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The 5 “Must-Have” Checklist For Building A Successful Digital Product Business

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Over the past 15 years, I’ve developed a set of proven, systematic shortcuts that you can take in order to create and launch your digital product, so it becomes a winner for you, your business, and your income.

I call the set of shortcuts, and the training program that teaches them to you, the “Digital Product Blueprint” – and we start class for it very soon.

Right now, I’m going to show you some of the shortcuts I’ve learned in the form of 5 checklists that you can use immediately to start or build your digital product business…

 

1. The Niche Checklist

Targeting the right niche (or audience) is one of the most important factors to your business success.

Because when you get your audience right, then you know who they are in your mind, how to talk to them, and what to say to connect with and persuade them to buy.

If you don’t get your audience right, then you’re continually guessing, and you’ll probably create a product that NO ONE WANTS TO BUY.

 

Here’s the checklist I use whenever I target a new niche:

1) Narrow Your Niche – Don’t try to create a product that appeals to everyone. Get specific in order to create a product people really want to buy.

2) Use my 3 Question Test – Is your target customer motivated? Are they actively searching for a solution? Are they having a hard time finding the right answer?

3) Create A Category – Think in terms of categories, and create your own. My category was to help men get dates.

4) Name Your Category – Example: “Dating Advice For Men.”

5) Create Your Customer Avatar – Put all the traits together, and create one person in your mind. Give them a name.

 

2. The Product Checklist

As you make your product, it’s important to remember that you can make a digital product that actually does most of the heavy lifting of the sales and marketing for you.

You can create a product that people are already searching for, that they already want to buy. And you can do this relatively easily and quickly.

 

Here’s my checklist for creating a product that sells itself:

1) Create an outline based on the things that people are searching for. If you base your outline on what people are searching for, then you have something that people already want to buy.

2) Get a rapid prototype together of your digital product and start testing on the market. It doesn’t have to be perfect because you’re going to refine it based off actual feedback from your customers.

3) Use Knowledge Frameworks (proven formulas for effectively teaching or delivering content). I use a total of 7 different knowledge frameworks, so it’s super fast and easy to create quality content for my products.

4) Package your knowledge in the highest-value format you can. There are many types of digital products, with books, audio courses, video courses, membership sites being just a few of them.

5) Name your product correctly. Tip: Use the most important benefit or outcome or result that your customer wants or wants to avoid.

 

3. The Marketing Checklist

We all intuitively know that marketing is a key to our online business success, but we’re often afraid of it because we don’t want to turn people off with a bunch of high-pressure, inauthentic, scammy-sounding salesman talk.

It doesn’t have to be that way. There is a way to create marketing that is not only ethical and feels natural, but also grabs attentions and persuades people to buy…

Here’s a checklist I use for my marketing:

1) Test everything. Treat everything you do as a test and continue refining until you have a consistent winner.

 

2) Use the 7 Step Conversion Conversation:

Headline: Start the conversation by saying their biggest need.

Story: Tell the story of how you learned to get the result they want.

Product: Introduce your digital product as the solution itself.

Bullets: Talk about the list of benefits or results they’ll get with your digital product.

Value: Frame and translate the value in their language.

Risk Reversal: Take the risk away by offering a guarantee.

Action: Ask them to take action, and tell them what to do right now to take the first step toward getting the result they want.

 

3) Use winning, proven, money-making headline and copy formulas.

When in doubt, start with the words “How To…”

I use 7 key headline formulas and a set of copy and bullet formulas, which you’ll be seeing in future sessions and advanced trainings in Digital Product Blueprint.

 

4) Speak it out loud

Say your marketing and use a transcription of your words to keep that “conversational feel.” Speak-write. It’s OK, and very welcome in marketing.

 

5) Make your marketing feel like valuable education and news. Design is a big deal. You want your marketing to feel intuitively trustworthy, so make sure you design your pages and communications to feel like valuable education and news.

 

4. The Launch Checklist

Your launch gets your digital product out into the world, and it gets your online business off the ground and running.

 

Here’s a checklist of things to remember for your launch..

1) Move The Free Line – It used to cost a lot to give away a really valuable piece of education or training. Now it doesn’t. Give away something as valuable as what other people are charging for, to separate yourself from the pack.

