If you somehow hadn’t noticed (currently there’s a text ad above every post on this blog and I’m tweeting a lot), I’ve put my first product up for presale.
Shameless plug 🙂
Though many of you are my potential or current customers, I want to bring you along for the ride of what I’m doing and learning through the process of creating and selling products. So below are 4 things I’ve learned from pre-selling the Instant-Take Suite.
- Before you make a product, you need committed customers.
I had a conversation last week with someone else who has created similar products to what I’m currently selling. The person meant super well and was trying to help out, but talked to me in a way that said: “man, this is hard and you have no idea what you’re getting into”.
When I told the person I had customers who had verbally committed to purchasing before I made the product, they were a little flabbergasted.
Even then I didn’t quite do the process right in my opinion. If I had, I would’ve pre-sold the product before I had written a line of code (but this is difficult when you’re not 100% sure you can solve a problem…).
All that to be said, a lot of people assume you only need a market to exist to make a product. People want video games, people need sound designers, people need composers, etc. So you go out and meet people and tell them how great your stuff is and hope they’ll buy from you.
What you should do instead – if you can – is listen to people. Ask questions. When you find someone with a need that you can solve (and if you listen enough you will), offer to help them. Don’t talk about money until you have to. I had 3 people verbally tell me they would pay for the Instant-Take Suite before I launched the presales by doing this.
Sure, not everyone who verbally says they’ll buy will then do it. But next time that happens I’ll say “thank you so much for offering” and either direct them to a simple presale page or to PayPal.
- I am an over-emotional monster
I’m speaking super personally here. Launching this product has been an incredibly emotional endeavor for me. Without writing a paper on it – I’ve simply always wanted to create my own products, help people, and make a living out of it.
Not all of that is guaranteed at this point, of course, but the first steps are generally the most difficult and I’ve had a few sales.
It shocked me that the first sale came within the first 5 minutes of publicly posting the pre-order page. From someone I never talked to about the product personally. I was overwhelmed with awe and thanks and graciousness.
I freaked out with an all-caps text to my wife. It was awesome!
Not long after (a few hours or so), another sale came in. I had similar emotions. Then my brain turned to “okay, so how do I get more?”. While there was still thanks, the hunger/greed monster had reared its head.
It took me a bit to realize, but I’m in a great place with this blog, programming, and product sales. I have a handful of people who are interested enough in what I’m doing and have enough faith in me to deliver that they’ve put cash down. That’s ridiculous, and it’s a super good start.
If I keep at it, hopefully I’ll earn more trust from more people (yup, it’s a thing to be earned) and get to look back on this time and laugh at how over-serious and panicked I was here.
- There’s nothing to be afraid of, and your customers are super helpful
I had every panic under the sun before putting up a sales page. Thoughts like – am I charging too much? Is anyone actually going to buy? What if the payment processor screws up? What if people don’t understand? Is the video and sales copy professional enough? Etc.
Two days prior, I had mentioned the concept to a friend and he was literally shaking with excitement, saying endless thank you’s, and told me he would definitely 100% be buying.
But I was still panicked.
Turns out nobody yet has felt that a $19 introductory price was too much. Turns out nobody cared enough to critique the rest.
In fact, the only critique I got early on was about the “cart” mechanism being somewhat confusing. Then the customer gave me super good feedback as to how they were expecting it to be implemented. I immediately figured out how to implement it and thanked them.
That was all post-purchase.
You all are so freaking nice!
- Making products is scary, but it’s way, way more fun
So legitimately this process is scary. It’s a huge ego and time risk more than a monetary one for me at this point. But putting yourself out there to help people is definitely difficult when money gets involved.
I’m also fairly sure eventually something will blow up in my face regarding customer service or money or customer satisfaction. I’m thankful that I’ve run an eBay store with my wife prior to this and dealt with that a little already.
But man – the fun. Check this out, had I not put up a pre-sale page I never would’ve gotten this message:
— Jesse Olafsen (@searootaudio) February 24, 2017
Crazy right? I’m just a dude, and now someone wants to switch their entire workflow and tool set because something I’m making in my spare time.
So I want to thank everyone. All of you, whether you’ve purchased the Instant-Take Suite or not. This has been crazy and awesome for me. I hope that if what I’m making isn’t of help to you now, that I can be of help in some other way now or in the future. I appreciate all of your feedback and encouragement.
And of course, every time you share a link to the Instant-Take Suite, an angel gets its wings and my wife gets one step closer to owning a dachshund.
Copyright 2016-2017, Adam T. Croft, all rights reserved.