The global marketplace that's developed around online learning has been growing for years, but unlike other industries that have fizzled and fallen out of favor, this one shows no signs of slowing down.
In fact, it's growing at a prodigious pace.
Entrepreneurs who take advantage of the opportunity to spread their knowledge and to get paid for creating digital products will reap the rewards. We've seen it happen time and time again with Kajabi Heroes – men and women who have turned their passions and their knowledge into income.
Despite this industry's rapid growth, it has yet to revolve around a consistent vocabulary. And when something doesn't have a consistent name, entrepreneurs who might otherwise benefit from it never even discover it.
So we've taken the initiative and given it a name that everyone can understand:
If you're ready to start a business and profit from your knowledge, familiarizing yourself with Knowledge Commerce will give you a head start over the competition.
What Is Knowledge?
People often confuse knowledge and information. The Internet is overflowing with information: articles, infographics, social media posts, forum entries, and so on.
We're not discounting those fonts of information, but we need to separate the concepts of knowledge and information if we want to distinguish their value and worth.
Here at Kajabi, we share lots of free information on this blog to help our customers grow their businesses. There is value in that.
However, we believe that knowledge comes from lived experiences and is best expressed through the lens and filter of one's personal perspective.
Years ago, bloggers could generate a respectable income by sharing their knowledge online and living off advertising income. That's not nearly as easy to do these days.
Furthermore, consumers have come to value knowledge for which they have paid over information they consume for free.
Think about it: Would you trust a medical doctor who offered to treat you for free or one who charged you for applying his knowledge to your case?
Some of us would appreciate free medical care, but we would question the doctor who offered services for free. Does he lack the experience necessary to charge for his services? Has he been censured or otherwise criticized for his methods in the past?
You've heard the saying, "You get what you pay for." That's never more true than in the industry of Knowledge Commerce.
What Is Knowledge Commerce?
When we use the term Knowledge Commerce, we're referring to the practice of charging customers for access to our knowledge. This could be through an online course, an e-book, a membership site, or any other digital product designed to share knowledge.
You might have heard this industry called online learning, e-learning, or some other name. We discovered, however, that none of those names sufficiently describe the industry we're talking about.
In school, teachers and professors are paid to share their knowledge in the classroom. The money comes from tuition, taxes, or some other source, and students meet in a physical classroom in a specific geographical area.
You might have noticed that many universities and colleges now offer what they call distance education. Students can get their degrees by participating in online lectures and submitting their projects via the Internet.
But traditional teachers and professors aren't the only people who can spread knowledge in a commercial way. In fact, we believe that everyone has valuable knowledge that he or she can share with the world via Knowledge Commerce.
Consequently, we define Knowledge Commerce as any commercial enterprise that exchanges knowledge for cash.
Knowledge Commerce Statistics
You might wonder why an entrepreneur would want to get involved in the Knowledge Commerce industry. It's understandable, especially if you haven't been exposed to this business model before.
To help you better understand the value behind Knowledge Commerce, let's look at a few mind-blowing statistics that might help you see the potential in this business.
First, this is a $243 billion industry. In other words, 2,430 entrepreneurs could build million-dollar businesses.
With that kind of income potential, there’s no reason to avoid getting involved in the Knowledge Commerce industry.
Our research has also shown that Knowledge Commerce represents an excellent point of entry for women who want to start their own businesses. Nearly 900 million women will enter the workforce in new ways by 2020.
Then there’s the consumer side. Between 3 and 5 billion consumers will enter the market in the coming years, creating even more income potential for entrepreneurs who harness the power of Knowledge Commerce.
We also know that the freelance economy is growing rapidly. People want to work for themselves. Experts project that 40 percent of workers will be non-traditional employees by the year 2020.
We have your attention now, right?
3 Trends That Are Powering This Industry
If those statistics surprise you, it might help to understand the psychological and economic factors that have made Knowledge Commerce such a valuable industry.
Think about the last time you wanted to reach a goal or solve a problem. You likely started with a Google search related to the issue.
If you're like many consumers, that initial search did not produce the answers you needed immediately. You probably visited 10 or more sites, collecting bits of information from each one and growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of a comprehensive solution.
