From photography to custom icons to 30-day lesson plans to online courses, in this episode we explore eight things you could sell of offer now—to get that minimum viable product (MVP) working for you.
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00:19 Nanci: All right at the back of our part one: you have to sell something, or you need to sell something if you want to have a business. This is part two: what to sell. What kind of products if you’re a freelancer or an entrepreneur in this new Gigonomics environment, what can you sell? So we have a list here in front of us and were going to work through it. Ready Julian?
00:40 Julian: I’m ready.
00:41 Nanci: First one, I’m even going to let you take this. First one on the list, photography.
00:47 Julian: Oh Nanci why would you give that to a photographer? You know I speak in images. I think there are hundreds of different ways you can sell photography, but some of the easier one’s are, personal photography is a service and a product. So you can choose to sell either or both. A lot of people get enamored by the idea of creating stock photography and selling into this big stock photography websites, I think that pays very little, but there are ways to leverage that idea so you can create your stock photography. Nanci you mentioned a photographer?
01:22 Nanci: Yeah, I think his name is Viktor Hanacek, A young guy in Eastern Europe. He has a website called PicJumbo.com — gorgeous, beautiful images and all sorts of I’m office, nature a broad spectrum, and all of the pictures are free in any sizes it’s like a buffet of fabulous photos. When I found I couldn’t believe, it was like too good to be true. His monetization strategy is if there’s one image that you love if you take the premium, which isn’t even that expensive I think it’s between $9 and $15 a year. You get all of the images from that photo shoot and all of the images from every photo shoot that’s on Picjumbo so when I took the plunge it was not a hard decision to pay $9 through PayPal. One thousand images from Viktor Hanacek were deposited in my Dropbox, I mean it was just incredible, all free labeled. Like I have at ShutterStock they do nothing to help me search my library, there’s no even search function and when I download them all they are all called ShutterStock_56125 so when I’m trying to search 1000 Shutterstock images it’s useless I had to hire somebody to you in and manually tagged them like a woman white.
02:47 Julian: It’s wonderful, your contributing to the freelance economy by hiring a freelancer to tagged your photo’s for you.
02:52 Nanci: I know, but this is exactly what we were talking about in the last episode. What a colossal waste of time, meanwhile Victor Hanacek is saying “you know what for $9 I’ll give you one thousand images and guess what they are all free tagged’. So in this Dropbox folder that I have, I just have to search, and if going to search woman tree guess what couple images come up all from the same photo shoot or multiple photo shoots, I cannot tell you how much time it has saved me and is worth every penny. So there’s one way there to make money in stock photography.
03:26 Julian: Or you can take another idea or another approach and choose particular subject matter. I remember there was a company in the UK I think It was called Weshootbottles and that’s all they shoot they just did product photography that is a pretty standard set up for cans, or a few products come in a can or any tubular, can bottles you get the idea, you get the picture. You can send your product to this studio they would shoot your cans and send you back high resolution, advertising quality images and that’s all they did. Either, you focus on in subject matter or a style in selling stock photography. You, of course, can also sell images through you know existing stock photography site like IStockPhotos and Shutterstock you gain pennies in a dollar and why not own your product and do it yourself. Then there’s photography as a service; you can be a portrait photography, you can choose the subject.
04:34 Nanci: Excuse me don’t you make your living as a photographer?
04:38 Julian: I do in fact. One of the interesting ways that I found to use my photography skills is creating stock photography but for clients. So it’s combining the two. Where a client will bring you in, and they will design their set of stock photography images. So within a few days they’ve got a bank of photos that they can then use for the next 6 months to a year worth of content to feed their blogs and their social media channels and you go in and develop a concept with them and they a customize set of stock images that are specifically designed by and for them. So there’s a creative aspect of doing that but there’s a lot of value add both for yourself as a photographer where you can book two or three, four days’ worth of works and for the client who ultimately gets the exact image on they’re looking for because they have a hand in creating it. Which is you know, no small fee if you ever do have search for the exact right image for your particular purpose on a stock site. You may end up spending longer than you think and it might cause more than you expect because even though their cheap upfront there is an ongoing cost and there are different licensing rights that you pay extra.
