Once entrepreneurs and solo-professionals get the idea they can write their own ticket with self-produced audio products, they get excited. Really excited.
And that’s the rub.
Because folks that are excited have a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Which is good? But they also are hell bent on squandering that energy on any idea that comes to mind. Which is not so good?
Because, the worst place to make a mistake is right at the beginning of your journey. And a mistake in the early stages of your product creation career can not only sink that first project, but discourage you from EVER producing anything again.
There are Seven Blatant Blunders that novice audio product creators make repeatedly. And while these aren’t the only pitfalls you’ll have to watch out for, they are the ones that will rear up when you least expect it, to bite you on the you-know-where:
BLATANT BLUNDER #1 -- What I Want, Not What They Want
If making money was not a reality of business, we could produce anything we want. But, for most of us, making money is crucial. I can’t remember the last time my landlord accepted my good intentions and sweet smile as payment in full.
Still, it’s shocking to see how many folks ignore this fact when choosing their first products. They’ve often had a dream or a fantasy of just what they would create if they only knew how.
But once they learn how, they forget that it takes two to tango. And if your market does not share your dream, you’re going to end up with an expensive failure.
Look, I’m not saying to pander to the lowest common denominator to make a buck. I am saying you need to find the happy meeting points between what you do best, what you love to do, and what your market is willing to buy BEFORE you decide on your first product.
BLATANT BLUNDER #2 – THE MINI-SERIES FIASCO
While people are often terrified of recording audio, once they learn how easy it can be, the pendulum swings in the other direction. Suddenly, even a Steven Spielberg extravaganza looks too small.
The best thing you can do for your production career is to start small. Do whatever you can to get a modest project out there quickly, even if it means doing a 15-minute free program that you give away at your speaking engagements.
Confidence is contagious. The best way to build confidence is to get your first recording out the door and seeing the happy smiling faces of people who snap it up. Get focused – get simple – and get something done.
And leave the multi-part mini-series for later.
BLATANT BLUNDER #3 – THE OPRAH SYNDROME:
True, simply creating a decent product will raise your profile in the eyes of your customers.
But it won’t get you on Oprah.
Many first-time producers just don’t get that simply producing great audio does not assure success. You have to make sure those who can benefit from it KNOW just how valuable it is, making the cost of NOT buying it seem much higher than the cost of buying it.
For many folks their dream of success included an appearance on Orphan.
The good news is that you can make a boatload of money without getting within a thousand mile radius of her show. And the energy of that fantasy can best be channeled towards achieving more down to earth goals.
True – if you build it, they will come. But they may NOT come in sufficient number to make it worth your while. Focus on what you can do NOW. And leave Oprah for later.
BLATANT BLUNDER #4 – WORKING WITHOUT A STRATEGY
I always tell my clients “Ask not what you can do for your audio, ask what AUDIO CAN DO FOR YOU.”
However, most folks get stuck right at the start by asking “What project should I produce?” When the question they should be asking is “What do I want this project to accomplish for my business?” Is it building a huge mailing list? Is it creating sales on your website? Is it having a substantial product to sell at your live appearances? Or is it having a bonus to entice folks to sign up for your high end services?
Audio is not an end in itself – but a means to accomplish what you want in your business. People who try to decide what project to produce BEFORE asking what they want that project to achieve is working very hard for their audio. My suggestion is to turn the tables, put strategy FIRST, and let your audio work very hard for YOU.
BLATANT BLUNDER #5 – MISSING THE UPSELL
An up sell is simply a way of making additional money from people who have just bought (or are in the process) of buying something else from you. For example, if you are giving a live workshop, give attendees the opportunity to purchase an additional product that builds upon what they’ve discovered in your workshop.
Because it’s so much easier to serve your existing raving fans than to try to earn new ones, an up sell is an effective strategy. Don’t ignore the fact that a purchase is a vote of confidence. And when people have purchased (or are in the process of purchasing) is the BEST time to add additional value by giving them a GREAT DEAL on a supplemental product.
BLATANT BLUNDER #6 – NO PRODUCT SHOULD STAND ALONE
Folks, who see their audio merely as a standalone offering, rather than a component of an entire package or bundle of products and services, are missing out on a huge portion of their profits.
Because, strange as it sounds, people are actually happier to spend more money with you if they feel they are getting a great deal. The same person, who complains about the price of bread going up 20 cents, will, in the next breath, crow about the $3,000 they saved on their $50,000 Mercedes.
People love a good deal – and will happily spend a lot with you if that’s what they feel they are getting. I’m not saying you shouldn’t sell your products alone. I am saying you must ALSO look for ways you can bundle your audio products with other services.
BLATANT BLUNDER #7 – LOOK MA, I’M INVISIBLE
In a perfect world, your audio would emit a secret signal, audible only to your target market that would hypnotize them to buy. But until that’s perfected, you’re going to have to find ways to get the word out.
Fortunately, there are lots of ways to do this. Public appearances are great because audiences get a chance to sample you ‘in the flesh’. And it’s often a small step for them to ‘take you home with them’ by purchasing your products. Distributing free articles to build your mailing list is another time-tested way to make this happen. You can also link your audio to publicity for a book, e-book or workshop you’ve already got going.
There are many ways to get visibility for your project. And it’s wise to put some thought into how you’re going to do that BEFORE you record. Because the only thing worse than being all dressed up with nowhere to go, is to have 100 copies of your first CD sitting in your closet without the slightest idea of how you’re going to get them into the hands of your customers.