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From Analysis Paralysis to Rapid Product Creator

Stop. Go.

During an interview with Sonia Simone for their Teaching Sells course members, I realised I had created more products in the last eleven months than I have the previous five years. That’s eight products delivered and two more in the works, either solo or as part of a joint venture. This was while moving my family 3,000 miles to go live in Canada.

Back in the summer 2007 I was bogged down with analysis paralysis. What started out as an outline for an ebook was fast becoming a mammoth course, but it wasn’t just the workload that was holding me back. It took me months of agonising over it before I let anyone in to see any of it.

I knew from my coaching clients that there were people out there like me who wanted to profit from their knowledge and experience. Even back then, although it was not as popular an idea as it is now, I was coaching people on how to build a platform, get noticed in their niche as the go-to person, and helping them create products and services around their expertise. My problem was everything I did was tailored to each clients unique circumstances. ย Would anyone want the whole system? Would they pay for it?

Perhaps the idea of creating your ebook or course gives you similar feelings?

Thankfully I can report things worked out great. Everyone responded favourably, but I vowed to never put myself through that slog again. I wanted to fix my lack of progress in that area for good.

Over the next year I learned and optimised my process. The course was incrementally built upon and improved. I added new ways of working. Each new customer provided feedback that helped make the content more useful, of course, but through delivering the content I learned more about the product creation workflow, and what I had done wrong the first time to get myself stuck.

What I realised with my own situation and with my clients, there are key barriers we all must overcome. Some people seemingly break through those barriers in an instant, can just dismiss them and brush off any doubts or delays. The rest of us have to work through steadily and have a more considered, measured approach.

Here are some of the main insights I discovered:

  1. Don’t spend time fixing problems that don’t exist – You might produce the most brilliant product ever but if there is no market for it you might as well have not bothered. Also we magnify any perceived issues with our own content that our customers might not even see as a concern.
  2. People are more interested in what they want rather than what they need, but what they want doesn’t always give them the results they are after.
  3. If you focus on perfect content you are going to fail. Perfectionism is the enemy of progress. We do need to create something valuable, useful, something that will deliver on our promises, but aiming for perfection is chasing an illusion.
  4. Get your priorities straight. The important stuff has to come first, otherwise you only add stress and misery. You have to keep returning to why you are doing what you do. What is the big picture? The ultimate purpose? What problem are you really solving? Each product you create must get your customer one step closer to their goal rather than simply be a way to deliver you cash and validation.
  5. The people who get stuck most tend to be the people who care the most. Caring gets you into trouble but it is also the factor that will make you deliver the best product possible. Turn this need to care into a positive outcome for you and your customers.

So the plan has to be to discover your market’s real wants and needs, deliver a solution that really works to get them results and channel your care and guidance towards brilliant customer experience rather than procrastination.

That might seem like a tall order but you know what? It gets easier with practice.

The bottom line is you need to start somewhere. Put out your first product if you haven’t already, and if you have, determine your next product and really deliver on it. The experience of making progress will be the best motivation to keep going that you could ever gift to yourself.

What has your experience of creating and selling products been like? Do you get stuck in analysis paralysis? Please share in the comments …

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  1. Chris, another gem, thanks for this! At one point or another (and often at numerous points) we all suffer paralysis from indecision. And what happens is all of our “great ideas” reside in theory and half-baked thoughts. Sure, you can “tell the universe” what you “want” but the work still needs to get done. Thanks (as always) for the kick in the pants. And congratulations on a very successful year.

    • Yeah I shudder to think how many great ideas I have had in the shower then allowed wash down the drain ๐Ÿ™‚

      • There’s an app … no, a product for that:

      • Hilarious. Idea paralysis is sometimes just as bad as analysis paralysis. You get one good idea for a product, and then you change your mind by the time the day is over. It’s pretty bad.

        I need to just settle on one idea and pump out the product.

        Something that confuses me, however, is marketing research. A lot of people just tell me to browse through Click Bank’s marketplace – but all the products there seem so “sales-y” and “spammy.”

        I get a better idea for markets when I do keyword research on Market Samurai.

        Do you have any suggestions?

        • The problem with ClickBank is you can see what people are buying but then you end up with a me-too product if you are not careful. Same with buying PLR or other types of “off the shelf content”. Best to talk to real prospects and understand their actual wants and needs.

  2. I am loving watch you evolve this and being able to participate in it at the same time. Then there’s the bonus – I am actually making progress in my business!!

  3. Hey Chris, I love the clarity here. I really had to stop and think about #2. If their focus is on what they want but it doesn’t provide what they need that represents an interesting challenge. Seem that we need to give them what they need but package it so it looks like what they want. Man, this is the first time I have ever really grasped that concept. Well done!

    • Yes I always aim to give people access to what they want but make sure they also get what they need so that I can deliver on my promise. Too many people are only focusing on wants in order to get $$$ or try hard to give people what they need and therefore end up with few buyers :/

  4. “The people who get stuck most tend to be the people who care the most. Caring gets you into trouble but it is also the factor that will make you deliver the best product possible. Turn this need to care into a positive outcome for you and your customers.”

    Ah, so that’s why I get stuck! I never thought about this in a positive way.

  5. This is how I was when I created my first prodcut back in 2006..I just put this thing together just to get it out there because I knewst it wasn’t going to be perfect..but I still got it out there..

