NOTE: This was an email I shared with my email subscribers after my launch.
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Yesterday was a big day for me.
Finally launched my 1st info product, the Freelance Foundations e-book.
The day itself was kind of uneventful.
Gumroad sent me an email letting me know my book was successfully released.
I also had a few people reach out with feedback (all positive) and words of congratulations.
What's important is all the stuff that happened BEFORE the launch.
Last night I started thinking of some lessons and I’ve come up with 21 so far.
Here they are:
1. I felt pressure to ship
I had pressure coming from two sources:
1) My deadline: March 18th
2) My customers
As soon as I saw the 1st order come in, I was like “Oh shit. I need to produce.”
Even if no one else ordered, I still felt the pressure to deliver for that one person.
I wanted the book to help him and I didn’t want to let him down.
All pressure is not bad and this was “positive pressure” that inspired me to perform.
2. I followed up with every single potential customer
I had some people email me or reach out on social media with questions.
I responded to every single inquiry because I was thinking of my 1,000 True Fans.
I want this book to be the first pillar in the freelance education arm of my business.
That means taking care of everyone, expressing gratitude and making them feel special.
3. Online biz is a creative biz
The first version of my guide was just a few pages I put together for freelance Copywriters.
It was meant to answer some common questions and encourage people to join my email list.
And it only took a couple hours to create.
I could’ve just left it like that and done nothing else.
But I continued adding to it and then edited it so it’d be applicable to all freelancers.
Last month I was interviewed by Jose Rosado for Sovereign University and after we wrapped up the interview he planted the seed in my head to turn the guide into a paid product.
But I wasn’t comfortable selling it as is.
If I was going to turn the guide into a paid product I’d have to do a complete overhaul to charge the price I wanted.
The point here is I didn’t have to do any of this.
Didn’t have to create the free guide.
Didn’t have to update it.
Didn’t have to do a paid version and a complete rewrite.
But I wanted to.
When it comes to online business you’re only limited by your ability to create.
4. Most pre-sales and pre-orders will come on the last day
This is no surprise based on my experience with launches.
I did a pre-sale of 50 copies for $27.
The most sales came in the last 24 hours.
Then I raised the price to $47 and saw more sales come in before and during the official launch day yesterday.
5. You're not locked into "conventional" pricing
You don't need to sell a $7 or $9 e-book.
E-books have a reputation for being cheap, but they don’t have to be.
Of course, you need to consider the context.
Selling a low-priced e-book can be a great way to build your email list (just ask Russell Brunson).
Traffic & Funnels have also had a lot of success with their $7 monthly memos subscription.
Personally, I wasn’t going to do all the work to completely overhaul my free guide for just a few bucks per sale, especially when I know that the information in the new version could help readers generate thousands of dollars.
I could sell my guide for $1,000 and I’d have zero problem with it because I understand the value I’m offering.
But I know $1,000 for an e-book is going to be met with some serious price resistance, so I feel like $47 is a good compromise.
6. You don't need affiliates or an email list
The vast majority of my sales have come through Twitter.
I have a few people who’ve reached out to become affiliates in the past week, but they haven't made any sales yet.
I also promoted my book to my email list, but it wasn’t a formal launch (and didn’t need to be).
My goal wasn’t to squeeze a bunch of sales right away.
It was to create an asset I can sell for many years.
7. A great product is never completely finished
I “finished” the book around a week ago.
In the meantime, I gave two people advanced copies so they could give me feedback (which was a really good idea!).
I kept editing until late Sunday afternoon and finally reached the point where I felt the book was good enough to sell.
But… I could’ve kept going.
I could’ve continued editing, adding more content and examples, extending the release date, etc.
It’s hard to find the balance between “good enough to ship” and “this needs more work,” but I think I found it.
8. Pick a specific target audience
This book was created specifically for new freelancers and freelancers stuck at the beginner level.
A few days ago I actually removed a few sections after Jose Rosado pointed out they were TOO advanced.
I think that was a smart decision.
The book isn’t about making 6 figures or hiring VAs or scaling from freelancer to agency.
It’s about the kinds of things I’d wish I’d known as a beginner, so that makes it a stronger product because it’s focused.
9. It's hard to think about creation and promotion at the same time
I was writing and promoting almost every day, but it’s a bit of a juggling act.
