My Rules of Product Creation

Everything I’ve done online (apart from what I’ve actually created) has been the result of great advice. I wouldn’t have developed the social media presence, built the email list nor created the e-books when I did if I’d not read about these ideas on a blog first.

cogs

I have read a lot about product creation. Most of it goes along these lines:

  • Identify an audience
  • Develop a product that will solve a problem
  • Look for competing products and/or test the market

Let’s have a look at the classic rules of product creation and see how they relate to me:

Identify an audience

One of the classic mistakes product creators make is to aim a product at too large a market. I’m more guilty of this than most.

You think your product is excellent. So, you think it would be useful to everyone. “Everyone should buy this product,” you gleefully announce. OK, so we can see the error in being a generalist.

But, as a blogger with an online presence, I don’t think I should be too concerned about this. Yes, don’t try to be everything to everybody. But, you have an audience, so your products will naturally be for them.

So when Laura Roeder makes a product on social media marketing, no one asks who it’s for? It’s pretty obvious who it’s for. It’s for Laura Roeder’s audience!

Solve a problem

Again, this seems excellent advice. But, for me, isn’t this pretty obvious?

If you’re going to create a product, it’s going to attempt to either reduce pain or increase pleasure. Otherwise it would be a pretty hard sell!

See if the product will sell

Again this is hard to ignore. Afterall, we’ve all heard stories of entrepreneurs falling in love with their products and spending fortunes taking them to market only to find no one else shares their enthusiasm.

In fact, much product creation advice would suggest looking for products that are already selling and create one that is similar.

This is probably excellent advice but, for me, it takes some of the fun out of it. And I’ll tell you why.

What I think

Eckhart Tolle in A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose says that a product is inseparable from the way it was created.

Let’s say that you are a businessperson and after two years of intense stress and strain you finally manage to come out with a product or service that sells well and makes money. Success? In conventional terms, yes. In reality, you spent two years polluting your body as well as the earth with negative energy, made yourself and those around you miserable, and affected many others you never even met.

The unconscious assumption behind all such action is that success is a future event, and that the need justifies the means. But the end and the means are one. And if the means did not contribute to human happiness, neither will the end. The outcome, which is inseparable from the actions that led to it, is already contaminated by those actions and so will create further unhappiness.

Take my own products, for example. I had really high hopes for my first e-book, How To Get Clients. I thought people would like to know how to set up a WordPress blog and write articles that would attract potential customers to a website.

However, I got bogged down in the writing and spent ten times longer on it than I had planned. In the end I was happy to just finish it. Then came the process of selling it through the Clickbank platform.

The creation of my second e-book, Running a Web Design Business, on the other hand, was a totally different experience. I don’t even remember doing it, to be honest. It was an absolute breeze compared to the first book.

Which book sold the best? Running a Web Design Business by a country mile!

That’s not to say that it’s the better product or that there weren’t other factors, but maybe the negativity that surrounded the birth of my first product affected it’s performance.

I agree with Eckhart Tolle’s analysis of our purpose. Your main purpose is inseparable from what you are doing at this present moment. This current step in your journey is primary. The destination is secondary. If the product creation is full of love, joy and the best intentions; the product will met with a similar reaction.

Serendipity

Just now, I’ve received an email from Paul Jarvis who I was lucky enough to interview a few weeks ago. In the email Paul talks about how he’s been able to create steady income from books he’s written.

The way I think about the things I do is important, because it releases the pressure from there having to be goals or successes or anything else. I do things because I genuinely enjoy doing them.

This is true of the Udemy courses I’ve been creating recently. I’ve so enjoyed making the courses that I’ve created two new free courses that I hadn’t planned on making. And they’ve been really successful both in terms of numbers of subscribers and positive reviews.

Follow your bliss

People say it’s good to have a goal or an aim. Again, probably great advice. But, for me, I’m going to make sure I don’t get too consumed by the goal or the aim that I forget to enjoy myself and try to help people in this present moment.

So, if you’re thinking of creating a product, ask yourself what sort of product would you really enjoy creating.

You can do it

You can create great products that people will buy in huge numbers. Find something you like doing, the market wants and is unique. That’s the sweet spot.

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Comments

  1. says

    Gday Rob,
    It’s great to see you doing more info-product creation (it’s addictive isn’t it?)

    Here’s a few more pointers based on the 5 years I’ve been creating products now.

    1. Move quickly. I aim to get one product out a month. If it’s a winner, great. If not, you haven’t wasted 3 years putting it together. Money loves speed.

    2. Create a product that you’re either a) passionate about b) knowledgeable in c) both. Most people make the mistake of thinking ONLY on the pre sale stuff, and forget about post sale (support, help, advice etc) You can’t help people if you’re not interested in the subject matter.

    3. Don’t be a perfectionist. Just get it done, and get it selling.

    4. Get paid first. Here’s a good tip – hit your list and ask them to PAY YOU for the product BEFORE you even create it. This saves any lost time/money.

    5. Protect your products. For this I recommend Download Guard.

    Cheers,
    John

    • says

      Hello, John. Great to have your input. I’m so impressed with your product creation. And I think it’s a great idea to speed up product creation for the reasons you state. I have created more products this year as well but I’m not on one a month!

      Fantastic advice all round, cheers, mate!

  2. says

    Hi Rob, an interesting article and while I’ve never created an info product myself I can see why it would be a good idea and make better business sense than just selling my time to clients for an hourly rate. An info product could be bringing in money 24/7.

    One thing though, it’s all very well selling your info product to your own audience, but how would you go about taking a product to market if you didn’t already have a popular blog/followers/etc.

