What’s your game? What do you do?
I challenge smart, creative people to stop whoring themselves out for the pleasure of clients and bosses, and whore themselves out for themselves!
I taunt, tease, and tempt — til making your own products is the itch you have to scratch. I help you destroy every “but,” murder every reluctance. Myths about business (and magical rainbow-pooping unicorns) stand no chance against me and my rapier wit.
Then, after a hard day’s work destroying unicorns, I replace their sparkly farts of untruth with a practical, sensible, repeatable framework for success.
Why do you do it? Do you love it, or do you just have one of those creepy knacks?
Creepy knack, totally. Actually, a creepy lack of a knack.
When I was 13, I decided that what I really wanted to do as a career was build and sell businesses. (Yeah, I was reading business books at 13. See what I mean about “creepy”?) But, because I was a giant wuss, I didn’t even begin to create my first real product until over a decade later. I got caught in the freelance treadmill. I was scared. I was a terrible procrastinator; I figured, if I can’t even work effectively as a freelancer, how on earth will I ever run a business? I figured it would just happen one day. I did a lot of figuring.
Something rotten in Freelance-mark
Then a bunch of things happened that led to me realizing that freelancing (though I called it “consulting” by then) was killing me, I had to make my own products or I’d be miserable, and that I actually, really, loved shipping things. I had a Shipping Come-to-Jesus moment. I realized that the awesome feeling of Shipping felt way better than any pain deferred by procrastination. Shipping felt better than pretty much anything I’d ever felt in my life.
Then I sold a bunch of ebooks
Up til the point where I shipped the beta version of our first ebook, and instead of selling a wished-for 50 copies up front, we sold 400. Then that felt better than pretty much anything I’d ever felt in my life.
I can’t express how awesome it was to touch down after a 12-hour flight and be surprised by the fact that there were 400 orders in my inbox.
That I created something, that wasn’t even done, and 400 people looked at it, and said to themselves: “Fuck yeah, gimme that. Please take my money. Please, please, take my money.”
That was lifechanging. Amazing. I’ve had that experience a few more times since then, and now I want to bring it to everybody.
Hindsight is satisfyingly irritating
Looking back, I’m often irritated at how I let myself fall into the trap of stuckness — and I want to help other people be just as annoyed with themselves in retrospect, viewed safely from atop a pile of successful products!
(Also, secretly, I believe a revolution is afoot. Everybody in the know’s calling it a freelance revolution. But I’m quite sure, with the right push at the right spot, we could transform it into a product revolution — which would be much, much better.
Consider my beret as good as ordered.)
Who are your customers? What kind of people would need or want what you offer?
In short: designers and developers, freelancers or employees, who haven’t entirely sold themselves on the idea that “communicating client objectives” is the richest use of their time. Who love to create more than they love wrangling RFPs. Who occasionally sit back and wonder what it would like to interact directly with those people who actually touch their work, rather than please the committees that stand between them. Who are willing to do what it takes for more fulfilling work, even if they’re not ready yet — and even if they’re not sure what it does take, exactly.
Designers and developers?
“Designer” can mean interaction designer, graphic designer, print designer, logo designer, illustrator, or others I haven’t thought of. Developer can mean front-end, back-end, any language, any level of skill.
The key thing is that my audience is Creators. People who are already accomplished at creating things, and know what they’re good at — but just need to get over the hump of believing that they can actually make and sell their own products instead of dooming themselves to eternal servitude. And then, over the hump, could use a little help with the practicals.
But, really, I say designer & developer because I know those worlds best. If you’re a savvy copywriter who carefully designs every sentence, or an Excel spreadsheet ninja, I count you as capital-C Creator.
What’s your marketing USP? Why should I buy from you instead of the other losers?
Sparkly unicorn farts. Where else can you get solid business advice that conjures up images of glittery rainbow-poo, tied up nicely with a pop neuroscience bow? Nowhere!
But seriously — I’m a hustler. I’ve made money doing just about every legal thing you can imagine (and a couple that were a bit iffy). I know all the creepy Internet Marketing stuff, as well as the traditional small business and even Harvard Business School stuff, because I’ve read 20 or 30 business books a year since I was a teenager.
More than a hustler, I’m a systematizer. When I want to learn something, the first thing I do is look at 100 examples of that thing and make careful notes. Then I read the top 3 to 5 books on the subject and cross-reference them.
In this (admittedly creepy) way, I build up a solid, testable sense of The Hidden Rules of How Things Work.
Then I go out and test that system, by doing. In this case, that means designing, coding, marketing and selling my own products.
Miraculously: it works!
So far, it’s been working great. I have an ebook, live training courses, a semi-live online class (the 4-month 30×500 Launch Class), and even a subscription software app (Freckle, a time tracking tool).
My systematizing works. I can turn The Hidden Rules into products that sell. And, thanks to my slightly scary hobby (armchair psychology), I’m really good at planting The Hidden Rules into people’s heads in a way they can use.
I am my target market, plus 3-5 years
Also… I’ve been there. I’m a designer; I’m a developer. I procrastinated for years. I wished, I dreamed, and then I went back to doing the same stupid shit that got me stuck in the first place. Even when I had enough to quit consulting, I kept going longer than I had to. Out of fear. I’ve been there — and I’m no longer there. I got out, and so can you.
What’s next for you? What’s the big plan?
Revolution, baby! But I don’t know exactly what or how — I’m still figuring it out.
I’m gonna keep moving til it comes to me, though. It’s hard to have world-shaking ideas when you’re lying on a divan, being fed peeled grapes by a sultry manservant. (In the interest of science, however, I’d like to test this theory thoroughly.)
In about a week, I’m relaunching my class for developers who want to create their very first product, the 30×500 Launch Class. It is New and Improved, the second time around.
Then, I’m in talks with three exciting individuals about smaller joint projects. And I want to create some mini-courses or mini-guides for different steps of the process. (Like, if you’ve already launched a product and need post-launch support. Or, how to create a winning info product.)
In short: I’m going to keep creating.
Beyond those rough ideas, all I really know is that there’s a revolution afoot — and I want to be a person pushing on that one, perfect spot, to tip it over from being a freelance revolution to being a product revolution.
How about you? What do you do — or wish you were doing? Try answering Naomi’s questions for yourself. Link your post in my comments!