Impact Preview: What’s Next and How You Can Take Part

February 13, 2013 , 107 Comments

Here’s a quick look at what we have in store for you, for 2013.

Plus, how you can take part: help us make sure that the content you’ll find here helps you take big strides forward in growing your own business!

Watch this quick video to see what it’s all about:

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Questions for You

If you already sell your own product or service:

What are your “sticking points”? What are the main questions about growing your business, that you’d like to see me answer?

If you don’t sell your own product or service yet:

What are your objections and fears? What do you need to know to be able to get started?

I’m looking forward to your input!

Shane's Signature

About ​Shane Melaugh

I'm the founder of ActiveGrowth and Thrive Themes and over the last years, I've created and marketed a dozen different software, information and SaaS products. Apart from running my business, I spend most of my time reading, learning, developing skills and helping other people develop theirs. On ActiveGrowth, I want to help you become a better entrepreneur and product creator. Read more about my story here.

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  • Hi Shane, enjoy your podcast and videos. I have been selling services to businesses (mostly local but some national and global) since 1995. Do OK but I would like to develop some actual products and possibly a membership site.

    I’ve tried a few times to move away from “services only” (really just a great job but with a lot of freedom) but never succeeded. Part of the challenge is deciding do I continue to sell to business owners only or do I look at selling to anybody and everybody?

    Thanks and please keep the content coming, especially the podcast (easier to consume).

    • Thanks for your reply!

      Don’t try to sell to anybody and everybody. Unless you’re Facebook, that won’t work out.

      Keep the focus narrow and ideally sell to a crowd that you already know intimately. The business that understands their prospects needs better than anyone else wins.

  • Hi Shane, I’d like to talk to you about helping me build my list. When is the best time to connect. Let me know. Thanks.

    • Hi John,

      I’m not sure what you have in mind, but I can’t offer any consulting or coaching. I simply don’t have enough time for services like that, I’m afraid.

  • Hi Shane
    I do not sell any product but still looking. What worries me is that I have clear that a product like online marketing, or like losing weight works, but what about gardening, cooking, photography etc? Do you think can work just as well? Are these hobbies also a good starting point?
    Another question: do products in Spanish can be an advantage to not be so saturated market?

    • You can usually find the answer by looking at existing products in those niches. Are there many books being sold on the topic? Are there magazines and other periodicals being sold? Is anyone else selling digital products or memberships?

      If you can figure out whether there are competing products and get an idea of whether those have a large or small user-base, that will give you the best insight into the size of the market.

      I can tell you right away that cooking and photography are huge. Bigger than IM, for sure. More competitive, too, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make it work. :)

  • Shane…the sticking point for us is trying to sell a high ticket item. (Also, the age old problem of not enough traffic!) We are marketing a $5,000 educational course on short term trading. It’s challenging to establish the trust needed for someone to feel comfortable in buying the course. Any insight on selling high ticket items would be great!

    • Thanks, Don!

      I don’t have any experience selling in that price range myself.

      My first instinct would be to add a lower-priced product to the line-up. Someone who’s spent, say, $20-$200 on a product and had a very positive experience is a lot more likely to then buy the higher priced product as well.

  • Present first the overview of a complete, fully functioning & verifiable start to finish system, then present the system, in detail. Too many online marketers/trainers present shiny fragments of their system, which usually are neat, but fail to integrate into any marketing plan but their own. Offer alternatives when they are viable within your system, eg. many trainings AND plugins assume Aweber will be the autoresponder service of choice. That’s not necessarily the case. What if the primary business decision is that a Customer Management System is at the foundation of any business and therefore I have chosen Infusionsoft as both CMS & autoresponder service (despite its complexity)? Also, remember that you have as an audience not only IM marketers selling their own or affiliate products, but educators and businessmen/women who run consulting services and use the internet as only one aspect of their marketing and may not even use it to sell, but to educate, or just help, without any direct financial return. All of us need a system that will bring traffic, convert, and offer post-conversion support.

    • Thanks, Stan!

      I have an idea for how we can create an overview or “map” of the whole system. It won’t be ready right away, but I do want to work towards that, so that the content isn’t fragmented.

      “All of us need a system that will bring traffic, convert, and offer post-conversion support.”

      Absolutely. I’m not talking about marketing to the IM niche only.
      Although all of my own products are marketing/business related, I don’t target the usual IM niche (people who are opportunity seekers and buy WSOs). And I’m moving further away from the niche with some future projects, as well.

      • Love the idea of an “overview or ‘map’ of the whole system.” Brilliant, energizing post, as always. Thank you. PS. It is list building, aligning with my tribe, that I am most interesting in.

  • How does one setup a membership site selling information and make it prosperous with all the competition that’s currently out there.

    I have licenses for wishlist and never used them because of fear of wasting my time and energy on something that I have no 100% “believe” in.

    Or maybe the lack of the “perfect” information to sell holds me back somehow. I hear of all this bloggers making a gazillion dollars a year selling to their list and have no clue how they started or is it just hype.

    thanks for listening.


    • Thanks for your reply!

      Most of the stuff you hear about IMers and bloggers making all this money is blown out of proportion. That’s true about a lot of things you read about online businesses and startups in general, because we like to focus on the outliers. A story about a kid who created a small thing in his mom’s basement and became a billionaire over night is always fascinating, even if it doesn’t represent how most businesses evolve in the slightest.

