If you sell information, you are, in essence, a paid consultant.
Now you may never have viewed yourself in that light.
Maybe the information you sell takes the form of recommendations on the best cruise lines to book if you want to see Alaska in July.
Can you see why you are a consultant in that subject?
Maybe your information business subject is dog grooming.
Aunt Mimi has signed on as your customer because she wants you to teach her about grooming Fifi, her toy poodle.
You are the consultant – Aunt Mimi is your client.
As soon as your customer signs up for your service (delivered in the form of some type of information), a consultant/client relationship is established.
It doesn’t matter if you sell e-books, produce audio clips, run a subscription web site, or design graphics for logos.
Digital information is your service and you are giving advice for a fee.
You may not view your business in this way.
You may say “Gees, I’m only giving my opinion – I’m not claiming to be a professional like an attorney giving legal advise.”
Regardless, you are selling paid information and that relationship you’ve initiated with your clients (the paying customers) needs to be taken seriously.
How well you perform as a consultant will determine (along with a few other things) how successful your business becomes.
Here are some of your implied business consulting responsibilities:
- You will only give advice on subjects that you are qualified in;
- You will continue your education on the subject so that you understand the current state of affairs and can give reliable up-to-date information;
- You will only charge fees that are reasonable and commensurate with the type of advice offered;
- You will inform your customer (the client) when your objectivity and personal integrity are compromised by a conflict of interest;
- You will ensure that the customer understands, up front, all the fees, licenses, and restrictions that may be attached to your information products or services;
- You will respect the customer and his rights to confidential personal information, secure financial transactions, and his own proprietary information he may share with you;
- You will disclose to your client any circumstances or interests that might influence your judgment and capability to be impartial; and
- You will establish honest and realistic expectations of the features, benefits, and typical results of your products and services.
You may feel that accepting these responsibilities or charges is not important.
Maybe you could care less about any implied duties you have to give your customers a valuable product or reasonable service.
But let me tell you . . . if you ignore the expectations and rights of your customers to a professional experience in dealing with you . . . your status as an expert will fade very quickly and your business will suffer greatly.
News and opinions about digital products, services and web businesses travel at light speed around the Internet.
A few unhappy customers can openly express their opinions about you and your advice and make your life as a business owner a real unpleasant experience.
To your online business success,