One of the commonest mistakes people make when they are just starting out is to think that they would like to create a site like mine. I know because I get quite a lot of people who email me and ask me how I did it. My advice would be, if you are starting out, not to waste your time. That does not mean that you could not do it; I managed to do it and so too, therefore, could you. What I mean is this: if I knew back then, when I was just starting, what I know now, I would never have set out to create a site like this one. Again, don’t get me wrong: I love this site; it is my internet baby and I look after it and nurture it, every day. So let me explain things in a little more detail.
When I first attempted the process of monetising some of my traffic, I thought it would be relatively easy. I created my own product, created my own graphics, created my own sales page, put a buy now button on there and waited for the orders to come rolling in. But that didn’t happen. Sales were very low indeed, so I thought that the answer might be to have not just one product selling, but hundreds of products; and so I then set out to create my online store. I reasoned that if I had hundreds of products all just making a few dollars per day, that would get me to where I wanted to be. But again, things did not quite turn out the way I had intended.
One further thing that I thought would happen was that when I finally became successful at selling my own products, lots of affiliates would join me in promoting my offers and that would bring me the added leverage I would need to break into the next level, Again, although I am now very successful at selling my products, I have very few active affiliates. This is definitely something I need to work on in the future, but is not a current priority because I am busy creating products that do actually sell very well indeed.
In the process of creating my store, I actually assembled over one hundred products – not all of which are in the store today. Why? Because, along the way, I learned a lot; and what I learned changed my approach. As I created product after product, I found that some products became ‘winners’ and some became ‘losers’. One particular product was an out and out winner and that experience changed my thinking. I realised that all I needed to do was figure out why the winners were selling and then do more of the same – a sure-fire way to success, by the way; do more of what is working for you, whatever that is, and do less of what is not working.
In doing my analysis, I discovered that, of the thousands and thousands of people who visit my site every day, just a small percentage were actually looking to buy anything; and, from the people who actually bought, I began to realise that my buyers were, to a very large extent, other internet marketers. My buyers were people like me, who were interested in creating personal development websites and they therefore face all the same problems as me. This was the moment that changed my monetisation strategy. I stopped expanding the store, in the way I was working, and started creating products that solved the problems that I was facing. Yes – the problems I was facing, because I was, and still am, a part of my target market.
In other words, I finally learned who my target market needed to be. From the experience of creating the store, I learned who my buyers were and also, the type of product they were searching for, and that made a big difference because from that point forward, I began to create products for them. Now, when I create a new product, I can sell more in one day than I previously sold in one month. Don’t get me wrong: this post is not meant to be about me, it’s about you and how you can learn from my experience. If you can figure out who your target market is, then you have the vital first step toward success.
So here are the lessons I learned from that experience:
- You need to identify people with a specific problem, or problems
- They should be prepared to part with money for the solution
- They should be in a market/niche that you understand how you can serve
- They should be repeat buyers
- Your solution(s) need to be much better than the competition
When you are a part of the target market yourself, it is easy to identify the problems that fit the above criteria because you have probably been trying to find solutions to them yourself. In fact, every time you are searching for a solution to a problem, and you cannot find one, or the solutions available are poor or unsatisfactory in some way, you should make a specific note because you have potentially found gold.
Of course, the hard work begins after you have found the problem, but my biggest piece of advice to anyone starting out to create their own product is to find a problem that fits the above criteria first. If I had properly understood this when I started, I would not have created my online store. I would have concentrated on creating narrowly-focussed, solutions targeting the specific market I know I can serve. This market is effectively a niche within the wider market that my main site serves.
In closing, the first thing you need to do when setting out to create your own product is to define the market. This may sound easy and it may be, but don’t underestimate the importance of this step. Get it wrong and you will end up wasting your time creating loser after loser; get it right and you will be on your way. It took me five years and a lot of trial and error to get to this level of understanding. So first, define the market and then you can concentrate on creating the products that truly solve the real problems that your target market faces.