Episode 58

Start here on the path to your digital product

There’s a lot that goes into creating a digital product, but a common question that people ask is, where do I even start? In this episode I’ll share five steps to get started – scope, topic, audience, result and timeframe.

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[00:00:00] Rene: Hey everyone. Welcome to Your First Digital Product, a show that helps maxed out service providers create their first digital product so they can gain an additional income stream, grow their impact without increasing one on one work, and experience more time freedom. On the show, I talk to business owners who have launched digital products and dig deep into how you can create, launch, and market your first digital product. I’m your host Rene Morozowich. Let’s go!

[00:00:28] Hey friends. Welcome to the show. I’m so excited that you’re here with me today. I was recently on another podcast. It hasn’t come out yet, but I will share the link when it does come out. And one of the questions that they asked was if someone were listening to your podcast, where would they start?

[00:00:43] How do you kind of divide up the episodes that you have? This is episode 58. If you’re new here, what do you do? Like how do you kind of filter through all of the past podcast episodes? So that really got me thinking about two things. One, something that I plan to do soon is to break up the episodes into categories.

[00:01:02] So for example, these are the episodes that you might listen to if you’re just getting started. And these are the episodes that you might listen to, if you are in the middle of working on your product, and these are the episodes that you might listen to when you’re ready to launch or after you’ve launched or when you want to market.

[00:01:19] So that is a plan that I have, but it also got me thinking that last year I gave a presentation on the first five mile markers on the journey to your first digital product. And I thought that would be a great place to start too. So these are five things that you can think about before you get started completely. Before you take any steps.

[00:01:39] If you’ve taken some steps, that’s okay, too. This might be helpful if you’re kind of stuck or lost somewhere. But these are things that you can think about to get started, to be able to have a really great plan moving forward, and to be able to, you know, make it easier on yourself to actually launch your product. So our itinerary today, see, I’m doing a whole thing here is [00:02:00] scope, topic, audience, result and timeframe.

[00:02:04] So scope, topic, audience, result and timeframe. Now it spells START. That’s the acronym that is made from those. But just know that like packing for a trip, you may do some things and then other things and go back to something else. So it’s not a linear thing. So you don’t have to start with one thing and go to the next and go to the next.

[00:02:23] These are just a bunch of things that you would do before you actually got started creating your product. So we’ll go in order because it fits the acronym, but feel free to jump from step to step if something makes sense to you or you’re like, oh, I already know about this, but I need help with some of these other things.

[00:02:40] Okay. So first we’ll talk about scope. Now, the big takeaway that I want to mention here is to not think too big. A lot of times what people do when they’re creating a product, especially a first product is a, there’s some kind of insecurity. Well, there are two things. There’s some kind of insecurity where we want to just add more and more and more and more to justify charging what we might want to charge.

[00:03:01] So that is the first thing that might happen. And the other thing that might happen is that we want to add more and more and more and more because we’re so excited and so passionate and so knowledgeable about our topic that we want to share every possible thing, but know that oftentimes that leads to overwhelm.

[00:03:17] So the big takeaway here, scope. Think probably a little bit smaller than you might originally think. Focus on something that’s doable so that you can actually launch it and iterate on it. So whether that’s iterating on the same product or another product.

[00:03:34] Now being able to launch is really key here. Because we can spend a ton of time learning and creating, but if we never actually launch, we’re going to be missing out on a really big part of the process. There’s kind of a big like, aha moment.

[00:03:51] Once you go through this process one time. And I feel like once you get that, then you’ll understand, okay, now I see [00:04:00] what all is involved. I’ve actually done it and now I can do it again. So if you never get to that launch part, if you never get to that marketing part, if you’re just stuck in the creating, creating, researching your audience and all that stuff. Um, you’re, you’re going to be missing out because really like the point is to launch the product and maybe make some money, right.

[00:04:18] Or get some leads. So think about the scope of your product. Okay. So other things, um, now the scope starts with you. So that is something where you are thinking from your own perspective, what is the scope of this product? What am I actually going to create? Now again, don’t think too big, uh think MVP.

