I’m not one for making outlandish predictions but in this post I’m going to make an exception.
I predict that you suffer from the same trait that I do:
The ability to take a simple idea and vastly overcomplicate it to the point that you never get it done.
Even though I’ve successfully created, published and made money from over 10 online products, there are far more products, blog posts, emails, upsells and general promotions that have never seen the light of day because of my ability to overcomplicate things.
It’s not good, it’s frustrating and also costs money!
The good news is that I’m steadily getting better. Although I know of no overnight cure I hope that some of the ideas I share with you in this blog post will help you with this too (like I said, I’m assuming you suffer from this too!).
Let’s take things back to basics and assume that you are just starting out with a brand new web business with no products and no email list.
Goal number one is to build your list because that’s the fastest route to ongoing, consistent income online ever.
To do this you can either:
1) Drive traffic to a squeeze page and give something away for free such as a report, interview, cheat sheet etc
2) Create, license or outsource a product and sell it. All the buyers go onto your list.
Let’s assume you decide to take the second option and look at how you could do this the easy and fast way verses the over-complex, slow way:
Over-complex and slow way:
- Look to build a multi-module training course that is the best on the market
- Aim for a mid-tier price point at around $97-$297
- Worry about whether you are really enough of an “expert” to be doing this anyway
- Plan your time out over the next 2 months split between research and writing/recording videos etc
- Spend time considering which WordPress theme and membership plugin to use
- Get fatigued about the content creation process after a few weeks and find it tough going.
- Is this really going to sell anyway?
- Decide to shelve the project “for now” and consider your options.
The fast and easier way:
- Look at popular products already out there in Clickbank, JVZoo, etc
- Buy a few and get a feel for the hot topics and issues that exist in the market
- Think about how you can get something created fast along the same kind of lines
- Think about a simple, low priced (e.g., $8-$27), easy to produce product that serves the primary purpose of putting buyers on your list
- Forget membership plugins and premium WordPress themes. Instead decide to deliver your product as a zip file which can be handled automatically by affiliate networks like JVZoo, WarriorPlus, Clickbank
Hypothetical Case Study
A few days ago I noticed a new and popular product by a very well known marketer which is all about getting more people on your list to open your emails and click on your links.
It’s essentially a 1 page PDF with a list of short tips on writing headlines, body copy, link anchor text and so on.
It’s sold cheap (around $10) so it’s ideal for list building purposes (i.e., sell ’em cheap = more sales = more buyers on your list).
Now, is this the first product on email marketing? Absolutely not! This topic has been cover countless times by other products in the past.
Equally, it won’t be the last product on email marketing either. It’s a topic which has evergreen appeal and people are always interested in learning extra tips, tricks and fresh, more up to date information.
So, based upon all this here’s a plan:
STEP 1: Write a template email asking for “your top 3 best performing email tips/tricks over the last 12 months”.
STEP 2: Send this template email to 30 top email marketers (from any niche) and offer them a link to their site in the product as a thank you for their contribution.
STEP 3: Compile the responses in Word or Open Office and save as a PDF.
STEP 4: Create a sales letter explaining to prospects that they can get their hands on “30/40/50 of the very best, top converting, money making yet staggeringly simple email secrets that have helped these 10/20/30 email professionals earn hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past 12 months”. You can outsource the copywriting if you prefer but it’s a good skill to learn yourself. Push the benefits, tell the story of the project, use bullet points to hint at some of the email tactics etc.
STEP 5: List the product on JVZoo or WarriorPlus and price it low, $7-$12 perhaps and offer at least 75% commission to affiliates – remember list building is the priority!
STEP 6: Create a new list in your autoresponder (I use and recommend Aweber). Integrate this list into Warrior Plus or JVZoo (takes minutes and is straightforward).
STEP 7: Zip up the PDF and have JVZoo or WarriorPlus deliver it directly to the customers. This way it’s easy for them and you don’t need to worry about WordPress themes and membership plugins.
