If you want to make money, you must sell something. You can sell what everybody else is selling but how will you then differentiate yourself? One of the challenges of business is how to stand out.
The easiest way is by creating your own product. Not any old product but one that people want or need and are prepared to pay for. It has to be something valuable. This is the basis for creating a value-based business.
Most people will feel resistance when they hear they must create their own product. Excuses that may come up could be:
"This is too hard"
"I don’t know what to teach others"
"But payment processing is too difficult to deal with"
There is this choir of internet marketers who tell you there are much easier ways to make money. Why would you choose the route that looks on the surface more difficult?
Before I answer, let me clarify what I mean by “product”. It could be:
These are all products that are unique to you. No-one else has exactly the same products. They reflect your knowledge, expertise, and personality. You sell them without an intermediary to your customers.
The principle in the last paragraph is crucial. You are a unique brand and you’re earning income direct without middlemen. You are selling useful products direct to people who want and need them. Your customer gets something that is unique and valuable and you receive money. You have created a win-win situation.
The qualifier here is that your product must be good, valuable and something people want. It’s not something you think they want, but they actually desire the product. This is important.
Let me answer why you must follow the route of creating your own product.
You do not need anybody’s permission to start your own business.
Before, you had to get publishers to approve your book. Without their approval, you were stuck. To start any brick-and-mortar business, you need lots of approvals and certificates. It can take you weeks or months to open your doors.
The internet business is different. Video has become the new TV, podcast the new radio, and blogging the new magazine or newspaper. You don’t need the approval of anyone to start any of these.
You also don’t need authorization to create your own products.
This minute you can start anything you want. If you have something to say or teach, nothing stops you to do so. You can create your own product today if you decide to.
When you create your own product you have something that no-one else has. It’s unique to you. You weaved your own skills, expertise, and personality into the product. No-one else is selling that identical product.
But you may say other people are selling something similar. That’s true. But look for instance at books on Amazon or your local bookstore. There are many books available on the same topic. You will get best-seller books on the same topic. But they’re all exclusive books.
Different authors using their own unique insights wrote these books. The books reflect their personalities and style. The authors attract different readers due to the authors' style and content. We all have our favorite authors on different topics.
The same is true for any other product created. How many TV brands are there? There are endless examples of similar products. People differ in preference and style and so many similar products sell.
When you start by selling affiliate products, the challenge will be to differentiate yourself. Many affiliates promote the exact same product. How do you differentiate yourself and the product?
You have noticed that top affiliates create their own bonuses and add them to the affiliate offer. If someone buys the affiliate offer through their link, they get the bonuses. This is how they differentiate themselves as non-product owners.
The qualifier here is that you must create the bonuses to be complementary to the main product. It must help the buyer to the next step in the process. That is how you make your bonuses valuable and you stand out from the rest.
Besides, creating bonuses as an affiliate also helps you to create your own product. They’re like mini-courses that sharpen your skills for creating your own full-blown course. At the same time, you learn to market with excellence.
Creating your own products as bonuses or to sell on their own is a powerful differentiator.
In the old days, people build a moat around a castle to protect themselves. It made the castle more defensible.
Your business worth is dependent on how ‘defensible’ your business is. It means that others can’t without great trouble replicate your business. Your business will be worth more if nobody can replicate it. Think about Apple. How easy would someone rip Apple off and duplicate it?
It’s easy to replicate any of the ‘easy’ business models that some advocate. This means the same product will flood the market. The supply and demand law in economics will kick in and the prices of those products will drop. You can never win in business with a business model based on the cheapest price. It’s a race to the bottom.
You increase the strength of your moat by branding yourself and your products. Build a brand around you that people like and trust. Nobody can steal that because you built it on your face and your personality. Be authentic and provide value that nobody else can.
Which one do you take more serious? An author of a free eBook or an author of a published book you paid for?
That’s why you must sell your own created products. It increases your status and people know you're serious. We, as humans, don’t add a lot of value to things we get free. Whether someone receives $100 or win the lotto of $10 million, they squander it. ‘Free’ has no real value attached to it.
But if we paid from our hard-earned cash for something, we value it. We desire things that are ‘expensive’.
You create your own products because people will pay more attention to you. You charge premium prices for your products because people value expensive products. Remember, selling is about an exchange of equal value. What you give in product value must match the value received in money. If not, people will feel you’ve ripped them off and they will damage your reputation.
People who pay for your products and follow you are more passionate fans. Passionate fans spread the word about you hand over fist.
By creating your own product, you start a virtuous cycle. People know you're for real. They will spread the word about you. More traffic will come to your website. That will create more passionate fans. Your influence will keep on increasing and the cycle repeats.
Websites running on only ads from other people and paid-for ad clicks are low on the league ranking. It’s the bottom feeders in the online world.
Affiliate marketing is a step higher. Let’s be honest about this. There are millionaires in the affiliate marketing league. It's not impossible to earn a decent living selling affiliate products if you do it the right way.
By creating your own products you immediately move to a higher league. You have the ability to leverage. You may even start your own affiliate program once you have an optimized funnel. Other people will then send their traffic to your sales page for a commission. When you reach this stage, you can scale your business a lot.
You can ask a higher price for your own products and this allows you to pay for more advertising. Even if you pay a part of the product price to advertisements, your profit could be higher. Your business can grow much faster.
Successful product owners are in demand for interviews. Others may ask you to speak at events. If you create your own product and brand, people will want to be part of you and your brand. This is great for your business.
If you don’t own the product or the platform, your business can end in a minute.
The affiliate product owner can cancel his product or program without you having a say. If you only promote an affiliate product, your business ends right there.
If you build your business only on social media platforms you are at the mercy of those platform owners. For instance, Facebook may change its algorithms that will stop your traffic flow. They may even ban you from their platform without explaining why. Your business ends right there.
