What you know is worth far more than your hourly rate.
Which is why many small businesses are finding profitable new revenue streams through Knowledge Commerce. I’ll get back to that in a minute. But first, if you’ve never heard this term before, you’re not alone.
By definition, Knowledge Commerce monetizes the process through which you share your knowledge. In other words, it’s selling what you know to other people.
While the internet has billions of pages of information, a knowledge business sells access to content through an online course, membership site, or other types of knowledge products. Using real world experiences and applications, online knowledge products can easily replace other forms of education, in-person training, face-to-face coaching and so on.
When done right, a knowledge business can be incredibly profitable, which is one of the reasons the industry is growing so quickly.
The world has become more digitized
Even before the coronavirus pandemic became a universal concern, small businesses were looking to better connect with and serve their customers online.
In the last year, the number of internet users has increased by 300 million. In April of 2020, internet usage increased by 7% compared to last year, per DataReportal.com.
While the increase in digital consumption was at least in part attributed to stay-at-home orders, it’s likely that online activity will continue to rise even after health-related restrictions are removed. A study, done by GlobalWebIndex, showed that many people expect their new habits to continue after the COVID-19 crisis passes. This means Knowledge Commerce not only has the power to remain relevant, but the demand for knowledge products is expected to continue to grow.
By 2025, the Knowledge Commerce industry is expected to reach $331 billion. A report by Research And Markets predicts that this market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 7% over the next decade.
Traditional education has become outdated
In today’s Information Age (also called Knowledge Society), traditional education is becoming outdated. More and more people are turning to online learning as an alternative to classroom settings because the digital age is moving faster than traditional education.
Today’s student doesn’t need to be taught general information because information can be found anywhere. What they need and want is real world application.
Forbes.com, in an article highlighting the “Skills Gap,” said this: “To be competitive in the digital age, individuals and corporations require a learning-for-life mindset, collaboration—with humans and machines—and a willingness to embrace new ways of doing things.”
With 35% of the U.S. workforce now freelancing and 66% of employees working from home due to the coronavirus outbreak, there is a greater need for continual skills-based learning. More than ever, people need tailored knowledge to help them stay competitive in business and in life.
Enter the Knowledge Commerce industry.
If you want your brand to thrive, you have to make sure that you're encouraging your audience to interact with your website.— Keap (@KeapGrowing) August 13, 2020
Check out 5️⃣ ways to make your website more interactive⬇️ https://t.co/jHCOpJNHSH pic.twitter.com/ksuM3CRxC0
Technology supports new ways of consuming knowledge
If educators have been slow to adopt digital solutions, it’s because they questioned a person’s ability to learn autonomously. In the past, autonomous learning meant opening a book and reading, which only meets the needs of a small percentage of self-directed students.
Knowledge Commerce platforms have created unlimited possibilities in how content is conveyed, consumed, and reciprocated. With the right software, you can:
- Deliver your content through online courses, membership sites, ebooks, videos, podcasts, emails, or any other types of digital products.
- Provide your students immediate, drip, or self-paced digital content.
- Monitor student progress via page completions, quizzes, certificates, gamification and other forms of tracking technology.
- Create one-on-one relationships with your students through web conferences, assignments, file-sharing, segmentation, and more.
- Follow up automatically to provide accountability and increase engagement.
Ultimately, engagement with students becomes possible on a large scale, and educators can cater to the individual learning styles of those they teach.
What’s more, creating and managing online courses and membership sites today requires very little effort or technological know-how, allowing anyone to sell their expertise like the pros without having to hire a technical wizard or design expert. They don’t need a team. They won’t spend weeks “figuring it out." And they can start with something as simple as an ebook, or video, or even an email.
Why knowledge businesses are so profitable
Now we get to the part you really wanted to know. What makes Knowledge Businesses so profitable?
Well, not all of them will be. Business owners still need to know how to successfully market their offering. But, assuming they have basic marketing skills (or can learn them), then content creation has a lot of perks.
1. You create something once and sell it multiple times
For every video, ebook, course, etc., that you create, there's no limit to the number of consumers who can benefit from your offering. You can sell and resell the same product again and again.
2. Knowledge products replace one-on-one services
Most entrepreneurs who rely on their knowledge to make a living do so in the form of services. But when you offer services, your potential for growth is limited by the number of hours you can work, or the team you build to work those hours. With knowledge products, your customers/clients get all the benefits of your knowledge without taking all of your time.
3. You can pivot your business quickly and effectively
Who knew “pivoting” would be the big trend of 2020? Yet, with very little warning, that’s exactly what businesses had to do, often at great cost, both financial and time wise. Knowledge commerce businesses were impacted less by the shelter-in-place orders than other businesses. Many have even benefited as a result. Furthermore, they were able to make quick changes to content and remain relevant to their community.
4. Knowledge products are inexpensive to develop
You don’t need a factory or a warehouse or shipping costs. What you know costs you nothing. Your only expense is the delivery of your content, which is minimal when you’re delivering content digitally. If you have access to a computer and mobile phone you can create virtually any type of knowledge product imaginable.
Is it time to launch a knowledge business?
Economies are opening again, but no one can predict how long the need for social distancing will last. Certainly no one knows how long it will take the economy to recover. Now, more than ever, is the time to add that second revenue stream, or take what you’ve already been doing (coaching, training, etc.) and convert it into knowledge products.
Fortunately, Knowledge Commerce businesses are easy to create and launch. All it takes is:
- Your knowledge
- A plan for delivering that knowledge
- The right Knowledge Commerce platform
With those three elements in place, you’re ready to start, or add to, your business. You don’t have to be an influencer. You don’t need a big team. You don’t even need to plan every detail. Not yet.
As long as you know something others want to learn, you’re ready for the next stage of entrepreneurship. And it should be a profitable venture for years to come.
For more information on breaking free from the hamster wheel by selling your expertise online, check out the CustomerHub blog.