9 Steps to Creating Products That Sell: The Rich Chick’s Guide to Killing It Online!
This blog post details everything you need to know about creating a kick-ass marketing plan to sell lots of stuff and share your message and gifts with the world. In it I cover how to come up with the right offerings, how to effectively test them, how to monetise your business ‘risk free’, and so much more…
I spent 3, early 4 years too scared, shy, overwhelmed, whatever to actually create anything and offer (sell!) it to my audience. In my defense, I joined the online world to be a writer and build a blog, and only really thought about the business side of it later; once I really realised the potential. But still. Craziness.
Unfortunately though, it’s the kind of craziness I see other women entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs carrying out in their businesses every day of the week.
Before we go any further; before I share exactly HOW you can create your best money plan ever for this year, can I just say something?
If you’re thinking you don’t yet feel ready to start charging money – or more money – for your services or to launch your first online product, please shut that voice of madness down. Bitch slap it if you have to! After all, the whole purpose of your online business is that it is a BUSINESS, right?
Not a hobby. Not a charity. A business. And businesses make money. Also – here’s something that I managed to take 3 years to realise in my own business and that I want you to really take to heart NOW:
If you don’t offer anything for sale, you won’t sell anything!
I know. It is a SHOCKER. In all seriousness, though –
Before you read any further, I want you to promise me that you will commit to launching (or re-launching) at least one offering this month, as a result of reading this blog post.
If you don’t yet have an online business to launch something FROM, read on anyway. I’m about to share with you exactly what you need to know to make great money online, in your dream business. This is good stuff that will serve you well, so listen carefully!
And if your business is new – a complete start-up, and you feel as though you don’t have enough people to buy anything – I stand by my earlier statement: launch sooner than later. Who cares if you have 5 people on your list, and 4 live with you? The point is you are taking action and saying ‘yes’ to building your business even before you are ‘ready’.
(Besides, can I tell you a secret … shhh … you’ll NEVER be ready!)
So. Let’s talk money.
What I’m about to share with you represents the exact processes I’ve used to grow an online business that made me 5, 10, 20, 30 and then over 50k per month in income. Be warned: this is a long post! But if you’re serious about knowing how you can best catapult your business to massive success online, then you are going to get incredible value out of what I’m about to teach!
Let’s jump into it!
Product and Offering Options
There are no doubt a million and one ways that you could make money online. I haven’t tried them all, and I daresay I never will. So I’m not going to try and teach them all to you. Instead, I’m going to share what I know and what I have found to work for me and for my clients.
- 1:1 coaching or consulting – you charge an hourly rate to work with clients over phone or Skype (for example). Typically this does NOT include you doing anything for them, nor should it include giving them access to your strategies, tools etc. It is a trade of your time for money. You can literally charge whatever you like for this. Have a look at what others in your niche are charging, but don’t be afraid to go higher if you believe your services are of greater value in some way or just because you are YOU!
- 1:many coaching – exactly the same, but to a group. This might be a small group or it could be huge; there are no rules. Price will obviously be less than 1:1, and the more people in the group typically the lower the price each individual would pay.
- Ebooks – an ebook can be created in as little as a day, depending on the length. When it comes to length less is definitely MORE. People are busy and just won’t read the whole thing if it’s too long. In all honesty, whilst I recommend having one or two ebooks in your product ‘funnel’ so that you can catch people with a lower end sale, they are way more trouble than they’re worth. In some ways creating an ebook takes more time and energy than creating an entire online program, and it will typically sell for as low as 10% of the cost! Depending on what’s in your ebook the price could in theory be as high as you like (i.e. a one page ebook that shows me how to make a million dollars might be worth thousands!) but in reality people don’t expect to pay more than about $30 or $40 for an ebook. You can increase the price upwards of $50 if you include bonus reports, giveaways, audios and so on. My most successful ebook is my Look Great Naked Eating Plan, which I sell for $57 including 8 bonuses. There is no rule on how long or short an ebook should be. Personally I feel under 50 pages works well, but it depends on your topic. I have one ebook that is really a full on ‘book’ book and is 246 pages. It was my first ebook and I truly tried to share EVERYTHING I knew about my topic. It’s a great book and those who read it all the way through will benefit greatly. My concern is how many people DO read it all the way through, and also whether they implement. In some ways people will get better results from acccessing the same information via a weekly ecourse or membership, as they are being told what to do each week. The bonus for you is, you can repurpose your ebook information (adding more detail of course) into an ecourse and charge hundreds or even thousands more and know that your audience are in turn receiving that value!