Creating your own product allows you to sell that product on your own domain. You own that online piece of property. You have independence and full control over it.
You have a deep moat around your business if you have a valuable asset (your own product) on a property you own.
You will rely on other third-party services. For instance, hosting, Autoresponder, and a payment system, but they’re interchangeable. There are many of them available to you. If you don’t like their service you can switch at a drop of a hat and your business will continue as usual.
There is this saying ‘Learn, Teach, Earn’. One of the best ways to earn is to teach. Teaching what you learn becomes easy. You have certain knowledge and experience already. You have acquired insights during your life and struggles. The moment you start teaching what you know, your own skills and knowledge take a leap forward.
When you create a product, it gives your skills a boost. With a boost in skills, you will create better content and products in the future. This, in turn, gives you another skills boost. You start a beneficial spiral in your own life when you create your own products.
When you create a product the payoff is uncertain. But the process is certain. There are a specific goal, start, and deadline. You know exactly when to start en when to finish. It’s not this never-ending road in front of you.
Deadlines have a way to inspire you and get your energy juices flowing. When it’s a question of do or die, then you get a lot done in a flash.
You'll boost your productivity when your goal is to release a new product each year. That would light a fire under you.
Creating your own products eliminates the uncertainty. You will establish a precise process for product creation. It’s better if your audience is an integral part of the process. You ask them what they want and then you give it to them.
The success of any business depends on having statistics or numbers available to analyze. Without knowing your numbers you don’t know what’s working and can’t optimize. You can only improve what you can measure. With no measure or benchmark, you’re flying blind.
You want to know your return on investment when you pay for ads. You want to split test and see which sales page or ads brought in the most sales.
Some affiliate programs allow you to do detailed tracking but most don’t. You know how much sales you’ve made but the process from your website to a sale may be a bit of a black box.
Only by owning your products and the sales funnel will you be able to track everything. You can perform A/B split tests on everything. You can analyze data and find out what is working the best and make changes to optimize your sales funnel.
When you sell your own products you can use so many more marketing techniques.
For instance, you can use email marketing and follow-up sequences. If you don’t own the customer, you don’t have an email address to build a relationship. Granted, by using a bridge page in front of a sales page you may get an email address. But it’s not the same as owning the customer. Someone who bought something from you is more valuable to your business.
You can segment your list based on the products they’ve bought and market other products to the list.
To add urgency, you can create evergreen scarcity marketing campaigns. We know that scarcity increases conversions. If you don’t own the product you can’t decide on its availability to create scarcity.
If you own the sales page you can use tools to analyze how people interact with the page and optimize it for more sales.
Creating your own products improve the profitability and performance of your business.
If someone wants to buy something, they are sent to a sales page. On the sales page, they fill in their contact details. If you don’t own that sales page, the customer doesn’t belong to you. The person, who owns the product and thus the sales page, owns the customer.
By having your own products to sell, you keep the customer on your site. You own the sales page that you send the customer to. Thus the customer belongs to you.
That’s why you create your own value products, build your own brand and keep it on a property you own. You attract people to your website where you host valuable content. People optin and progress further down your own funnel. If you don’t do this, they may leave and you’ll never see them again.
That’s why you build a brand people want to stay with.
In professional sports, one single statistic can’t describe the value of a player. You can form a picture of the player’s ability if you group crucial statistics together.
The same principle applies in business. It’s too limiting to look at only one statistic. You have to group some key metrics to make meaningful conclusions.
One of the key numbers in any business is customer lifetime value (CLV). This metric measures the revenue you receive from repeat customers. Why is that important? When you know your CLV you know how much you can spend on advertising to get a new customer (CAC). The CLV of your business must be lower than your CAC to make a profit.
Your CLV is also a sign of your customer retention rate and your customer service. Customers will leave if they’re not satisfied with how you treat them.
In a value-based business, you can earn many dollars per customer. It's because you can charge premium prices for your products. Compare that to other business models where you earn cents per sale. You don’t own the customer to increase the CLV.
With more dollars in your pocket, you can provide better customer service. We know that relationships sell products. The better the relationship you have with customers, the longer they stay and the more they buy. A true fan will buy whatever you offer, provided they consider it valuable.
With your own products, you can create this virtuous circle. The more value you provide, the higher the CLV, and the better you can treat your customer. That increases their ‘feel good’ factor which increases the CLV, and so it continues.
I’ve said it before. You can build a relationship with your customers when you have your own products. Having your own products also allows you to put your customer first.
You put a laser-like focus on your customers. All your efforts focus on serving your customer better and giving them value. Everything you do becomes more efficient.
Making money becomes easier. It’s easier to create beneficial feedback cycles. Your content and your marketing campaigns become simpler.
I cannot overemphasize the principle of putting the customer first. It’s only possible when you own the customer. Only product owners can own the customer. The possibilities are so much more for product owners compared to non-product owners.
Most people think they can’t create their own product. The process and what to say scare them.
Internet marketing ‘gurus’ jump on this psychological barrier and provide ‘easy’ solutions. They say you can have your own business without needing to know anything, learn anything or even do much work.
I’ll let you be the judge of that storyline given what you've learned now.
Beware! The easy road leads to nowhere.
As a product creator, you face less competition. You will learn more, get more skills, build better products, and make more money. Creating your own products allows you to build a real business that is sustainable. It's like building your house on a rock and not sand.
If you haven't yet joined us yet on our journey to real businesses, then perhaps it’s time.
I’ve put before you the reasons why I believe you should become a product creator. If you’ve read this and still have reasons to differ of questions, let me know in the comments below. I would like to learn what is keeping you from creating your own product. Any other feedback is also welcome.
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