      The good news is that you can make a very good living at a much, much smaller scale.

      And competition is not really a bad thing, either. I think what we need to talk about is USP (unique selling propositions). That’s what allows you to plunge into a sea of competitors without having to worry.

  • I am primarily interested in drawing effective traffic to build my list.

    • Got it.

      Traffic is going to be one of the topics we cover. Also, in the shorter term, I might have something interesting for you coming up, specifically about traffic and building lists. :)

  • I am not selling my products and I am having some confusions.

    1. I am Indian so being an Indian or asian really matters to website visitors. i know that you are going to tell that the thing only matter is content if i am having the quality content than buyers goes for my product but i feel some hesitation in buyer for purchasing from Indian or Asian. What you suggest to me to counter this problem. for example two person make the same quality ebook which one you buy from Indian or some other country person.

    2. My second problem is that in video if my accent is not american will my video hurt by people or not.


    • Hello Rahul,

      I understand your concern. I think you should reach out to Ravi Jayagopal of Digital Access Pass.

      He’s Indian and not afraid to show it, thick accent and all. :)

      (I know you’ve got your G Alerts set up, so if you read this, Ravi: no, your accent isn’t that thick. Don’t worry. :D)

      Ravi is doing very well and I don’t think his nationality or accent ever got in the way of his success.

      Also, check out Visual Website Optimizer. They’re a very successful, entirely bootstrapped company. You could easily become a customer without knowing that they’re based in India. They recently reached 2K active users, which is pretty good considering that their minimum value per customer is something like $50/month and the average is probably $100+/month.

  • carmelita says:

    Hi Shane,

    I’ll answer question #2…

    The thought of “Product Creation” generates the same feelings in me as if you were to put me on the edge of a very high cliff and told me to jump…without the use of a parachute, hang glider, or not allowing Superman to fly in and rescue me ;)

    Here’s what the “nagging/doubting” part of my brain says to me at the thought of “product creation”:
    -you don’t have enough expertise in any given field.
    -you have no customer service experience
    -too much of a hassle, better stick to affiliate marketing.
    -do you really want to deal with refunds and complaints?

    But, I imagine the above is just my current paradigm. And I am open to ideas, especially coming from you, Shane, in this exciting new series you would like to create via IM Impact. Looking forward to it!

    cheers, and thank you for the excellent, excellent content and advice you always provide!

    • Hi Carmelita,

      Excellent description of your objections! Thank you very much for that. :)

      There are many points in here that I’ll make sure to address in the upcoming posts, in greater detail.

      Concerning the expertise issue, there are two things to keep in mind:
      1) You have a negative bias against yourself. We all do. We all tend to assume that everyone knows the things we know and so we underestimate our own level of expertise.

      2) It’s my belief that expertise is simply something that you acquire. For my first product, I invested a few months into building the expertise needed (before I even decided to create a product). That was worth it, especially since the process of acquiring the expertise is profitable in itself.
      For example, no matter what field you’re in, a great way to gain experience is to work with clients. That way, the experience gaining pays for itself.

      Also, more recently, I invested an entire year in to building experience. It’s already paying off and I have no doubt it will pay off in a bigger way in the future.

      Need more expertise? Go get it. :)

  • In reply, Shane: For me, the need is in marketing (traffic, conversion, branding) because I have awesome products myself as well but I struggle to get people to find them, ha!

    • Thank you for your reply!

      These are points we definitely have to address.
      Basically, you need three things:
      1) Offer
      2) Traffic
      3) Conversions

      All of these will be covered in the series.

  • Hi Shane,

    My problem has always been about getting the traffic. The conflicting thoughts are: a) I am involved in the internet marketing niche – highly competitive etc etc… but highly lucrative, how does one actually crack it?! Where is the low lying fruit? b) Even researching non-competitive niches is time consuming… trying to find out what people really want – it’s not the romantic notion conveyed in many offers… so why bother? And if I did, would it be worth it?

    Those 2 opposing views are my main points. Thankfully, your teachings has helped direct my attention to what matters, eg. Your blogpost about website themes/homepages, your VideoScreencast Product, Hybrid Connect.

    I guess I want more! Perhaps intrinsicly, how do I create my own products?

    Thanks for listening


    • Thank you, Vlad!

      Traffic is always a tough nut to crack, but we’ll cover that in detail.

      In terms of highly competitive markets: don’t look for low hanging fruit. I think that mis-places your focus.
      Don’t try to get out of your competition’s way and find easy opportunities. Instead, focus on being the best at something very specific. The goal is that you can point to your competitors and say: “look, they all suck, compared to me!”

      That’s a great position to start marketing from.

      As for other niches: there are tons of lucrative niches out there, but I don’t believe in stepping into a niche because of the earning potential. I think you have to be personally involved to really understand what would make a good product in a niche.

  • I’m much more interested in your former business model Shane. That’s why I’m here.

    If you follow a fork to product creation that’s fine, I may have one less blog to follow.

    I have no interest in that model. It is not an issue of procrastination or fear or some other difficulty in creating products or anything else.

    I like the affiliate model.


    Alex “different strokes for different folks” Newell

    • Thanks, Alex!

      Well, it would be a real shame to lose you.

