Friday, October 3, 2008

Selling Your Own Products

As you may know I have been punctuating a lot of my billable hours working on some projects of my own. One project I'm working on is developing a free report with web writing information to help prospects who visit one of my websites

I came across a recent post at freelancewritinggigs.com where Deb Ng gives readers a heads up about an eBook she's working on. She asks whether or not anyone has ever considered writing and selling an eBook before.

I do think about productizing my own services from time to time, but even though I am happy with the success I am having growing my freelance writing business, I am not sure that I would consider myself an authority when there are so many other writers I regularly look to for inspiration, advice and information.

What makes someone an authority? What makes them credible enough that others would buy their report, eBook, book, eCourse, teleseminar, webinar? I am a regular financial supporter of these types of products. It would be nice to make an income leveraging my skills and help someone else succeed at the same time.

But for now, I feel like I should first establish myself as an expert in my eyes and to those around me. My local library has an entrepreneurial start up series that is ongoing. I am seriously thinking of offering to teach a web writing class. Hey, it's a start. I can also refer attendees to my website and give out materials with my company name a business card.

Have you considered selling your own products, or had success creating and selling your own products? If so, how did you come to recognize yourself as an authority in your industry? I'd love to hear your story. :)

10 comments:

Devon Ellington said...

I don't think you have to be an "expert". I think you need to have something to say and communicate it well.

I teach workshops all over the place, and I have several small ebooklets out that sell briskly. They're at a very low price point -- had I realized how much PayPal keeps from every transaction, I would have upped it slightly, and will with the next ebook coming out.

But I find it's a good way to keep my name out there, a way for regular readers to have something on their desks to which they can refer, and it connects me to more people.

Avid Writer said...

That's great, devon! How long have you been teaching workshops? Would you say they have given your business a bost (through product sales or getting new clients)?

I think you're right about having something to say and being able to communicate it well. Maybe that's where I'm stuck. :(

Avid Writer said...

I meant to say: ...have they given your business a "boost" (my "o" key gets stuck a lot when I type fast).

Devon Ellington said...

I'd say they've given my business a boost in that I get more requests for coaching and manuscript critiques from people who've bought the booklets and are applying the information. Although I've had some inquiries from people who were simply browsing Payloadz and came across the booklets and liked them, then wanted to talk to me about doing some business writing for them.

I've been teaching for years. I don't spend enough time marketing myself in that direction or I'd be teaching a lot more than I do -- because I'm trying to relocate, too, I keep putting off doing a major bookings mailing until I know where I'll be. But I should just get over it and do it. I teach in all sorts of environments, and I have a wide array of workshops.

I thought I wouldn't like it, because I'm shy, but I found I love it, and the majority of students come out of it energized and ready to write.

Avid Writer said...

That's impressive. It certainly sounds like developing an ebook was worth it just from the exposure you've received.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Very interesting post & discussion. Thanks.

Lindsay said...

They say an expert is just someone who knows more about a certain topic than you do. ;)

If you "niche down" far enough, you'll probably find something that you're very good at and that has a very specific audience.

Instead of writing a general ebook on freelance writing, for example, you might write one on how to make a living writing web content or press releases or whatever you consider your specialty.

Avid Writer said...

lindsay, that makes good sense.

Lori said...

You ask a very good question about what makes someone an expert. I write resumes frequently. It's painfully apparent that a man will perform a task once and have no problem calling himself an expert whereas a woman performing a task over a few years won't take on the title of expert. It's not that either person is wrong, but it's in the way each gender views the importance of ego and self-promotion. We gals aren't so good at it. I had a tough time once convincing a woman who'd led three companies to actually shoot for the CEO position since hey, she'd had scads more experience than some of the men who were applying for similar positions.

Devon's right - it's in offering something of value and communicating it well.

Avid Writer said...

Lori, that's a very good point you make about how reluctant women can be to claim authority and promote themselves effectively. I admit to falling into that category easily from time to time.

 
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