So, that whole SmallSpec thing I was struggling to launch for so long? I saw an opportunity to take a detour and launch something small, fast, so I did it.
As part of the Gumroad Small Product Lab 10-day challenge, I wrote a book. A book about drumroll please …podcasting. Obvious choice, right?
If you’re interested, it’s at www.record-and-release.com, but I’m not here to sell. I’m here to talk about how INCREDIBLY RELIEVING it is to finally, finally, finally have some kind of a product out in the wild, even if it’s not the product I was hoping to launch. Just knowing that I’m “on the scoreboard” has injected a much-needed sense of optimism back into me.
For a long time, I was stuck. I thought I didn’t know enough to launch anything. But that was horseshit, I was just engaging in Condition X thinking. “When I learn enough about landing pages…”, 'When I learn enough about lead magnets…", “When I master e-mail autoresponders…”, that sort of thinking.
And to be honest, I was getting depressed. You probably already know I fell into a deep depression, had a minor breakdown, and destroyed my SmallSpec prototype just over a year ago. Yeah, that wasn’t my finest moment, and since then - even though I’ve since re-created a SmallSpec prototype - I really hadn’t marched that much closer to launching anything.
I’m not sure why this 10-day product challenge fired me up so. Maybe because I was already outlining a 5-day e-mail course on something related to freelancing, so my writing muscles were all warmed up? Maybe because I had been considering an ebook anyway? Maybe the oft-repeated advice that “you shouldn’t do a Saas app to start out, you should do a small product” finally sunk in? Maybe it was the support of the Product People Club? I really don’t know.
All I know is that at a certain point, I just gave myself permission to move forward. I decided that everything I knew about marketing a product - which, it turns out, is quite a bit - was good enough, and proceeded as though I knew everything.
Anyway. It’s been a long, weird trip to get here. I’m a little stressed about the dollars and cents of it - this book is NEVER going to earn out the $5,000 in otherwise-billable time I put into creating it. There’s just no way. But it pays off in other ways:
- By publishing this, I have added “…and author of…” to my professional bio, forever. Nobody can take that back.
- There’s a call for consulting built in to the book, so there may be some back-end revenue coming that way. I suppose that might let the book earn out, even if the sale price doesn’t.
- I’m on the scoreboard, and I know it.
- I can re-purpose the content from the book in other ways, some more lucrative than others.
So here I am, with a $29 ($20 on launch day) ebook for sale, 3 pre-orders in my pocket, feeling like I’m on top of the world. It’s not where I anticipated being, and it’s not where I wanted to be, but it’s good to be here nonetheless. There’s a lesson in here someplace about expectations, control, and acceptance.
Next up: whip SmallSpec into shape and make. It. Happen. That shit has been dragging on for way, way too long.
Just wanted to share, since I’ve been such an infrequent visitor here lately. Feel free to ask questions about my subject matter, my process, etc. Whatever you feel might help you get unstuck and get a product out the door, too, ask away!