This morning I went for a run with a good friend and we were talking about online businesses. He’s an amazing teacher and gets asked all of the time to speak and help others due to the success he’s had in his classroom. So I said, “You should just publish your stuff online and sell it, so that it opens it up to the rest of the world.”
In many ways, not doing that is selfish. If you have a better way of doing something, then it’s your duty to share it with the world. After he bought in, then the conversation turned to one of technology and production… which I replied, “Dude, we live in an amazing time where everything has already been built for us. It’s so simple now. Like putting lego blocks together. Easy.” But I could tell I hadn’t convinced him.
So instead of trying to explain it to him in detail, I decided to show him instead. Below is a step by step guide on how I published my very first eBook and got my first sale.
1. Create the content (or package something you already have)
Many of us have something we’ve created but have never shared publicly. I actually had an eBook that I wrote during a 4 hour flight on my iPhone, covering my thoughts on how to host a Founders Lunch. I decided this was probably the most appropriate thing to sell, so I went in, quickly reviewed that I didn’t forget any major typos and clicked Export to PDF.
That was it. I had my content. For other people, they might have a podcast interview or a talk they might have recorded or a simple screen share they could produce. We do this every week with Clarity Live, where we charge $97/month for access to private interviews with some of our top experts. It can really be that simple.
Great content is great content. Don’t over think it. You can always improve it once you get some feedback from the market… and it’s better to get something done and out that might be low quality, and find out that no one wants it, then spend 100’s of hours producing something super high quality and getting no sales.
Just grab the content, save and distribute. Don’t over think it.
2. Set it up online to be bought
We live in such a special time that there are MANY options for selling a service or product online. For my purpose, it’s a downloadable file, so I decided to use Gumroad. It honestly took me 3 minutes to create an account, upload the PDF of my eBook, create a cover image (using Keynote) and set my payout settings (using PayPal).
If you have something different to sell online, like a physical product, there are other options as well. Here’s a small list of alternatives depending on your needs:
The options are endless… but don’t spend too much time with complicated setups. Just create a link that accepts payment info and share it with the world.
3. Promote it to your ideal customer
The key to selling anything is to put it in front of your ideal customer. If those people exist in your network, then email them a link to the product. If you’re a member of an association that has an online forum for members, post it there. Do something to promote it. Again, the tendency is to wait till it’s perfect, but don’t. Just get it out.
For me, that was Twitter … once I had the link, I tweeted it out.
I wrote my first "book"! It's an early alpha, but like in software – I like to put it out EARLY! $3 and it's yours https://t.co/X5FHs7GWqF
— Dan Martell (@danmartell) November 2, 2014
A few minutes later I got my first sale (it was my wife), then my second (it was my good friend Marc), but eventually I started getting sales from people I didn’t know.
Anyone who understands marketing can tell that I did not optimize anything regarding the product page or the tweet. It’s honestly surprising anyone bought it. However, that just means there’s a need for it.
I just wanted to get it published as fast as possible and see if anyone cared.
Life is too short to get everything perfect and miss the opportunity to get REAL feedback. Get a shitty first version done, ship and iterate. I use the same approach to building companies.
Obviously the goal of this wasn’t to generate millions, it was to show the world that anyone can create and sell something online in minutes. If you buy my book, you’ll notice it’s an alpha version, at best. The information is all there, but it lacks complete structure. But it’s easily worth $3 dollars and people bought it. When I have time, I’ll finish it up, create a pro cover and put it on my blog… but till then, it’s available for sale.
It took me more time to write this blog post then create, setup and promote something to make a few bucks. Don’t wait. Do it today.
Do you have anything you’ve been wanting to sell online but have put it off? Leave a comment below. If you have a link to buy it, link it up, I would love to see it.