Time does not equal money. The first step to creating products.

How to create products: the first step

Create your own product. What an egg-cellant idea!

There is a flurry of entrepreneurial activity at my children’s school at the moment. They have all been given £10 and have been challenged to turn that £10 note in to profit.

It’s really interesting to see the creativity and initiative coming from them all. The headmaster has told us parents that it is the children’s projects and not an “Easter Bonnet Parade”. We have been warned off from helping out!

There’s a group set up as a shoe-shine shop every morning in the car park. That worked really well until another team decided to do the same thing and they started undercutting each other!

Another couple of boys are playing statues – just like the ones you see in busy tourist spots such as The Embankment in London.

There are other groups creating products such as bird boxes to sell, buying smelly rubbers to re-sell at a profit, selling ice creams and cakes (always a winner for after school hunger!).

Problem in selling time

But the problem with a lot of the businesses they’ve set up is that they are not sustainable. They are basically selling their time for money. If the shoe-shine boys don’t show up one morning, they are not making money. If the car wash team decides not to wash cars, they are not making money.

And it’s the same problem that many of you have. As coaches, consultants, trainers, designers, it’s very easy to be caught in the trap of selling yourself by the hour. When you come to the holidays or a dried up pipeline, your cash flow disappears.

It’s not easy moving away from the time = money business model.  Deciding how to create products – and where to start – is tough.  Don’t get fooled by all the 6-figure-business-in-6-weeks home study courses that are plentiful on the internet.  Creating a business around products can’t be done one weekend with a sprinkle of fairy dust and blissful hope.

But you can start by questioning your business model and look for opportunities where you can start to create products.

Create products – keep it simple!

Can you write out the process that you work with your clients and create a simple “how-to” guide?  This can be one of the simplest step to take to create products.  It can be as basic as a PDF document that is delivered via email when someone buys via a PayPal link.

Are there opportunities to offer group workshops? I know a workshop is still selling your time but offering what you do to a group means you are able to package your skills and increase your day rate often by 10 fold. Plus running live workshops are a great first step to creating online programmes and DVDs to sell from your website at a later date.

I met some fantastic VA’s at a recent conference who had started offering short, practical two hour workshops to clients about the topics they helped clients with, such as WordPress and Email Marketing.  It was working really well for them. (And it’s where I started too!)

What about creating a series of how-to videos? It could be you talking to the camera or over a powerpoint presentation which you deliver as a 7 part course delivered each day by email.

The possibilities are endless.  But I do know that coming up with the ideas on what products to create is only half the battle.

Putting the ideas in to action is the other half. And it’s this half that seems to put most of you off from coming up (and committing to!) with the ideas to make money while you sleep.

Technical set-up is NOT your job

Technical set up should not be done by you.  You have skills in other areas – such as coming up with the idea of which product to create first.  The actual creating and set up – the videoing, the PayPal set up, the email marketing system sort out, the landing page – can be done with the right support – I promise you!

And if you feel you need help with finding the right support – usually in the form of a good Virtual Assistant – then do check out my quick and easy “How to Hire a VA” course.  It will show exactly what you need to do to get one hired.

The secret in getting this right is in the delegating and outsourcing of the set-up of products to someone who knows exactly what to do. This is NOT your job!

Create products – the first step for YOU to take

Start with the first half first. What do your clients want to see you do?

What products do your clients right here and now want to see you create?

(This is a really important step to take – don’t skip it!!)

If you don’t know the answer to that, ask them!! And then once you’ve got the idea, then commit to making your product happen … remembering to outsource and buy in the expertise to get you through the technical set up.

What about my kids? Are they creating products?

Back to my kids’ school and what my children are up to. My daughter is, well, doing something typical of an 11-year-old child! As a group they are tying teachers to trees and then charging their friends 50p for a 3 second squirt of foam at them! Think I’ve got some business lessons to teach her!

My 9YO son, on the other hand, has bought four chickens with another boy and are now selling “farm fresh” eggs to the teachers. As they only have a few weeks left of school to sell the eggs (do the sums – each chicken lays only one egg a day doesn’t give them a huge return), they plan to sell the chickens “point of lay” for twice the money they bought for (still less than half that the Surrey housewives will pay normally for their Egloo Chickens!)

My favourite story so far was that he decided that the children selling cookies needed to buy his eggs so they could bake more cookies. Hopefully this a sign of greater things to come!

Karen Skidmore
Karen Skidmore

Karen Skidmore helps small business owners work smarter and use the right marketing tools so they can attract more of the right clients to their business. Karen created the Web Tech Club to show you how to use tools such as email newsletters, blogs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. To subscribe to her free email newsletter and get access to practical advice and marketing ideas that will move your business forward, visit www.CanDoCanBe.co.uk

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