Aloha, Tom here!
We’re in the middle of a series about my signature strategy to turn your big product, skill, or idea into a major cash cow. Naturally, I call it the M.I.L.K. It Method. Here’s a link to the original guide so you can follow along (for free!) if you like.
Last time, we talked about the “M” in M.I.L.K., which stands for “market.” We discussed the importance of finding a hungry market overdeveloping a killer product at first. So many entrepreneurs get this backward and feel confused when nobody wants to buy their amazing doohickey.
We put “market” before “product” because it will lead to more sales. The one thing a hot dog vendor needs more than anything is a starving crowd… not a state-of-the-art hot oven or impeccable ad campaign. When people find their “starving crowd” they can start to determine their ideal buyer, learn the questions they ask, and identify the biggest pain points they experience. Then, and only then, they should begin to develop their product.
But what if you manage to find a hungry market and identify your ideal buyer? What’s next?
How do you develop something you know will sell like crazy to them?
By the way, if you want to listen to this content in podcast form, click here.
Laying the Groundwork
One of the best quotes related to this topic comes from top NFL quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. From the beginning of his career, he had the mantra, “The separation is in the preparation.” This mindset enabled him to outperform the other players who came into the league when he did. It led him to eight Pro Bowls and one Super Bowl victory.
If it worked for him, it can work for you.
Too many people refuse to truly prepare for their business endeavors. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t understate the importance of starting before you feel ready. Your inner critic will try to stop you from breaking free from the 9-5 and building the career of your dreams. I’m not talking about hesitation here, but preparation. When I say start before you’re ready, I mean start preparing now, so that success comes naturally later.
For the “M.I.L.K. It Method” to work, you have to prepare like none other. Lay the groundwork for your product to become an overnight success.
By the way, it’s STILL a good time to start an online business, for those of you on the fence.
How to Develop Your First Product
With your market at hand and the dream of success in your heart, it’s time to learn everything you can and then develop a winning product. Here’s how:
- Build Your Audience
Up until now you were “lurking and learning” without interacting with the market. Now, make your presence known. Build an audience within your market.
The steps you take to build your audience will depend on where you found your market. If you found them mostly through Facebook then make your own Facebook group. If you found them through forums, start posting polls and questions there. Regardless of where you found them, it’s never a bad idea to start a YouTube channel and begin filming short videos introducing yourself and talking through some of the hottest topics your audience discusses.
Once you have a consistent audience, even if it’s just 30-50 people, start interacting with them. Go live on Facebook and respond to them. Post polls to both Facebook and YouTube. Ask them what they want you to talk about, and then film a YouTube video on that topic. This enables you to start learning the market’s problems, the pain points they have, and the questions they ask. Your first product will be a solution to one of these problems.
This is also a fantastic time to start collecting email addresses. As you interact with your audience, invite them to leave their email, and keep the conversation going there. Include an invitation to your email list on your videos and posts. You can begin sending regular emails in addition to your other content. I recommend using a tool called ConvertKit for this.
- Do Your Homework
You don’t have to start out as an expert in your field. I know I wasn’t. I was only one or two steps ahead of some of the members of my audience. That was okay, up to this point. However, when it became time to develop a product to sell, I realized I needed to learn more.
You don’t have to pass yourself off as an expert when you’re not, either. It’s enough to be curious and interested in the topic. As you learn, grow, try, and fail, you’ll slowly turn into an expert.
Here are a few ways to learn more about your audience and product area:
- Check out the competition. Find incumbent entrepreneurs in your sphere, and check out what they do. See what works and what doesn’t. Decide how you will be unique in your approach.
- Use Quora and Answerthepublic to determine the real questions your market asks. Underneath the questions they ask are the pain points they experience. Your product should relieve that pain.
- Use Feedly to aggregate content for you. If you give them a few topics, they will curate content for you to read with less irrelevant noise. This will help you understand your market even more. This will also give you ideas for your Facebook and YouTube content.
- Develop Your MVP
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is just that. It’s the bare minimum you need to go to market with. Don’t get confused: it’s not the same as a bad or faulty product. An MVP solves a pain point for your audience, genuinely helping them out. It just isn’t the be-all-end-all for you.
The nature of your MVP will depend greatly on your audience and your set of skills. It could be educational, like a course, kit, or coaching. It could be an accessory like a shirt or mug. It could be a service, like marketing, website building, or professional networking. The common denominator is that the MVP solves a problem for the audience, and can be improved upon.
Take some time to build an audience, and do your homework. After this, create something that will help them. Once it gets to the place of viability, you’re onto the most fun part of online business: the launch. But that’s a story for the next blog post!
For more secrets the so-called gurus won’t tell you about succeeding in online business, check out my podcast.