The number of knowledge based businesses located in developed countries selling products and services online is predicted to explode over the next year or two. More and more creditable businesses are expected to make the shift from their traditional consulting/professional services approach to delivering online outcomes and solutions for their clients.

What is interesting about this is that there are already so many businesses online selling knowledge, but they are really not selling value or quality. Instead they are individuals and companies who have educated themselves in how to market and sell online, without ever having any credible or tangible experience that demonstrates a track record of success.

These companies clearly have clever marketing strategies and have had the foresight to selling products and services within an immature online market. If you are someone who is in it only to make a quick dollar or two and not wanting to build relationships and retain clients for the longer term, this is probably a very clever strategy, as there are many companies willing to jump on board a new product or service offering.

As more credible experienced organisations learn how to adapt, market themselves and sell services and products online this will see a shift in the quality of knowledge available. The challenge is that often when you have built a successful consulting or professional services organisation through face to face interactions with clients, you have to ensure that the move into the online world is not going to compromise or tarnish the brand you have spent years building with your loyal following.

It is very easy for these companies that don’t have a track record to set themselves up online as the cost is minimal and they don’t have a reputation to uphold. Typically they don’t even really know what they are selling and they only develop the content once a purchase has been made and even then it is a replica of other content. To these individuals it is all about list generation and sales funnels with the goal of generating significant passive income!

So if you are a consultant looking to generate sales online, I suggest you take the time to think about how you want to be perceived and if you are looking to build an online business that is sustainable and in it for the longer term. It may sound great to be able to sell some cheap products on line, and earn some passive income, but given it will need to be undertaken in parallel to hourly rates and the time you invest in consulting to your clients, you need to ensure that it is worth it.

Online or not, relationships also play an extremely important role in any successful consultants business. If you want to generate online income, make sure you plan thoroughly how you go about this. Invest in areas like blogging and building a content rich site that demonstrates the value you have to offer to others, current and potential clients. It is great to have a goal to want to generate passive income online but make sure you are offering high quality, high value products that your current clients would invest in and want to promote and be advocates for. It really should enhance your offering rather than detract from it!