Where do you find the right information to start something of your own?

IMG-20150711-00694It has taken my daughter almost 9 years before she has been able to study again because of an illness that struck shortly after she left high school. We spent many hours probing into her interests and eventually came up with a clear idea of what she was passionate about. Then we started a search for an educational institution that would provide the necessary training. After much searching online, we discovered a vocational college, believe it or not, in our local neighbourhood that provides the necessary courses part-time and on Saturday mornings. The college is also supported by industry and strives for quality, which is evident in everything that they do. My daughter has been enjoying the course, has stuck with it and we hope to see her graduating. Continue reading “Where do you find the right information to start something of your own?”

Information is a commodity, specialised knowledge is valuable

liquid paper (A bottle correction fluid), pict...
Liquid paper (A bottle correction fluid), picture and eraser – Nakhon Sawan, Thailand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the small businesses I was trying to get up and running some years back gave me a lot of headaches. A big challenge was getting the distribution right. Without distribution channels, the business could not get off the ground. Another issue was trying to attract a specialised staff person but with the small business not having any track record.

These are the kind of issues that the person who is starting something from scratch often confronts. Other issues could involve product prototyping and estimating market demand. These are not easy to issues to solve especially when you are a small business person operating on a shoestring budget with your resources only being yourself and meagre savings. Continue reading “Information is a commodity, specialised knowledge is valuable”

Can you count on beginners luck in starting something from scratch?

(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)
(Copyright © 2015 by Chesney Bradshaw, all rights reserved)

I took four people on a fishing trip along the Vaal River near Parys. All were beginners who had never caught a fish in their lives before. Neither had they paddled an inflatable raft upstream. But after some basic instruction they were able to paddle the raft about a kilometre up the river. The two fishing guides who were with us did not paddle – they steered and navigated the raft through the river waters. Continue reading “Can you count on beginners luck in starting something from scratch?”

Get more, much more, out of what you’ve got

Image by lalunablanca via Flickr
How much money do you leave on the table when pricing your services and expertise? Are you charging enough for your service or expertise? Do you often feel that you have over serviced clients but have been underpaid?

If any of these questions get your blood churning you might want to consider your current pricing strategy. Are all your services priced the same or do you charge different hourly or project fees for high level work? Routine work may only warrant standard industry rates but as the level of your value in your speciality rises, fees may need to be adjusted upwards. Complex, specialised work that requires a high-level of technical expertise and judgement would attract the highest hourly rate or project fee. Geographic market location, market position and size of client also have an influence.

The most audacious example of a high fee strategy in a field that requires a high level of judgement, creativity and strategic thinking I have come across is that involving a brand naming company. The agency did not particularly want the business from a client so decided to put in a bid at an outrageously high project fee. Work from similar companies was priced in the $15,000 range. The agency put in a bid for $150,000 – and won! Much is at stake when renaming a company and the company thought the highest priced solution would give them the best advice.

Continue reading “Get more, much more, out of what you’ve got”

Exploring the outer limits of e-book prices

Scan of modern reproduction of The Birds of America (edited and color-corrected)Exploring the outer limits of e-book prices Imagine you could acquire advice to make money, save money, gain knowledge, enjoy happier relationships and be more healthy. If your interest in any one of these areas is high, you might be willing to stretch your budget to the max and buy the advice whether in a magazine, book or from a trusted and respected professional adviser.

Without the means to pay for such specialised knowledge, you would probably ask advice from someone you know or try to find it for free from the Internet or a free downloadable PDF. But would this information be of high enough quality to make a significant impact in your life?

What if you require more in-depth, well-researched information laid out in easily digestible chunks that rapidly add to your knowledge on the subject? What if the information could help produce ideas for new additional income or shape your life in ways you never dreamed possible?

What would you be willing to pay for such information? How high would you go?

The answers to these questions depend on how hungry or desperate you are to gain the information and what impact or difference you are seeking in your life. When, for instance, you need to pass a crucial exam that would make a meaningful difference to your life and livelihood, you may up the stakes. I once paid what I thought was an outrageous price for an international book on finance. It was a crucial primer on a subject that was new to me but I knew that it would help me to pass the subject for my degree in business administration.

Books rise in price depending on the value of their content and how rare they are.

I thought the book on finance was outrageous until I came across the e-book for “Comprehensive Structural Integrity” at $18,304. Value is in the eye of the beholder. This book must contain very specialised information to sell at this price. Perhaps the main buyers are professional firms.

Another e-book that has an astronomical (if that’s the correct word) price of $6400 for the Kindle edition. It’s titled “Selected Nuclear Materials and Engineering Systems”. One buyer was pleased with the purchase. “I had to sell my car and take out an equity loan on my house to buy this book, but it was worth every penny,” the buyer wrote on The Digital Reader.

Some books hold high intrinsic value because they are so rare. A copy of “Birds of America” recently fetched $11.5 million in an auction in London. This book – a 170-year-old collection of life-size bird paintings – is hardly expected to land up as an e-book. Comics have high value when they are rare and in mint condition. A copy of “Action Comics #1”, published in June 1938, which introduced Superman was bought by an anonymous buyer for $1,000,000 in February 2010. Another copy was sold for $1.5 million at an auction in the same year. Another comic book has joined the $1 million club. A copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 (Aug ‘62), the first appearance of Spider-Man, sold for $1.1 million on 7 March in a private sale.

The costs of publishing e-books may be lower than conventional publishing but the expenditure involved in researching and writing the book can be huge. An enormous investment in time is required. The specialisation and writer’s reputation (which also require enormous investment over time). It’s expensive and time-consuming to promote e-books, despite what pundits say.

Some consumers show price sensitivity to e-book’s higher than $9.99 but what is the real price of a specialised e-book? What if the book is written by a specialist in the field with proven success? We’re not talking about a textbook with generalised information but by an expert who has practised what they have written about and taught it successfully to others who have benefited significantly from it.

An e-book, whether it’s price (excluding the highly specialised exceptions such as the two mentioned above) is a fraction of the cost of a seminar hosted by an author. A day’s workshop with the author would be extremely rich and rewarding. Two authors recently held a three-hour morning talk at a cost of $370. The book on the subject cost $15. It’s hard to argue against the impact of seeing and experiencing the authors in-person but the book gives you valuable and actionable information that you can refer to repeatedly and at any time.

How much would you pay for an e-book that offers you proven techniques for producing ideas? How much would you be willing to pay for a book prepared after hundreds of hours of research and years of successful application? What if this book could lead you to produce streams of income, give you greater personal freedom and peace of mind? What if the book could shave off years of painstaking trial and error and heartbreak.

Whatever the price of such a book, the potential value from such a book is inestimably higher than the initial purchase price will ever be. Ultimately it’s for the customer to decide.