05:55 Nanci: And I remember as it gets to a point I know where the Shutterstock it’s like $25 for five images or a $199 a month for 700 images. Like you so, are like I’m going to go with the $199, but you don’t need 700 pictures, and so I think that there’s a place to find a niche, like Victor Hanacek or what you’re doing. I was just thinking too, and it could be the same for designers like were talking about photographer’s but I mean any creative like custom icons for a company like you get a job to build a website for a client, next thing you know you’re creating custom icons. The point is not just photography; it’s any creative endeavor. If you’re a designer you’re going to like Fiver, and you’re thinking like I’m not making any money of this five dollars contract, same with the photographer going to Shutterstock there’s different ways of your creative, no pun intended, to niche down own your product and control how it’s sold.
06:56 Julian: I think there is whole other episode there and these are the anti-aggregator platform. Like there are tons of this websites other there that are making money on the back of freelancers and seems like, and it is low hanging fruit if you’re just starting out to go input your services up on freelancer.com or Fiver or Shutterstock if you’re a photographer. Pick your platform there’s a platform out there that’s aggregating your content or your services, and then they are selling you cheaply. They boost up the huge volume of suppliers but anytime you’re participating in that model you are in a race to the bottom, and you’re competing with yourself for the lowest possible price job. I am a believer that, that model is not in the favor or interest of the freelancer, but it’s for the aggregator. So unless your freelance business happens to be aggregating other freelancers, you should be looking to do your kind of work because people are much more likely to want to buy directly from a supplier in any case if you can be found and if you can get closer to your market. You will get way better rates you earn a lot more money, and you will be able to design and develop your product or service in conjunction with and collaboration with real life clients rather than put your hands up in a mass market hope somebody picks you.
I think that we should have like Ten Commandments of Slashpodcast. I don’t know if it will be number one or not, but I think one of them can be don’t compete on price—it’s a race to the bottom. —Nanci Murdock
08:21 Nanci: I think that we should have like Ten Commandments of Slashpodcast. I don’t know what going to be number one or not, but I think one of them can don’t compete on price it’s a race to the bottom. Whether we’re talking about online courses, freelancing, being an entrepreneur take the time to now you market and serve them well and the client that we want will always pay a premium for quality.
08:43 Julian: Amen, but were a sidetrack. Let’s get back to the product, we don’t have to be all into photography, there are different ways to slice up the same pie, you can sell anything, and you can create. The same applies to videos, and you can write eBooks, design plants I’m jumping ahead of here Nanci.
09:03 Nanci: Well one of the things we’ve talked about was this sort of customized plan. If you get into like Paleo or Keto or any diet, if you go online there are all sorts of plan sometimes there’s a monthly fee or a one-time fee but instead of going through five cooked books that you don’t even own yet or websites and coming up with breakfast, lunch and dinner for four weeks. Someone will sell that to you and talked about an incredible time saver. I’ve seen them for exercises like high-intensity training workout, four workouts, three times a week or whatever, basically selling you customized plans. A fun example, which is Shane and Jocelyn Sams. He had been bugging her, and any errors in the story are mine, He had been saying “you know we want to make money online, and we want to make money online” she was a librarian, and he was a football coach, and she was like “oh honey, your crazy and one day he puts some google ads on his website, he woke up in the middle of the night 13 cents and he woke up and said its real, its possible and from there they took the first stop. They started to put together these lesson plans. So she was a librarian, and I guess in the United States librarian are required to teach a few classes a week, and she put lesson plans together, 30 days of 30 lessons for $30 or something like that. He was a football coach at high school, and so he started to sell football plays for high school football coaches. They were interviewed on a podcast I was listening to; this was going back 3-4 years they were making a 120,000 dollars a month in the US they were like in Idaho or something like that. Selling this plan online, they were good at it. She knew library lessons, and he knew football coach plays it wasn’t a lot of effort on their part to create this customized plans and change them up every six months or whatever. So I think that, if you have something like that it’s definitely if you’re in an industry I mean I just touch on the 3-4 industry, diet, exercise, football coaches, library teaching anything where you can put a customized plan.
11:25 Julian: Itinerary travel you now reading, tourism I mean there’s so many. Anyway, you’re organizing in structuring information that’s out there and putting it into usable format ideally in some step by step guide that you’ve already thought through and you present that to somebody. You’ve saved them time, you’ve created a convenience, and you’ve given them something to do.
11:48 Nanci: I think that’s exactly it, you’re saving time. People who have the available income for it will pay to have time because time is one thing you can’t get more of.