- Ecourses/online bootcamps – these are definitely the way to go, and absolutely where they money is at. Having a signature program is something that I believe every woman in business simply MUST do. You might have more than one signature program, and that’s fine. I have 3, ranging in price from $199 to several thousand. A high value ecourse can go as high as $20,000 in price. Again, look at what your niche are doing, but don’t be afraid to step out of it and do your own thing. An ecourse typically runs over a period of weeks – 4-8 seems to be average, but it could be as low as 3 weeks and it could go for as much as 3 months. Anything longer than that and it would really be called a –
- Membership – Similar to an ecourse, however it tends to be longer; even up to 12 months. I don’t think programs that run more than 4 months are worth it, and I’ve spoken to many other entrepreneurs who feel the same way. The reason is that no matter how awesome your content, people just start dropping off after 4 months! When I launched my ‘Woman Incredible VIP Platinum Mentoring’ (a 12 month program) in 2011, I was DEVASTATED at the drop off rate in engagement after the 4-month mark. I truly thought I’d created an amazing and life-changing program that my audience needed, and I was so upset to think that maybe my program just sucked! So it was a huge relief when I learned that this is just normal. People move on. And let’s face it – creating a 12-month program kinda blows! Both ecourses and memberships typically contain a mixture of content including written and usually some form of audio or video. Typically the more multimedia you use, the more you can charge. It’s also smart to use different forms of teaching as people learn in different ways, plus it rounds the program out. You would usually include something like a Facebook or other sort of forum, and possibly live Q&A and/or coaching webinars or calls with you (in a group format). Depending on the price of your ecourse, and what you want to do, you may or may not be actively involved in the Facebook group.
- Mastermind – a mastermind is sort of similar to an ecourse or membership in that it typically contains weekly training comprising a mix of written, video and audio. The big difference is that a mastermind costs a lot more, and in return you give a lot more of your time. This might mean regular Q&A/coaching calls, your time in the forum and even 1:1 time. A mastermind is usually a small group of select clients (possibly application only) who you will work with intensively to get a desired result. It’s kind of like combining 1:1 coaching with access to all of your strategy, resources and tools. One of my old business mastermind, for example, ran over 8 weeks and gave my clients extreme access to me as well as access to all of my knowledge, skills, resources, strategies and tools – things I literally spent 7 years and paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to learn.
- Webinars/coaching calls: paid or free. Webinars and coaching calls or teleclasses are one of the most effective and low-cost ways to grow your ‘list’ or community as well as to provide high-value free content which can very naturally lead into a sale. I recommend you do NOT wait until you feel ‘ready’ to host a webinar, or even until you have a big list. Just jump straight in and run one now. I’ve found it well worth my while to host one a month. I choose topics based on what I’m interested in as well as what my audience wants and needs – the more you can match your own passions with the immediate ‘must haves’ of your audience, the more sign-ups as well as live attendees you’ll have! It is pretty scary the first time you run a webinar but once you do you’ll realise it’s just like talking on the phone. Give yourself permission to just be YOU – mistakes, fumbles and all. Nobody wants to listen to a robot. If you want to make it really easy on yourself, start with teleclasses and no slides. Once you feel ready to uplevel you can move to a slide-based presentation. Typically you will want to give people around 2-3 weeks notice, and be sure to send them reminder emails in the lead up as well as on the day. You can use your webinars/teleclasses simply as free value-packed offers (make sure you record them as well for future giveaways!) or you can use them as a natural way to lead into a sales presentation of one of your products or programs, and even offer a special discount for webinar listeners only.
- Physical products: I haven’t experimented a great deal with selling physical products, although I do have my own protein powder line for women, which has sold several hundred thousand dollars worth over the past 2 or 3 years. To be honest I’ve been very lucky with that – I didn’t have to spend much time or effort marketing it. I’d already invested that time and energy in creating my online community of women and providing them so much great free content on fitness and fat loss, that when I launched the protein powder; something that most gym-going women purchase anyway, it was an easy choice for many of my audience to buy it. Especially since it’s organic, tastes amazing (unlike most proteins) and sells for less than half the price of similar quality products. Sorry … couldn’t help myself there with a tiny pitch! If you do decide to launch a physical product my recommendation firstly is do NOT do so just for the money unless you can do so with relatively low start-up costs and time input. If your PASSION is to launch a physical product, that’s different. Know that for the most part it will take a fair deal of time and money to get it off the ground, as well as possibly in-depth research and trial and error. If there’s something you can introduce simply as an arm of your business, that matches what you’re already doing, like I did with my protein powder, that would certainly be a great starting point. I was fortunate to have a friend who already owned a protein powder company, so I didn’t have to do any research, but I will say it would have been worth my while to do so had I not had that connection.