    • says

      It’s funny I didn’t mention info-product in the article and yet a lot of people have assumed I was talking about that. OK, most of the products are going to be info-products but I think the shelf life of the info-product craze is limited and I’m going to write about that soon.

      I would also think about educational, “how-to” products (some would say they’re info-products but … ) and also products that do something, ie. software, apps, etc.

      I think it starts with the audience. It’s most important to build your audience first. This is important for everything. As you say, selling a product to people who don’t know you is harder – it has to be a great product.

  3. says

    Thanks for this, Rob! I feel like I’ve been fighting with myself because I “should” make info products that my readers seem interested in. A few weeks ago I decided to “just stop it” and stop struggling. I’m so much happier! Whatever it’s supposed to be will happen.

    Thanks for always being one step ahead of me, leading the way!! :)

  4. says

    Here are my tips:

    Product quality doesn’t matter… heavy promotion does.
    in the IM niche: people don’t buy products, they buy the author lifestyle (show them you’re happily rich)
    the best way to make money online is to teach how to make money online.
    In the SEO niche: Don’t sell results, sell tools!

    • says

      Absolute garbage.

      1. Product quality doesn’t matter… heavy promotion does.

      So you want to sprinkle some glitter on a turd and promote that? Remind me never to buy from you.

      2. in the IM niche: people don’t buy products, they buy the author lifestyle (show them you’re happily rich)

      Again, total rubbish. My mentor does 6 figure months, and he happily kicks around in tshirts and thongs and if anything plays down the fact that he’s so successful. Selling people some BS dream that they’re going to be driving a red Ferrari in a land full of cupcakes and candy canes is completely dishonest and misleading.

      3. the best way to make money online is to teach how to make money online.

      People that do this make me sick.

      The best way to be successful in this business is to be honest, transparent and actually help people, not fill the internet with crap. There’s enough of that already.

      • says

        Yes, I think Yassin was being tongue-in-cheek there by saying “Product quality doesn’t matter… heavy promotion does.” I think he was probably only talking about the IM niche and WSO which is so saturated that heavy promotion and the sickening “fast car lifestyle show-off” is the only thing that sells the products. But it’s debatable if that “works” because your customers will be unhappy.

        It wouldn’t be my way of doing things but it does work for some people.

        John, Yassin is saying these are his tips not what he does so I don’t think there’s any risk of anyone buying his glitter-sprinkled turds, but thank you for that now recurring mental image.

        The other thing Yassin said was “in SEO sell tools not info/lifestyle”. I think that’s great advice in any niche, actually. I think tools are the way to go! :)

  5. says

    Rob and John, I totally agree with you.
    > Years ago when I first contemplated earning income from home via my computer, I Googled “How to earn income from home” and reviewed hundreds of “offerings.” When looking at each, I would ask myself, “Does this smell right? Could I offer such a thing and be able to look at myself in the mirror? Would I be proud to tell family and friends about what I am doing?” The answer was usually, “No, No, No!”
    > I finally decided to take what I have been doing in universities and community locations for years as a counselor and educator–that is, teaching life story writing, book creation and computer skills–and train others in how to teach these courses in their own communities or online.
    > In 2009 I found an online classroom service in which attendees could see and hear one another as if they were in the same room together, and I put forth my first online instructor training course. Now I teach three to four online classes per week. Hundreds of folks all over the U.S., and in many other countries, have taken my online trainings. Most of them have been retired teachers, social workers, counselors, professors, personal historians and others with a passion for helping folks preserve their life stories.
    > As a counselor and educator, my primary focus is on helping people learn skills that will benefit them in their lives and their businesses. I teach them how to earn–not a fortune–but a nice supplemental retirement income from teaching their own classes. They have the flexibility of determining for themselves how many classes they want to teach each week and when they would like to take time off.
    > It has been wonderful to meet so many kindhearted people with whom I can share my skills and experience, as well as the handouts that I’ve developed for my classes over the years. And it is rewarding to know that these instructors go on to touch the lives of hundreds of others in meaningful ways.

    • says

      Hello, Anita. Good to see you here :) and thank you for sharing your story. Unfortunately Googling those sorts of terms will lead you to questionable resources. So glad you found something you clearly love doing as I think that’s what it’s all about.

    • says

      “I finally decided to take what I have been doing in universities and community locations for years as a counselor and educator–that is, teaching life story writing, book creation and computer skills–and train others in how to teach these courses in their own communities or online.”

      This is the kicker.

      Taking something you’re a) knowledgeable in b) passionate about or c) both

      It’s all about using the expertise you have to help others. Once you do this, the money will follow. Just like Rob does here.

      Good on you for being an ethical marketer Anita. We need more people like you. Kudos.

      • says

        Thank you so much, John. It means so much to love what you do–and nothing is more rewarding than helping others–as you and Rob are doing!

  6. says

    Hi Rob,

    This is a GREAT post. I’m planning on writing an book but I dunno how to start. I have an idea what to write and in this ebook I would like to elaborate more including videos maybe. But I just gotta do it.

    And so write the one you are passionate about. Thank you very much for the great inspiration and valuable input. I will be taking all your great advice!

    Angela

    • says

      Appreciate it, Adam, have left a comment there. I really loved the article. Let me know if you’re ever anywhere near London. :)

  7. Alex Nartey says

    Hello Rob,

    Like reading your blogs but have never commented on any post. This very blog moved me and has given me a ideas as to how to move forward.

    Keep the good work, man..
    And thanks a lot for this post..

    • says

      Hey Alex, so glad to get the first comment from you. First of many I hope! And so glad I’ve given you some ideas. Thank you! :)