11:58 Julian: Right and it becomes you know ripping in the freelancing potentiality here. You develop a business around meal plans for example, well what’s to stop you from a service that delivers these readymade meals, I mean this are already out inexistent. I think its birch box or something, so there is subscription services for people pay a monthly fee to have a meal prep and ready to go and deliver to their house and all they have to do is basically put it together and cook it, or of course you can take it one step further and deliver it cooked, you could do shopping for people. I mean there’s, the world is your oyster.
12:34 Nanci: So maybe think about starting with customized plans 30 days of an ex, and you never know, where it could take you when it comes to customization or pivoting your business. Next on the list is eBooks, common, I think they are not as popular as they once were. I see more people online using them as free Lead Magnets.
12:57 Julian: What’s a Lead Magnet, Nanci?
2:59 Nanci: A Lead Magnet is a free piece of content that you’ve to give away, in return for someone’s email address. Once you have their email address, you can start this automated sequence, sort of a sales sequence where at the end of the sequence they purchase your product or your service. So you do see that a lot if you’re on a website it will say ‘Click here for my top 10 tips on dog training” and you’re like you know I need some dog training “it’s free.”
13:28 Julian: I think we should give away an eBook at the end of this episode.
13:32 Nanci: All right, you know what our eBooks are going to be? – Ten products you could sell online or 10 products you could sell.
13:40 Julian: We’re going to put up an eBook for you guys.
13:42 Nanci: Yes, we’re going to put up an eBook of this podcast.
13:46 Julian: And it’s going to be “free” email address and so.
13:51 Nanci: So because you want to collect even Julian, and I was opening up the Kimono here, we want to collect email addresses because email is not dead, its very much alive and when you have a product we talked about MVP as you deliver Lead Magnets and sell minimum viable products by the time you launch your core offer what ever it is. Let’s say it’s a course for 997 you’ve got 500,5,000,10,000 emails or 5.
14:24 Julian: Let’s be realistic it start’s with zero, and you work your way up from there. I love Nanci’s thinking, and ultimately that’s the goal. It’s to convert those email address into paying customers or portion thereof. The idea behind somebody giving you their email address is it’s a trust. I give you something of value; you give me something that you probably appreciate little bit less which is your email address in return. But what we’ve done there is, we have created a channel between us and you or you and your costumer or potential customers and if you respect and don’t abuse that channel. What we continue to provide an excess of value at some point the value flows back to you, in terms of purchase.
15:09 Nanci: Bottom line is you collect email addresses whenever you can and eBooks depending on your content unless it’s incredibly valuable most often eBooks will be used as a free Lead magnet on a website, which is a first interaction and chance to start a relationship with the prospect.
15:28 Julian: Yeah or an eBook can be a summary or highlights of a larger piece of work that you’ve created, and you give away the front piece to sell the book, or you put out a series of eBooks around a theme or an area of expertise that you have. But at some point maybe it becomes convenient for somebody. I want all ten at once well for 299 you can download the whole set.
15:52 Nanci: And just a sidetrack a little bit, you often see eBooks for sale for 99cents on Kindle, and I think that’s because 99cents is the minimum. You cannot give something away on Kindle. I believe that you can have a special but in general, it has to be 99cents, and they are lost leaders for the person’s services or course on the backend.
16:13 Julian: Or rest of their library if that’s the path you follow. So we’ve talked about photos and videos but we didn’t really get in to but it’s the same idea as photography I guess you can create short videos. I mean depending on your video chops you can be a video editor, you can be a video producer or a videographer who goes out and captures the imagery. You can start your video channel on YouTube. There is a kid I don’t remember his name, but he makes something I think 400,000 a month unboxing toys. He is like a 7-year-old kid, that’s a big thing and just opening the toys up and showing other kids around the world the new toy taking it out the box, that’s business.