[00:04:39] So minimum viable product. So, what is the MVP? What is something that if you created that would feel whole and complete, and don’t forget that you can add other things on later, right? So you can add. Let’s say you start with a beginner guide. You can add a more advanced guide, an intermediate guide, whatever that is at a later point, you don’t have to put everything all in the first product all at once.

[00:05:02] And really. You know, the point is to avoid that overwhelm. So you want to make sure that you have the time to devote to this product so that again, you can launch and build your confidence and iterate going forward.

[00:05:15] The next thing that I want to talk about is topic. So when you’re creating your first product, obviously you want to think of a topic. What is the topic of this product?

[00:05:25] So we’re going to talk about a couple of ways to find one and how to validate it, to make sure that it’s actually a good topic and not just one that you think might be a good topic. All right. So I have a couple questions that you can ask. And these are part of, I have a lead magnet about brainstorming and getting started.

[00:05:40] So a couple of questions that you may want to ask yourself when looking for a topic. So what’s already working for you. What is um, maybe any content that you’ve created, blog posts, email newsletters, uh, social posts, anything, uh, videos maybe that you you’re creating that is working. So [00:06:00] people are viewing.

[00:06:01] People are liking. People are commenting. People are responding, people are engaging with you. So those are, that’s a great starting point for a topic for your product. Anything that you’re already creating, maybe free content around where people are liking it, they’re viewing it. They’re reading it.

[00:06:17] They’re asking questions about it. You could also think about what you have already created. Now as service providers, a lot of times we create something for our clients to help them out in some way. So you can look in your Google Drive or wherever you keep your files. You probably have a ton of worksheets and guides and videos maybe that you have already created for clients.

[00:06:40] That could be a good starting point. So maybe you wouldn’t be able to just take that video you created for a client and just slap a price tag on it. But the content that’s there, or it might give you a starting point to be able to find something to create as a product. Another thing you could ask is what do you wish your clients knew?

[00:06:58] You’re like, oh, everybody needs to know this. And nobody knows this. People who know this are so much further along than people who don’t know this. So just some very basic things or really anything that your clients need to know. And you wish that people knew. You wish that people would come along and work with you and already have known this information.

[00:07:20] You could also look at what people are asking you for. So what are questions that you’re getting all the time? I’ve had a couple of people on this show say that if somebody asks you, I don’t know if it’s more than twice or more than three times, that’s a great idea for a product. So if people are coming to you, they think you have the information they want.

[00:07:37] So they’re asking you that question. That is a great topic or a great starting point for a digital product. And also don’t forget to look at what you feel called to create. So this isn’t all about something out there that we think people want. Like it’s not just for other people. I think the process of creating something um, of our own for our [00:08:00] own business, you know, it should come from within too.

[00:08:02] So don’t just create something because you think somebody else might want it, or somebody else said that they want it. If you feel really called to create something, if there is a product inside of you. A workbook, a guide, a toolkit, whatever it is. And you feel called to create that, create it, just see what happens. Sometimes uh, we’ll get a lot of good feedback from there.

[00:08:21] And I’ve also had some podcast guests talk about that as well, where there was a product inside them that just wanted to come out. Now for validating the topic. Um, it is good to do some kind of validation. So if you have a trusted group of friends or colleagues, you know, don’t just like ask your mom or your neighbor.

[00:08:41] You really want people uh, who are close to the audience that you had in mind. So you know, who you would likely be selling this product to. And you could also try to pre-sell your product as a way to validate the topic. So some people will, you know, create a sales page, maybe create the first module or something like that. And try to pre-sell it.

[00:09:00] If it doesn’t sell, then you know, maybe that’s not a great product to create. And if it does sell, then you know that you have stumbled on a good idea. Now I do think that a lot of that has to do with marketing as well. So you may have a great idea for a product and try to pre-sell it. And even though it might not sell, that could also be because it hasn’t reached enough people yet, like enough people haven’t put their eyes on it.

