One of the biggest mistakes I see so many bloggers making is the fact that they aren’t selling any products of their own.
Sure, you may be promoting somebody else’s product as an affiliate, and that’s certainly a good way to monetize your blog, but the benefits of selling a product of your very own are enormous.
So why aren’t more bloggers creating their own products?
It tends to come down to one of two reasons – either they feel they don’t have a good idea for a product, or they are concerned about the amount of time it takes to create something and are worried that the investment of their time will not be worth it.
These concerns are understandable – after all, who wants to spend months creating something they feel is amazing only for it to ultimately flop?
Fortunately, the risk of this can be dramatically reduced by creating something called a minimum viable product, or MVP for short. Using the advice laid out for you in this article, you’ll be able to eliminate these concerns by creating and bringing a product to market far quicker than normal, and you’ll be able to verify it’s a product that your audience is interested in purchasing before putting too much time into it.
What Is A Minimum Viable Product?
First and foremost, it’s important to understand what a minimum viable product actually is. A minimum viable product is essentially the smallest or leanest version of a product necessary to bring it to market.
For example, my membership site could have been considered a minimum viable product if I wouldn’t have taken the time to add so many bonuses and extra incentives to join. If I would’ve only offered one core benefit, it could have been considered an MVP.
But why is this important? Aren’t we expected to make products perfect before releasing them?
No doubt it’s best to have products we deem as ‘perfect,’ but perfection is not the point of an MVP. By releasing a minimum viable product, you minimize the risk you take because the time you invest into creating it is so much smaller. Upon release, you can test how the market reacts to it and determine whether or not this product is worth investing more time into.
If so, you can use actual user feedback and suggestions to make improvements to the product, adding more features that consumers actually desire, building a product over time that becomes more and more complete.
Even if you feel that you know what your audience wants, you can’t be sure until people are actually offered to purchase the product with their own money. So many people will tell you that they’re interested in something up until it comes time to buy it. Then, the excuses spring up.
Never forget that people will pay whatever it takes, even borrow money they don’t have, to purchase something if they want it badly enough.
By taking the MVP approach, you respond to what people want, rather than trying to make your best guess and hope the time you’ve invested into creating something is actually desired by customers.
MVPs Aren’t Meant To Be Complete
I don’t know about you, but when I create a product on something, I want it to be the world’s best. I want there to be no question on which product is #1.
This is why I continue to add new lectures to my courses regularly.
However, we are business owners, and thus, we need to focus on what will offer the greatest return for the resources we invest.
Take a look at my course earnings breakdown:
You can see here that out of my 5 courses, 3 of them make up about 25% of my revenue each, with the remaining 2 sharing that last ~25%.
Now I’ve got to say, I did not release any of my courses as MVPs. But imagine if I did. Imagine if I had put in roughly the same amount of effort for each course, imagine if they were all roughly the same length, with the same number of lectures.
Would it make more sense to further develop the courses that were performing well, or the courses that weren’t making as much?
If I wanted the maximum return on my time, I’d want to further improve the courses that are already doing well. The marketplace has proven that demand is there, and a further developed product would be bound to shoot up sales even further.
Imagine if I had invested all of my time and energy into my worst performing course?
Even if it were the world’s best, that doesn’t necessarily mean the demand is there. However, now that I know what topics the marketplace is best responding to, I can prioritize my time and work towards dominating that particular space.
It Doesn’t Take Long To Get Something Out There
It takes work to create a product.
I get it.
Yes, you could start promoting somebody else’s products and earning commissions today. I understand that aspect of it makes affiliate marketing so appealing to so many people.
However, if you want to get to places most people aren’t getting to, you have to be willing to do things most people won’t do.
I mean think about it this way – who do you think is making more money, you as the affiliate, or the guy who created the product with an army of affiliates promoting it for him? What side of the table do you want to be on?
By taking the MVP strategy, you can cut the time you take creating a product in half, cut the risk you’re taking in half, and still ultimately come out with a product that better solves your target market’s problems.
It’s a winning strategy. Quit spending time overthinking things and instead spend that time bringing something to the market. It takes the same amount of effort to worry than it does to take action, so you may as well do something productive and create something of value.
Whether you’re creating your first product to sell on your blog or you have already released many, it may be a good idea to make your next product an MVP.
By minimizing the amount of time you put into creating a product and only providing its core aspects that make it valuable to your audience, you grant yourself the ability to test the market and make improvements and adjustments based on what your customers actually want, rather than having to simply make your best guess.
What’s your opinion on creating a minimum viable product? Could you see yourself taking this approach rather than creating a fully-fledged, fully developed product? Or would you rather take your chances with a huge launch?
Interested to hear your take, because there are certainly times when one approach is better than the other!
– James McAllister
I love the MVP idea.
I used to tell my product creation students, I want to see a terrible product by Wednesday.
