How To Create A Personal Knowledge System To Increase Your Market Value

Consulting Marketing

Most businesses are in the knowledge and frameworks game.

The more efficiently we can organize, analyse and then synthesize our knowledge the better we become at what we do.

The more we can draw new and valuable distinctions between disparate bits of information to create new frameworks and distinct points of view - the more valuable we become in the marketplace.

EG: Are you a fan of the challenger sale methodology?

You can’t implement that without a distinct point of view and a knowledge management system to help you create your distinct point of view.

Unfortunately, so many businesses haven’t changed the way they manage knowledge in the last 20 years.

Well, maybe, apart from upgrading from physical books to amazon kindle perhaps.

But have you ever considered a company Knowledge management System?

Traditionally creating a Knowledge Management System (KMS) Has Been Time Consuming

If you had even been aware of the need to create a KMS the time and effort to create one was prohibitive:

  • You had to take physical notes or print out typed ones
  • You had to pin them up, highlight them just to get a good view of what was going on
  • YoU then had to find a way to connect the dots and see patterns and trends between different bits of information to create knowledge from data
  • You then had to find a way to store that and retrieve it

I’m going to show you how by leveraging the latest technology none of these issues need to be a worry for you.

Here’s how - step by step:

Step 1: Collect Information Digitally

Every time you read something on the web or in a book, collect it. If you aren’t collecting information then you can’t create knowledge.

I use a software called readwise which:

  • Imports my amazon kindle highlights automatically
  • Allows me to import any text I read on the web
  • Scans physical books via their app to be noted
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It’s an absolute bargain at $7.99 a month

A topic for a more detailed newsletter later on, but Readwise has built-in functionality for learning by spaced repetition. Very useful if you are aware of ‘The Second Brain’ concept popularised by Tiago Forte.

Step 2: Pull That Information Into Your Knowledge Management System

Readwise has a good web interface that allows you to add tags to the information but it isn’t a knowledge management system.

What it does very well is synch with 3 of the most popular systems available:

My book notes in Notion:

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And a stock pic of a readwise import in Roam

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If you are using one of these systems then you know how good they are.

If you aren’t then where have you been?

Notion is the most popular app available. It is a whole ecosystem that encompasses project management, to-dos, libraries - the lot. Personally, I have never quite got to grips with it but many people I know can't live without it.

I like simplicity.

Roam and Obsidian are my recommendations if you are just getting started in this area and want to keep things focused

My current workhorse is a tool called Heptabase that is in public beta. It doesn’t have any link to Readwise so the process is a little harder but I’m OK with that for the simplicity and feature set.

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Step 3: Categorize And Connect Data And Information

All of the systems I have mentioned make it very, very easy to draw connections to all of this data and information. I am constantly amazed at what is possible.

Prepare to have your mind blown.

Firstly, you have to rethink the concept of a book, article or research piece. It’s no longer necessary to examine it as 1 long piece of work.

A book on sales may have pieces on:

  • mindset
  • time management
  • systems
  • research
  • prospecting

And you don’t have to keep that in 1 long piece when you can break it down to its component parts and then look at it with all of the other information you gave gathered that relates to those parts.

For example, you can interlink all highlights of text that you have classified as 'time management' regardless of what book, web article or source they came from.

Roam is by far the most advanced (and complex) in this area. Its main feature is ‘bi-directional linking’.

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Bi directional linking allows you to select any word or text and create a new 'page' for it. That page then has links out from it to every source that you have tagged or linked as having that association.

So at the click of a mouse, you can see every line or paragraph from every content source you have ever mapped that you define as having that categorisation.

That Is mind-blowingly powerful.

It's then a case of finishing a book, readwise imports the highlights and you then going and categorise the lines or paragraphs and they will be forever valuable in your KMS.

But wait...

There's more...

Roam can produce a graph of connections between all of your data so you can get a visual link and spot patterns that might not be visible when looking at content pieces in isolation.

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Alternative Step 3: Categorize And Connect Data And Information - Heptabase

This is a variation to step 3 using a new software I just stumbled upon.

The process to get data in is harder but the application and useability I find to be the best there is on the market right now.

Hepta base has 4 core elements:

  1. Cards: These are small text areas
  2. Tags: These can be added to cards to classify them. There can be multiple.
  3. Bi-directional links: Can be used to select any text in a card and create a new card from that 'topic' that has in and out links to all other lines or paragraphs associated with that topic.
  4. Whiteboards: Visual boards where you can add any selected cards or all cards with a certain tag.

The combination is powerful. Let me show you:

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In the above image I have used a bidirectional link on the phrase 'status quo' to help me create a record of all instances where I have information on helping people understand how to sell against the existing situation or incumbent.

If I click that little blue link I'll have a referenced page with all of the information from every source relating to that topic in my knowledge base.

Or I could take the entire book and break it down into lots of mini cards. These cards can then be added to 1 or more visual whiteboards.

A] traditional whiteboard that records the whole book but broken down into different topic classifications: [Image is stock from heptabase]

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B] that whiteboard can have every card ever created associated with my topic of 'status quo', where I can form associations and spot patterns.

Or I can use another method by selecting every content piece with a particular tag. In the example below it's every content template with the tag @socialatomic. This selects all my cards with this tag.

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Which I can then add to a whiteboard for me to classify, see interlinks and enhance my knowledge:

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I can add them all to the tab where I can use them to create a new article, a self-reference analysis - whatever I want to do with that raw information.

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All of the information on the right can be toggled to show the full text and can be pulled into the new card on the left. It's this daily useability that makes this so valuable for me.

I need to write an article on 'selling to senior execs' - hang on let me pull up everything I have ever classified as being relevant.

I have a client struggling with positioning - let me pull up all my references and frameworks.

You get the picture!

If you are a knowledge worker then you absolutely must be investing time learning how to develop AND APPLY knowledge and not just the contextual information around your speciality.

Follow the process above and you'll be a huge way down the path to excellence in this area.


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