That's where Knowledge Commerce saves the day.
Professionals who sell digital products provide comprehensive solutions to problems and step-by-step guidance for reaching goals. They don’t just share bits of information; they provide full-scale solutions.
Specifically, though, there are three pervasive trends that have made Knowledge Commerce a lucrative industry for today's entrepreneurs. Let's take a look at each of them.
1. Digital Is The New Norm
Digital solutions have begun to take hold in nearly every industry. For instance, you might use your smartphone to control your thermostat and your tablet to stream Netflix while you're lying in bed at night.
Education is no different. Even in the classroom, students often take notes on their tablets, use online dictionaries instead of those massive tomes we used to rely on, and master apps for tasks like creating music and learning math.
Knowledge Commerce simply takes this trend in a new direction.
If you can teach online courses, write e-books, and create other digital products, you can generate income from your efforts and your customers can benefit from the knowledge you share with them. Since more and more consumers are becoming comfortable with digital technology, there aren't as many barriers to entry.
We believe that Knowledge Commerce offers a viable and even preferable alternative to traditional education. It's less expensive for the consumer and it strips the need for traditional prerequisites on the part of the instructor.
You don't need a doctoral degree to teach other people how to improve their fitness levels, make music, enhance their personal development, or achieve any other goal.
2. Customers Now Control the Relationship
You might have noticed that brands have lost control over commerce. Consumers now hold the power when it comes to shaping products and services, exploring new marketing techniques, and generating word-of-mouth business.
Big brands might not like this development, but here at Kajabi, we’re excited about it. It means that our customers can develop viable businesses and compete against the biggest players in the marketplace.
In other words, we're seeing a paradigm shift in the ways in which service providers and product developers interact with their audiences.
Brands don't rely as much on advertising as they did in years past. Instead, they're on the hunt for social proof, positive reviews on third-party websites, viral Instagram posts, and other relationship-driven marketing tactics.
The great news is that these strategies aren’t limited to brands with infinite budgets. You can create a viral video on your smartphone, build a massive audience on social media, and convince your customers to review your online courses without spending hardly any money.
3. The Need for Knowledge Is Greater Than Ever
People seek out knowledge every day. They want to hear the stories of the people who have gone before them and learn from people to whom they can relate.
That's why the Internet has created so many interactive communities around specific topics. Consumers want to connect with like-minded folks and learn from others' mistakes.
This presents a unique opportunity for you if you're interested in the Knowledge Commerce industry.
It's not just about marketing. Consumers are actively seeking new ways to learn about topics that interest them. They want to know interesting ways to solve their problems and reach their goals. You can deliver those solutions.
Think about the number of people who search Google every day. Most of them are looking for answers.
If you can package your knowledge an appealing way, you can generate income from Knowledge Commerce.
The Benefits Of Knowledge Commerce
We’ve discussed before on this blog the many benefits of Knowledge Commerce for a business owner. However, we’d like to narrow down these benefits for business owners who specifically create products based on knowledge sharing.
For one thing, you can become an entrepreneur with nothing more sophisticated than a smartphone and a microphone. Record videos that share your knowledge, then publish those videos in an online course.
There's no need to set up shipping and logistics for a physical product or to shell out thousands of dollars in broadcast advertising.
Knowledge Commerce also allows entrepreneurs to exercise complete control over the products they produce. You can set pricing based on the value you believe you have shared with your audience and you can create products of any size and type you desire.
We are particularly excited about Knowledge Commerce because entrepreneurship doesn't have to be a burden. Sure, you need to promote your products to your target audience, but you can spend most of your time producing new products for your customers instead of attending to administrative tasks.
There's tons of flexibility in Knowledge Commerce because you're not beholden to a particular schedule. Maybe you like to put together your course materials during the wee hours of the morning. That's fine.
You can also personalize your online products based on what you think your audience wants to learn and how they want to acquire that knowledge. Perhaps, for example, you're more comfortable creating audio content than video and your audience prefers to listen instead of watch. If that works for you and your audience, there's no reason why you shouldn't pursue it.
Finally, your customers can access your digital products from any Internet-connected device. Nobody has to meet you in a lecture hall or attend a class at a specific time. This benefits not only you, as the entrepreneur, but also your customers.
