Starving to Successful: How to Become a Full-Time Writer

Lesson 18/22 - Create a Minimum Viable Product


Starving to Successful: How to Become a Full-Time Writer


Lesson Info

Create a Minimum Viable Product

You make this thing, and this is what we call an MVP. It's a minimum viable product. This is a term that Eric Ries uses in The Lean Startup, and it's this idea that you're going to build, not something bad, not something that's poorly made, but something that is just good enough to sell, and then you're going to iterate on it and make it better and better. And this is how you're going to make your first $1, off of your first product launch. So what is an MVP? A minimum viable product is something that you can create quickly, and you can do it well. It should take about 30 days. If you can do it in a weekend, great. I wrote my first e-book in a couple of weeks. So I'd give yourself 30 days to create a minimum viable product. So you do the survey, you collect the results, you get a sense that somebody is willing to pay you for something, and it's not going to be $9, and it's not going to be two cents, and you find out whatever, like that good you know initial sweet spot is. And you get w...

orking, and before you start working too much on that, the beginning of the 30 days you pre-sell the product. So what this means is you go to every single person, and it shouldn't be a lot of people, you know Brian talked about taking a segment of about 50 people. So after you email your list asking them these questions, you find the people that said yes, and this could just be one-on-one email, it doesn't have to be anything sophisticated. Like they email you, they go yep, I will buy this, and I will pay you $50 for it. Then the next thing you do is you email them, and you give them a link. Great, thank you very much for saying you'd pay $50 for this, here's a PayPal link. Send me $50, and I will build this thing for you. And what you're looking for is people that actually do what they said they were going to do. And you should limit it to a small number, something like 10 people. All you're trying to do is validate that this thing is actually valuable, and you can sell it before you create it. And so it doesn't have to be super fancy, you don't have to email your whole list about this, you're just trying to get 10 people to actually pay you money for this. And you can decide what that's worth to you. Right, I worked with a client and she just wanted to make an extra $1,000 a month. And she said if I can do this, like this, I know that's the first step, that this could be game changing for me. And so we figured it out. We're like well, you want to make $1,000, you got 30 days to do it. Let's create a $20 e-book that's like a really good thing, not just something on Kindle, like a really good full spread pdf, with you know pictures and diagrams, and all the solutions to problems people are having, and you know we only need to sell 50 of those to make $1,000, so can we do that. She had like 400 subscribers at the time, and we tried it out. And so she first started by emailing her list saying do you want this. People said yeah, I want to learn how to do all the health and wellness stuff that you do, a very healthy person. And so she said okay, let's do it. And she got some people to say yes, and she said okay, it's $20, here's the PayPal link. And I said don't create it until people actually start paying you, and she had a handful of people do that. And so then that validated the product for her, and she started creating it. So spend the next 30 days making this thing once you validate it, you can get 10 or so people to give you some amount of money that is worthwhile to you where you go okay, now I've gotten the down payment. I've gotten the deposit, I'm going to make this thing because now I've got some skin in the game and I know that there's some value here. I like what my friend Whitney English says, go ugly early. So this is not the time to be a perfectionist, and to procrastinate doing this for nine years to try and make it perfect. This is not your masterpiece. This is the first crappiest thing you're ever going to create. I tell authors all the time, they go which book should I write first? I've got this one and that one and that one, and I was like write your worst book first because no matter what you write, it's going to be your worst book. And just get that bad one over with, and then write the next one, and the next one, and the next one, so create it. I'm not giving you permission to be bad, but you can be ugly, right. You can have something that doesn't look pretty that's still functional and still serves a need and helps people. And so like again, it's a 30 day product, it's not you know something incredible. Now you're going to email you list an exclusive offer. So you validated the product, you have 10 people to say I want it, you get them to send you some money, you can create it, and then leading up to the end of the 30 days, you want to send them a series of emails. It could be 20, it could be less than that. It needs to be at least four emails, you know two or one isn't going to cut it. You need to send about four emails over the course of 10 days, leading up to the end of your product creation. So you're actually doing this while you're creating it. You could wait until you're done, but you don't have to. So that in 30 days you've got your money. Email number one is what I call the teaser. So right after you send out the survey, and you get those 10 people to respond and give you money, you go hey guys I'm working on something. It's really cool, it's based on the survey that I just sent you, I just wanted to let you know that something is coming soon and you'll have the opportunity to get ahold of this. And you can let them know I'm actually going to sell it. What you want to do, what this email does is it takes the sting out of selling your audience something later. So, and this works with webinars. This works even with this course that we're doing here. If you say right up front, like hey, we're here in part at least to sell something, when it comes time to actually ask for people's money, you don't have to be weird about it. And people don't feel like there's a bait and switch because the whole time you say hey, I want to sell you something. You told me that you would pay for something, so now I'm going to make it. I want to let you know this is coming. This is what email one is supposed to do, it's a teaser. Something's coming, you told me you'd pay for it, so stand by. Email number two, the actual offer. So this is where you're going to tell people what it is. And you're actually going to let them buy it, you're going to give them a buy link. Here's what it is, it's a five day course on you know how to groom your cat, and it's based on my you know years of experience in cat grooming. It's how to you know knit dog sweaters for you know blind kids who have dogs that need sweaters. Whatever it is, you know, tell them exactly what it is because go, well like what is it, what am I actually getting? When we make digital products, like e-books and