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.
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.
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.