What You Need To Sell Your Knowledge Online
We mentioned above that you need only a few materials to sell your knowledge online.
That's it. You might decide to invest in more equipment later, especially after you begin to generate a healthy profit, but you don't need high-end equipment to become an online entrepreneur.
The smartphone and microphone will allow you to create tutorial-driven or how-to videos for your online courses. The microphone will make your sound far clearer, which will increase the production value of every video you create.
Meanwhile, Kajabi provides you with all of the tools necessary to succeed in Knowledge Commerce. Our platform lets you set up sales pages, landing pages, email marketing assets, live webinar events, and much more. We even handle finance management and payment acceptance.
With this in mind, you have no excuse for not embracing Knowledge Commerce. Every moment that you delay results in lost profits.
But what might you need once your Knowledge Commerce business become successful?
You might want to invest in lighting equipment or rent a studio to produce your videos. Perhaps you'll decide to advertise your online business or hire in influencer to create sponsored content.
There's no reason to think about that yet, though. For now, concentrate on getting that first course written and produced.
How Can You Find Success Selling Your Knowledge?
While it's not easy to start your own business, Knowledge Commerce is perhaps the easiest field with the lowest barrier to entry. We've identified several ways in which you can capitalize on this industry and begin making a profit today.
Design Online Courses
We are big fans of online courses here at Kajabi. You might call it our bread and butter. We believe that creating an online course is one of the easiest and most effective ways to take advantage of Knowledge Commerce.
But what is an online course? It's a series of materials that teach other people how to do something that you have already mastered. At Kajabi, we use technology that allows our customers to create any type of learning module they might desire.
Video is perhaps the most popular and most effective teaching medium for Knowledge Commerce, but you can also create written materials, audio content, checklists, calculators, and anything else you think would help your customers learn faster and more efficiently.
Best of all, your online courses can be of any length and can be shaped in myriad ways. For instance, you might release your entire online course the moment your customer signs up, or you could release the content in drips to moderate the learning pace.
Create Membership Sites
When you create a membership site, you establish a paywall between the content you produce and prospective customers. Unlike a blog, your content does not get indexed in search engines. It's only made available when someone signs up and pays the fee.
Membership sites became increasingly popular as the banner-ad bubble burst. Content creators could no longer rely on advertising revenue as a sustainable form of income. Therefore, they chose to monetize their content through membership sites.
Every month, customers pay a fee to gain access to your content. You might blog publicly, also, but you reserve your most in-depth content for the section beyond the paywall.
The great thing about Knowledge Commerce is that you aren't limited to one type of digital product. You can create a membership site as well as a series of online courses to reinforce your brand and to provide your audience with different ways of interacting with you.
We've already mentioned that we love live webinars here at Kajabi. They’re an extremely effective way to interact with your audience and to generate leads as well as customers.
During a live webinar, you present information that will benefit your audience in a visceral way. Most webinars end with a Q&A session and often incorporate some sort of discount for the participants.
We're pleased to inform you that you can host live webinars right within the Kajabi platform. Create a landing page on which people can sign up to participate, then use email marketing to remind registrants about the upcoming event.
Some people who sign up might not attend, but even if only a few people participate in your webinar, you're likely to generate at least a few sales.
Launch a Website
While Knowledge Commerce is all about generating income from your knowledge, we recommend creating a website with a blog on which you give away free information to prospective customers. That's what we do here on the Kajabi blog.
Your website can include landing pages, sales pages, an about page, a contact page, and any other content you'd like to share with your audience. Some of our customers, for example, use a website page exclusively for testimonials. Others create website pages dedicated to celebrating their customers' success.
It's entirely up to you.
What you need to know is that every entrepreneur needs a dedicated website. Without one, your target audience can't find you online, which means that your foray into Knowledge Commerce might not be successful as you intended.
You don't need graphic design or coding skills to create a beautiful website. Just select from one of our optimized themes and get your website live right away.
Write E-books Or Whitepapers
Digital products can include both e-books and whitepapers, both of which share your knowledge in a unique way. E-books tend to be longer than whitepapers and convey less technical information.