What? I thought my products should be good? No, you didn’t… you thought they should be perfect. You’ll never have a perfect product by Wednesday, but you will have a product. Make it terrible because anybody can get a terrible product done. Nobody can get a perfect one done.
My point was not to have them bring this “terrible product” to market, but to see that they could actually complete something, and now go back and kick it into shape until it is marketable. What does marketable mean? It means a product that will improve somebody’s life.
To improve somebody’s life, you don’t need the best graphics and slick videos. You need to give them a concept, a strategy, a kick in the pants… whatever moves them forward.
My version of MVP is the free side to my membership site that I recently made public. It gives me a chance to deliver MVP’s that can truly help people, yet aren’t of the caliber that you’ll get when you upgrade to the paid level.
Lovin’ the MVP idea, my friend. Run with it.
Donna Merrill recently posted…Add Recurring Income To Your Online Business
Better to get something out there and make improvements later than never actually get around to putting something out there.. so many people get hung up on the details but if you just focus on what’s important you can often cut the creation time in half or even further.
I keep thinking back to this one time my grandmother made me a fancy cake for my birthday – most of the time was spent decorating it. The MVP concept reminds me of that – even without the decorations, the plain cake still served its purpose – to be eaten, to taste good. The decorations made it look nicer, but made it take way longer to prepare and didn’t add much more in terms of solving the problem.
Your free membership site is a good example and I’m enjoying the content you’ve provided in it so far!
James McAllister recently posted…You Wouldn’t Believe How Blogging Has Transformed My Life
The idea of minimum viable product reminded me the famous quote “done is better than perfect” that right advises first enter into a market with a little briefcase and then get huge suitcase their to fill in it your further products.
In business idealism can never work. No doubt quality control has its own significance but no where it is write a quality should also be full of quantity. I full agree with you that first one has to jump into the market and then think for the big projects.
Many thanks for this very informative and useful post.
Have a great rest of the week.
Mi Muba recently posted…10 sensual ways to know the product your blog readers badly want
Hey Mi Muba! Long time no see, hope you’ve been well!
You’re absolutely right, and honestly it doesn’t matter how great a product is if it’s never actually brought to market. Plus, the idea that people need something perfect just puts unnecessary pressure on people, especially beginners, and can even prevent them from getting started completely.
Since most of us bloggers sell digital products rather than physical products, it’s a lot easier to go back and edit, revise, and improve our products as time goes on. Because of this, there isn’t really any excuse to not get something out there – start out with something, and build it into something amazing over time. Isn’t that what we’re doing with our blogs anyway?
Good to see you again Mi Muba, always enjoy talking with you !
James McAllister recently posted…7 Universal Life Lessons That Blogging Has Taught Me
I like your MVP concept! Get the frigging product into the marketplace then refine it and upgrade it over time. People spend too much time trying to create the perfect product, without even knowing if there’s a market for it. How dumb is that?
I look at it as being similar to software developers who release their beta testing product first. It’s not perfect but in time, it may be. Get it out there!
Internet marketers and bloggers should create at least one product. Not that I am a good role model on this front.
It still amazes me that I came so late to the product creation party. Although I started online in 2006, for most of that period I have been a successful affiliate marketer. (I am still an affiliate marketer and make most of my money from it.)
But finally two years I ago I wrote my first ebook. This gave me the thirst, and particularly the confidence, to keep going with it. Since then I’ve created several small products and a couple of major ones, plus two membership sites.
I still see the affiliate marketing side of things as the biggest income drivers for the foreseeable future, but hopefully, my products and services will eventually account for larger slice of the revenue pie.
You’re setting a great example by showing people how they can generate a good income by creating and marketing their own products.
I hope this post inspires others to follow your lead
Kim Willis recently posted…If I Had My Time Over Again As a Blogger
Right? I mean most of us are releasing digital products so it’s not like it’s hard to go back and make changes and adjustments. I’ve not really released any MVPs myself but I still add to my products regularly based on feedback I get – and everybody’s happy this way. I’m happy because I know I’m not wasting my time with content my customers do not want, and my customers are happy that they are getting exactly what they’ve asked for.
Considering you make so much in the high-ticket space I’m not surprised to hear the bulk comes from affiliate earnings. Like you I came pretty late to the party but I knew in the MMO market this was what I needed to grow as an influencer. I have quite a few products out now but no doubt I’m going to continue more when it makes sense. Sounds like you and me both really got going once we got our first one down, which is one of the reasons I wrote this article – most people who would really benefit from this idea are people who have yet to take the plunge and make their first. The first product is the hardest for most people, and the MVP approach may just be what they need to get the ball rolling.
James McAllister recently posted…These 5 Common Blogging Mistakes Are Killing Your Profits
I have got a clear idea about MVP from your article. It’s really a good idea to create own product and sell it. It also increase the confidence level. I have just started affiliate marketing but I have a plan to write an e-book.