16:54 Nanci: Also, when you’re even older, there’s a huge YouTube channel, they unbox coach purses like $4000 purses they will take you to the whole. I think YouTube wouldn’t even just be like in another episode; it could be like a whole series for Slashpodcast. Yes, for sure Youtube can be an incredible channel for marketing and sales. So moving, we want to talk about courses, and this is where I have chosen to try to monetize my knowledge, and you can do an email course. I have an email course it’s called ‘Investing Bootcamp’ and its free, again I use it as a Lead Magnet. The e-course is 9, 1000 words emails delivered over 30 days and I use it as a free option and then it’s sort of by email three I start to introduce the idea of my online course and then by email 9, your like I get and if you want more information for me a next logical step is to buy my full course. Many times I’m like you know what maybe I should charge for this, this turned into a minimum viable product in a sales funnel, a tripwire which we’ll talk about later. But for now, I’m like you know what I’ve given it away for free it works, it allows people over thirty days through a series of emails to get to know me, my knowledge, my style of teaching and it’s a fantastic tool to warm up my prospect for sale. But there’s a place for email course, either to charge or to use as Lead Magnets.
18:30 Julian: And what about webinars would that be considered another product idea if you develop a webinar which is I guess is a form of courses online.
18:38 Nanci: Yeah, for sure. I mean a lot of people are using webinars as part of the sale process. So for example, how I might use it is if someone went through my 9-course free email boot camp and they didn’t buy. I’ll have their email address of course, and I could invite them to a webinar that I was hosting say at 6, and I could give more valuable information in that webinar say live, and at the end of it, I might have a fast action bonus if they took the course. I would include an hour of coaching or something like that. So webinars can for sure be used in sales process but terms of a product. I’ve seen webinars for sale, purchase for $199, “Top real estate agent shares his top 5 secrets for selling houses in 10 days”. It’s not even an online course; it’s like a recorded webinar maybe he gave it live and now his selling the recording. So definitely video, video is very powerful whether you’re using it to create online courses where you record you self, screencast teaching or even record yourself physically teaching on a whiteboard or your recording webinars and selling them say $199 for one webinar or $500 for a package of 7 webinars on the same subject. So really what we’re talking about through these examples is how to productize the knowledge that you have. E-course, eBooks, websites, webinars and the monetization of these products. One last thing, right now it’s a bit out of the wheel house for Julian and I but tech, you know plugins, WordPress themes, apps even if you have an idea for an app there are so many developers that you can find online. I’m not going to say it’s easy, but you can get a developer that can help you bring that app to market. A lot of people are making money in web apps and online apps. I know because I buy them. haha
20:46 Julian: A lot of people making money from Nanci selling their products. If we just step back and kind of look at what we’re discussing here. We’re talking how can, you know we’ve already talked about why you need to be thinking in terms of selling away from the get go. And now we’re giving you some ideas as to what you can sell, and if you research the topic, you’ll find these ideas are abundant if you want a kind of wrap it up, we’ve got things you can create. You know whatever your creative expertise, wherever that creative expertise lies, you could be a musician, a photographer, a videographer, an artist, a font developer, good at making patterns, recipes focusing your creative output on a product, is one way of developing a sellable product. Another aspect is curation or aggregating content. You know this could be curating you’re on, like Viktor Hanacek’s curating collection of photography where he is giving away content but them he sells access to a smaller collection of curated pics, you could be curating other people’s information.
21:50 Nanci: A good example is my course, there’s nothing in my course that you can’t find on Google. I didn’t invent any new investing strategy or anything. I just took all of the information that I thought was relevant and instead of going to google and searching for hours and hours and not knowing if the information that you were getting was correct because you didn’t have trust from the person. The first thing I do is I create trust, so by the time they buy my course they believe that the information, I mean there going to take it with grain of salt, I’m not going to say that they think I’m the gospel but the point is, I’ve curated everything they need to know and nothing that they don’t. And I put it into a nice pretty package with a bow on it and they are willing to pay for it.
22:35 Julian: I think, let’s go for a sound bite here create, curate, connect. So you can create something, you can curate that’s saying something, in so doing you’ve created something new, and you connect that to your market.
22:52 Nanci: Because I don’t mean to make this whole episode about me but in the last episode I talked about how I’d wish that I had started coaching earlier so I would have ab better idea of my clients pain points and I would have to build a course of the back of those pain points but I did it backwards, and it worked out because in the concept of curate and connect. I now have coaching clients based on people saying I’ve been through the course but I still have some more questions can I book a coaching call.
23:21 Julian: And I see the downloadable, printable, which is also something you could sell. We got a circle here, you have to create, arrow to curate, arrow back to connect, and arrow back to create. It is an iterative process for every step usually, reinforces the other one. It could be a model for developing multiple products and multiple revenues streams as you grow and develop as a freelancer.