Last week, we talked about what you need to do to refocus your idea or blog and turn it into a profitable business. The main take-away I hope you got out of it was this:
If you want to be successful, you need to define who you are
and what you will provide to your audience. – Click to Tweet
Today I want to encourage you to focus on what should be the main purpose of your business: Your Offer.
The “Conventional” Online Business Model
Too often, many new online business entrepreneurs focus on what they have to offer WAY too late in the business development process.
Conventional wisdom on the Internet, promoted even by the gurus selling courses, will steer you towards the following formula:
From experience, this approach not only takes months, but it may take over a year or two for you to finally get your first sale. In the mean time, you’re supposed to make do with ad-related income (yuck) or affiliate marketing efforts (which requires lots of traffic to be effective).
While many people have used this approach to build successful businesses, the truth is that the VAST majority of people give up before they reach the stage where they’re “supposed” to release a product and earn a real income from their efforts.
Going by the model above takes tremendous amounts of dedication and commitment. If you follow it, you have to stick with it long enough to see it produce consistent results. This is why you’ll often hear people say you need “passion” to be successful.
Here’s something I learned a while ago:
Solid business results will motivate you a lot more
than any amount of “passion” will ever do. – Click to Tweet
You gotta have passion/desire to see your business succeed, true. But there is no greater motivator to keep going than seeing your efforts produce tangible results.
When to Launch Your First Product Online
Let’s not kid ourselves here:
Passion will motivate you to seek Twitter followers and Facebook likes,
but selling product is what will put food on your table.
You can run the risk of being too hesitant regarding when to launch your first product online. Which is why you can’t postpone developing and launching “Your Offer” until some nebulous time in the future when you *think* you may have enough of an audience to be successful.
If you haven’t done so, you need to start crafting Your Offer RIGHT now. Do not stall on this.
Stop tinkering with your site’s design, looking for Facebook likes, re-tweeting somebody else’s content, or crafting posts scheduled to be released a month from today.
Your Offer needs to be front and center in your mind and business plans. That is, if you really want your business to make a difference in someone else’s life.
You should have a firm idea of your first product the first day you launch your platform online. Ideally, it should be available for sale from the first day, provided you’ve picked the right topic for you and have researched to find out if there’s a need for your product (more on that later in the post).
Crafting Your First Product
This is the hardest part for many to overcome. You may think you’re not good enough, or expert enough on the subject matter. Maybe you think you need more time to craft a solution that’s different to everyone else’s.
Well, let me stop you right there.
If you’re knowledgeable enough about a subject to blog about it, to explain it in simple terms in a way that someone foreign to the concept can grasp it, you’re more than ready to teach it to someone else.
As I wrote a few weeks back, it is supremely important you define who your ideal audience member is.
You need to “Know Your Who“.
Develop your products and write your content based on your ideal audience member. I’ll put myself as an example here.
When I sit down to write posts, e-books, or develop products, I’m not doing it for grizzled Internet Marketers, “A-List” bloggers, or SEO experts, nor do I want to (right now anyway).
I’m focused on addressing the need of that one person who has dreams of traveling the world, but doesn’t know enough about how to support themselves to be able to do so. Someone who needs the business building process explained in simple terms, without plunking down $3,000 for an “online marketing” course.
My ideal avatar, my “Who“, needs step-by-step instructions on how to build an online business platform the right way:
How to get it off the ground.
How to make an income from that online platform.
How to live a life of travel that they didn’t think was possible, or at least thought it more difficult to achieve than it actually is.
Focus on your “Who“. Put yourself in their shoes.
What is the ONE problem that they have that they would need step-by-step instructions to solve?
THAT is Your Offer.
(Many have trouble coming up with an offer because they’ve yet to focus on “Who” exactly is it that they want to help. For subscribers, I’ve prepared a worksheet that will help you identify your “Who”, or ideal avatar. It’s available in the LIKE Toolbox, which you get free instant access to after signing up above or at the end of the page.)
How to Get Ideas for Your First Product
If you have an established site already, this can be as simple as digging back through the comments and feedback you’re getting from your blog and social media circles.
What question or problem are they struggling to answer or solve? What do they need answers to that they currently can’t get in a single place or in an organized fashion?
Even if you don’t have an established website, here’s an EASY way to grab ideas about what to offer:
#1 – Browse Amazon.com for books related to your niche.
#2 – Take note of the topics chosen by popular authors. Make note of what they’ve decided to write about.
#3 – Read the book’s feedback page and pay special attention to negative feedback. I’ve gotten great ideas just by reading comments from unsatisfied customers. Negative reviewers will often go to great lengths to explain what they sought to get out of the book they’re reviewing. Take note and see if there’s a way for you to meet those unfulfilled expectations.
You can take the same approach with forums devoted to your niche. A quick tip is to Google search “forums: your niche research topic“.
For example, let’s say your business will be built around how to bake the perfect bread at home. If you search for “forums: bread making” (no quotes), the results will yield active forums where members discuss their issues with bread making and what they most need help with.
Join and observe these forums, take note, and create a product that solves specific problems members for those members. Same strategy applies with well-commented blogs in your niche.
The point is, as you develop an idea for your business, think of a product to offer right from the get-go. It takes roughly the same amount of time to craft Your Offer whether you start today, or a year from now.
Your product doesn’t need to be perfect. It just need to address a very narrowly-defined problem effectively.
Nothing says you can’t update your product once it’s released. If you’re concerned that your first product release may not be perfect yet, don’t sweat it!
Ask for feedback from your customers, offer free updates, and a 100% money-back guarantee if they’re not satisfied with your product.
Seek to offer the best bang for the buck, above and beyond what they can get from an Amazon book. Leverage the incredible platform that’s in front of you.
Create video resources to go with your e-book.
Record and package interviews that can be downloaded in an mp3 format.
Design helpful worksheets.
Answer questions via Facebook, or create a forum if you’re so inclined.
The choices available are endless and yours to make. Put yourself in your avatar’s shoes and produce as helpful a material as you can to go along with your product.
Worry about perfecting it after you’ve created “Your Product 1.0” and know full well that the difference between 90% perfect and 100% perfect is negligible in the end.
I propose you follow this model instead, which will put money in your pocket sooner, rather than later:
What’s keeping you from launching your first product online?
I’d love to also hear from you about your experience with your first product launch.