courses, or it could be, you could create an event, you could do all kinds of things. People need to know, and if you don't tell them, they don't know. I remember emailing my list about this class, and they said like I can't go there. I'm like it's on the Internet, do you have the Internet? So I mean just like you have to be very, very descriptive, and don't assume that your audience knows what you're doing or where you're coming from, okay. So email number two, actually tell them what it is. Email number three is called the persuader, which is why me, why now, why should I buy this? Why do I need this right now? This is where you want to talk about the things that make people buy things. And typically it's three things. One, it's awareness, what is it exactly? Have I heard of it, you know, so we buy things that we become very, very aware of. Books, movies, especially forms of entertainment. It's not like I heard about it once, typically I heard about it over and over and over again. There was an abundance of awareness, and then I go, gosh I keep hearing about this, I should check it out. I did this with a movie recently, it wasn't very good, but I watched it anyway. I spent $5 on an airplane to watch this thing, and I was like oh, okay, well now I know, you know. Otherwise I would have kept thinking, maybe I should watch this movie. So awareness is thing one that gets people to buy something. The second thing, the second cause of people buying something is urgency. Buy this now or the price goes up, right. This is a real thing, and what you're doing is you're not trying to push people to do something that they don't want to do, you're trying to reward them to take action now, because if they don't, they're probably not going to take action later. And then third is, you've got awareness, you've got urgency, and then you've got scarcity. We only have 500 of these, right, there's a limited number of this, I'm only taking. With your first product launch, I would tell people I'm only going to do x number. You know, at $20 a pop I'm only going to do 50, so I can reach my goal of $1,000, and then I'm going to cut it off. And next time it's going to be more money, and I'm going to sell more of these or whatever. And so those are some ways that you can persuade people. And so with this email you're trying to let them know that there's a deadline, you're trying to keep them aware of it, and you're trying to let them know there's some sense of scarcity. That's up to you, we can sort of workshop that in Q and A. It needs to be appropriate, like you can't really do that with a book in a way that makes sense. There's certain products that are less scarce, like I'm taking it off the shelves, that doesn't work. But you can do things like we're raising the price at the end of this so buy now, or the first x amount of people to buy are going to get this special bonus. Those are all examples of scarcity and urgency. Email number four, the closer, the closer. Don't miss it, I mean it's just like my favorite email because it's so easy, it's so simple. On the last day of the promotion, you tell people don't miss this deal. Tomorrow the price goes up, you stop selling it, whatever, and so I just want to let you know that if you don't get this now and you want it later, it's going to cost more or you're going to have to wait, or whatever. Do those things, do it well, have a 1,000 people on your email list, you will make at least $1, doing this in 30 days. I mention that I walked a client through this. Her name was Bri Lamberson. You can find her at She is like a health and wellness coach, and she also talks about style and fashion, and she's got a business now helping people clean out their closets. And so she's like a life style blogger, helping people simplify their lives from the food they eat to the clutter that they have. And we did this recently, a few months ago. She didn't even have 1,000 subscribers, she had 400ish. Emailed her list, got a handful of people to pay her $ for his e-book that she didn't write yet, and then spend about 30 days writing the e-book. And she did this in the context of community, so she created a Facebook group for women who were struggling with weight loss issues and body image issues, and she just helped them. And as she was helping them, she realized the advice that I'm giving is a book. And so while I'm helping these people, I can capture what I'm sharing, writing in this Facebook group, put it in a Google doc, and start turning it into a book, and she did that. She wrote the whole thing in Google docs, you know free software. She actually designed it in there, exported it as a pdf, created this $20 product, and in 30 days made about $1,000. So it is possible. It's an ugly process. Don't try to make it pretty, just try to get it done. And that is 30 days to creating a minimum viable product. Any questions on that before we go to step 12, yes. If it really is ugly, is there a possible backlash that it will not be appealing? Sure. I mean the value is the issue, I realize that. Yeah, I mean. Look like I would write something in Google docs, I would pay somebody on Fiver, if let's say it's a pdf. This is the easiest thing I think for a writer to make a quick buck is to find a way to monetize their message in the form of a book. If you could do something else, coaching, events, a service or something, that's fine. It's whatever you do, but for a writer the easiest thing for them to do is sit down and write something and do it fairly quickly, and then charge money for it. And it's a scalable product where you sell one or sell 100 and it costs you the same amount of work. So write it in Google docs, go to Fiver, get somebody to design you a nice cover, and for $5 or $10 bucks you've got something that looks semi-professional. So when I say ugly, like it doesn't have to be literally ugly, it's just not going to be the best thing that you've ever created. And I don't want you worried about the aesthetics of it. I don't want you worried about all the typos or mistakes in it. Brian used the word janky. And I think as long as you're like fully disclosing about that, Brian's like oh, check out this thing, it's really janky, you know he's like already putting down this thing, so people have their expectations low. When I launched this first e-book, you know I said, I was almost apologetic about it. And I said you know, I wrote this because you guys told me, and somebody paid me $5, so I'll charge ya $3 for it. And instead of giving you one e-book, I'll give you two, and you know. And 500 people bought it in 48 hours, and I made 1500 bucks. And that was a paycheck for me at the time. I work for a non-profit. And I was like wow, I'll do one of these every month. And it didn't work out that way. Once you kind of crack the barrier for a minimum viable product, it's not just kind of like this, it's more of like hockey stick, where you take what you've learned, you double down and you start seeing exponential growth. And so the idea of going ugly early is really we want to get through this step as quickly as possible because now we're going from 1,000 to 10,000.