STEP 8: A week before launch contact all the contributors to your product. Offer them a review copy and ask, “Do you think your subscribers would be interested in the product?”. In my experience quite a few will come back and agree to promote. Others won’t respond and some will be on the fence (e.g., “I’m not sure whether I have room in my mailing schedule” and similar excuses). For the ones on the fence, reply and say “thank you for considering, it would be great if you could make a recommendation but I appreciate your schedule is tight so here’s your affiliate link and I’ll also bump up your commission to 100%”. In a lot of cases this is enough to tip them off the fence and I’ve done it a number of times 😉
Now this is a general plan which can work for all sorts of different products. But the key advantages are that:
- You don’t get bogged down in long winded product creation (a certain killer if it’s your first product)
- You don’t have to be an expert in anything (experts provide the knowledge and you can leverage their successes instead of yours)
- It can be done pretty quickly – I’ll let you gauge this but do you think you could do it in 4-6 weeks working part time?
- The promotional side is built into the model (i.e., encourage the contributors to promote plus it’s high commission encouraging other affiliates who may wish to join the party!)
I hope this example helps to see things a little more clearly in terms of how important it is not to over complicate things.
As I said, I do suffer from this myself and I plan on continuing to get better. If you are starting out it’s ever more important, crucial in fact, that you do the same. there is plenty of time later to take on big projects with more fancy technology but why not keep it super simple to start with?
My recommendation is that when you feel the vortex of complexity start to drag you in you simply do what it says in the title of this post:
Stop and ask yourself, “How Can This Be Done Faster & Easier?”
If you are interested in more help and support with product creation then check out our new Product Creation Central section within the Gain Higher Ground members area. Loads more detail, examples and real life cases studies there too. If you aren’t currently a member and would like to find out more, here’s the sales page.
Would love to hear your comments and thoughts on this topic! If you found it useful please SHARE/LIKE/TWEET and use the form below to air your views… Kind regards, Rob 🙂
You nailed this one right on the head as if it were a small tack, and you were using a 15-pound sledge hammer. I suffer from this to the point that for several years I have been trying to find a way to make money on the net. I am a disabled U.S. Navy Vet living on disability, and it does not cover the basic expenses. So far, I have at mostbeen able to build a couple of websites and host them temporarily. All the other ideas of HOW TOO have just over complicated them to the max to the point of non action. I have been collecting articles and watching tuts on how to make it online but just cannot seem to get out of the starting blocks’ thanks to over complication.
Thank you for sharing this letter.
on the fence
Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and be so honest about your experiences. I know a lot of people will relate to what you have said.
I think we may have some kind of inbuilt tendency to over-complicate as so many people do it. Hopefully going through the frustration of it will force your hand into “one simple focused project”. It’s a beautiful thing when you do that and it feels like a large weight lifted from your shoulders…
Thanks again and great to see you here on the blog 🙂
Some useful ideas there. The only one that I would have trouble with is that of sending zip files. I notice that my telephone has problems opening them and I wonder if this might be a turn-off.
Hi Grace..Sending zip files is easy! Just attach them to an eMail,
that’s all you have to do! As long as they are not TOO big, they will
be sent and delivered quite quickly…in a matter of a few seconds!
What do you mean by: ‘my telephone has problems opening them’???
The best/easiest/most efficient way is doing this ALL on your PC
or MAC…whichever of the systems you have Grace!
I hope my input helps you Grace!?
Thanks David, you beat me too it 🙂 Cheers, Rob
Thanks Rob. Excellent advice – all that needs to be done is to do it! 🙂
Exactly Eric! Thanks for stopping by and glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Cheers, Rob
could not agree more rob, I made a video product to list build took me 16 mins to create, sold the video on ebay made £800.. and built a list of 80 people .. then was going to roll out across the net to list build.. still have not done it!! why .. whereb to start?? PPC, Facebook ads etc.. the list goes on display networks.. you tube all of the above I guess.. so I say to myself just take one of these and start with that.. have I no why info overload I guess!!
The story has such as great start. Simple, fast, profitable list building! What a shame the momentum was lost after that. Just goes to show it’s possible to have these issues at any time.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this John, always good to hear from you 🙂
Thanks for your advice. I do know how to send zip files. My problem is when I am away from my computer, I use a smartphone and mine tells me that zip files are unreadable.
I think the problem of opening zip files would be just down to a missing app on your phone. However, this is the kind of thing that can make you think, “Oh there’s a potential problem here, maybe I shouldn’t do it after all!”