 

2) Treat your prospects like customers from the beginning – Actually start your digital product experience in your free content as you do your launch.

 

3) Offer to give content and training to future partners. Guest blog, guest interview, guest webinar… guest content however they want it.

 

4) Put up an opt-in page for your launch. Most people won’t buy the first time they see your offer. Get their email and contact info so you can follow-up with them.

 

5) Give students a powerful reason to enroll now. It’s human nature to procrastinate, so make sure you provide a real and compelling reason for people to act now.

 

5. The Email Checklist

Email was and is the “killer marketing app” online. Most sales of digital products in our industry are made by email. True story.

Yet, this is where a lot of people who create digital products drop the ball, and they throw away 80 or 90% of their sales and money as a result.

 

Here’s a checklist I use for creating my emails:

1) Start your email with something valuable — even if it’s a little tip or story about how you got an insight. And start your subject line with something that grabs attention.

 

2) Align everything – Make sure that the subject, body, and offer are all about the SAME THING.

 

3) Keep following up – You can’t over-communicate if you’re talking to people who are interested in your topic and you’re always giving them valuable information.

 

4) Vary Your Format – Keep things fresh and engaging for your audience by sending them different types of content (articles, videos, podcasts, etc).

 

5) Make several offers – Make sure your emails contain at least TWO offers with working links, clickable pictures, or other ways to respond and take action.

 

There you have it.

We just covered all 5 foundational components of a successful digital products business.

But we’re just barely scratching the surface here…

 

If you enjoyed this post, and you’d like even more in-depth training like it, then be sure to check out my upcoming new course called “Digital Product Blueprint”.

This is a new 90 day program, where you’ll get my complete set of proven templates, systems and blueprints for building your digital product and online business from scratch.

Click The Banner Below for My Free Video Training Course:

Eben-Pagan-Digital-Product-Blueprint

Eben Pagan is the founder of over 10 different online brands and businesses that he's grown to over $1 million from scratch, 4 of them to over $10 million. Over the past 15 years, he's taught hundreds of thousands of students all over the world how to build and grow successful businesses online.

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Startups

5 Ways to Deal With Startup Uncertainty

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Starting your own company may sound like a dream come true in your mind, on social media, and to all the people looking on in envy from their office jobs. But when the fantasy fades, you realize how much uncertainty you now have in your life. The inherent risk in any startup is that you are trading the certainty of a normal job for real growth and freedom. What people get from office jobs is much more than a steady pay check and free coffee. It’s a sense of certainty that their lives, work, and finances are in order.

You will have to give up certainty to fully take on the risks of this lifestyle. It will be roller-coaster and something you need to prepare for. Logically, it’s easy to know that. But emotionally, there are so many ups and downs in an entrepreneur’s life. Stress, frustration, and decreased motivation are inevitable.

Here are 5 ways you can deal with startup uncertainty:

1. Stick to a morning routine

There’s many ways to start a morning routine. What’s important is to have a stable, predictable routine. This centers your mind and gives you some order to your day. You manage your business and you can do whatever you want. No boss and no one telling you what to do, it can be mix of productive to outright messy days. By giving yourself some stability, you start the day off in a predictable way so that you can jump into work each day.

It’s as easy as taking your dog to the park, having a cup of coffee, and listening to a motivating audiobook for 20 minutes. You may need meditation to get into the state. Whatever it is that you need to get from a sleepy/hungover mindset to that of taking on the day.

“If you win the morning, you win the day.” – Tim Ferriss

2. Make time for high performance books

Speaking of audiobooks, everyone – especially entrepreneurs, need motivation. Get a few motivating books from other business leaders. This will do incredible things for your mindset and the way you think. Most of them help by keeping you excited for bigger goals. Look for classics from Jim Rohn and Tony Robbins. Or the newer motivational personalities like David Goggins and Rachel Hollis. You’ll be surprised at how much hearing someone’s hardships on their journey will help you on your own.

3. Schedule your week

It’s easy to get a packed calendar working an office job. Everyone else in the company seems to be demanding your time for one meeting or another. Pointless meetings are even the reason some people leave their jobs in the first place. The issue with having your own startup is that while the pointless meetings are gone, so too is any semblance of structure from a filled up calendar.

