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Welcome to another exciting episode of the Coders’ Startup. Carter and I had an especially long discussion this week, so I am breaking it up into a two-part episode.
We’re going further back in the creative process and talking about product creation–how to make the product you want to market and sell.
In this episode, I’ll cover how to get started creating a product and the path you should follow. It’s important to plan ahead and create a product in a way that will facilitate marketing and selling it later down the road.
I didn’t know any of this when I first started out as an entrepreneur, but hopefully you can learn from my experience as well as my failures.
And speaking of failure…
Make Peace With Failure
Every successful entrepreneur knows that failure is inevitable. No matter how you may try to avoid it, it will always find you.
But this is not a bad thing. In fact, failure is a step toward success, because when you fail you learn from the process.
Carter and I have both had many failures over the years, and as Carter points out, the best entrepreneurs in the world consistently fail.
It is not the end of the world if you make a mistake and someone calls you out for it. All that matters is how you respond to failure and criticism, and your response will either make or break you.
If you’re hesitant or shy about putting yourself out there and risking failure, you have the wrong mindset. The only advice I can give you is to change it!
The most important thing is to just dive in. There will never come a perfect time to act, so don’t try to wait for it. Instead, go in proverbial guns blazing and give it your best effort.
My 4 Steps of Product Creation
When I set out to create my first product, I started with content marketing, which is creating free content to get people interested. My plan was to create a blog that taught people how to program with Java, and later I would turn the blog into an e-book and sell it.
I did that, and you can find the final product here.
Drawing from my experience and what works well me for, I’ve created four simple steps for creating an educational e-book like mine. They are as follows:
- Brainstorm all the topics you could cover and create a rough outline for your book.
- Take a look at books on your subject matter that already exist. If they cover topics you haven’t already thought of, add them to your own outline. Now you have peace of mind you aren’t forgetting anything important.
- Research each topic if you need to brush up on your knowledge before writing.
- Write the book. If you like, you can write it directly into a word processing program so it’s easy to convert for e-readers. You can also sell it as a PDF file.
Even if you are not planning to write a book, the basic process remains the same for any product: brainstorm, look at the competition, research what you don’t know, and then make it.
Getting to Work
Carter and I both know that beginning the work is often the hardest part of product creation.
Sometimes you may do all your outlining and preliminary work, know exactly what you need to do, and then put off getting started.
Whether you are procrastinating because of nerves or laziness, Carter has picked up a little trick you can use to jump-start your work: simply set a timer for five minutes, and start the task within those five minutes.
If you’re writing a book, just write the first sentence. It’s often difficult to begin a task, but it gets easier to keep working once we have momentum.
Just getting the work started has a tremendous power that is not quantifiable.
The first few times you try to create a product, it’s an agonizing and scary process because you’re traveling into the unknown, but it gets easier with practice. Get it done even if the final result is terrible, because you will get better.
Remember that you WILL receive negative comments, corrections, and people disagreeing with your point of view. It is inevitable. Don’t let it discourage you.
The worst-case scenario is you will need to edit your book or tweak your product, and even then, doing so will make it a better product.
Your Sales Funnel and Subdividing Your Product
Once you have created your product, it’s a good idea to break it into pieces that you can use as different elements of your sales funnel.
For example, if your core product is an e-book, you can sell the first chapter as a tripwire. The tripwire should be low cost, high value, quickly consumable, and designed to entice your customers into buying the core product.
A good lead magnet for your e-book might be the first few introductory paragraphs. You can give these away for free.
If your core product is not an e-book, you could still write an e-book that functions as a tripwire. This works better with shorter books, not textbook-length books like mine.
It’s also a great idea to break one large product into smaller parts and sell it as multiple core products.
If you take only one thing away from this episode, it should be this: You should create your product in a way that facilitates easy subdivision into smaller products.
I wish I would have done this with my email Java course from the beginning. Instead, I created one product that I probably could have broken into five. I put too much effort into one product and I’m selling it for far less than I should be.
Learn from my mistake and always plan ahead to make your product easy to subdivide.
In part two of this episode on product creation, we will cover software creation, which I suspect many of our listeners will have their hands in.
Carter has also chosen a winner for his free business consultation. We will try to profile the business and track any changes in the future so we can share what effects Carter’s consultation has. And as always, take a look at Carter’s website at UnitedBusinessLeaders.com.
Until next time, happy learning!