[00:09:24] So keep that in mind, if you try to pre-sell your product to like four people and nobody wants it that doesn’t mean that the topic is bad. You really want to try to get the idea out there and see, um, you know, if enough people like it. So those are a couple of ways that you can validate your topic. All right, let’s talk about audience.

[00:09:43] Now I do have an episode about audiences. It’s very early on. I feel like it’s one of my kind of keystone, um, you know, con pieces of content. Um, and there are a lot of people to sell your product to. However, there are some groups that are easier to sell to than [00:10:00] others. So three groups of people that you might be able to sell to.

[00:10:04] So the first group is your peers. So if you are a service provider and you’ve been doing this for a long time, you may have developed systems and processes and, and things that help you do business easier and better. And maybe if you had had those early on, you would have been able to get further. So selling to your peers, selling to people who are just getting started in your industry is one avenue.

[00:10:28] Now I would say that if you are selling to your peers, think about, do you have enough of relationships with those peers? So do you go to industry events? Do you see them? Do you connect with them on social media or Slack groups or email lists or anything like that? I would say, you know, to make sure that you do have some relationships. And if you are going to create and sell a product, I would separate that from your services website. You don’t want people coming to your website, potential clients for your services. And seeing your product that’s not really geared towards them.

[00:11:02] So that is one group of people um, are your peers. The other groups of people are people who are not quite ready to work with you. So they might be in the next six months or so maybe what is something that you can create for them to be able to get them ready? To get a small taste of what it is like to work with you or people.

[00:11:22] And it’s, these are, these groups may overlap. Uh, people who can’t afford you or maybe can’t afford you yet. So maybe they’re just getting started in their business or they’ve been going a little while and they really just need some help with certain things. So those are two audiences that you can sell to, and those are great to keep in mind. As you decide which audience you most likely want to sell to.

[00:11:45] Some people don’t like to sell the DIYers. Some people don’t want to sell to their peers. Like it really just depends. Uh, what it looks like for you. Um, but as you are thinking about what audience to sell to it is great to actually build that audience. Right? So email list, we always [00:12:00] talk about. Um, social media, really, wherever you want to build that audience kind of building that, um, not later after you have the product, but before and during the product creation process. Um, and you also want to ask for feedback.

[00:12:14] So start asking for feedback at the beginning, not just like, Hey everybody, I have this product. Can you give me some feedback on it? But anything earlier is really great because you can take that feedback into account as you develop that product. Okay. So think about audiences. Now there is one other group that I’ve never mentioned on the show yet, but I’m thinking I should.

[00:12:35] I think I’m, maybe I should have a. Uh, an episode dedicated to this or something. I need to do a little research first, but this could be the service provider who is a local service provider. So someone who provides their services locally. And would want to expand their services beyond that local area. And the way to do that would be with products.

[00:12:57] So expanding their customer base rather, um, with products. So if I am. I’m a hairstylist or a photographer or, you know, any number of service providers where I have to go and be onsite with someone to provide the service. It would be great if I could expand my customer base to include some products. Um, where people could purchase those, you know, outside of that geographic area.

[00:13:20] So I’m going to do a little thinking on that. If you are one of those people, I’d love to chat with you and talk about, um, you know, maybe what kind of content I could create for you to help you in that area, that local service provider who wants to expand their reach to other customers with digital products. All right, so let’s talk about the result.

[00:13:41] So the result is the actual product that you’ll create at the end. Um, we’re going to talk about the problem it solves, the content that’s inside, um, and the format of the product in this module here. So that is result. All right. So the first thing is a problem that solves. It is really, really, really, [00:14:00] really, really, really important to think about your product in terms of what problem does this solve for people? And what important problem. What one problem does it solve?

