Why Every Coach Should Have a Product To Sell

The Chicken or the Egg – which came first? Scientists, philosophers, and groups of friends that just ordered their 11th round of beers all had their go at coming up with an answer.

In recent days, the ancient question has gotten a modern-day equivalent.

Content or product – which should come first?

There are online guru’s and know-it-alls (and a few Don’t-Know-It-All-At-Alls) on both sides.

Some believe that you should start building an email list, by creating great pieces of content. By doing that, you’ll be able to gather a following which can be used when you then build and launch your product or service.

Others – the side to which I recently switch – say that you should have something to sell before you start marketing yourself and building an email list.

After spending 24 hectic hours writing an e-book AND putting it up for sale, I have realized there are a few really interesting things that come from having an even so small e-product to sell.

An educational e-product (e-book, video course, PDF-templates, audiobook, etc) will give any kind of coach a huge advantage on her competitors.

Here’s why!

It will make it so much easier to create content!

Great content (like blog posts, Youtube videos, podcast episodes, etc) all have one thing in common: they solve a problem for your potential clients.

You don’t want everyone to read your blog. You want the right people to find your blog post.

But who is the right person then?


Someone that fits the criteria to become your client. If you are a graphic designer working with magazines you want to reach Art Directors, not design students.

On the other hand, if you teach graphic design by creating and selling video courses, your perfect customer isn’t art directors at fancy magazines but creatives looking for ways to become better at graphic design.

As I said before; great content solves a problem for your typical potential client – and so should any digital product that you sell! The difference is that the digital product is more thorough and therefore you can charge for it.

So by creating a digital product, you know the bigger problem that you can solve for your potential customers – which makes it easier to create free content.

You give more people the possibility to pay for your services

Freelance services are usually a premium product. An hour of work from any kind of freelancer will usually start at 50 to 100 dollars. And that is for someone that hasn’t been in the business for very long.

When a freelancer gain experience, getting paid thousands of dollars per hour is quite possible (even though I believe charging per hour isn’t a very good thing to do…).

So, not everyone can afford it. Paying 10 000 dollars for a creative coach or a web designer is perfectly fine for some people and companies. But for every client that can actually afford it, there’re a hundred that can’t.

A digital product can give those people a way to pay for your knowledge without breaking the bank!

Instead of selling the premium 1-on-1 coaching, you could offer a 7-day video course that will help your customer to improve in one specific area of their life.

Instead of paying you to create an entire website, you could give sell the step-by-step guide to setting up a website with WordPress or Squarespace!

It might feel like you are losing a big client by giving them a cheaper solution, but trust me. Some people want someone else to do it for them and some people would never pay that much for someone else to solve their problem.

You create another step in your product ladder

When someone signs up for your mailing list, they are actually paying you with their email address. This is the first and very important transaction for you.

It is actually much easier to get an existing client to buy another service or product than it is to convey someone that never bought anything from you to pay for a service.

But, the step from paying with an email address to get a downloadable PDF to liquidate thousands of dollars for your freelancing service is quite a step.

This is why it is great to have a Product Ladder, i.e. a range of product or services ranging from cheap (or free) to premium.

A downloadable e-book could go for $15, a video course for $49 and 1-on-1 Skype call for $190. Do you see what I mean?

By giving your customer the possibility to invest as much as his trust for you allows, you can show that you are worth his money!

In the end, having something to sell before creating content will make your life a lot easier! Not only do you know who you are trying to reach, but you also know where you want to steer them after they’ve found your content – i.e. towards buying your product!

What I Learned From Creating My First Digital Product – In 24 Hours

Last weekend, I finished a typing marathon at my desk. I wrote and published a sellable e-book in 24 hours.

(UPDATE: I have since decided to release Superpowers for Freelancers for free! Get the full book here.)

For the last 13 years, I’ve been selling working with clients as a freelancer and consultant, selling exclusively my services – i.e I’ll have to put work into every assignment I do.

Nothing wrong with that of course, but for a long time I’ve wanted to make use of all the knowledge I have in another way. I wanted to reach more people and I wanted to start experimenting with digital products that could bring an income, even if I didn’t put constant work into it.

I have a lot of ideas. Constantly. All the time. But that sometimes (all the time) makes it hard to actually get to work on them. As soon as I am about to start, another idea pops up in my head.

Together with being a master procrastinator, most ideas never become more than ideas.

