Hey hey hey and welcome to another episode of the Simplify Your Sales Podcast podcast!
You know how they say hindsight is 2020? That’s definitely a very TRUE (albeit cliched) phrase to describe my experience launching and selling digital products over the years. And while I *try* to live my business life without too many regrets– everything’s a learning experience, right?!– but when I look back I realize that there are SO many things I have learned over the years from making mistakes and taking the hard road when it comes to creating and selling digital products.
And today’s episode is all about (hopefully!) saving you the grief of having to make some of those same mistakes and learning from some of MY experiences on what I’ve learned over the years that can really help you as you dive into the incredible world of digital products for yourself.
Let’s dive in!
This is something I *wish* I had listened to back when I was creating my first course– Mastermind Your Marketing. Like I’ve shared in past emails, this wasn’t my *first* digital product, per se, but it was my first DELIBERATE attempt at a digital education product.
And it’s VERY obvious that I went too big for a first-time digital education product.
Don’t get me wrong– I am so, so proud of what Mastermind Your Marketing has turned into over the years. The results my students get make everything about it worth it 1000x over. I LOVE seeing women– and a few men– take control of their marketing and create fully-functioning marketing SYSTEMS in their shop that bring in consistent revenue. Yes, I love absolutely EVERYTHING Mastermind Your Marketing stands for. It’s gone through 4 revisions since I launched it and each time it gets better and more streamlined. It’s definitely come a long way since it’s first iteration back in 2017.
But when I say it’s a ROBUST program, I’m NOT kidding. For my first time digital product, I definitely bit off more than I could chew. It was 7 modules long, each module had 7-10 lessons in it, and there were videos AND text included with each lesson as well as a slew of supplemental materials– worksheets, swipe copy, all the works.
And while this is all fine and good and absolutely things that are included with Mastermind Your Marketing to this day, for the time just creating my FIRST online course, it was INSANE. I didn’t have a VA or graphic designer or anything so I did it ALL BY MYSELF. From scratch. I didn’t have any of this content just sitting in the docks to upload from previous projects I had worked on– I had to create it all from scratch.
At the time, I thought this was how it was done. All the big-name course creators had these insanely beefy courses with all the bells and whistles and I wanted to be just like them.
But what I didn’t realize was that they also had a TEAM of people working with them– whether employees or contractors– that were helping them get it all done. It’s like that quote that “you have as many hours in a day as Beyonce” which I absolutely HATE that quote because sure, you do have the same 24 hours. But you don’t have the luxury to spend them as she does– you are up with the kids at night, cooking food for them all day, cleaning the house– all things that take up time that she has hired help for. And it’s the same exact thing when you’re trying to create as robust a program as someone that has the VA’s and the in-house graphic designer and the marketing team.
And all of this is my roundabout way of telling you that you don’t have to go BIG with your first digital product. It doesn’t have to be some crazy thousand dollar course with coaching support and tons of lessons and resources.
You can create something as simple and one-off as an ebook or a 1 hour training to start off with. And then you can add to it as you go. It doesn’t have to be your dream product right out of the gate– as long as it’s high-quality and valuable, it’s worth putting out there.
Selling a digital product– or ANY product for that matter– isn’t as simple as throwing it into your shop and making sales.
And you need to take that into account when you’re creating your product. Because yes, there’s A LOT of work that goes into the actual digital product creation– you know– creating the product you’re going to sell– but there’s also work that goes into researching it and marketing it and selling it.
And those are all things you need to consider as part of the process and allot time + energy for.
One reason I see people get SO discouraged early on with a digital product line is because they didn’t put any thought into marketing it. They simply created + uploaded and wondered why the sales didn’t come rolling in.
Marketing your new line is CRITICAL to learning if your product is actually viable because you’ll get an uptick in deliberate traffic and (hopefully!) sales to further validate your new product instead of waiting around hoping someone stumbles upon it. We call that “hope marketing” and it’s NOT an effective way to sell your product.
And if you’re like “I don’t even know where to start when it comes to ALL the things I need to be thinking about with digital products,” then I’ve got a workbook waiting for you that will walk you through EVERYTHING you need to consider when adding a digital product/line to your shop. The ideas, the validation, the creation, the marketing– all of it.
I have NO idea where I heard this tip, but I heard it a few years back and it CHANGED MY LIFE.
