you’d need to be priced at $50 and above on Kindle to get the same earnings.

Which is long way of saying that if your information can sell for more than $7 then you should strongly consider selling it from your own site.

Audio programs

Back before the internet happened, these were the main way of distributing information products.

I’m not old enough to remember (honest!) but, originally, Nightingale Conant sold their audio programs on LP records. They then progressed to audio cassettes and then CDs and DVDs.

Audio products are generally higher priced than printed books or eBooks.

They have the added convenience that they are the only digital product that is truly independent. You can listen to them on your computer, anywhere else in your home or anywhere out of your home. So they can be listened to whilst jogging, commuting to work, driving or even being flown on a plane (except during takeoff and landing, of course).

So there’s a high level of convenience with audio programs and, for that, they generally command a higher price.

Video programs

In much the same way as a DVD typically sells for more than a CD, video programs generally command a higher price than any of the other formats we’ve discussed.

With today’s modern software and even a modestly specified computer, videos can be rendered quite fast. Sure, not as fast as audios, but still not too slow either.

There are also a wide range of options for video programs. You don’t need a camera to produce them – none of the products I’ve produced have been made with a video camera.

Instead, you can use software to record your voice and either screenshots or Power Point style presentations.

These work well as people can see what’s happening, rather than having to guess as they have to do when listening to an audio or scroll through screenshots as they’d have to do with an eBook.

Most things benefit from being able to see what’s happening as well as hear it described.

Which is why video generally commands a higher price point and are generally better accepted than the other digital product formats we’ve examined.

Commercial General Liability Insurance – How to Get the Right Coverage

Commercial general liability coverage is a complex subject depending on the business to which it applies. Examples would be a small retail store that requires third party liability to cover a slip and fall type exposure only or right up to a large manufacturing firm that requires a wider range of liability coverage to cover its completed products and operations.

Any situation where a person attending at or using a service provided by the business or purchasing a product from the business can claim that the product, service or advise caused them financial or physical injury or harm. A single claim can literally wipe out years of hard work building up a business. Even if you have done absolutely nothing wrong and your product has worked exactly has it was supposed to, the cost of defending an action against your business can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. It only makes sense to make sure that you are protecting the business that you work hard daily to build. Despite this many small businesses are operating without any commercial general liability coverage and many are doing so because they are under the mistaken impression that the cost of the insurance is too high to warrant paying it. Having seen first hand the consequences of not carrying proper coverage I would not recommend that to anyone.

Each business must be assessed as to the exposures that their particular industry presents. Your broker must take into consideration your operations, your product, the source of your materials or products if obtained from a different supplier, where that supplier is located, whether you have alternative suppliers or do you depend on a single outlet, whether you manufacture your product of wholesale it only. Do you repackage the product and sell under your label or do you retail under someone else’s label. Where do you sell your product or service and what is the amount of gross sales in each area. How many employees do you have and do they need to be added as additional named insured. Do you own the building where the business is located or are you a tenant renting the location. Do you offer a warranty on your product or are there warranties offered by the original supplier.

Each individual industry has it’s own inherent liability exposures and your broker must address all of them in order to place the proper coverage. Endorsements such as completed products and operations, limits for equipment, stock and electronic data equipment, boiler and machinery coverage, installation floater, employee benefit liability and non-owned auto liability coverage are but a few of the coverage’s that need to be considered.

Certain industries also need to look at Professional Liability coverage. This is often referred to as Errors and Omissions Insurance. Many service oriented businesses such as hairdressers and beauty salons, home inspectors, general insurance brokers and other professional service providers require this type of coverage due to the nature of advise that they render to the clientele.

When you compare premium rates for commercial general liability insurance it is important to make sure that you are comparing the coverage provided by each policy and that the coverage being provided is appropriate for your business.

Yours truly,

Kenneth R Greig CFP. CAIB. RIBO.

General Electronics – Gearing to a Wide Array of Applications

General electronics is a very broad category for a product. It refers to a lot of industries and applications. Nowadays, these types of gadgets are geared on energy-efficiency and user-friendly guidelines. Every time an innovation is launched in the market, companies never fail to incorporate it in the changes for these products.

It was mentioned awhile back that there are various applications for general electronics. As proof to this, the industries benefiting from these industrial products are discussed below.

Aviation industry

Electronics for this type of industry are made to have more power despite fuel reduction. Products have surpassed noise reduction requirements in the industry. A great example is the turbojet engine that paved the way to production of other engines for commercial, military, marine and corporate industries.

Consumer electronics

The list of electronic products will not be complete unless consumer electronics are mentioned. Providing the needs of clients worldwide, new technologies are injected in these products and services. Audio-visual components as well as telephone and computer accessories are found under the list of consumer electronics. Specifically, radios and television sets, digital cameras, generator systems, house wares and holiday lighting are enumerated under this electronics’ category.

Electrical distribution

Different industries benefit from this type of product from the general electronics line. Since electronics are somewhat synonymous to electric, electrical distribution should not be missed out on the list. The list of products includes appliance controls, arresters, automatic transfer switches, battery-powered equipment, circuit breakers, capacitors and drives.