Class Description

Do you love to write or want to start writing, but think that if you do that you will always be broke?

Do you want to write full time and be the next Stephen King? Do you want to be a thought leader and get paid for your ideas like Tim Ferriss? Or are you an author/entrepreneur that wants to create a business from your writing or maybe simply be a better blog writer?

Did you know that the most writers, do not make more than $1,000 a year off their writing?

Jeff Goins, author of, Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age, debunks the myth that if you are creative person, including being a writer, that you need to be broke.

In his class, he will first teach you how to stop self sabotaging and get you to break that mental block so you can see yourself as a profitable writer.

He will then help you identify which type of writer you want to be to set you on a path to profitability. He will teach you the strategies to get going in each of these paths.

After you pick your course of action, he will then get you to 1k a month, then 10k a month, and soon you will be able to do what you love AND make money doing it.


Caroline DePalatis

I had the opportunity to be LIVE for this class recording. An amazing experience, for sure! I came to this day knowing about Jeff Goins' work but not familiar with CreativeLive. Now I know I will explore more classes. THIS class offers so much value to the participant. You will gain a boatload of confidence and terrific ideas, as well as learn a step-by-step process to take action on your idea and make it something you can be proud of and grow your creative idea upon. Jeff's teaching is clear, inspiring and actionable. Unequivocally worth the investment.

Caroline DePalatis

I had the opportunity to be LIVE for this class recording. An amazing experience, for sure! I came to this day knowing about Jeff Goins' work but not familiar with CreativeLive. Now I know I will explore more classes. THIS class offers so much value to the participant. You will gain a boatload of confidence and terrific ideas, as well as learn a step-by-step process to take action on your idea and make it something you can be proud of and grow your creative idea upon. Jeff's teaching is clear, inspiring and actionable. Unequivocally worth the investment.

Corrie Ann Gray

Jeff has a terrific delivery method of his material. He is passionate about writing and truly wants to help other writers make a living doing what they love. This class, his books, and his courses are all worth your time and money. Lots of call to actions that, if you do them, will help you become a successful and prolific writer. Thank you Jeff! You rock!