      Something I forgot to mention in this video is that the product creation thing is not going to be the only thing the blog is about.
      I’ll continue doing product reviews/roundups, for example.

      I’ll also continue to write about pretty much anything I feel like writing about.

      The plan for this Impact Systems is that it gives me a main focus and something to work towards (and hopefully makes the blog a bit more coherent).

      Also, for affiliate marketing specifically, I’ve got something coming up that I think you’ll enjoy. :)

  • My sticking point, Shane, is that I don’t think I have an idea for a compelling product to create myself.

    • Thanks for your comment, Phil!

      Idea finding is a tough one, for me. It’s something that I’ve been doing for so long, at this point it feels like it comes naturally. Although I’m certain it’s something I can deconstruct and I’m certain it’s a learnable skill.

      I’m adding that to the to-do list for posts. :)

  • I’m in basically the same boat as Phil. I have some product ideas, but the problem with them is that there is either way too much established competition — or none at all (which is probably worse, since it’s an indication that it’s probably a dud).

    • Thanks for your reply, Howard!

      I think you’re making it too hard for yourself. What you’re saying is that you need a sweet spot of competition, right? Not too much, but not too little…

      You can’t make your business that dependent on your competition. If you have a great idea and you want to create a product in a market, you need to go for it.
      What you need for sure is a USP and that’s something we’ll cover in detail.

      To give you an example from my own experience, take Hybrid Connect. It’s not exactly the first ever WordPress list building plugin, right? I’d say the market was pretty flooded already. But the product has a strong USP and doesn’t need to hide from competition. In fact, I think most of our competitors help educate the market about the importance of building a list and help us by looking kind of lame in comparison to Hybrid Connect. :)

  • Hallo Shane,

    After the Google animal disaster I put up a new site since some months ago. So far “only” affiliate products but I wish I had a product of my own. I know what I want but not how to get it. All help appreciated. And of course the old traffic problem…

    • Hi Nils,

      I feel your pain, believe me.
      I was loving the Google-traffic-money I was getting before, but somewhere between the various animals, that income has been pretty much obliterated.

      I hope you’ll find the answers you need to help you get started with a product of your own, in our future posts. :)

  • Hi Shane, I’m a graphic designer and a teacher and I also have this online video training website on graphic tools such as Illustrator and Photoshop (here in Brazil). I have two things I would like to know more about. First, I sell monthly subscriptions which is quite differente from selling a one time product, so that is something I really have to know more about. The second big issue is princing. I’ve been running this business for over a year now and I started with a very low price, and right now I want to raise the price and I have all sorts of questions such as how much should I raise, should I sell each course individually or should I stick to my scheme where one subscription gives access to all courses, how much discount should I give for longer term subscriptions and so on.
    Anyway, I follow your work and already got a lot from it, thanks.

    • Thank you for your reply, Lula!

      Subscriptions vs. one-time products is something I want to cover, in the future.

      Pricing in general is quite tricky, I have to admit. I wish I knew the perfect answer, but I don’t (not yet, anyway). It’s something I will have to do more research on.

      For your particular case, consider the option of combining one-off courses and the subscription. You could offer one-off purchases and always advertise the subscription as the better option.
      E.g. if someone really wants to, they can buy just the one course for $100, but they can also get them all for a monthly cost of just $30 or something like that.

      You could even emulate the model many theme clubs have: you need to make a one-off purchase to be able to get in the club. I.e. every new customer pays $100 for the first product and then gets the opportunity to join and get all courses for $30/month.

      Neither of those options are necessarily better than what you’re doing right now. The best way to test would be to buy some traffic and run split-tests only on that purchased traffic.

    • When Shane and I became business partners I 301 redirected my old blog to to consolidate – that’s why you’re getting anchor text for my name!

  • Hi, Shane,

    I’m interested in knowing how to identify and locate potential clients for my service. Sales page help would be great, as well.



    • Thank you for your reply, John! I will take this into consideration for my future posts.

  • The main question for me these days is how can I improve my SE rankings.
    A Backlink Battleplan 3.0 would be kinda invaluable to me.

    • Thanks for your comment!

      I don’t think a BBP 3.0 is possible. The beauty of BBP was that it was such a simple system that delivered such consistent results.
      With the new Google, I don’t think it can be simplified to that degree anymore.

  • it is just about a year ago that I went from making $100/$200 a month with adsense to zero dollars a month. By last June I had dumped all expenses from Internet marketing host gator, membership site, SEcockpit so my expenses went to zero.

    After seven months I have come to the conclusion that product creation and lead generation or two avenues to make money online in the future. I had just bought Mark Thompson’s beyond commission video course on creating a product. I have also got in to his inner circle for a ridiculous price for a year!

    I have also rejoined 100K results membership. They just did a webinar last month outlining their product creation part of their business.

    One of the things I have never seen covered is how to set up a page to take PayPal or a credit card. I would like to know that. Anything about a sales page would be awesome. How to create a list. How you go about creating products. I would love to know all of this!

    • Thanks, Tom!

      Sales pages and payment pages are things I want to cover, for sure. I’ll have to think about how to best do that, in the context of blog posts.

      List building and managing the list will also be included.

  • I have my own products, decent salesletters and conversions, but need traffic for non_IM niches.

    • Thanks, Steve!