- Live or Online Events: a FANTASTIC way to boost your cashflow as well as bring new clients into your business. I love to run live events but they are extremely energy-demanding and time-consuming, so it’s certainly not something I’d want to do regularly. Unless your goal is to build a business around speaking, you probably won’t either. That being said, running an event – whether an evening workshop, a full day event, or even a 2 or 3 day event- is one of the most effective ways to boost your income. This is particularly true if you don’t do it often, as people will jump on the chance to work with you ‘live’. Face to face events are great of course, but you can also host (paid) online workshops. During my pregnancy last year I hosted a paid 3-hour event for women wanting to grow their business, and I did it all online. This was great for me as I was heavily pregnant, but it was also great for my attendees as they could listen in from anywhere in the world! If you decide to run a live event, be sure to allow at least one month’s notice. You can use your events purely as a product in themselves, or (and this is what I’d recommend) you can use them to lead in to selling a higher priced product. For example, you might host an evening event for a very lost price, and at that event ‘upsell’ your more expensive full day or 2-day program. You could then upsell a membership or mastermind program at the end of that 2-day event. Always be thinking of ways you can add value to your community – which means always ask yourself ‘what’s the next thing my customers will need?’. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you ‘shouldn’t’ keep selling. People want you to sell if what you are selling is something that will help solve their problems or get them to their goals!
Testing your products and services
Here is the MOST important thing to know about going live with your products, programs, events, services and offerings –
Never ever ever EVER fully create it until you’ve sold it.
Never ever ever EVER fully create it until you’ve sold it.
Never ever ever EVER fully create it until you’ve sold it.
Sounds weird, right? But here’s what I mean. Imagine you have this FANTASTIC idea for a program or product or an event, and you just KNOW it is going to kick butt and people everywhere are going to be signing up for it in droves. Especially with the awesome deal you’re going to offer them!
I hate to be a bubble burster, but it just doesn’t really work like that.
Or at least not until you have some level of ‘fame’ whereby at least a portion of your community will pretty much buy anything you do, without even looking at the price or what they’re getting! That might sound really strange, but think about it – isn’t there at least one person you follow online, who, were they to suddenly offer a special ‘one-off’ event or opportunity to work with them you’d be pulling out your credit card before you even checked all the details? Maybe that’s just how I think about some of my favourite online muses 🙂 but I don’t think it’s just me. And certainly that’s the goal for all of us; to be ‘that person’ But for now, let’s step back down to the real world.
Imagine you took your awesome idea, and you made sure you were TOTALLY organised before announcing it. This means you spent:
And no doubt pulled out a lot of hair in the process
(Not to mention other areas of your business/life had to take a hit for a while, as you can’t do everything all at once!)
Finally, you’re ready! With excitement and pride, you write up an email announcement or perhaps host a live webinar or teleclass to let people know about it. You sit back, and wait for the sales to come in. And what you get is … nothing. Or perhaps one or two sign ups. Maybe an email inquiry. And you truly don’t get it, you put your heart and soul into this creation and even included a fantastic earlybird sign up offer. So why aren’t people joining?!
I have a simple answer for you –
You never stopped to ask them if that’s what they wanted.
Of course the goal for all of us is to be completely tuned in with what our niche want and desire. In theory we should be so ‘inside their minds’ that we just can’t go wrong. But the reality is that EVERYTHING must be tested, and it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in business it’s still possible to have your ideas flop. As a matter of fact, the more ideas you’re trialling and getting out there, the more likely you are to have some of them flop! It’s just how it goes, and the goal is not to STOP that failure. For every bad idea you thought was so great, you’re one step closer to the freaking awesome idea that takes off like wildfire.
But for the love of God, don’t go ahead and create things – or spend significant time or money on them – until you know that people WANT them!