Spend one evening and fill the upcoming week as much as possible. I recommend Sunday afternoons to think about your goals. Plan big tasks every day throughout the week. That way you always know what you should be working on and stay on track.

4. Hit the gym

This one is actually part of my morning routine and it’s benefits can’t be overstated. Exercise helps fight off anxiety and stress. There’s no better way to funnel your business frustrations more than into the weights. By the time you’re done, your body and mind will be much more relaxed. A necessity when it comes to the tension of being an entrepreneur. Whether that’s staring at your laptop or making sales calls.

“Daily exercise is an insurance policy for future illness.” – Robin Sharma

5. Be grateful

Gratitude was one of the feel good things that I always used to skip whenever it was mentioned. I wanted cold, calculated strategy or tools I could use to build a business as fast as possible. Many brilliant minds in not only self help but also in business, speak about the need for gratitude.

Here’s why it helps me when the business is going through growing pains or everything seems like it is going wrong. I get filled with doubt and uncertainty and gratitude is the quickest way to relief.

Yes, starting your own business is a massive effort, but there is always some job out there. You decided to launch something of your own because you don’t want a baseline existence. You want to grow and build with the freedom someone can only give themselves.

That alone is enough to be grateful. But if you need more, how about that most people are too scared to do what you’re doing. Or that you are taking the time to believe in yourself and live a life of taking chances.

That speaks to your character and self-worth. Much more than the life of quiet misery so many people in the world allow to decide their entire lifestyle. Be grateful you have this opportunity and make the most of it.

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The Best Side Hustle You Can Start Today In Just 15 Minutes

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The best side hustle you can start in 15 minutes is blogging.

It can be writing, making videos or speaking about topics you love through a regular podcast show. All of these acts are a form of blogging.


15 minutes is not long

That’s why blogging is a good choice.

A video that’s less than 15 minutes is easy to make and will work well.

A short piece of writing can be written in under 15 minutes.

A 10-minute audio conversation on one single question will give people heaps of value and detail in one particular area.

Starting is not where the power lies. Doing this side hustle every single day is how you get what you’re really looking for.


Many successful people are doing this

Whether it’s Hollywood actors like Will Smith or writers like Tim Ferriss or musicians like Ariana Grande — everyone is doing it.

Why is everyone doing the side hustle of blogging?

  1. It’s how we connect with each other.
  2. It actually works.
  3. It’s a way to create an audience which can become a business.

I didn’t invent this side hustle

I just tried it for myself and saw how powerful it was.

It got me:

  • New clients for my 9–5
  • A new 4 day a week day job
  • Clients to coach via Skype
  • Features in major publications like CNBC
  • The opportunity to meet amazing human beings like LinkedIn influencer Michael Chapman

The side hustle of blogging gave me meaning for my life

Before this side hustle, I was washed up, uninspired, negative and pissed off with the world.

Spending 15 minutes to start the habit of blogging got me out of my head. It forced me to search all over the internet and find things to talk about. Pretty soon I was spending 2+ hours a night researching personal development and figuring out what I wanted to blog about.

Blogging led me to want to help the homeless, share my very private battle with mental illness, come to grips with my startup failures and share the lessons, and even overcome my fear of public speaking in the process.

Now I have a meaning for my life thanks to the side hustle of blogging. I reckon it can do the same to help you grow and get you to the next level. You can blog about whatever you want and then watch it grow from there.


Why is blogging the best side hustle?

It’s how you be creative.
It’s how you express yourself.
It’s how you grow.
It’s how you attract the right people into your life.

There are many side hustles you could choose. Blogging is one of many. In my opinion and based on my experience, it’s the best. There are so many avenues you can go down.

Attracting what you want in your life has a lot to do with what you’re putting out into the world”

Blogging is a fantastic way to put out more of what’s important to you, into the world. Like a magnet, blogging attracts more of what you put out into your life.


Oh and don’t forget the income

Investing, giving back and making an income are all possible through blogging too. Part of my monthly income comes from blogging.