      Noted. And all of the content will be applicable to any niche. This will not be IM specific. :)

  • Hi Shane,

    Just watching the first interview video on your 6-figure training.
    It sounds as if it were almost easy to create your first product. I know you did a lot of work, but at one point, you just decided to start working on your own product. And best of all, it didn’t take a big investment (at least a financial one).

    My problem is in the actual product creation. I would love to know how to go about that. I just can’t seem to get started because there’s always this doubt about quality etc.

    Could use some help on that.

    Thanks for your help. Love your products…


    • Thanks, Eric!

      Your comment is very thought provoking, for me. It made me realize that I have a pretty clear vision of what I want my product to be like, long before I even start the actual process of building it.

      That’s something I need to deconstruct, so that it can be emulated by anyone.

  • Hi Shane,
    I have a services business b2b and b2c. Why don’t you develop a course titled” “Shane Melaugh’s Proven System for Building a Product or Service”. Then we could buy it from you and you could use this blog to enhance and update things on a weekly basis. Personally, trying to follow a system from a blog with weekly posts is just too fragmented for me. Others have done this and I always drop the blog. I really find it helpful to know the whole system so I can conceptualize where I am going and then move ahead step by step. The best way to do that would be a great written guide.

    We know you are successful in creating products and you could create the seminal product for creating products or selling services and being successful. Something that only you could write. Am I stroking your ego enough to get you to say yes. I am serious.

    Personally, after buying your other products I would’nt hesitate to pay a few hundred for such a product. Your other stuff has made me money so I know what you create would.

    Use this site and the Sunday updates and podcasts for updates, challenges, case studies, it would be amazing. You could pioneer new ground with the first non-membership membership site. Anyone who really wanted to participate would buy the course. Please consider doing this – it would be a great experiment for a year or two at least.


    • Hi Charles,

      Thank you for your comment!

      There will be a new Product Bootcamp course, this year. That’s going to be live training, where I’ll teach everything in as much detail as needed.

      The product and the blog will go hand in hand, much like you describe. As I said in the video, I think the content that goes on the blog has to be “distilled”. It has to be reduced to the most basic and most important steps and it shouldn’t get bogged down with too much technical detail.

      The training product is where we can go in to greater technical detail and cover all the bases, not just the most important parts.

  • Hi Shane, a different slant from most of your other posts as we are an established off-line business starting to sell one of our physical products on-line. My frustration is nearly all blogs are about the IM space – rarely have I come across a blog on how to bridge these two worlds.So I just take snippets from every where I can.Is there room for a blog on this ??
    Cheers Alison

    • Thanks, Alison!

      I know what you mean, but I’m not sure if I can help you with it. While I’m not focused on just the IM niche, I do want to keep my focus on digital products, as that’s what I specialize in, myself.

  • Shane, I really appreciate your willingness to share what you know to help some of us who are struggling to get this thing going. My biggest stumbling block is putting it all together. Putting the steps in place. Seems overwhelming at times and confusing. I love the idea of showing us a step at a time, and keeping them concise. Thanks again for your willingness to share.

    • Thank you for your reply, Bill!

      The goal is to end up with a “map” of the system, so that you always know where you are and where to go next, without it being overwhelming.

  • I currently sell my own information products. Effective buyer traffic is always a good topic but I would like to learn more about how to legally protect yourself… especially in the “make money online” niche

    • Thanks, Mike!

      Traffic: yes, definitely.
      Legal advice: that’s something I won’t be doing. I’ll leave that up to lawyers.

  • Hey Shane,

    Excellent content as always!

    So basically, just combine all the above requests into a beginner, intermediate and advanced indepth, intensive course in how to create products and tools along with how to market them online, using a step-by-step process that is provided in both written and video formats.

    Hope you’re not sorry you asked.

    • Thanks for your reply, Jesse.

      Of course I’m not sorry I asked. I guess one post will be about why I do this kind of thing and what it’s good for. :)

  • Hi Shane,

    I’m selling a service which my sister and I help people to publish their ebooks to Kindle Store. We are not selling information product but rather a service pack that includes cover design, formatting etc. I have several offers in mind that could help my customers, such as design Author Website and other promotional tools. My sister is a graphic designer so we are pretty pro in designing.

    We are focusing on doing JV with those who have targeted list and driving traffic through referral program. I would like to learn more in these two methods.


    • Hi Hazel, that sounds really cool. Great idea for a service, especially since there will be more and more self-publishers out there.

      Affiliate traffic will definitely be covered.

  • Thank you for your short video Shane. My answer to your two questions below.

    1. I use Internet marketing to promote my self as a service provider (expert quantity surveyor and dispute resolution in the UK) and to promote a office building that we own and rent out. With the surveying site I have done very little work and there is very little content but it ranks very nicely at number one in Google for a few keywords (although it looks horrible and I really need to do something about it but it isn’t a priority as it brings traffic) with the office website we have a little more work but we rank very poorly against the national office providers and this is something that we need to address to enable us to get a higher occupancy in our office.
    So we would like to know how to get a small niche website that is geographically specific to rank above the national providers.
    2. We are also involved in Internet marketing and we would like to develop that to be a business that can replace our present incomes. To this end we will be launching products shortly and I dare say and over the shoulder look of the whole process would be very helpful. I did listen to your audio explaining how you set up your first six-figure business which was very interesting and thank you for taking the time to do that. I hope this gives you a fee but you’re looking for.


