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Creating Products Week: Making Products Happen – Getting Your Ideas off the Ground

Theme Week (1)
Today we have Team Member Jasmin Tragas weighing in with her take on creating great products. She is the Producer of eBooks at Digital Photography School, and has had a hand in almost all of the ProBlogger products made over the three years she’s been with us. A creative whiz, Jasmin has a fantastic perspective on what works, what doesn’t, and how to get your product from idea to creation in the most productive way possible.

So you want to create a product to sell on your blog, now you just have to make it happen, right?

If you have tried sitting in the local hipster cafe, coffee in hand and laptop at the ready,expecting to type with ease and whip virtual pages up into the glorious ether – you’ll know that it’s not quite this enjoyable nor easy! I’ve seen clients and friends become disheartened as they try to  get an idea off the ground. It’s hard work and can be just as challenging as it is rewarding.

Creating a product involves the selection of the perfect idea, finding the resources you need, creating content and then motivating yourself to the finish line . Each one of these steps presents its own challenges and may even make you feel overwhelmed enough to put your idea on hold. So how do you make a product happen?

Simplify, simplify, simplify!

A good product doesn’t have to be a complicated product. Some of our best sellers are PDF ebooks.

Start by making a list of all of your ideas for a product, including variations from the most basic idea you could attach in an email, to the million-dollar dreamworks crew creation.Next, in a second column, write a list of  as many challenges as you can for each product such as: time, budget, design, or development requirements.

Now, ready to get started? Be helpful to yourself and scale that long list right back!  Take out whatever you can until you are left with the most essential elements. Keep the focus on creating a useful product.

Chances are you can make a least one of your ideas happen by simplifying. And if you end up getting things done quickly, you can always add the bells and whistles back in later. Aim for excellence by all means, but don’t make it too hard for yourself or it might not happen at all.

Hint: just as a great home or outfit can be impressive without having every new trimming, the same rule of thumb applies to products!

Set a date.

If you have trouble with procrastination, find an event which will help motivate you to meet your goal, such as a competition, meetup or conference you are going to attend. You can also ask a friend or mentor to check in on you at pivotal milestones. Set a deadline and reward yourself.

Hint: pick someone who has seen results of their own as they will understand the fine balance of perseverance and inspiration 

You don’t have to do this all on your own!

Need content? Tap in to your social network for quotes, words and pictures. Just remember to be respectful, be clear in your request, and always give credit where credit is due.

Need direction? Use online surveys to refine your focus. And if you don’t get a huge response when you ask, don’t be disheartened. Try asking a different way…or find a sponsor to give you a prize as incentive for responses.

Refine your tone.

Your product will resonate with your audience if you have a distinct voice. For instance, we like the tone of writing for our dPS ebooks to be natural, authentic, friendly, personal, and accurate.

Regardless of tone, always use subject matter experts! Write about what you know (or ask others to contribute) and your product will stand out.

Hint: tone alone won’t impress, but set a style to share knowledge with integrity and ease.

Still stuck?

Don’t give up. Set aside time each day and keep trying. Remember to turn off all the beautiful and shiny distractions.

You might find it helpful to change your environment …even if it’s finding a coworking space, the library, or a cafe where you can unplug and write.

Very importantly, after you have done your research, make a start and don’t look back by comparing yourself with others. You have your own unique point of view to share, and worrying that you’re not as good as the next product  isn’t going to be constructive to the development process. Keep your focus by being helpful and creating value for your readers.

Hint:  you can experiment with what helps you to focus best, but don’t waver from the ultimate goal – make a product!

Read the rest of our series on Creating Products at How to Create and Sell Products on Your Blog.

Jasmin Tragas is the Producer of ebooks at Digital Photography School, SnapnGuides and Director of ProBlogger Training Event. She is currently working on her 24th product and sixth event since joining the ProBlogger team three years ago. She has experience creating products for small agencies, artists, large corporates and for fundraisers.