This allows me to back causes that help those in need, invest in stocks that provide me with a passive income and have money to spend on the occasional treat such as dinner dates and drinks with my co-workers.

That money comes from:

  1. Ghostwriting for other people
  2. Posting on Medium.com
  3. Coaching clients via Skype
  4. Consulting to businesses on how they can create content that aligns with their brand

There aren’t too many side hustles that can do that for you

Seriously, blogging is a game-changer. It’s a habit you can start in 15 minutes and repeat daily without much effort. Choose your poison — writing, video or audio — and then get started.

Do it for around twelve months and then send me an email with what you experience. I already know, having challenged lots of people already to start this side hustle, that it will work. It just requires patience and the habit of doing it daily.

15 minutes to start today.

And then 15 minutes every day for the rest of your life.

Try it.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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Startups

You Are The Problem With Your Business

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A great way to screw up your company is to get into the habit of blaming your suppliers, the market, your staff or your product for your failures.

I recently heard a story of a business that had set up a website. They sold various products and services focusing on helping people with psychological issues. The business owner was smart. The product solved a problem.

Unfortunately, the company was making almost no money. They’d hired someone to help them with their digital marketing and it wasn’t working.

Plenty of traffic was coming to the site, users were having a look around and then not buying a single thing. Who’s fault was this?

Well, according to the business owner it was the person running their digital marketing. As a result, they wasted approximately eight months marketing a website that couldn’t make any sales. The reason the business was failing according to the owner was because of the keywords that were being targeted in the marketing campaign. This is a horrible excuse.

The reason your business fails is because you’re blaming someone other than yourself. It’s the quickest way to bankruptcy. Don’t do that.


Your company is a reflection of you.

It took me a long time to figure out that a company is a reflection of its founder.

One of the businesses I had, had a toxic culture and a bunch of people that were rude to customers, arrogant and not nice people. That was a reflection of exactly who I was at the time.

The company was reflecting the flaws of my own life and what I refused to admit.

In the case of the business owner above, what was obvious is that they were good at telling lies to themselves. It was easy not to change as a business owner and insist that the change needed was nothing to do with their vision.

The issue of their company was not the digital marketing strategy but their lack of understanding around what their customer wanted.

The thought that their products were too complicated, not solving a real problem or priced incorrectly was an admission of guilt they wanted no part in. Hence the eventual demise of their company.


Take responsibility and it will change.

When you own the business, everything is your fault.

You have the power to solve any problem you choose. It starts with you being brave enough to admit that there’s a problem, and then secondly, being bold enough to insist it’s your fault and that you can change it.

The problems in your business can all be solved. That’s what it took me a very long time to understand. When I changed as a person and faced up to my hidden battle with mental illness that I didn’t want to talk about, the odds turned in my favor.

Had I have not taken responsibility for my mental illness, I would have never become a leader in a business or started another side hustle. I would have been crippled by the big, bad world that I thought I could control.

Control came from responsibility, and responsibility solved the major problem in my business: me.


Change is a must.

Not with your digital marketing strategy.
Not with hiring new people.
Not with developing a new product.

Changing yourself is the *must* because YOU attract the problems and the solutions into your business”

You can’t find the solutions or stop the never-ending problems until you stop the cause of it all: you. You’re the problem with your business. The good news is that it’s entirely within your control to fix.

Change you.

Not the business.

<<<>>>

If you want to increase your productivity and learn some more valuable life hacks, then join my private mailing list on timdenning.net

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The Different Ways of Measuring the Success of Your Start-Up

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You’ve probably heard people use the term “unicorn” in a business context. This means a privately held start-up whose value has grown to at least one billion American dollars. Think Airbnb, Uber, and so forth. There is no doubt that some start-ups have been major financial successes. And many smaller-scale start-ups are doing great as well, working hard and turning a steady profit. But that begs the question of whether finances are the only way to measure the success of a start-up. As it turns out, they might not be. At least, not always and not on their own.

How to Evaluate Success

As anyone who’s been involved with start-ups knows, you need a fair amount of flexibility to do well in this environment. Take the division of labour for example – rather than strict roles, you’ll often see everyone do a bit of everything. The same principle extends to measuring success. It can be vague and mean different things to different people, and it can change over time.