    • Thank you for this reply, Paul!

      Local ranking/SEO isn’t part of my own arsenal, so I’m afraid I can’t help there, but with anything related to selling digital products, I’ll be providing just this kind of over-the-shoulder video of how I go about things. :)

  • Shane

    I feel my best direction at present is to move away from the IM niche. It seems to be to incestuous. With many courses and information products just that little bit different to many others but built purely with the view to building a list to market stuff to day after day. Where’s the value?

    • Hi Colin,

      I think you should market in any niche you like. If there’s a lot of rubbish in a niche, that can be an opportunity for you, because you can stand out by being different.

      For me, I don’t like the IM/opportunity seeking niche either, but I love marketing, marketing psychology etc.
      On the one hand, it means that I don’t let other people stop me from selling marketing related products and on the other hand, it means that with most of my products, I don’t appeal to opportunity seekers, but to actual online businesses.

  • I am trying to get started, and I am leaning toward video concepts. I do need to know how to get things set up to properly capture visitors, and also need to know better how to identify a product. I’m struggling with the construction of the blog/web site to make it inviting and also how to drive visitors to it.

    • Thank you for your comment, Kent!

      I think we’ll be able to address several of those questions in upcoming posts. :)

  • I do create and sell my own online information products in different languages and in different niches. Frankly, I don’t think what I need is a simple plan with the basics. I think I already passed that stage now. Are you planning to share general, basic stuff or did I just misunderstood what you were trying to convey in the video?

    Sticking point of mine…
    I don’t think there are a lot I lack in terms of knowledge. I take action too, but I guess my actions take a loong time to complete:) I believe it is an outsourcing issue, but I don’t know how I can get outsourcers to work for me when my online business is NOT in english. I cant find any outsourcers. I can only hire local people and they ask very high prices which is not cost effective for my business.

    I know how to run an online business and all its processes, but I just can’t apply everything I have on my to do list since it takes me a long time to complete those tasks by myself. However, as I said outsourcing is a huge issue since my online business is not in english.

    I have no idea if you’ll have a solution for that, but any ideas would be much appreciated:) Thx.

    • Hi Chad,

      I will start with basics, but not end there. The goal is to cover the whole system, just as I follow it myself.

      As for outsourcing: I know what you mean. Anyone in an English market will actually face very similar problems. It’s easy to find cheap outsourcers in English, but if you want GOOD outsourcers, you have to pay up.

      The issue you are facing might be one of pricing or reach: you need to increase your prices and/or reach a larger audience so that the business generates enough revenue to cover one or more employees.

  • Interesting post Shane, I for one am interested in your approach and content.

    OK so in IM you were a thought leader and slowly as things changed you took your products off the market rather than update them. Hats off to you for being different and not blasting your list with two BSO’s a day and 20 reminders.

    If you are going to make such a change then you may need to change the name of your site if it not really IM.

    The thing is a lot of people will be scared of product creation they will envisage the hassle of developing software with developers who’s staff sell their code on for $5 a time.

    Maybe they develop a course only to find see it being ripped of copy protection and appearing on Black hat forums

    Then there is the support and of course keeping it up to date.

    In the software business it is the updates that kill you, a change in WordPress stops your plugin from working, a change in Google or Facebook API kills it dead.

    You can’t get the same developer unless you employ them directly, but they are often so hung up with their own ego’s that you can’t afford to depend on one.

    In another life I have been partner in a real software development company, where sale is $400,000 per client, a company where we had to use agile software and project management techniques. There is a lot more to it than knocking up some plugin via odesk and telling everyone that it will give you a MASSIVE increase in traffic and conversions.

    So my advice if you are going to get into product creation would be to start with the sales page, write a rough sales page, then build a business plan, do proper market research. Do some risk analysis. Then figure out if your brilliant idea is still so brilliant. It reminds me of teenagers who say they want to be fashion designers when they do not stand out among their class never mind the school or really talented competition.

    Learn from the big boys go have a look at the free plug-ins, then see what they are missing. Oh BTW WordPress is an open source platform and as such any code you write is open source, that means anyone who gets a copy can demand the source. just so you know.

    I think the problem here is that your audience have mostly been led to beleive that there is a “push button” business run four hours a week, even you used the term “machine”.

    The reality is that hard work, luck, opportunity and finance play a big part of any success, online or not.

    I saw a WSO the other day that was such total boolsheeeet, teaching some daft method that was complete tripe and they even had a tool to go with it. Those poor newbies…

    Let’s not forget the oldies who have been around for a while, but are really in this as a hobby rather than as a business including some of those that have posted above.

    So I look forward to your brain dump, always quality content from you Shane.

    • Interesting comment – why do you think the site needs to be rebranded when building and selling your own products is internet marketing?

      Also, why do the sales page before doing your market research? That seems counter intuitive to me.

      • Hey Paul

        IM is Internet Marketing, at the core of this is Marketing not Product Creation.

        Plugins etc are just tools, like post it notes or calculators.

        If you can’t write the sale page right at the beginning you have nothing to sell.

        You should be passionate about the huge benefits of your product and be able to relate those to the very real problems your clients face, not the one’s you invent.

        Once you have that sales page, you can work backwards, plan your launch, decide if there are any types of affiliates you want to give a pre-lauunch.

