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Hands down making money from my own products is my favorite way to make money in my blogging business. It is so rewarding to see someone succeed from something you have created on your own.
But how do you do it? Where do you even start?
In the final installment of my series “How to Actually Make Money Blogging,” I share with you the steps I do to create and launch my successful products. If I can do it, you can do it too!
Related posts in this series:
1. Pre-Test Your Own Products
One of the best ways to make money online is to create your own products. I absolutely love selling my own products for three reasons. First, I keep 100% of the profits. Not bad right?! Second, I control all sales and the products itself. Third, it is super rewarding to create something from scratch that helps people.
But I also know that it can be scary to sell your own products. What if you put all this hard work into it and no one buys it?
It’s soul crushing and it happens. It has happened to me.
My Fantastic Freebies course was first created for real estate agents. I had a ton of success with landing pages and created a course to teach Realtors how to do it. I had everything set up perfect. I wrote blog posts about the subject. I created freebies around the topic. I then presented and awesome webinar about landing pages. At every turn people told me how awesome I was and how great the content was.
Then I went to sell the course during my webinar.
And not one single person bought it.
Soul crushing. Curl up in a ball and cry on your husband’s shoulder, soul crushing.
So yeah, I’ve been there. I have created a course and watched it flop. But you know what? I learned more from that experience than I did the ones where I was successful.
Instead of staying in the fetal position, I drug myself up by the bootstraps and took a look at what I did wrong.
The biggest mistake I made? I didn’t pre-test the course. I didn’t find out before I created it, if anyone wanted the course. I could have saved myself a lot of time and heartache by running a pre-test. The pre-test would have shown me if anyone was even interested in this subject.
So I went back to the drawing board. I asked my email readers if they were interested in a course like this and what they would want to see in it. I asked in real estate Facebook groups if this would be something they would like.
When I got my feedback I went back and tweaked my approach. I started over with a lot more knowledge in my pocket.
I did the webinars again based off this new information and pitched my new course. Over the course of the next few months, I made a little over $12,000 on that one course.
Yes, it pays to pre-test!
I have seen so many online business owners create a course that nobody wanted. They worked their tails off, created amazing content, and then no one bought it. I have seen online business owners quit over this and who can blame them. It hurts.
But they all made one fatal flaw. They didn’t pre-test their idea. They didn’t ask their audience what they wanted or if they would pay for a course like theirs. They assumed they knew what people wanted and were bitterly disappointed when it didn’t work.
The easiest way to not have this happen to you is to take time and run a simple pre-test. Get your idea validated before you sink your heart and soul into it!
Action Step: Create a list of ideas that you could turn into an ebook, a membership site, a course, or a service. The simplest one to start with is an ebook or a service. Then post this question to your email subscribers: “Would you be interested in a course/service/ebook about X topic? What would you like to see included about this topic?” Pre-test and validate your idea before you create one piece of content for your product or service!
2. Decide on What to Create
Now that you have some ideas of what your readers want you to create, it’s time to create it! This is where the fun starts– you are on your way to creating your very first product!
The first thing you will want to decide is what kind of product you are going to create. Are you going to create a service? Write an ebook? Create a course? Here are the pros and cons of each.
- Super easy to start with to create your first product.
- Usually less time consuming than a course or membership site.
- It won’t cost you a lot of money to get started.
- Great way to test the waters to see if people will buy from you.
- Opens the potential to turn it into a course for more profit.
- eBooks are easy to scale. You can create passive income through your courses.
- Typically you can’t charge as much for an eBook as you could a course, services, or a membership site.
- Typically sell for a higher dollar amount so there is potential for greater profit.
- More in depth way of helping your readers solve a problem.
- Not overly expensive to get started with courses.
- Courses are easy to scale. You can create passive income through your courses.
- Creating courses can be more time consuming.
- There are more technical details involved with creating a course.
Services (Coaching, Virtual Assistant, Consulting, Freelancing)
- You get the chance to work one-to-one doing impactful work with your clients.
- In most cases you can charge more for services than you can eBooks, courses or membership sites.
- It is inexpensive to get started with offering services.
- You are trading dollars for hours. It is harder to scale with services.
- You will need to find time in your schedule to work with your clients and work on your business.
- There is a recurring revenue model with membership sites.
- You have the opportunity to really get to know the people you are helping.
- You aren’t constantly launching and re-launching your products.
- There is a lot of upfront work to launch a membership site.
- There are a lot of technical details to figure out for the software, plugins, etc.
- It is more time consuming than creating a course or eBook.
There is no right way to get started when it comes to launching your first product. I have tried a mix of all the above before I settled on how I want to make money in my business.