Now don’t get me wrong– I’m NOT saying that you should just throw any old thing up in your shop and expect stellar reviews. Not at all. But I AM saying that if you’re letting your perfectionism hold you up from getting something out there and actually taking action, it’s time to admit that you *may* have a problem.
Perfectionism gets the best of MANY of us– myself included– and it’s only over the past year that I’ve really been able to “see” that by me holding back and waiting until everything is “just so,” I’m doing my audience and customers a disservice– because as long as I’m holding onto something instead of putting it out there, NOBODY IS BENEFITING FROM IT…including myself.
I need you to understand something: What you put out there today DOESN’T have to be your absolutely perfect and complete FINAL VERSION. You could revise it tomorrow. Next week. Next month. Next year.
Yes, obviously put in the time and work to create a high-quality product. But if you’re hesitating on hitting the “publish” button because you’re worried you picked the wrong shade of coral or didn’t have time to create another template for your 20+ graphics bundle, it’s time to get over yourself. And that sounds like something I would NEVER say, but it’s totally true and I feel like this instance covers it.
The only people making money are the ones who put things out there.
So stop hoarding and start publishing– you can always revise and update and add on at a later date– and it’ll be especially freshing to do once you’ve realized that you’re earning revenue from the product.
If you’ve ever been guilty of creating a new product line and then sitting awkwardly as the tumbleweeds in your shop roll by like an old western film, it’s because you didn’t VALIDATE your product idea with your audience.
And it always blows my mind because you–literally– have a group of people in front of you– whether on Instagram, Facebook, or your email list– that have purchased from you or expressed interest in your product and brand in some way.
These are the PERFECT people to talk to and get opinions from.
ESPECIALLY when you go to create a new product.
There is NOTHING so discouraging as creating a product– either digital OR physical– and pouring allllll your time + energy into creating it only to have it sit on the virtual shelves because nobody is interested in it.
So, story time: I’ve already told you that my first course was Mastermind Your Marketing, but did you know that it wasn’t my original intention to create that course?
Nope– my original idea was called “$1K in 60 days” and it was teaching Etsy sellers the logistical back-end of setting up a shop on Etsy and taking photos of their products and basically an Etsy 101 course.
I even had it all outlined in a Google doc– the lessons, modules, content– it was all there and I felt CONFIDENT that it was a really good product that I was going to be putting out.
And so I actually “pitched” it to my audience. I asked some of my Instagram followers if they’d be willing to answer a couple of questions for me about an upcoming program I was creating in exchange for a discount to enroll.
I got 10 people to take me up on the offer and I sent them a Survey Monkey survey asking them about their potential interest in this online course.
8/10 of them were NOT interested in learning the basics of Etsy because guess what? They already HAD set up a shop. And they didn’t need a course to teach them how to do that!
That’s not to say a course on that topic isn’t valuable, but for my audience? It made 0 sense.
I used the information from the surveys and what they DID express interest in to create the first iteration of Mastermind Your Marketing— asking for feedback and input from my audience along the way. Not over every little thing because #toomanycooksinthekitchen, but on the important things “video or text? A lesson on topic xyz?” and because I consulted with them, not only where they “invested” in the program emotionally– as they had essentially built it for me– but when I went to launch, I sold 75 enrollments to it from people who were SO excited because they’d been hearing about and helping me organize this program for MONTHS.
Can you imagine if I had spent months of my time creating and fleshing out that “$1K in 60 days” course only to find out that there was no interest for it?
So consider this a request that you step out of your one-woman-show business you’ve built in a vacuum and start TALKING with your customers. Let them know what you have coming up in your plans and that you’d like their feedback on it.
The more you can involve your customers in the process– whether it’s creating a course, drafting up graphic elements, writing an ebook, choosing a theme for your next birthday printables package– the more you can involve them, the more of an emotional connection they will feel to your brand and ultimately your product when you’re ready to put it out there.
My first year selling on Etsy was HARD. I didn’t know where anything was, I felt like I was CONSTANTLY researching keywords on a platform I hardly understood, and I had NO idea what a DSLR was or why I needed one (which, if you don’t know, is a type of expensive camera). Everything was new and everything felt HARD all the time. Even the little decisions like picking colors or what type of paper to print things on or what fonts customer’s liked best.
It was all just really hard– or at least, that’s what it felt like.
Fast forward to Etsy shop #2 over a year later and setting up this shop? It felt like a BREEZE. I knew how to add products, how to find the best keywords which, I detail in my SEO blitz course Simplify Your SEO if you need help with that– and basically all the things that felt hard suddenly felt easy.