When it comes to testing, here’s what to ask yourself. Go through this mini-checklist each time you come up with an idea that you want to have a crack at going ahead with:
- Who will buy it? Write out a ‘profile’ on the ideal customer for this product or idea. It could be that profile exactly matches the profile of your niche. But write it out anyway. Usually each product or service you offer will appeal to a ‘niche within your niche’, i.e. there may be specific issues this ideal client has right NOW that you haven’t included in your overall niche description.
- How do you know? Seriously – how do you know they will buy it? What makes you so sure? Have you ASKED anyone? You don’t have to email your list and ask ‘please will you buy my thing’ 🙂 but it doesn’t hurt to test the waters. Before I launched my Look Great Naked Online Bootcamp back in 2012 (a program which made me over $70,000 in a 6-month period and officially put me in the ranks of ‘woman who makes money online’!) I asked my audience, just on Facebook, if they thought it was a good idea. I wish I had have kept that post! But basically what I said was ‘I’m thinking of running a 6 or 8 week bikini body program or ‘bootcamp’. What do you think? Would this be something you’d like? I’d probably include meal plans, training programs (for home or gym), motivation and mindset work, recipes, live coaching calls and a forum. Let me know if this sounds like something you need, also if there’s anything I’ve left out!’
- Can you see how simple and easy that is to do? And not only do you get immediate feedback, as well as the chance to hear if there’s anything you haven’t considered, but you also have the chance to ‘tease’ people with the idea that your program is coming. This is what’s called a ‘pre-launch’, albeit a very informal one! And it’s very effective. Launching a program that nobody knew is coming is not really a great idea! We’ll talk more about sales in a future blog post – or you can get access to my entire sales system and ‘how to’ as a Rich Chick Mastermind gal.
- How can you improve it? When you ask people for their feedback, really listen. It doesn’t mean you have to take it all on! Recently I had someone give feedback that she’d like me to create FODMAP food plans. This is a specific approach to nutrition based on a fairly rare condition that I don’t actually fully understand. So obviously I’m not going to do it; it’s not my area of genius. But often times people in your audience will make suggestions you never thought of yourself. In fact, that’s where my Look Great Naked Eating Plan came from – I had launched my 12-month VIP Platinum Membership and it was doing quite well. One of my members asked me if I could just write up a complete list of all ‘allowed’ foods and all that were best to avoid, so I happily obliged. But what started out as a simple list ended up turning into a 57-page ebook with 8 bonuses, and one that has made me multiple 5-figures since then!
- How can you monetise it risk free? Do everything you can to avoid spending money on your new idea until it is MAKING money. Look, sometimes you have to suck it up and put some money down. Clearly you need a website, checkout buttons (free through Paypal anyway, mind you) and so on. But here’s what you do NOT need in order to go live with a program or product:
- A website you have paid top $$ to to have beautified. Pretty website does not equal higher income. There are some damn ugly sites out there that make great money and some truly stunning ones that do NOT. Your program will sell if it gets results not if it looks nice.
- Copywriting. Figure it out yourself for now.
- Graphic designer stuff i.e. logos, pretty PDFs. MAKE DO.
- Fancy video creation or editing. MAKE DO. Use your iPhone with a nice background such as in a park or at the beach!
- Spending money on ad campaigns straight to your product. People opt in for FREEBIES from an ad campaign, it is much harder to sell something straight off an ad. Get them in with your freebie, and then upsell gradually after first giving quality free content.
So where to from here?
The basic message here is that you can absolutely bootstrap it with your first products and services and you SHOULD.
Personally I didn’t pay a single designer to work on my website until my income was over 30k per MONTH. I know people who’ve spent as much as 60k getting a website ready and then their program didn’t work! Even 5k wasted is too much; heck even $50 WASTED is too much. And it’s just not necessary. If you’re telling yourself you first have to have ‘x’ before you can launch, you’re simply procrastinating out of fear and self doubt. Get over it!
Here are some ideas to think about and take action on:
- What is your biggest ‘aha’ moment from this blog? Write it down. And then –
- Out of the options I’ve given you for ‘money makers’ what would you most LOVE to do?
- What would be easiest/simplest for you to do right away?
- What would that involve or include
- When will you have it go ‘live’ (set a date even if you think you’ll end up changing it! Just commit)
- Create a simple plan for how you’re going to test that offer – and do it!
The next step, is on you!
Don’t forget –
Life is Now. Press Play.