Very few things are as overwhelming in business as creating something new—especially if you’re a solopreneur. You have no idea where to start, or if your customers will actually buy what you’re selling. And if they don’t buy what you’ve created, how do you know if it’s a product problem or a marketing problem?
Not only did I not want to put myself through that, I didn’t want to lose money playing guessing games.
So here’s what I did:
1) I created a survey, with questions specific to my industry. (Time: one day).
2) I picked a handful of ideal existing and potential clients to take this survey. I then went through their answers, and if I wanted more information, I did a short phone interview with them. To make it appealing, I offered free advice during our call. (Time: one week).
3) I went through the notes from the surveys and phone interviews and looked for patterns. What I discovered was that the business owners had the same concerns and were using the same phrases to describe them. (Time: one day).
4) From there I thought about what I could create to resolve their problem, and put together a service. (Time: one week).
5) The hardest part by far was writing the sales page. This took several hard-core hours of writing and angst. I made sure to use the phrases from the surveys. (Time: one day).
6) I then had my graphic designer put it together in a beautifully-designed PDF. (Time: three days).
7) I then posted the PDF in a couple of Facebook groups I belong to and asked for feedback. (Time: two days).
8) Because I wanted to beta-test this service, I didn’t put it on my website. I wrote a post that I was looking for X amount of beta-testers and put in Facebook groups, my Facebook, Instagram and to my email list with the link to my PDF. (Time: one hour).
9) I took a huge risk doing this nine days before Christmas. It seemed crazy, but I didn’t want to wait and I was curious to see what the response would be: I sold out. With almost no marketing effort, I sold out all the spots during the week of Christmas, the holiday where you are exhausted by the amount of money you’re spending. Clients were paying my invoices on Christmas Eve. I was blown away.
10) Many people will beta-test for free. I don’t do that. I know there’s a ton of value in what I’m offering and I want people to have some skin in the game, so I can get the feedback from them I need. So I discount the service by 50% or more.
11) I also put a deadline on when payment was due, which was less than two weeks from when I released it. That is what held their spot.
12) Because this was a beta-test and I wasn’t going to put this new service on my website until everyone had gone through the program, I required everyone to have their session booked during the month of January. To my surprise, many wanted to get started the week after Christmas.
13) I worked with every beta-tester during January, almost all of them being my ideal client. (Time: one month).
14) When the service was over for them, I sent them a survey asking for honest and detailed feedback about their experience. I also asked for a testimonial. (Time: several days).
And the results from this awesome-ass experience is Stories That Sell.
Here’s what I’ve learned:
1) There are no rules. If you create something that people want, they will pay for it, even during Christmas.
2) Beta-test. I am a strong believer in testing everything. Have you ever watched someone release a new program and wonder how they got all those testimonials? How did they do that if it’s brand new? They tested it, got feedback and some praise. You will also know if your sales copy is working, if your deliverables are on point and if you’re attracting your ideal clients.
3) Copy. You have to have compelling sales copy. I studied other sales pages and followed a format this time, and I’ve never had such an immediate response. I also heard from so many people “this really spoke to me,” and “this is exactly what I need right now.”
4) When this works out the way you want, it will dispel so many things you thought you had to do, or should do. I’m not saying this was easy, but it wasn’t nearly as hard as I thought it would be.
All that said, I’m so thrilled to announce my new one-on-one service, Stories That Sell.
And if you’re thinking of creating something new, don’t torture yourself. Do what I did. You’ll be surprised at how not complicated it is.