But I will tell you, the first thing I started with was an eBook and I am so glad I did. When I first sold Find Your Tribe Online, it was an eBook for $7. The reason I started with an eBook at such a low cost is because I wanted to test the waters. I wanted to see if people would buy from me. It is a lot easier to crash and burn on a $7 eBook that took a week to put together, than a $67 course that took months to put together.
Starting small gave me the confidence that I could create a product that my audience needed. It gave me the confidence that they would buy from me. It gave me the confidence that I could actually make money online!
Action Step: Based on your research from your pre-test, decide on the type of product you will create. Remember you can always start small to build your confidence. Then grow your products as your confidence and your business grows!
3. Create Your Product
The Writing Process
A question I get asked all the time is how do you find the time to write your books or courses? My answer: you have to make it a priority.
When I am writing a book or a course, it is my number one focus. I lay out everything I have to complete for the product, and then I create a schedule to get it done. I aim to work on it for at least 2 hours every day. If I can sneak away from home for a weekend to work on it even better.
When I am writing my course or book, other things will give and that’s okay. I don’t write blog posts. I am not as active on social media. My 100% focus is on creating my new product. That’s the only way I can get it done!
Another question I get asked a lot is what tools do I use for creating and hosting my products? Here are a few of my favorite resources:
GoogleDocs: I write all my books in GoogleDocs!
Canva: Canva is what I use to make everything look pretty. I will sometimes create content for my eBooks in Canva too.
Thrive Landing Pages: I create all my sales pages using Thrive. I get a ton of compliments on them so I know it works! Thrive is an easy-to-use WordPress plugin that makes creating a landing page easy peasey.
SendOwl: I am a huge fan of SendOwl! I used SendOwl to host my eBooks. All I had to do was connect SendOwl to PayPal and upload my eBook. From there I was given a link that I put on my sales page and I was ready to sell!
LifterLMS: If you are techy and stubborn like me, LifterLMS is an awesome option for creating your own platform to host your courses and eBooks. I host all mine on a separate WordPress site using the LifterLMS plugin.
Creating your first product is so much fun! It’s exciting to know you are creating something that is going to help people. The anticipation of creating something from your own brain that will make you money. It is just fun!
Yes it is a lot of work. And like creating an opt-in offer, there will be a lot of trial and error. But I promise you the rewards are well worth it!
Price it Out
One question that I see asked all the time is “what do I price my product or service at?”
First, there is no right or wrong price. Your clients will tell you what they are willing to pay for your product.
But you do have to start somewhere. What I do is research what similar products are selling for in my niche. For example, if other bloggers are selling their courses at $67, I would be selling myself short if I sold my course for $17. On the other hand, if other bloggers are selling courses at $67 and I price mine at $247, I might price myself out of the market.
Do research and then try out a number that feels good to you. You won’t know what people are willing to pay unless you put it out there!
Action Step: Map out your plan to create your first product. First, decide what it will be. Second, create a schedule for creating content for your product. Third decide on a sales system (Thrive, SendOwl, etc.) Fourth, start creating with a firm deadline to get it done!
4. Launch Your Product
Ah, launching a product. There’s nothing quite like that adrenaline rush! The thrill of possibility. The thrill of hundreds of people buying it. The thrill of creating something that will really help people.
Yup, I love launching!
But there is a science to a successful launch. I’ve had good launches, mediocre ones, and really bad ones. The key to a great launch is preparing yourself and your audience.
Here’s a few examples of a flat or mediocre launch:
- You create your product and share it with your email list one time. No follow-up, no deadlines. Just an email saying “hey, here’s my product, buy it now!”
- You create a product and share it only on your Facebook page. Same idea as above. You share it once and ask people to buy it. No follow-up or deadlines.
- You share your product all over Facebook groups for their promo days. You hope that your one post will be enough for people to buy it.
- Host a webinar to sell your product and only a few show up because they didn’t get email reminders about the webinar.
Now you may have a few people buy your product, but a few sales won’t get you to your dreams. Your dreams of quitting your job or traveling the country full time. In fact, these few sales will discourage you.
You will start to think there is something wrong with your product. And then you go down the rabbit hole in your mind. The rabbit hole that looks like this:
“If there is something wrong with my product, there is something wrong with my business, and I should quit.”
But it is real. I have seen it happen to people I care about. I have seen people make these mistakes when launching their products.
The truth is, there was nothing wrong with their products. In fact they were perfectly great! It’s that their strategy to launch them wasn’t that great.
I think people do these sort of half-launches for one of two reasons:
- They aren’t sure how to launch their product.
- They are scared to put their product out there.