[00:14:13] Okay. Not what 50 problems. Not what I’m kind of okay ish problems, but aren’t really the problems, they’re just problems we’ve made up in our mind problems, but actual important problems to your customer. So what win does your product, or will your product give your customer? What’s this word? I don’t know if you, if you’re into this word or not, but what’s the transformation. What is the thing that is going to happen to them after they purchase and consume your products.

[00:14:45] So think about that. Um, now don’t put too much pressure on yourself, but I think a lot of people don’t consider this upfront. So when they’re trying to sell their product, they’re like, oh, Hey, this is a great product. And maybe it is. But really what does it do for me as a customer? What is something that’s going to happen?

[00:15:01] Because my attention is pulled in so many directions all the time. It would be great if the direction it’s pulled in will help me. Will help me solve something important in my life or in my business. So think about the problem that it solves. Think about the content. We have talked about this before, you know a lot. You’re a service provider, you know the ins and outs of every little thing, but you want to take a step back and have that beginner mind. Have that, you know, when you were first learning about this, how, how did you learn about it? What kind of things were helpful for you or not helpful for you?

[00:15:39] I’ve talked about this many times on the show about meeting people where they are. So we bought windows a couple of years ago and the people that would come to the house would speak to us like we knew anything about windows. I don’t know anything about windows. Um using jargon and acronyms and industry terms.

[00:15:58] So we definitely don’t [00:16:00] want to do that. We want to make our content accessible, approachable, and understanding to our potential customers. Because otherwise um, and this has happened to me before, I’ll purchase a product. And like, I don’t even understand the first thing. Like the first module, the first question, the first thing I’m like, I don’t even understand this and completely give up. Like you want people to be able to understand and work through it and get those wins because it’s a great, if your, if your product does solve an important problem. But if it’s not understandable to the person who bought it, that’s not going to work out.

[00:16:36] Right. They’re going to just bail, give up. Maybe they’ll ask for a refund. Maybe they won’t recommend you to other people. Um, so, you know, think about meeting people where they are not where you are. And I’ve talked about this before with my SEO story, I taught a class a while ago. And, um, I launched into this big 15 minute thing about SEO and like basic SEO.

[00:16:56] And so I thought, I thought I was starting where people were and someone at the end said, what’s SEO. And I thought, oh crap. So. Where I thought was the beginning actually wasn’t the beginning. I needed to take another step back. And start really at the beginning. Not at all, not at my beginning. And I’ve also talked about this before I believe.

[00:17:17] Um, So my background is in WordPress and WordPress development and, um, you know, WordPress being open source. There’s a lot of meetups and WordCamps and things like that. And what I love about WordCamps is that you don’t have to be really far ahead of someone to be able to speak at a WordCamp. You just need to be a little bit further ahead of someone. And share what you learned to the people who don’t know that yet. And if everybody does this, you kind of have this ecosystem where, you know, you’re learning from someone, a couple steps in front of you and a couple of steps in front of them. And then you’re teaching people who are a couple steps behind you and you know, and so forth.

[00:17:55] So, um, I love that sort of philosophy of, of the [00:18:00] WordPress community and of WordCamps in general. So, um, you know, don’t think that you have to be so much further along to be able to teach, uh, to people who don’t know as much as you on that topic. Alright. And the last thing is format. So let’s think about the content that you want to create and think about what format lends itself best, right.

[00:18:22] Video, audio, uh, documents, a combination, um, you know, it really depends, and there is no limit to what you can create and what formats you can use, but thinking about what you actually prefer to create. And not feel obligated to just create something because it’s the thing to do. So don’t think like, oh, I have to do video because that’s what you have to do.

[00:18:46] You don’t have to do that. If you’re not a video person, don’t do video. Do what will work best for you. That will make it easier for you to actually create that product because you won’t be dreading the creation because you don’t like that format. And you can also think about what’s in and what’s out in terms of styles.

[00:19:04] I did have someone on the podcast a while ago talk about, maybe like PDFs being out. There’s always kind of controversy about PDFs. Like PDFs are amazing and PDFs are terrible. Um, you know, Google docs or a Notion, you know, Notion, dashboards. So really like, think about maybe what’s in and out.