  6. Wow, 2nd the comment on #5. Trying to imagine how to apply that lesson in my acupuncture business. Yeah I admit, I’m currently procrastinating on redoing my website by reading this article! And #2, I totally feel that as a yoga teacher. I guess that’s why teaching anything really is an art…

    • Teaching people who don’t want to be taught is thankless but thankfully there are people out there who are willing and eager to be taught provided we can reach them in the right way ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I would add, discover why I want to:
    fix problems that don’t exist
    give people what they need, not what they want
    make something perfect
    work on lower priorities
    care a lot

    The answers may not make you wealthy, but they can help us learn much about ourselves.

    • I think caring a lot and trying to help people with what they need rather than what they want often go together. Sometimes we need to follow that instinct and other times we need to understand when we are being unnecessarily paternal/maternal ๐Ÿ™‚

      What is “right” is not always what is right for right now ๐Ÿ˜‰

  8. Great lesson. I found it a lot easier to break that habit once my 9-5 job got taken away. Prior to losing my 9-5 job I would start things but since they weren’t perfect I would wait forever (literally) to finish them.

    When I lost my 9-5 job my wife and I started a new business. It took me a week to put together the website for our web design and marketing company and it was NO WHERE NEAR ideal for selling our services, but I didn’t wait around forever to make it perfect. Eventually, we are going to re-design it but we are so busy with helping clients,getting new clients, and expanding into other profitable areas that making our own website perfect is a very low priority.

    Anyway, great advice as always. And your personal story is very inspiring.

    • My experience has been similar actually – while I left my job in 2005, this year I made the big decision to move to the other side of the world and therefore the steady income I had been seeing from some face to face clients was going to go away. If I had still that comfortable base I might not have had the motivation to expand my product selection ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Good work – and I’d like to add that the flip side to the perfectionism you mention in 3 is urgency (or lack of it).
    Lack of urgency and perfectionism won’t get your website published or your product launched.

  10. Chris, your #5 really got me thinking. It explains a lot actually – both in my day job and my attempts to start my own little business. I’m going to have to rethink and refocus.

    Welcome to Alberta by the way. We are very lucky to have you. Although you should have picked Edmonton! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Even God never waited for perfection when he created the most beautiful of all his creations, the human beings. That is why we exist to day as we are. A very fine article. Thanks for the guidance.

  12. Hey Chris

    “People are more interested in what they want rather than what they need” – so true!

    I get people all the time saying they just set up their blog mow they want to make money from it. I’ll tell they need good content, keyword, backlinks etc, but they don’t want to hear any of that.

    They want to know how Adsense works, shish!

    A great quote I heard on Perfection is “nothing is perfect, but trying to be perfect is perfection in itself” as long as you are giving your all, that’s all you can do (author unknown).

    Chat soon

  13. Unfortunately that seems to be a prevalent tactic in the Make Money Online industry.

    • What is a prevalent tactic Dennis?

    • Oops I didn’t reply in the right place.

      “If you didnโ€™t care then you could shovel rubbish to people all day every day and would only have to worry about improving your copywriting.”

      • Ah yes, it is common but thankfully in the most part those folks move on to other get rich quick schemes eventually when they find out nobody wants to know them any more. Some manage to somehow survive though, and not much can be done for the people who they burn on the way ๐Ÿ™

        • If I ever gain some attention on the web or the blogosphere I’ll make sure to direct the newbies to you Chris. I’ll be sending them to you by word of mouth regardless.

          It’s also amazing to see an A lister building relationships and his business by replying to each of his commentators one at a time.

          I’ll be cheering for the Leafs this Thursday when they take on the Calgary Flames.

          • Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚

            I saw the flames win “live” for the first time ever last night – unfortunately only on TV, not at the Saddledome. I am not expecting a great performance against the Leafs!

  14. It’s easy to get caught up in the details when writing a book. You can keep focusing in more and more until you’re completely off the main project. Analysis Paralysis. Great name for it.

    • There is also a tipping point where your project gets too big for either you or the customer. In social media they call it “TL;DR” (Too Long, Didn’t Read), but for the content creator it would be “Too Long, Didn’t Finish” ๐Ÿ˜‰

  15. Love this post Chris.

    Oh, have I been plagued with analysis-paralysis. In fact, I have a notebook FULL of ideas of products and programs I could run.

    In fact, I’m in Teaching Sells right now and was about to create a MASSIVE ILE with pretty much everything I know. LOL.

    Sonia and other TS students (bless them) encouraged me to narrow down and just start with one piece vs. creating the mother of all ILE’s.

    About to listen to your interview on TS. Love the idea of creating smaller products to just get things moving. And using the feedback to make them that much better.


  16. I am currently working on my first product that I intend to sell. This is really great information. Thank-you Chris.

  17. Titanic made by professionals failed but Noah’s arch made by amateurs succeeded. What is important is devotion and sincerity to what you are doing.

  18. Trying to be perfect when it comes to getting products out there is my worst enemy. I have learnt that no product when out in the wild is perfect. Its only when its live you get a real feel for how your customers interact with it. You can then work on improving stuff and making it better.

    Useful post Chris, cheers.

  19. Chris, I got stuck on #5 for a year, converting some PLR download material into lovely physical products. I can stand back now and admire them, they’re really professional looking. 8) Trouble is I don’t have any traffic, and nobody knows I have these lovely products. ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    I can relate to your comment “it gets easier with practice”. I am going to create my first product next year, it won’t be perfect, but then I’m going to create another one, until I get better at it.

    Thanks for the advice Chris.


  20. Great tips!

    I have a web usability review product that I created and launched. I knew I just had to get it out. We got some deals and opportunities into even bigger ones!

    Then my team and I found out it was a little harder to deliver than we thought! We have been *agonising* for ages over *how* to deliver it. But I forgot to promote it…

    My tip: It’s not worth creating a great product if you don’t tell people about it! You can’t improve it yourself, in a vacuum, and without feedback!