It also contains products for communications and networking, energy management, motor control centers and power conversions. Reactors, push buttons and pilot devices, relays and timers form part of the enumeration as well.

The list of products for electrical distribution applies to commercial-electrical, industrial-electrical, residential-electrical and institutional-electrical requirements. They are also helpful for original equipment manufacturers and utility companies. When it comes to energy industries, electricity, gasification, hydro power or water control, nuclear energy, oil and gas, transmission and distribution and solar power companies benefit from these types of products.

General electronics is multi-faceted. Expect that there are more products listed under this industrial category. The list on this page is not enough to discuss all of the important facets of these products. On top of all the things you need to remember, electronics are updated to comply with the set standards of different industries. They are made to ensure the health of the individuals and companies that derive important uses from these materials.

Creating Information Products – Which Format Should You Choose?

Information products usually fall into one of 5 different formats: text, audio, video, software or intangible/experiential products like consulting, seminars or coaching programs. In addition, these formats can be made into digital or physical products and often easily lend themselves to both.

Let’s start with text-based products. Some examples of text-based info products are articles, white papers, special reports, books, e-books, manuals, e-courses, binders or workbooks. These are generally the easiest to create and distribute because all you need is a word-processor for the more simple ones. As they get more complex, you’ll use graphics, PDF and page layout programs. For someone just starting out, a text-based e-course can be created very quickly and sent out via e-mail. Text products are by far the easiest to transmit over the Internet because they generally have the smallest file sizes. Of course, the file sizes increase as graphics are added, but the size is still insignificant compared to audio or bandwidth-hogging video.

Audio Products

These are usually audio CDs or downloadable digital files (generally MP3s). Technically speaking, audio is more complex to work with when compared to text products. With audio, you need to have a way to record (usually a digital recorder) and it’s important to get as clean of a recording as possible (this is easier said than done). Once it’s recorded, it needs to be edited with audio editing software. If you want your product to be really professional-sounding, you may want to consider adding some music and a voiceover intro and outro on the beginning and the end. When you have your recording sounding the way you want it, you then export it as a stereo file. If your product is going to be digital, you’ll take that master file and convert it to the format you want using a sound conversion utility. If you’ve decided to make an audio CD, you’ll have a bit more work to do. You’ll have to take your master file, cut it into “tracks”, export each track as a separate file and then use a CD burning program to assemble the individual tracks (files) and burn a master CD. This is the disc you’ll give to your duplicator. You’ll also need to create CD surface artwork and the art for whatever you’re packaging the CD in.

Video Products

The same basic process described above for audio also applies to video, except that you’ve now got a visual component. Video products are generally DVDs (for physical products) or if they are digital, they are usually converted to one of the following file formats: MP4, Quicktime, Windows Media or Flash. Be aware that working with video is much more demanding in many ways: it’s more expensive and generates far more data which means you’ll need a reasonably powerful computer and fast hard drives (7200rpm to do it properly). Another thing to be aware of when working with video is that, unlike audio, any edits you make will be visible on the video, which means it’s much more important to be able to deliver longer sections of content without making mistakes. You’ll also need to have the correct lighting and, if you want the video to be interesting, more than 1 camera so you can cut to different angles when editing. A minimum of 3 cameras is recommended for producing professional products – but that means paying 3 camera operators and then having 3 times as much video to edit later, which adds to your production cost (you’ll find a lot – if not most – of the expense when doing a video product is in the editing). Once you have your video edited the way you want, you’ll convert it to a downloadable format or get someone to “author” a DVD master, which means they’ll put a “splash” screen and a DVD menu on it and get it ready for duplication or manufacturing.

Software

Unless you’re a programmer, you’ll probably be working with someone called a “coder” who will be responsible for implementing your ideas. There are people on Vworker and eLance that write software and will work on a project basis. One thing to make very clear in advance is who owns the work – and it would be a good idea to check with an attorney to see what kind of contracts and agreements you’ll need to have signed to protect yourself. Other ideas for software products could be a toolbar or an iPhone or Android app.

Intangible Products

Most people don’t think of a seminar or coaching program as an information product, but intangible products like these can still be marketed and sold – and they can easily be turned into a product by recording or packaging them into one of the above formats. Many people make money not only from putting on a live seminar but also from recording it and then selling the seminar as an info product from then on.

Manufacturing costs

For digital (downloadable) products, the costs are negligible, aside from the bandwidth charges, which can add up if your product is “streaming”. If it’s downloadable, then you’ll generally only have to pay for the initial download, since most people will play it back off their hard drives from then on. It shouldn’t be too much of an issue unless your product is very video-intensive, like a multi-day video training. If this is an issue, then hosting your video on Amazon’s S3 service can really reduce the expense. For physical products, there are the “hard” costs of the materials, such as printing, media (CDs/DVDs) and packaging, not to mention the shipping costs, which leads many infopreneurs to wonder if they shouldn’t make all of their products digital.