Both these reasons are legitimate! If you have never launched a product before how do you know what you are supposed to do? How do you know that you are supposed to do lead-ins to launch day and follow-up emails after? If you aren’t experienced in sales you may think all you have to do is announce your product once and the money will roll in. (Not so much by the way.)
The other reason people have these half-launches is because they are scared. They are scared to put themselves out there. They are scared if they put themselves out there no one will buy. They are scared to fail. They are scared people will buy it and say it isn’t good.
So the easier thing to do is to half-launch it, not expecting it to go anywhere. That way you don’t have to live with the disappointment of it not working out.
How do I know all this? Because I have been there.
Because I have been scared and done a half-launch. And it sucked.
So what can you do to overcome either not knowing how to launch or to get past the fear?
First, you educate yourself. Educate yourself on every aspect about how to launch a product.
Second, you punch fear in the face and you jump off the cliff.
Then you come up with a plan on how to launch your first product. My pre-launch plan usually goes something like this:
- Determine launch date so I can work backwards and publish content.
- Write at least 3 blog posts before launch date about the topic I am covering in the product.
- Create an opt-in offer for those blog posts that coincides with the blog posts and the products.
- Do at least 6 Facebook Lives in my Women Winning Online Facebook group about the topic.
- Share 1-3 tips a day on my social media sites about the topic.
- Make sure I am consistently emailing my list every week with tons of value.
- Write 1-3 guest posts about the topic, time permitting.
- Doc Facebook group promo days and share only my opt-in offers to help grow my email list ahead of the launch.
In my previous business, I have also used Facebook ads to help me have more success with my launch. Facebook ads, when done right, will help you reach a ton of people. But done wrong, they can cost you a small fortune!
I do all the pre-launch work to warm up my audience to my new product. I work to educate them and answer any questions they may have about the topic. Then comes the launch! My launch strategy looks something like this:
- Do a webinar about the product.
- Send initial email about the product. Offer a special price only good for the next 5-7 days.
- Announce the product in my Facebook group.
- Wait 2 days, send 1st follow-up email asking if people have questions about the product.
- Share a post or do a Facebook Live asking for any questions about the product.
- Wait 2 more days, send 2nd email talking about the benefits of the product.
- Share a post or do a Facebook Live discussing the benefits of the product.
- Wait 2 more days, send 3rd email explaining how it will help my readers.
- Send final email with price going up announcement.
- Share final Facebook post about the price going up for the product.
As you can see, launching a product is INTENSE! But there’s a wrong way and a right way to do it. The effort you put in is the results you can expect to see. If you do a half-launch, you will see lackluster results. If you put in your all when you launch, your hard work will pay off with sales!
Action Step: Before you launch your product create a launching plan. Schedule it at least 30 days out from your actual launch date. This will give you enough time to warm up your audience and show them you are here to help!
5. Get More Sales
After the big launch is over take a day or two and give yourself a break. Launching is hard work! You deserve to put your feet up with a good book and a glass of wine. This is true whether you made 1 sale or 100.
Once your break is over, it is time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t work. What you could do better and what went right this time.
Then it is time to go out there and get more sales!
The key to making consistent income every month is to come up with a plan to bring in new sales. You have to go out there and find your people. You can’t sit back and hope people will show up to your site and buy. You have to create a plan of how to attract people to your site and your products.
Here are some ideas on how you can consistently bring in sales every month on your products:
- Opt-in offer + tripwire. Offer people a special deal right after they sign up for your freebie. I do this on the thank you page after someone signs up.
- Opt-in offer + sales funnel. Offer people a special deal via email.
- Guest posts about your product.
- Pinterest pins that lead to your product, tripwire, and sales funnel.
- Sharing in Facebook groups on promo days
- Sharing on your social media sites a few times a week.
- Offering discounts every month
- Exclusive offer to email subscribers only.
- Including it in your weekly email to your subscribers.
Action Step: This step is all about experimenting! Pick three ideas and create a plan of how you are going to bring in new sales every month. Work on the three ideas consistently until they are bringing in sales for your business. Then experiment with more ideas!
Making money from your own products is a great way to turn your blog into a profitable business. You are helping people succeed through something you created from your own brain! To me that’s a win-win! Plus the added benefit is you control the product 100% and get 100% of the profits. Not bad right?!
To create your own product, follow these steps, and you are sure to have a hit on your hands!
- Pre-test Your Ideas
- Decide What to Create
- Start developing your own ebooks or courses
- Launch/Pick a launch date for your first course or book
- Continue to grow your business by adding more people to your funnel
What are your thoughts on creating your first product? Does it excite you or overwhelm you? Please share your thoughts in the comments below! Thank you for commenting!