Conduct a Survey
Step 10 is to conduct a survey. Alright, and a survey is a fancy word for emailing some questions to your raters. So you've got a thousand subscribers now, before you go create something, you need to find out what people want. What a lot of people do with this is they, guess. They write some blog post, they do some guests post, they connect with their readers, and they go "I know what they want," "they want a book or they want a course," "or they want an event," "or coaching" or whatever. And they guess, and this is the dumbest thing to do. When we have direct access, we have a direct relationship with our audience. So, I don't want you to guess what people want. And, sometimes we just like, have all the best of intentions. I did this years ago, I had grown my email lists, I had launched a best selling book, I was like, "I know what my audience needs," "they need a course about this." And I created the course, and it failed. And I was like, "Why did this fail?" I've been doing this for...
a long time, you know, running a million dollar business, why did this thing fail? And it failed because I didn't ask them. So you never get to a point where you get to do things without your audiences permission or insight or feedback. And why would you because your trying to serve them with a product, a service, something that their gonna pay for. Wouldn't you want to know ahead of time that they would be willing to buy it? And, its not hard to do, we just kind of rush through this. So, don't try to guess what people want because it's the worst thing that you could do. Instead, you should just ask them. Very simple. And so, what I want you to do when you get to a thousand subscribers is I want you to email your list, and you could do this through a survey tool, I mentioned surveymonkey.com, great tool, I've used that before. When your just getting started, I wouldn't worry about any of that stuff. I would just send an email with a handful of questions. Here's what they should say. What do you want from me? How else can I help you? There's a bunch of different ways to say it. What else can I be giving you that I'm not? What else do you want from me, and that's question one. And, I did this when I got to a thousand subscribers. I remember going to a conference and meeting this Internet entrepreneur guru person, and I had lunch with her and I said, "What should I do?" And she said, "How many email subscribers do you have?" And I told her, and she says you should sell something, you know, you've got a business there. I was like "No, I don't have a business," "I've just got this fun little hobby that cost me money." And she goes, "no, you've got a six figure business there." I was like "no, its like a two figure business," I think I made like $48 last year doing this. And she says, "no, you've just got to ask your audience" "what they want and then build it for them." And so I said "what do you want from me?" And then second, you need to ask, how do you want it? What should it look like? Should it be a pdf, should it be a course, do you want coaching, do you want to see me speak, do you want me to write more poetry or should I write more short stories? Do you want more stories, this would be helpful for you Robert, do you want more stories about the sci-fi humor stuff that I'm writing about or would you be more interested in these short stories about my experience in the finance industry? And to be able to loosely hold the thing that you're doing and let the audience speak into that. And again, you don't let them speak into things that you don't want to do, but if you can be stubborn on the vision of how you're going to become a writer, but flexible on the details, that's a good place to be. And you should flex based on what your audience says. So, how do you want it? How do you want it packaged, that's a good question. Very important third question. Are you be willing to pay actual money for this? Yes or no? And then, if the answer's yes, how much? And so what I did was I sent out an email asking these questions. And people said, "we want to learn more about blogging." "How did you build your blog?" "How can we do that?" I said "okay, well I could do that." And most people said "send me a pdf," this was years ago. I sent them a pdf with an ebook, I love to read it, on how you built your blog to thousands of subscribers, and how I can do the same? I said "okay, cool, I could do that." Then people said, "yeah we'd be willing to pay money." And, there was sort of like a multiple choice thing, and some people said, you know, five bucks, other people said ten bucks. A handful of people said, "I will pay you five hundred dollars" "for a pdf that helps me become a better blogger." And I was like, "this is crazy." "These people are nuts." And, I mean, I was at this point, and Brian says don't be afraid to charge for your work, I did the opposite of that. I gave, gave, gave, gave, gave to the point, to the actual point, that I didn't know that I could charge for anything because I was giving everything away for free. Webinars, I had written ebooks, I was doing daily blog posts, I was doing Q&A's on social media. And this had become a very expensive hobby after a year of doing this. I had all these readers, but I didn't know that I could charge them anything because they were so used to me giving them stuff for free. And, at the end of that first year, 2011, I started getting emails from people a few times a week. And they would say things like, "Hey, thanks for another free Webinar" or "this other free ebook." "Can I buy something from you?" And then, I'd get an email where somebody would say, "Do you have anything for sale?" "I'd like to purchase something from you." And somebody once just said, "Jeff, stop giving me stuff and let me pay you." And I love what Amanda Palmer says about this in her Ted talk and her book, The Art of Asking. She's says "you don't have to make people pay you," "but if you build a tribe, you do have to let them." You build an audience of people that you have served, you do have to let them, at some point, compensate you for the value that you're providing. And so you do this survey, and like Brian says, ignore the people that say "no, I'm not interested in buying this." and focus on the people that do say yes and dig deep into that and find out exactly what it is and what they're willing to pay, and then you make it. You make the thing.