You can sell e-books to customers but they can also work as lead magnets. You offer your e-book or whitepaper in exchange for a prospect's email address. Once the user signs up, he or she receives the free download.
Of course, other digital products can serve as lead magnets, but e-books and whitepapers have become the industry standard, especially in Knowledge Commerce. They are relatively easy to produce and they whet your audience's appetite for future knowledge-dispensing content.
Conduct Seminars or Classes
Knowledge Commerce can extend into the physical world as well as the digital one. Classes and seminars allow you to meet your customers in person. You can present your ideas and interact with your audience before and after the event.
Keep in mind that digital events might produce better results than in-person seminars and classes. When you present your ideas in person, your audience has to actually attend to the event, which creates scheduling and geographical barriers.
That's why we recommend using in-person events as a supplement to your online courses, membership site, and other digital pursuits.
Tutor On Your Topic
One-on-one tutoring can help supplement your income and provide your customers with a more custom experience when it comes to learning the knowledge you share. Knowledge Commerce can exist in many forms, and tutoring can work just as well in a virtual environment as it does in person.
You have plenty of communication tools that can help you interface with your customers during tutoring sessions. For instance, you could offer tutoring via Skype. Even if your customers live in another country, you can speak to them as though they were in the same room.
When it comes to tutoring, you need just as much preparation as you do before launching an online course. Create a plan for how you will convey information to your customer. Realize that you will have to adapt your approach based on how the customer learns.
You can charge more for tutoring than you would for an online course, which makes it an excellent way to boost your income. Not only are you sharing her knowledge, but you're also sharing your time.
Write For Websites
Consider using guest blogging as a way to spread the message about your brand and to reach new audiences that might not have found your business otherwise. Most guest blogging opportunities don't put money directly in your pocket, but the lead to generate from those blog posts can easily pay for the time you spend writing the content.
Start by researching publications in your industry. Look for large, high-traffic websites as well as smaller niche blogs. Both can provide unprecedented opportunities to gain brand awareness.
At the end of your guest blog post, you can include a CTA that leads to one of your landing pages or sales pages on your website. You also usually get a brief bio and the opportunity to link to one or more of your social media profiles.
Provide Advice Or Consulting
Just as tutoring can give a boost to your income, so can providing consulting services in your industry. As your brand becomes more well-known and as you gain social proof through product reviews and testimonials, you'll find that professionals and consumers alike will want to work with you.
You can take this branch of your business in any direction you choose. For instance, you might want to consider offering your consulting services locally, where you actually visit the businesses you work with. Alternatively, you could offer these services exclusively online.
Start Selling You Knowledge Using Kajabi Today
You don't need coding, graphic design, or other ancillary skills to start a business in Knowledge Commerce. You just need Kajabi.
Our state-of-the-art platform provides you with a personal assistant to help you find exactly what you need to create your Knowledge Commerce business. From email marketing integration to landing page creation, we have you covered.
Sign up for a free trial and give Kajabi a try. You can set up a sales page in just a few minutes and start building the online course that will launch your business.
Conclusion: The World Needs Your Knowledge
The knowledge that you have accrued over your lifetime deserves to be shared with other people. You might not be the only person in the world to possess your knowledge, but your perspective and personal lived experiences are unique to you.
That's extremely powerful. You can use your unique point of view to spread knowledge and to generate income.
How do you make this happen? You get involved in the Knowledge Commerce industry.
Knowledge is different from information. It's acquired by an individual and shared through his or her unique lens. Nobody can teach knowledge in the same way that you can.
We've created the Knowledge Commerce moniker because we believe that it describes this industry in an accessible way. And we've seen it work over and over again for our customers.
Digital is the new norm, and customers have taken control over the business relationship. Furthermore, the need for knowledge is greater today than it has ever been before.
Both you and your customers can benefit from Knowledge Commoners in myriad ways. All you need to sell your knowledge is a platform like Kajabi and the ability to promote your digital products effectively.
We give you all the tools necessary to meet both requirements.
Maybe you want to create an online course, design a membership site, host webinars, build a website, publish e-books or whitepapers, host seminars, or become a tutor. The Knowledge Commerce industry offers nearly infinite opportunities to sell your knowledge.
Try Kajabi for free today to start selling your knowledge.