[00:19:20] I don’t know are eBooks out now. I’m really not sure but think about the formats. Think about what format is good for your specific audience. Um, you know, that is great. How technologically savvy are they? And, you know, and just decide for yourself and don’t think that it has to be any one specific way. What format works best for you and for your audience? All right.

[00:19:42] So then we’re going to talk about timeframe. So you’re, you’re almost ready. You’re putting together these key pieces. Let’s talk about the timeframe, like how long is this really going to take me to create, like, what actually am I going to do to actually sit down and create it? [00:20:00] And something that might come into play. All right.

[00:20:03] So the first thing is this is work for you versus client work. So as a service provider, I’m sure that, you know, I’m sure this is probably like the first thing you learn as a service provider. When client work comes up like that, that takes takes all. Right. Like that is, you know, you are accepting payment in return for this work.

[00:20:24] This is something that you need to do. You need to do it right away. They’re waiting for it. It’s important. But oftentimes the reason we like to do client work is that it’s clear. Like we understand exactly what the client wants and we know exactly what to do. And we sit down and we do it and then we deliver it and they’re happy and we get paid or maybe we got paid first. Um, it’s a little bit easier.

[00:20:44] Now work for you for a hopeful potential return at some point in the future can be more challenging. Things that we do for ourselves sometimes can take a back seat. Um, you know, maybe you put on your list like, oh, I’m going to exercise today. And then all these other things come first and you’re like, oh, I ran out of time for me. So think about how can you carve out time?

[00:21:07] I like to do these things earlier in the day, earlier in the week, earlier in the month. Anything that I can do for myself and my business first. And have a specific timeframe on it. So I’m not just blocking off, like every Monday. I’m blocking off maybe two hours on a Monday or two hours at the beginning of the month or whatever it is that works for you earlier. Then the rest of the week, you can be happy. You can be thankful.

[00:21:32] You can be proud. You can be like, oh yeah, I knocked that out early on Monday. I’m done with it for the week. I will worry about, you know, the next phase next week. But for now, you know, I’m riding on cloud nine, is it riding? I’m floating on cloud nine because I did what I said I was going to do.

[00:21:50] And I’m really happy. I’m making progress on my product. So what can you commit to, when can you commit? And then how can you say accountable? [00:22:00] So different people work different ways in terms of accountability. Sometimes people can be accountable to themselves where if I just maybe write it on my to-do list. And it works out and I do it because I said I was going to do it.

[00:22:10] Sometimes you might have to tell someone, so an accountability buddy. A mastermind group. If you’re accountable to someone else in the world, Um, you know, maybe in your, in your business or your personal life, that will be helpful for you to be able to get this product completed and launched. So think about the timeframe, the total timeframe.

[00:22:29] How long do you think this might take and then how will you carve out time to actually work on it? Now U will say that I like to allot about three months for a digital product. So if you’re creating this huge signature course, you’re not going to your, that’s not going to happen in three months, unless that’s all you work on.

[00:22:48] But for a first product, a smaller product three months, I think is a great amount of time to still be able to take on client work and all the other things that you have to do in your life. So that’s just kind of my philosophy. You know, your mileage may vary. It really depends on your specific use case.

[00:23:04] Um, how much you already have started, how motivated you are, all that kind of stuff. Um, but timeframe is something to consider.

[00:23:10] I have a little diagram that I will share in the show notes. Everything that we talked about today is kind of like the planning, like the getting started.

[00:23:18] So, okay. I know what I’m going to create. I know who I’m going to create it for. I know what problem it’s going to solve all that good stuff. And then I have five sections on five different. Uh, places to go, I guess, on the journey to the product. So after all of this, then you would be in product creation mode.