When I launch my course, I expect to follow a different approach where I’ll promote heavily for at least a month before the launch date.
10. Every income stream I add dramatically reduces the possibility of every going back to a 9-5
Can I be honest?
It felt REALLY fucking good to write that.
While I’m not encouraging anyone to go out and try to build 5 income streams right away, it does feel good to have another income stream (that only took me a month to create).
Still, my primary business (for the time being) is freelancing so I’m “going back to my roots” to focus on freelancing in Q2.
11. Create and launch your 1st product quickly
It took me 5 weeks from idea to launch.
A few days thinking about it, then 4 weeks to write.
Looking back, I believe this was perfect.
Thank God I set a deadline and thank God I didn’t spend months and months working on this.
12. Listen to your peers
I had a few people tell me I should have turned my free guide into a paid product.
That doesn’t mean they were right (turns out they were), but I’m glad I was open-minded enough to listen to them.
13. Listen to your audience
Throughout the writing process I asked my readers what they wanted to learn.
I emailed my list and posted on Twitter asking for questions and feedback.
I also posted screenshots of the Table of Contents as it was evolved to
make readers feel like they were part of the creative process (they were).
One reader sent me a DM on Sunday telling me what he hoped to learn.
I realized it was an opportunity to add more detail, so I added another 500 words or so to the section on getting retainers because of him.
14. It's not hard to hit 4 figures in sales
I won’t get into specifics (that’s between me and my accountant), but it’s not THAT hard to make 4 figures with an info product in a short period of time.
Just understand that a low price means you’ll need higher volume and a high price (like my upcoming course) needs lower volume.
15. After you've done it once, the 2nd time is much easier
I’d never used Gumroad or written a book before, so I had no idea what I was doing.
Now that I’ve gone through the process, I know I can do it again, but I never would’ve reached this point without jumping in the fire in the first place.
16. It takes as long as it takes
I've been freelancing for like four years and this is my 1st product.
I see guys creating products and courses now in what seems like their first 6 months of working online.
I’m not hating, but I’m glad I waited.
A couple years ago I saw someone ask AJAC when he was going to write a book.
I remember him saying, “When I have something to say” or something like that.
I had the same feeling with this book.
Even a year ago I didn’t know a lot of what I know now, but I feel like I’m at the point where this model of teaching makes sense to me.
17. Most of your sales will come from one channel
Again, not a surprise here.
It’s just the 80/20 rule.
It’s why I didn’t promote the book hard through my email list and instead focused on Twitter.
Twitter works really well for direct sales.
18. You don't need to be a 10-year expert to release a product
I’ve been in marketing and sales for 10+ years now, but only freelancing online for the past 4 years.
So I don’t know everything, but I do know a lot and definitely more than complete beginners.
That’s another reason Freelance Foundations was created as a beginner product.
19. Think short and long-term
When I planned my 2019 goals towards the end of last year, writing a book wasn’t one of them.
Fortunately, I was able to knock this out in a month, so the ROI is high for a small time investment.
It’s important to understand that you can't put your foot on the gas for every project at the same time.
I've been less focused on freelancing in Q1, but will go back to it in Q2.
20. Make your 1st product as good as possible
One reason I did a complete overhaul of the free guide was because if I was going to have my name attached to it, I wanted it to be awesome.
Life’s too short to sell shitty products and creating a quality book will boost my credibility when I launch my course.
21. Understand what your product IS
I’m sure a lot of people think $47 is too expensive for an e-book.
Still, I had other people telling me I should raise the price to $60.
Or turn the book into a mid-priced course around $300.
From my perspective, the book is the book and the course is the course.
My goal was to create a high-quality book that would sell at a premium price.
My goal with the course is to also create a high-quality product that sells for a premium price (at least $1,000).
Both products are high-quality.
Both are premium.
But they target two different kinds of buyers with different problems to solve.
So I’m drawing a very clear line in the sand that the book is one thing and the course is another thing altogether.
That gives me clarity.
It also gives buyers clarity when they think, “Is this product for me?”
I don’t have plans to release any more books right now.
If people start asking for a book around a specific topic, I’ll consider it.
But for now my plan is to focus on freelancing and some other projects.
RESOURCES MENTIONED IN THIS POST:
Book - Freelance Foundations
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