Idea of MVP is good. Before adding so many features in a product, we can launch a product with little bit features and need to see the marketing reaction. It also helpful to improve a product.
Thanks for sharing this article.
Thanks & regards
Moumita Ghosh recently posted…4 Pro-Bloggers Reveal Their Twitter Marketing Strategies
Hey Moumita! Wow, it’s been almost a year since we’ve last talked – hope you’ve been having a great time since then!
Affiliate marketing is a great way to get started but I am really excited to hear you’re creating your own eBook. That’s how I got started too, as have many others, and no doubt the following products you create after your first one will come even easier.
Good to see you again Moumita!
James McAllister recently posted…Massive Action In Blogging Leads To Massive Results
Hi James, this is awesome stuff mate again.
You know, I did exactly that when I released my Smarter Blogging eBook about two years ago. It started off as a simple 99 cent 25 page guide, to becoming a work book with over 100 pages, and for now a measly seven dollars lol.
But the point is that I started off with a MVP and slowly as I got some feedback from folks that were kind enough to purchase it, I made it better with tweaks and upgrades. Come to think of it I think it’s time to upgrade it again.
I love this concept dude, the same can be applied to web design or creating a landing page even. People wait until they’ve got something perfect to launch and yet they’re wasting time and missing out on opportunities. Get something out and available, improvements can be made over time.
Great post buddy, speak soon – Fabrizio.
Fabrizio Van Marciano(Quote)
Fabrizio Van Marciano recently posted…I’m Taking A Break From Blogging (To Work On Some Cool Back End Stuff For You)
That’s awesome that you were able to take this concept and find success with it yourself. You’re a clear example that this strategy works and you’re absolutely right, it can be applied to lots of different things. I didn’t really think about it but you’re right.
I really do think if we wait for something to be perfect, we’ll end up waiting forever. I know that’s how it’d be with me anyway!
James McAllister recently posted…My Next Course Is Going To Change Every Aspect Of Your Life
I want to say this post is really an eye opener. I really loved every bit of it especially the wizard of products. Thanks a lot for the post.
Pritam Nagrale recently posted…Is Subscribing to Netflix India Worth Your Money
Hey Pritam, good to see you and I’m glad to hear that you got a lot of value out of this post!
James McAllister recently posted…7 Universal Life Lessons That Blogging Has Taught Me
Well this definitely makes creating products less intimidating!
Laria Rionel recently posted…The Science Of Black Hair
Haha it’s definitely a lot less difficult than so many people think it needs to be. The most important thing is we get started and we get something out there! Forget the idea of it being perfect, just make it happen right?
James McAllister recently posted…You Wouldn’t Believe How Blogging Has Transformed My Life
You definitely have a point! Now instead of being afraid to create a product I actually feel excited!
Laria Rionel recently posted…Things You Didn’t Know About Coily Hair
Thanks a lot for providing such a piece of valuable information among us.
I would like to share my opinion about MVP and why there is need of MVP.
There are a lot of entrepreneurs who have a unique and valid business idea but they don’t know how and where to start to validate their idea. The best solution to do this is to create/develop an MVP (Minimum viable product). There are a lot of things to consider while developing an MVP like competition analysis, the demand of your product, USPs, Upcoming cost of maintenance, business model and revenue stream.
You’re absolutely right, and I feel that it’s very important that more and more people learn about this concept.
Today it’s so easy to get caught up and excited about an idea that may never turn out to work. Proving demand quickly allows you to avoid making any unnecessary investments of time or money, while also helping you shape the product to become the best version it possibly can.
James McAllister recently posted…8 Online Course Selling Mistakes That Are Killing Conversions
Excellent advice coach.
And I definitely agree with both coach Kim and especially Donna Merrill-s excellent advice too.
About being able to get a not so perfect product done in a very short period
of time vs never being able to get a perfect product done no matter how much
time you allocate towards doing so.
In fact I would even go as far to apply Donna’s excellent advice to your typical
aspiring blogger or wannbe youtube video marketer.
While they constantly struggle to create the so called “perfect” blog post or video. They
inevitably end up writing or recording nothing. For long periods of time.
Where as they could definitely publish a blog post which may be mediocre to
start. But as coach Kim clearly stated. As their skills, confidence and vision
steadily grows. They can definitely improve upon it as they go.
Thanks for sharing your MVP potential income generating concept. You’ve already
given me an idea for a paid MP3 recording or a series! Thanks coach! I truly appreciate it!
Thanks Mark, you’re absolutely right!
If you have a willingness to take feedback and use it to improve your offer, then you should have no problem starting with an MVP. We just have to be transparent about any potential shortcomings and make it clear that the product is still in development!
James McAllister recently posted…Announcing The Largest Product I’ve Ever Created – The VIP Club