[00:23:36] So you’re, you’re researching, you’re drafting, you’re editing. Um, maybe getting that feedback and finalizing the product from there. You know, telling, telling me all of the product information. So, you know, what’s the title of this product and what’s the description of it. How much does it cost? Maybe the marketing would be next. Um, and you know, this isn’t exactly a linear process either.

[00:23:55] Some people like to tell me the name of the product and the problem it solves and all that [00:24:00] kind of stuff, and then create the product. I’m one of those people who like, like, for example, when I write an email, I write the email first and then the subject. Uh, but some people write the subject and then the email.

[00:24:10] So it really depends, you know, what, what you like best. So product creation, product information. I like that phase too, because it’s kind of smaller. Uh, the marketing. So all of your launch marketing, so your social media posts, your emails. Um, anything that you’re going to share. Your blog posts, whatever it is, changes to your website. The marketing that’s going to happen when you launch. Uh, the technology.

[00:24:33] So where are you going to sell this thing? Do you need coupon codes? Um, how does it connect your payment processor? You know, all of the technology and, and you want to set that up and test it out, you know, what’s the workflow. Do they get added to a certain, um, sequence after they purchase or, you know, all that good stuff. And then launch and ongoing marketing.

[00:24:52] So I combined these things, we think that like launch is the end. Oh, launched the product. Okay. Done. And then nothing. That’s a big, long pause on purpose. And then nothing. Uh, no. So that’s not how it goes. You launch, but then plan for ongoing marketing. So what are the things that you’re going to do in the future?

[00:25:11] So are you going to guest on podcasts? Are you going to create social posts? What are you going to put in your emails? Um, you know, are you going to do blog posts or videos or what are the things that you’re going to do ongoing to sell this product? Because if we don’t ever mention the product again, chances of people finding it and buying it are small. So I like to combine launch and ongoing marketing as one phase.

[00:25:35] So just to kind of recap this whole thing. As I know, I throw threw a lot of things out, you know, five of these, five of those, whatever. So our process. For even before we get started, just to what we’re going to think about is our five steps START process. So scope, topic, audience, result and timeframe.

[00:25:55] So those are the things that we want to think about as our really good plan. Um, you know, think about if you’re [00:26:00] going on a road trip. Okay. I’ve had everything packed that I need. I know where I’m going. I know how long it’s going to take together. I know where I’m going to stop. I know what snacks I’m going to pack. So all of those things are in the planning stages.

[00:26:11] And then the journey as you’re creating the product or the road trip itself would be your product creation, your product information .Marketing. Launch marketing. Technology and then your launch and ongoing marketing plan. So those would be the stages after that. So, let me know what you think. I know this was a little bit of a longer episode and we talked about a lot of things.

[00:26:33] I really tried. I thought about like, should I make these each have their own episode? I’m not sure. So I put them all in one. Um, I can definitely dive into any topic that you are interested in learning more about always. So this episode or other episodes, um, if you would like to have a call. I’m offering a free 30 minute calls, let’s just chat. What do you want to talk about?

[00:26:53] Tell me about your product. Tell me about where you’re stuck. If you have a question. Sometimes, really people just need to talk it out. So you can go to yfdp.show/strategy. Uh, again, free 30 minutes and we’ll, we’ll talk. If I can help you I will, you know, kind of give you some pointers or advice, really just validate.

[00:27:10] Sometimes when people talk it out, say it out loud, they know what they’re going to do next and they’re ready. They just kind of needed to get it out there in a different way. And also you can go to yfdp.show/share. If you have specific questions about this episode, or if you just want to leave me a tiny little five minute voice message, I love voice messages and, um, get a chance to be featured on the show as well if you have a question maybe in a future episode.

[00:27:35] So thank you so much for being here today and good luck with your product planning and creation and launch. And I’ll see you again next episode.

[00:27:44] Hey, thanks for listening. I’d love to continue the conversation in your inbox. Email SUBSCRIBE to hey at yfdp.show or sign up in the show notes to get bi monthly emails about how you can create, launch, and market your [00:28:00] first digital product. Can’t wait to see you there.