NBS #12: Decide What Your First Digital Product Should Be (Do This Before You Start Building!)

Before you start building anything, you must first decide what your first digital product should be!

Jun 8, 2024

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    A digital product is the simplest way to monetize your expertise outside of your job or practice. But before you go out and start building one, you must decide what your first digital product should be!

    But why am I saying a digital product is the easiest way to kickstart your lifestyle business?

    If you have been in business for more than a year or two, you’ve experienced yearly raises that lag behind inflation, lack of promotion opportunities, and the commoditization of true experts. You also know it will get worse before it gets better.

    But with digital products you can monetize the experience you’ve built over the years, at scale, and get your first taste of the entrepreneurial freedom I often write about.

    Unfortunately, venturing into the digital product field is often an overwhelming undertaking…

    Which is exactly why we’re tackling this problem in today’s newsletter.

    How to decide what your first digital product should be

    When I consult with experts looking to build a digital product, the first obstacle we must overcome is: “what should I create?”.

    Commonly, the options in their mind are:

    • An ebook
    • An online course
    • A membership site
    • A cohort-based group program
    • 1-on-1 coaching

    But if you’re thinking about these options first, you’re already off on the wrong foot. You’re putting the horse behind the cart.

    Instead, follow these steps:

    Step 1: Identify the one person you wish to help.

    “Amateurs fall in love with their product. Professionals fall in love with their customers.” — Dr E

    Every successful digital business starts with one person in mind.

    You can’t go out expecting to serve every person on the planet. You need to identify one person, and one person only, to whom you wish to serve. And don’t worry about niching down too much. If you do, you’re underestimating the size of the internet.

    Step 2: Identify the one problem you wish to solve.

    Once you’re crystal clear on the person you wish to serve, identifying the one problem you can help her solve, becomes easier.

    For example, as a pediatrician, the problem you solve would be dramatically different if the person you wish to serve is a single mother of a child with special needs, or a parent of teenage girls. Once you know your audience, the problem to solve becomes fairly obvious.

    Step 3: Figure out the best vehicle for your product.

    Lastly, it’s time to decide on the medium with which you’ll solve your one person’s, single problem.

    Do you see how much easier it is choosing a medium now? You would not think of offering a live, cohort-based program to the single mom of a special needs child, would you?

    Let me give you an example:

    Take my most recent digital product, Guesting for Profit. I’ll use it to walk you through the 3 steps above.

    The reason I chose this as an example is not just to make a shameless plug for it but also because I think there’s value in it for any expert who is venturing outside of their own niche.

    Step 1: Who I’m serving

    This was the first deviation from anything I’ve done before in my career.

    Obviously it’s different to being a clinician working with patients in regenerative medicine. But it’s also a deviation from the work I had been doing since 2018 (and until 2023) working exclusively with doctors and healthcare professionals.

    In fact, doing this exercise for Guesting for Profit is what helped me recognize the new niche for this newsletter and my lifestyle business but I digress…

    So… the person I want to serve is a subject matter expert. She has about a decade of experience in her field, loves what she does but feels trapped in her job. She’d love to be more in control of her time without sacrificing her income.

    Now, this does not mean I can’t (or won’t) work with men. It also does not mean they have to be in a specific field. But they are definitely an expert in their field.

    This narrowing allows me to look for a problem to solve.

    Step 2: Identify a problem to solve

    Now that I am clear on the exact person I wanted to serve, it’s much easier to look for problems to help her solve.

    And here is a list I came up with:

    • Creating a digital product
    • Building an audience online
    • Launching a newsletter
    • Growing her business

    All of these problems are too large to tackle with the digital product I wanted to create. So I needed to narrow down further.

    I chose to go with the last option Growing her business.

    And I came up with the following topics to help her in that regard:

    • Email marketing sequences
    • Website optimization
    • SEO strategies
    • Facebook ads
    • Social media marketing
    • Podcast guesting

    You know I chose podcast guesting but now with this list, I can easily come back and create a new product that tackles any of the other ones.

    Step 3: Define the type of product

    Now it’s easy to define the type of product Guesting for Profit would be.

    Based on the person I’m creating this for, and the problem I’m helping her solve, it wouldn’t have made sense to create a membership site. Or a cohort-based program.

    Instead, I created it first as a live workshop and then I’ve repackaged it as an online course.

    If you’re curious about it and whether or not it delivers on my premise, read the sales page here 👇🏻 (and buy it if you’re so inclined!)

    That’s it!

    As always, thanks for reading.

    Hit reply and let me know what you found most helpful this week—I’d love to hear from you!

    See you next Saturday,

    🤟🏻 Dr E

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