But last week I decided that enough was gonna be enough. I was gonna create that first digital product, no matter what!

To battle my procrastination and to prevent myself from being bored and quitting, I decided to do it all in 24 hours.

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The main thing stopping me from creating more of anything is the need to make it perfect. I’ve got tons of half-finished videos, blog posts, and e-books on my harddrive from the last decade – that was put on hold because I didn’t think they were good enough.

This time, I was gonna publish it no matter what. When the 24 hours were up, the product should be up for sale. And I managed (half an hour late)!

My e-book Superpowers for Freelancers was out! It was not final, but it was good enough. And I’ll be able to keep updating it and making it better.

But it exists and is already working for me!

These are a few of the things I learned from creating my first digital product in 24 hours.

With super-specific goals, you’ll work twice as fast!

Imagine inviting a bunch of friends to your apartment for sunday dinner. Yeey! Only problem is, you haven’t cleaned the joint in weeks. Where do you even start?

As long as you are trying to clean the whole apartment at once, it’ll become this unsolvable task. But as soon as you decide on ONE part of the apartment, something sweet will happen.

When you limit the war zone to your desk, toilet or kitchen sink it becomes much more accomplishable!

In the first outline of the book, the chapters were pretty large. But I realized rather quickly that it made it hard to stay focused and to know what to do.

When the topic of the chapter was broad, I had to do a lot of thinking about what to write. Lots of decisions on whether or not to include this or that. Those decisions take time!

I found out that if I could write out the core message of the chapter in one sentence, it was short enough. The core message acted as a beacon – that is where I was going with that exact chapter, and when I had reached it, the chapter was finished.

Writing 3 shorter chapters was much easier (and quicker) than writing one long.

It is easier to create for a few than for many

The main thing I will do different in my preparation for my next digital product, is to narrow down the breadth of the recipient – the people I am creating it for.

Superpowers for Freelancers is an e-book for creative freelancers. That’s is a lot of different people.

Web-designers, photographers, writers, actors, translators could all fit under the term “creative freelancer” and having a target audience that broad, can sometimes make it hard to create for them.

I especially noticed this when trying to write out examples to visualize what I am talking about. I had to alter between all different kinds of freelance businesses to include as many as possible and to show that the techniques in the book work for all kinds of creatives.

Limiting the target audience could be done by choosing a smaller professional group – instead of “creative freelancer” that could be “photographers”, “web designers” or “copywriters”.

But it could also be done by pinpointing a precise problem or need, such as “How to create your first digital product in 24 hours (for creative freelancers)”.

Next time, I’ll make sure to really concretize and minimize the target audience.

You´re the only one that knows what’s missing

This quote, commonly attributed to Voltaire, says a lot.

“Perfect is the enemy of good.”

Even though you know that things are missing and other parts could be done much better, no one else does.

You are the only one that knows what isn’t there. And it is always easier to improve something that already exists, than to create something from scratch.

When I published the e-book, it wasn’t “done”. I knew that I had a few chapters left, that I didn’t have the time to write before the deadline.

But I launched it anyway. And lots of people loved it.

A product can always be better. But often you need to put it out there and have people try it out, before you know what to improve. You can make educated guesses. But you’ll be surprised when you see how much they differ from what people actually think!

Launch before you feel 100% done – feedback from real people is far more valuable than any guesses you make on your own.

Having an actual product makes marketing so much easier

Writing blog post, recording Youtube-videos or podcast episodes or creating other kinds of content is a great way of getting in touch with potential clients, raising interest and building trust.

But just any kind of content won’t do, you need to create things that resonate with your target groups’ problems and pain-points. And not only that, you need to keep in mind that the reason you are creating content in the first place is to sell something in the end.

Being a freelancer in most fields means you are solving quite a few different problems for your clients. It can be hard to know where to start with your content marketing.

Having an actual product – even if it just solves one out of several possible problems that your target audience has – is extremely helpful. Not only by telling you what kind of problem your audience has, but also what you are marketing.

Marketing “yourself” or your “services” is pretty abstract. It becomes much easier when you have something to market!

Having lots of ideas, means you need lots of focus to make something out of them.

If you are like me – a super-creative scatter-brain – creating a digital product gives you a purpose that you can come back to whenever you feel like you are not sure what you are supposed to do.

And it doesn’t have to take longer than a day!

Do you want to download the entire book?

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