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. 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 …