But amongst all that vagueness, one thing has become clear. Predicting the success of a start-up is very difficult for external observers. As a matter of fact, it’s often impossible. Therefore, in order to evaluate how successful a start-up has truly been, we need to know the goals of its founder(s).

“Success means we go to sleep at night knowing that our talents and abilities were used in a way that served others.” – Marianne Williamson

The Numbers

When people think about business, it’s common to boil matters down to the finances. And it certainly is possible to use numbers to measure and predict the performance of a start-up business. Net worth, gross margin, customer acquisition cost – these can all be indicators of success. But, a start-up can post impressive numbers for a while, perhaps even attract large investors, and still shut down in the end. So does this make it a failure?

The answer to this depends. If the founders wanted to start a lasting business, then yes, they failed to meet their goal. However, that isn’t always the case. If they were looking for a short-term solution and came out with more money than they had coming in, a closed-down start-up needn’t be unsuccessful. It can actually be the opposite of that.

So, looking at the figures isn’t enough, and there are different perspectives to consider. When they start planning their business venture, start-up founders may not have any particular numbers in mind when it comes to profit. Instead, they can judge their success according to some of the following criteria.

1. Happy Customers and Solving Problems

The story of a start-up often begins with a problem. The desire to help people overcome a specific issue can be the spark which ignites the creation of an entire business. And in the end, that may be all that matters to the founders.

This is closely connected to the happiness of the customers. If the resulting product or service has made people happy by helping them solve a problem, that is all that may be required for a start-up to be a success. Now, no business wants unsatisfied customers. But in cases like this, happy customers aren’t the way toward the ultimate goal – they are that goal.

In other words, some start-up founders don’t just use financial reports to measure how much they’ve achieved. To them, the one metric which stands above all others is the quantity of positive feedback they’ve received. The main area of focus is customers who use the start-up’s products or services to solve a problem they were having.

2. Impact

Every start-up founder likes doing well in terms of revenue. But for some of these entrepreneurs, the profit is merely a side effect of what they actually set out to do – impact the world in a positive manner. You can see an example of this line of thought with Elon Musk. He said that back in college, he had wanted to be a part of things that could end up changing the world. The continuation of this philosophy is evident in his electric cars (which aim to reduce pollution) and the SpaceX program (which strives to break down some of the barriers of space exploration).

In both cases, the furthering of mankind is the ultimate goal. Many other start-up founders feel the same, even if they have smaller goals in mind. To these people, there is no greater proof of success than if their company has had a positive impact on society or even a small segment of it. In their view, to make a difference is to succeed.

“The only limit to your impact is your imagination and commitment.” – Tony Robbins

3. Freedom

For some, starting up their own business is less about getting rich and more about gaining the freedom to conduct their business the way they want to. In this case, financial success is just a means to an end. The endgame is to be your own boss.

The fact is, some people don’t do well when they’re constantly receiving orders. They are simply hardwired to be free thinkers and they require an environment that allows them to do things in their own way.

Being in a position where you hold all the cards can be exhilarating. The knowledge that your decisions are final is very empowering, and many strive for such freedom. If a start-up can allow such people to go from being a regular employee to being in charge of making all the decisions, then it has already achieved all the success that it needs to.

4. Time for Friends and Family

As many people know all too well, a job can easily turn into the focal point of your daily life. Instead of being a way to support your lifestyle, your work dominates your time. And when that happens, the time you have to dedicate to your loved ones becomes scarce. Combating this is precisely what some have in mind when they decide to take the leap and start their own business.

Now, running your own company is no mean feat and it will require a lot of effort. But the beginning is the most time-consuming part of the process. Later on, it can be possible to create a system which leaves you with a lot more time on your hands. You can spend this time with your significant other, your children, or your friends. A start-up which gives you this opportunity is perhaps the greatest success of all.

A start-up is an extension of its founders and so are that company’s goals. Some entrepreneurs are in it for the profit, but not all of them. In the end, there is no single way to measure the success of a start-up. It all comes down to the specific aims of those who established it. But if the founders can end their day on a happy note, then the venture is a success even if it doesn’t fit some standard definition of the term.

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