Earlier this year I embarked upon a five month blogging/business lesson that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
December 2009 I had this "˜brilliant' idea to write and produce a complete personal development course to help others to change their lives, as I had. I had around 8,000 subscribers to the blog and thought they would love it. I called it "˜Alter Your Jacket', the naming of the program itself took nearly 4 weeks. I drew inspiration from my mentors Eben Pagan and Frank Kern and copied their product launch style with 4 free videos and bonuses at the end of the free video course.
Once I had the name, it was time to begin with the preparation. I needed video equipment: good camera, lighting, background materials, mics, sound editing etc. I then needed to start writing the program, which I completed in around 4 months. Once I had done this I needed editing software for the videos, transcription services to transcribe videos to PDFs, a website, software for readers buying the product, and finally a marketing plan.
My Chance for Glory
All in, the entire program from conception to writing, and producing took around 5 months. I put my heart and soul into this and honestly believed it would help to change people's lives and would change mine in return. Once I had completed the program, built websites and wrote to a few blogger friends to become affiliates to start testing it I released it to the world thinking: "˜This is it, this is my chance to make a name for myself and go up another level in the blogging world and get enough money to be able to financially support my blogging full time' (no I'm not full time yet).
700 subscribers in two weeks with the help of 3 of my well known blogger friends and I managed to get 5 sales at $67 for the program. I then tweaked it and offered payment plans, another 4 sales. I then tweaked it again and again and nothing. 2 weeks later I closed the program but still kept the free videos up.
It's quite disheartening to see a product you've put so much effort into go down the toilet and it's only in the last month that I've been able to say;' this program didn't work'. The problem was, I produced the videos as a talking head a la Eben Pagan. However Eben Pagan is a business guru and that format didn't transfer well into the personal development world and I received a lot of feedback to say that watching 7 x 30 minutes videos of a talking head was not conducive to learning. There was also problems with the sales page, the copywriting. It was all business and not about the reader.
The 5 Lessons I Learned
Always do the research. Find out what your readers really want. Once your readers have told you what they want, find out if the rest of the world wants that as well, chances are if your readers want it a lot of people looking for your niche products will want it as well.
Never follow the money. Once I had the idea and basked in the glory of my brilliance I kept thinking about how the money was going to change my life. It couldn't fail, after all who doesn't want to change their life in some way? How wrong could I be. If you do it for the money, you are doomed from the start, sure you might get initial returns on your investment but it's all about connecting with your readers, really connecting.
Once you drop the money aspect of your business and start thinking about the connecting aspect, you will find the money will come naturally, whilst still focusing on connecting with your readers.
Being specific. Readers don't want a program that will help them with every aspect of their life. Readers are looking for specific programs to help them change "˜one aspect' of their life, it's our duty to find out what that "˜one aspect' is, and then find another aspect, and then another.
Imagine you want to change your eating habits and want to try a vegan diet. Which book would you buy:
Try a vegan diet for 30 days "“ the complete guide
How to change your life
That is essentially what I had done with the "˜Alter your Jacket' program. I offered everyone a solution to change every aspect of their life. This doesn't work in the business world and in the readers mind it's not going to work either. That's why we have different models of cars, different styles of houses, different everything. We are all different and we don't want a one size fits all to anything in our lives. We want to feel as if a product is specifically made for our needs.
Learn from your mistakes. It would be so easy to give up and say "˜I've given it my best shot, there's nothing else I can do, it's time to give up.' I have learned a huge amount from the "˜Alter Your Jacket' experience: producing videos, editing videos, writing, networking, discipline, determination, marketing, copywriting, website building and so much more and it only cost me 1 failure to learn all that.
Keep the passion. There's a lot of talk about finding your passion in life and so many people are struggling to find their passion. I realised that I am one of the lucky ones, I have a passion that will never die and I have nurtured it even more after the mistakes of "˜Alter Your Jacket'. I love writing, love blogging and love the readers I connect with. I am so excited to get up in the morning, I really mean that, I literally open my eyes at 4.30 or 5am and spring out of bed as I can't wait to see what's in store for me for the blogging day ahead and start writing and being creative in some way. My head is so full of ideas it's hard to contain them.
If all you are blogging for is the money, then I would advise you to stop right now and re-evaluate. Try and find your centre and start thinking about the information you are giving to the world. Start writing from a centre of deep concern, start writing from a centre of passion and make sure you convey that passion to your readers.
Did I really fail?
I am still extremely confident about my abilities and even more so now that I have a new set of skills behind me. I took me 1 failed product launch to learn everything I learned and I am willing to go through another 10 failed product launches if they all teach me something. Do I feel like a fool? Not at all, if you can learn anything form this then the product launch was a complete success. (Am I just saying all that to stop me from feeling foolish? – of course I am 🙂 )