        Doing it this way will get your creative juices flowing, it will make you add more features BEFORE you start the development.

        Try it on your next project.

      • This is what I said: “…building and selling your own products is internet marketing” and I stand by it.

        You can’t tell me that building and selling products is not internet marketing. To be clear – the content of the blog is not “how to build your own product”, it’s how to build AND market (sell) your own products. This, by definition, is internet marketing. And that’s why I challenged you on your rebranding idea.

        Regarding writing the sales page – how can you write a sales page without doing your market research? How on earth are you going to be able to come up with a proposition before you’ve even understood the market? That’s a nonsense approach. If you write the sales page after market research but before building the product then that’s a different story – but that’s not what you said.

    • Thanks for your comment!

      It’s true that software can be a bit intimidating, which is why I generally recommend starting with information products. It’s an easier way to learn the ropes, IMO.

      As for the term “machine”: I don’t understand where you make the connection between that and “push button”. I’m probably as far away from anyone promising push button results as you can get…

      What I’m saying is that I’ll teach you how to build a machine. Does that imply it’s easy?

      Think of building an engine. I’m not saying “push this button and you’ll have an engine”. I’m saying: “keep paying attention and in the end, you’ll understand how the engine works and will be able to build one”.

      There’s a reason why you won’t find many “get rich quick” types in the comments on this site. ;)

      • Well what we see is people promising fast results for no effort, the word machine suggests that everything is automated and that there is no hard work or planning to be involved.

        There is no machine, there is Research, project management, financial planning, processes, risk assessment etc.

        If you are going to teach these then you really should be following a proven methodology.

        Imagine you don’t encourage research, someone spend $20k developing a product only to find there is one out there for free or worse still your developer created something similar and used the same base code. I did a development in India a few years back, it was just a handful of screens on a new platform to show a new client. The idiots then put up a website trying to sell it and it effectively told our competitors the direction we were taking. You can’t take legal action because they are faceless greedy bartenders who cannot be traced or served any papers.

        Just a few weeks ago I saw someone on the WF get completely trashed by a competitor in the middle of a launch with accusations of ripping of their images and code. They ended up getting banned from the WF, imagine you had sunk $50k into that.

        All I am saying is that creating a product does not guarantee that you will sell it and so we come back to marketing, but miss those other things above (business planning) and you will just have wasted your time.

  • Shane,

    I´m just about to launch my website and I´m creating my own information product.

    My sticky point right now would be a) Where to upload my products and b) To choose the payment system.


    • Thanks for your input, Juan!

      What do you mean by “where to upload the products”? As in: what product delivery system to use? Or something else?

      Payment systems will definitely be covered.

  • Great outlook Shane. looking forward to your product funnel process. If it fits the bill i’ll buy. Def need a good funnel thats… here’s how to do it and not here’s what to do. cheers

  • (creeperdefense will come up soon)
    offering a service for markets so different like US – Germany, I noticed that most of the advices are only for the states or anglosaxon countries. I would be interested in a solution (from autoresponder to payment-systems and digital-member wp-plugins), that fits not only to US-law and language, but to german as well (for instance: mailchunk is much better for internationalization than Aweber, although Aweber seems to be the (affiliate?) darling of everyone).

    • My language is not German, but for international markets, the best combination I’ve found after a detailed research and testing is:

      WP-Getresponse-WishlistMember-Paypal-Post Affiliate Pro-Hesk(or Zendesk)

      I HATE it that all “all-in-one solutions” such as Office Autopilot, Infusionsoft, Nanacast,etc. do not support localization(non-english visitor facing pages such as order pages). It’s a shame, just because of that I have to put all those systems together piece by piece which is a real pain to set up, maintain and manage.

      Hope someone reading this can add something on this:)

      • Hi Chad,

        I know the issue as well. Keep in mind that this can also be an opportunity, though. You’re probably not the only one looking for solutions like this…

    • Thanks, Andreas!

      I’ve done a little bit of international selling and might do some more soon. It’s a tricky business, but maybe we can have some content on this topic as well.

  • Yes.

    I’m with your thinking on this. For me, creating your own products and branding is the future.

    I’m developing a collection of children’s eBooks. Like anyone who falls in love with their own ideas, I think they will sell. But, without traffic the greatest eBooks in the world will simply “rust” on my hard drive.

    So, I have three primary interests: Traffic, traffic, and traffic. I can fumble my way through the creation of a fairly decent website and individual sales pages, but so far I am a total flop with traffic. Attracting qualified visitors to my site is my real need.

    NOTE: I learn best with over the shoulder videos. I pick up more from a five minute video than I do from five pages of detailed instructions. Just sayin’.

    Thanks for all the help and encouragement you have given me in the past. I look forward to what you will be sharing in the future.


    • Thank you for your reply, Frank!

      Traffic. Definitely noted and a topic we will come back to. :)

  • Hi Shane,

    Big Yes to the direction you’ve outlined. I know how to write books and publish them successfully. Big sticking point is all aspects of online marketing. I’ve studied many “gurus” but am sick and tired of them. Your clear, down-to-earth realistic style could be extremely valuable.

    Already learned some pointers on where I’m going wrong from your webinar with Matt about email marketing and HC. If you present quality pointers to simple things I can do better like this you have a fan for life!



