When did the Battle of Hastings take place? Yes, you know the answer, you could even hear yourself thinking 1066, but when did you last get paid for that knowledge? I bet outside of a pub quiz you’ve never earned a penny from it.
You’ve carried that piece of information around since childhood for what reason? When was the last time you charged for information in a spreadsheet; some information in a spreadsheet, something that might be valuable for a work colleague?
No, I haven’t lost my mind. Let me tell you about a young chap working in bank as a financial adviser back in the 90s. Every few days, customers would call in and ask “what’s the best savings rate?” or “what’s the cheapest home insurance?” He’d ring around and duly tell his customers, but keep a note just in case someone else asked. Customers would ask about mortgage rates and he’d research and note the results for the week.
Now here’s the interesting bit: his fellow financial advisers began asking him what the best deal he’d found was, and he’d tell them. But why was he doing all the leg work for no return? He asked himself the same question and soon “If you want to know, it’s £5 for the spreadsheet” became the reply.
Could you turn around and tell your work colleague that a report you worked on is £5? Simon did.
So what’s that spreadsheet worth, £5 or £536 million? Yes, Simon turned out to be Simon Nixon, the man who turned a few sales for a £5 spreadsheet into a financial service company, first selling data to financial advisers across the UK as a weekly CD in the post and eventually transforming this approach into today’s MoneySupermarket.com. The Sunday Times Rich List 2012 quotes Simon’s wealth at £536 million.
It’s difficult not to give away information for free. It doesn’t matter if you’re an accountant, consultant, furniture retailer or work within any professional field. You’ve invested time and money in your knowledge, you deserve to get paid. It’s simple; sell today and educate tomorrow.
Oh, as a side note, some time ago I was a victim of data theft. I believe this happened to Simon as well and lead to the advancement of a key competitor. If it can happen to me and large businesses like Money Supermarket, it can happen to you too.
Just keep your knowledge and data close. I’ll create an article on how to spot and avoid the charlatans of the internet in the near future, but for the time being let’s just sell now and educate later.
John Langley is a PPC and SEO consultant for PPC Rescue / Hot Button Marketing.