And so I was confident adding social media to my repertoire and email marketing.
And guess what?
But fast forward to 2020 and while I in NO way consider myself a tech genius, those tasks are EASY now. And I have a team to help me do them.
I tell you this to let you know that there aren’t just some of us born out there with these amazing skills that can do everything effortlessly. It is HARD for EVERYONE. If it were easy, as cliched as it is, everyone would be doing it, right?! But seriously– learning a new software platform? Figuring out what types of posts get the most engagement on social media? Learning how to craft compelling subject lines in your emails?
It feels hard to ALL OF US at first. I promise you.
But the more you do it, the easier it gets.
So if you’re looking down the digital product spectrum and wondering how in the heck you’re going to ever learn how to navigate your email service provider back-end or export your ebook to include fancy hyperlinks, know that you WILL figure it out and it WILL get easier the more you do it.
And then you’ll be placed up against a NEW challenge, right?!
For me, right now, it’s learning to communicate with my team. I am VERY good at being a one-woman show and keeping my thoughts to myself and over the past year I’ve had to work HARD to learn to express what I’m thinking and what I’m working on with my team and how I need their support so we can all be on the same page. (To be fair, it’s still hard for me to remember to do all those things and I still have a lot of work to do to improve my communication skills…but it’s not as hard as it was a year ago 😉 It’s gotten easier.
And it will for you, too. Don’t let the fear of “it’ll be too hard” stop you from chasing after that dream or you’ll be left with a bunch of “what if’s” that don’t amount to anything.
And if you need a step-by-step resource to help you plan out adding a digital product/line to your shop, make sure to grab your free copy of the Digital Product Planner Workbook that will walk you through EVERYTHING you need to be thinking about.
#1 – It can be as easy or as hard as you want!
Contrary to popular belief, you DON’T have to go big the first time– you can start small and ease your way up– or stay small the entire time if that’s how you want to play.
#2 – It’s not as simple as throwing a product up.
Make sure you leave time + room in your schedule to actually MARKET the dang product– don’t just create and then wonder why no one is buying it– make sure you allot the energy into selling your product, too.
#3 – You don’t need an “A” product out there– “B” is totally fine!
Stop getting so hung up on perfectionism that you’re not putting things out there. The ONLY way– and I truly mean ONLY WAY– you can grow as a business is to put stuff out there. It does NOBODY (including yourself!) any good to revise that PDF worksheet for the millionth time if only YOU can see it. Get your stuff out there at a “b” level –still high quality– and then over time work it up to that A-level material.
#4 – Build up your audience and validate BEFORE you create the product.
If you want to save yourself A LOT of heartache and time, always make sure you validate your product idea with your audience BEFORE you launch it. There is nothing worse than creating a product/line and watching it fall flat on its face to a chorus of *crickets.* Asking your audience for their input BEFORE you create the product will ensure you create one customized to YOUR people– one they’ll want to buy!
#5 – It gets easier.
I promise promise promise– things WILL get easier. They’re not always easy right now– especially if you’re trying to learn a new skill or software. But the more you try and practice the easier it will get and pretty soon that mountain will become a molehill and you’ll wonder what you ever did without it.
So there you have it– my 5 things I wish I had known BEFORE I dived into the world of digital product creation. Make sure you head on over to the show notes to grab your free Digital Product Planner Workbook again. And be sure to let me know in the comments what you’re working on– I can’t wait to hear!
Thanks for joining me– I hope you found this SUPER valuable– and I’ll chat with you next week, same time, same place, all things simplified. See ya then!
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I’m happy to say that my little shop is more successful than I ever could have imagined, especially after implementing the MYM [Mastermind Your Marketing] course last year. I went from getting 1 sale every 2-3 weeks to 1 sale/day and now AT LEAST 2 sales/day. I am barely keeping up!”
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40+ orders so far TODAY and 200+ orders this month. This may be small for some, but for me, this is a new record! I’ve never seen numbers like this in my Etsy shop (it’s even busier than Christmas!).
I’m a former six-figure Etsy seller turned online business strategist who believes in my core that you CAN build a business that supports YOU— whether you’re full-time momming, working that 9-5, or just looking for flexibility + freedom.
You don’t have to sacrifice your time to build a profitable business that you love— you just need to build it strategically (and I’ll show you how!)