  • Q1
    What are your “sticking points”? What are the main questions about growing your business, that you’d like to see me answer?

    I don’t really have a business and the reason is I am easy to distract. I know that I would like to do CPA because it doesn’t involve interaction. But I also would like to sell as an affiliate marketer.


    What are your objections and fears? What do you need to know to be able to get started?

    I have thought about doing my own products, but I lack the how too.

    • The know how is what I’ll be providing.

      Can’t help with the CPA, unfortunately, as I have very little experience with that myself.

  • Yes…I create my own products and would love all the help I can get. I could use (more) help with getting traffic. I’ve created free courses,blogs, over 100 videos on YouTube and still traffic seems slow. I’m not sure why people on YouTube would go to my blog because here’s so much available on YouTube.

    Thanks Shane,

    • Thanks, Tomas!

      Noted about the traffic. I think the (soon) upcoming post about how to deal with competition is also going to be useful for you.

  • I would like to learn how you organize all these different projects you have? I just can’t seem to balance everything I am doing quite like you can.

    • Hi David,

      Honestly, I’m not as well organized as I may appear to be from the outside.

      An important part of how I organize is to make announcements like these, so I’m held accountable. There are always a million ideas floating around. Once you get in front of some people and say: “I will do X and Y!” it drastically increases your clarity about what to do and what to focus on.

  • Jeff Harris says:

    I want to build a team ….any thoughts on that from a start up prospective?
    I’ve done everything myself and still don’t really have a business yet because I spend all my time and money trying to learn more, never really getting to the place I want to be,seems like i am caught in a loop (most loops have no end) :-(

    • Hi Jeff,

      I know the situation you are in too well.

      In fact, I’m still in it myself, to some degree. I’ve tried various ways of building a team, often with little success.

      Here are two things I can share, right away:

      1) Try to find someone to partner up with. It’s difficult to find a good business partner, but if you can find someone, it’s much better than having an employee or outsources, especially when you’re just in the starting phases and have a low budget.
      My two most successful ventures so far have both been with business partners. When you have a partnership, there’s a big advantage: no one gets paid until you make some money (so it doesn’t drain a small budget) and both partners get paid more, the more money the business makes.
      This really helps give the partners a strong drive to build the business and a partner will put in more effort and more hours than an employee ever will.

      2) “Bulk outsource” if applicable. We’ve tried several things for outsourcing support and so far, the best solution has been to hire a company specialized in doing support for other companies. We don’t have to hire and manage the team ourselves (at least not micro-manage). It’s less control for us, but it’s a better solution, at least for now.

      I hope this helps.

      • Jeff Harris says:

        Thank You
        Sounds like good advice
        as for finding your partner/partners was it by luck you found someone that you could partner with or was it something you think might be repeatable/teachable?

      • There was some luck involved.

        In both cases, they contacted me because of one of my free products they saw and were impressed with and I think forums were also involved.

        It definitely helps to have something like a blog or free product out there, so people can “check you out”. And, if you find forums where people with similar ambitions as you hang out, that’s another option.

        What might be even better is if you can go to live events and gatherings where you can meet like-minded people. Anything to do with startups would be good.

  • i love to learn about software creation from ideas picking outsourcing and support ..etc

  • Shane
    As always your a wealth of information

    I want to create a how to formula for local businesses that is something I can sell to them or do it for them.5 major areas any local business(veterinarians) can implement immediately to increase sales and conversion easy step by step something based on a all you need is the internet connection.

    Tell me what you think

    • Sounds good.
      Here’s a trick you can use to make it easier for you: when you start out, do this service for one specific type of offline business only. Makes it so much easier to sell (and you can always expand it to a more general solution later).

  • I think I’m at question 1.5! I’ve got a website and have slowly, tediously worked my way through creating a download page, opt-ins (thank you Hybrid Connect), special reports, ebook. And a step-by-step set of instructions to do these things would be wonderful. I have had to find individual plug-ins and widgets (for WordPress) and then hope they will work together. Sometimes they do but not always. The connection between separate plug-ins and such would be an area to focus on. Also, why keywords are so important. I don’t get it. Or is that SEO stuff and I should go look that up?

    On the other hand, I have no trouble creating content as a happy, skilled writer and researcher. What to do after that is my ongoing problem. Do I buy a list of email addresses? Do I blitz Twitter and Facebook in order to get people to come to the site? So, I guess the challenge becomes list building when there’s no existing list.

    Hope this makes sense. My language lags my experience sometimes.

    • Hi Kate,

      Yes, keywords are an SEO thing. Search engines can be a valuable traffic source, but they’re quite volatile (show me someone who does a lot o SEO and I’ll show you someone who’s suffered from a “Google slap”). You should certainly never compromise your content for the sake of SEO.

      Don’t ever buy a list of email addresses. First, that’s quite often downright illegal and second, it’s always low quality traffic. If it were good traffic, the list would not be up for sale, because the original owner would be too busy making money from it.

      For a skilled writer like yourself, a good way to get some initial traffic going is to write guest posts. Find some blogs where your ideal prospect might be hanging out and ask if you can contribute a guest post.
      It’s a good way to get your name out and get a few visitors, without having to make a big investment.