I’m sure there are other people out there with smartphone/zip file issues but that shouldn’t put you off. Just cross that bridge when you come to it (i.e., ask them to get an app to open on their phone or use a desktop/laptop).
Thanks for your comment 🙂
I love this post. As Richard Branson said “any fool can make something complicated the genius is in keeping it simple”
As usual you have hit the nail right on the head and given excellent FREE quality advice.
Excellent quote there from Branson and very relevant. If I’d known about it I would have included it in the article!
Thanks for taking the time to comment and glad you from the post useful 🙂
Thank you for your insightful article. You are very accurate. I, too, have fallen into this trap and it is good to see that other successful IMer’s experience the same dilemmas I experienced.
You’re very welcome and I can definitely confirm that successful IMer’s experience the problem. Everyone I know in fact. It’s just that not all of them wish to admit it to their audiences 😉
Really appreciate your comment and great to see you on the blog.
I am trying to get my list building up and running without costing too much.
Your list sounds very good to me and simple to follow. I am much into the KISS formula as it is easy to follow through (unless you get a hiccup enroute). Most marketers do over complicate stuff but I do think that it is intentional in many cases!
Good stuff as usual Rob.
Cheers – Mike
That’s a very good point – I do think a lot of people over complicate things. Either to impress their audience or even themselves! The beauty is in the simple.
Good luck with the plan. Take it step by step and enjoy the process 🙂
Thank you for a great post! Perhaps there’s one element which you touch on in your post that could be expanded in the context of Keeping Things Simple – being very clear in your mind about what you should do yourself, and what you should have others do for you.
The particular example you used was copywriting. And perhaps it’s a good one on which to base a marketing axiom – if it builds a useful skill which can then be rinsed and repeated, and will repeatedly save or make money, consider doing it yourself. If not, consider getting someone else to do it for you.
Building a WordPress site falls into the same box. It takes initial time and effort, but once you’ve got it nailed down, the door opens to many opportunities, not only to save money (making your own sites) but to generate it (making sites for other people who pay you for doing so).
As always, you’ve provided real food for thought. Thank you
Wise word Peter and an excellent comment 🙂
Thank you for the extra thoughts and good to see you here on the blog as always!
Kind regards, Rob.
Just found your Blog and been reading with interest. I’m one of those people who has been online for a while (1.5 years) and I know exactly what I have to do to make money, yet I don’t make any because I don’t take enough action. And the reason is I kept stalling by telling myself “People won’t buy this” and “Everyone is doing this”, and “It won’t be good enough” and on and on and on. But recently I had a breakthrough of sorts. I realised that I never will have an online business unless I do something. So I started creating a video product that I plan to sell for around $9, consisting of about 8 training videos on Facebook Marketing, which I know very well. I built the giveaway report and the squeeze page and did a few videos already. But I still keep overanalysing and thinking and thinking instead of just getting on and doing it.
It reminds me of a great saying “Perfectionism is trying to get the world to believe something about you that you don’t believe yourself.”
And one point you made hit a real sore point with me too. Rather ridiculously I spend waaaaay too much time looking at WordPress Themes and plugins for my sales letters before I even have anything to sell, even though I already have OptimizePress 1, Genesis, and Instabuilder ! And if I don’t do that I’m wasting days reading about CPA, making money on YouTube, or PPC Ad networks. It’s crazy.
Anyway, thanks for the encouragement. I needed it. This Internet Marketing game sure is funny. It’s almost voyeuristic in the way newbies spend so much time reading and watching videos on how to do it, yet never take action.
Sorry for the long rant ;o) Now to go get that product finished !
Thank you very much for taking the time to share those honest experiences 🙂
You’ve described something that I think the vast majority of us can directly relate to from personal experience. That’s an interesting quote on perfectionism too 🙂
Great to see you here on the blog, stop by again soon and above all good luck with that product!
A masterclass of a post. Awesome.I remember interviewing you in the past and i learned from you that list building was the starting point, which i followed. I think we over complicate our articles, products and even the system we use to make money.
Simplicity produced faster results i have found.
I love your plan for the ” Top 3 best performing email tips” for getting on the top email marketers radar. Great stuff rob
Thanks Mark, good to see you here on the blog again. I appreciate the feedback 🙂