  • Hi Shane,
    I run a simple WordPress site that publishes daily Bible readings IN FRENCH, in both written and (increasingly) audio format. You can find it at
    Our objective is very simple – more visitors. Not entirely sure that adding a product is appropriate at this stage.
    Anyway, thanks again for your weekly posts, I love them.
    Best regards

  • OK, Shane, here are some thoughts…

    Focusing on building product, and through that, building one’s community makes sense. Your presentation about this was convincing wherein you compared this path to guest blogging. Guest blogging can be a pretty fine way of driving non-SEO traffic to a site, after which the opt-in freemium and drip emails may eventually get some small percent of subscribers to buy something. But, as you said, why not build the product and go straight away to marketing it.

    Well, one reason is that some of us wannabe online purveyors of whatever are kinda stuck on what we already know and can do, and overwhelmed by what we don’t. So, we throw up a post and hope for the best.

    The truth is that very few of us who follow you and buy your stuff will have your success. Making money online requires a set of entrepreneurial skills. And guess what? Most people don’t have them. Most of us make money via a job and the paychecks come to us every two weeks, after taxes.

    Personally, I’m fighting this within me right now; this question about whether I have what it takes.

    I’ve been blogging for just under four years. I knew pretty quickly the mistakes I was making. I dived in deep to learn what I could from others. I could now lecture on what a successful blogger has to do, but I have not done anything to improve my blog or create a product.

    Part of it is analysis paralysis. Part of it is lack of inspiration. Part of it is not believing that I have sufficient expertise and can offer value.

    And this is common.

    What’s uncommon is possession of that entrepreneurial skill set that can make it happen. Not sure you can teach that. But please keep trying.



    • You need to assume that I can’t teach the entrepreneurial skill set. And that no one else can, either.

      From your comment, it looks like the problem you have is with theory and practice being out of balance.

      You should aim for 50% practice, 50% theory as a minimum. Up to 80% practice, 20% theory is fine.

      You can enforce this with a simple timer. Measure the amount of time you spend reading books, blogs etc. and then spend at least the same amount of time doing relevant, mission-critical work for your own business.

      It doesn’t sound like much in theory, but in practice, this can be an eye opening experiment.

      As I said, you should assume that the important skills can’t be taught. No one can give you what you need or do for you what you need to do.
      If you want a skill, start working on it. You get good at what you practice. And if you don’t and it turns out entrepreneurship is a mystical birth-right only granted to the lucky few?

      Well, make sure the journey is worth it, anyway.

  • Hi Shane.
    In a nutshell I need a sales page that converts clicks to $$
    long version..
    I need to refine a sales pitch for a product that does not exist yet (well not the way I do it) so I have to say a lot without saying so much that I bore them to death

    I know there is a market for it. I have talked to tons of people who think it is a great Idea/product but to sell it I need to change the way people think. I have so much to say about the benefits of this product that my sales page resembles a book.

    I know people want to get the information fast but I can’t help but try to over explain it to them.

    My basic need is to find a way to condense what I have to say into a format that takes as little time or effort from prospective clients to absorb the idea and to see my point as possible.

    I need to change a prospects thinking within the first 2 to 3 minutes of him or her landing on my sales page.

    What I have now is a embarrassing mess that takes far to long to absorb. Say to much and I bore them to death say to little and they just don’t get it.
    Second objective will be testing the product and having results to show prospective clients.
    then canvasing prospective clients with my sales pitch.

    I just realized that I over explained my problem so I’m clearly in deep trouble here. Clearly I also need to change the way I think. lol I keep yelling “Get to the point Steve”

    • It’s difficult to change people’s mind about anything. You can generally only do it in very small increments.

      What I’d suggest for your situation is:
      1) Find the people who already agree with you.
      2) Find the people who’s minds you have to change the least, before they agree with you.

      And start working with them, first.

      As for brevity: that’s mostly a matter of practice.

      Most people will never do what I’m about to recommend (and that’s a good indicator that it’s very effective): create a hard limit which is very small, in which to convey your message.
      Then, repeat and practice with different limit “lengths”.

      For example: you have 25 seconds to explain your product. Time and record yourself.

      I know you think it’s impossible, but do it anyway.

      The must be a core message that can be conveyed in 25 seconds. It can be extremely frustrating, but keep practicing.

      You can do the same thing in writing.
      Explain your product in one sentence. Normal, human-sounding sentence, too.

      Then, re-write your sales page from scratch, with a 500 word limit.

      Then, maybe a 2000 word limit.

      It’s all a matter of practice.

      • Thanks for the pointers Shane. I set my first goal to 200 word sales page and a 3 min video. I’ll work to trim it down from there.
        Toilet plungers fly off the selves and you don’t see anybody explaining how they work. Is your toilet blocked? You need this! Boom sales pitch done. Now I just have to invent a toilet plunger sales pitch for my product.

  • Hi SHane. We’ve been running a paid membership site since 2004. Financial services niche. We have a fairly good list (800+) that is reasonably responsive, but we have two problems:
    1. We are having problems developing new products that complement our core business
    2. Our list is getting tired, and we need ways to refresh and expand it.

    bill dampier

    • Hello Bill,

      Without knowing more details, it looks to me like your main issue is a lack of new subscribers and customers. No business has a retention rate of 100%, so the longer a mailing list or customer base exists, the more the numbers inevitably dwindle. My impression is that the first thing you need to do is find a way to get more new subscribers and customers into your business.

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