3 Foolproof Ways to Test Ideas for Your Products and Services

3 Foolproof Ways to Test Ideas for Your Products and Services

Wondering how you can test ideas for your product or service?

If there’s one thing that holds promising entrepreneurs back from launching their business, it’s this: a lack of confidence in their products. Sure, you think that new course or workshop is a great idea, but how do you know it will sell?

Everything starts with an idea safety pins, automatic dishwashers, band-aids, even games like Monopoly. Everyday ideas for great products pop into our minds and we probably dismiss them.

But some people take action on those ideas.  Imagine spending weeks or even months of time—plus the cost of document design, product development, video editing and all the other pieces that go along with it—only to discover it’s not what your audience wants or needs. How frustrating would that be?

You don’t have to leave it to chance, though. There are plenty of ways to test your idea before spending the time and energy on a full launch.

Just Ask

This is the simplest way to get a feel for what your market needs and wants. Simply ask them. Create a survey with Survey Monkey (or even a Google form) and send it out to your mailing list. For best results, keep it short, but do ask:

  • What they’re struggling with
  • Their preferred learning method (video, text, audio, etc.)
  • What they feel the training is worth (what would they pay)

These three pieces will tell you everything you need to know to create a program that’s practically guaranteed to sell.

Listen to Your Tribe’s Complaints

If you have a community (or are part of one) of ideal clients, pay attention to what they’re asking for the most. These are the things they need help with. For example, if you’re a business coach and your Facebook group is filled with questions about running Facebook ads, then clearly there is a need for some training in that area.

Study Your Competition

Hopefully, you have a list of competitors and you’re reading their blogs and emails, and lurking in their Facebook groups. This is a great way to gain insight into what they’re doing—not to copy them, but to discover what’s hot right now.

Consider buying their paid products as well. Again, you should never copy them, but you can either:

  • Promote them as an affiliate
  • Create a better, more comprehensive version
  • Create a lite, lower-cost version

Creating products in a vacuum is a great way to waste a lot of time and money on programs that won’t sell. Instead, pay attention to what your market is asking for, find out what they’re willing to pay, and delve into your competition’s offers. The information you gain from these three activities alone will give you incredible insight into your market and what they want and need, and make it easy to create your own hot-selling program.

I am launching a workshop for new entrepreneurs called Design a Business You Love.

Please Check it Out.

Test Ideas

How to Have a Stress-Free Business Launch

How to Have a Stress-Free Business Launch

Are You Stressed Out About Your Business Launch?

Let’s face it, the last thing you want to do now that you’ve decided to finally leave the 9 to 5 job is to add more stress to your life. Isn’t that why you decided to build your own business in the first place? You’re looking for freedom from your awful boss, nasty coworkers, and the limitations of a fixed salary.

But if you’re trading all that in for a different kind of stress, what have you really gained? Before you kiss your cubicle goodbye, be sure you first build a solid foundation—and we don’t just mean business-wise.

Build a Financial Safety Net

Nothing stresses us out quite like worrying about money. Whether you’re concerned about those college tuition bills you’ll be facing in a few years, or worse, not sure how you’re going to make the rent, it’s easy to lose your business mojo. As a new business owner, you certainly don’t want money trouble casting a shadow over your entrepreneurial dream.

Before you turn in your resignation, set aside some cash in case of a rainy day. Aim for at least three months of living expenses, but more is definitely better. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but having some cash on hand will definitely relieve the pressure of having a new business that’s not earning its keep—yet.

Make Sure Your Family is on Board with Your Business Launch

Money troubles are bad, but there may be one thing that’s worse: an unsupportive (or downright hostile) spouse. And as any entrepreneur will tell you, not everyone understands the drive to be a business owner. In fact, most people find it pretty scary to step away from that regular paycheck to chase after a dream.

If that sounds like your husband (or wife) don’t take it personally. They’re not making a statement about your ability. More than likely, they’re just worried about what the future holds. Do your best to understand where they’re coming from, and be sure to clearly explain your ideas, why you are confident it will work, and how you plan to cover the start up expenses and manage the risk.

If he or she is still not on board, consider starting slow, with a part-time business while still working your day job. That will give you the opportunity to prove your idea is workable, and might just help your spouse get as excited about it as you are.

Take Time for YOU

No matter what’s going on with your money, your spouse or your business, you need to be sure to schedule some “you” time. No one can work all the time, regardless of how driven you are. And no one can stay healthy while maintaining a nonstop schedule. Go for a walk, hit the gym, get a pedicure or just binge on your favorite brainless television show. The point is simply to take time away from your desk to rest and rejuvenate. Without it, you’ll soon find yourself overwhelmed and stressed, even if you truly love your new business.

I am launching a workshop for new entrepreneurs called Design a Business You Love.

Please Check it Out.

Design a Business You Love

3 Proven Ways to Market Your Business

3 Proven Ways to Market Your Business

Are you looking for ways to market your business? The world is filled with great ideas and broke business owners with fabulous products but no sales.

The fact is, ideas are not what drives most business success. Marketing does. So before you quit your day job to branch out on your own, it pays to have a solid marketing plan in place.

Start with these 3 ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Free Webinars

For information product sellers, coaches, and service providers, one of the best sources of new clients is in free training webinars. No matter what your niche, the promise of in-depth training at no cost is enough to entice potential clients to part with an email address (which you’ll be able to market to later) and an hour of their time.

Not only that, but webinars are a fantastic way for those potential customers to get to know you better. And the better they know you, the more likely they are to buy.

Content Marketing

Not comfortable hosting a webinar? Hit the keyboard and start sharing your thoughts and ideas via your blog, ebooks, guest articles and other written content. For internet marketers, this gives readers a taste of what they can expect from your product. If you sell physical products, it provides the perfect opportunity to share useful tips and other important information with your buyers.

Of course, there’s another important benefit to content marketing, too: search engine optimization. Google and other search engines index the words on your website and use the information to present search results to their users. Content marketing is a tool you can use to make the most of these results and to bring more potential buyers to your website.

Paid Advertising

Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google and plenty of other sites all offer paid placement, and with today’s powerful analytics tools, it’s easy to create ads and drive traffic inexpensively. Consider starting with Facebook, since the cost is low and it’s easy to target your ads to your ideal client. Once you’ve perfected your funnel, you can branch out into more costly ads with a larger reach, such as Google AdWords or another ad network.

Don’t limit yourself to these three marketing methods though. There are dozens of others you can try, including affiliate programs, JV partnerships, automated funnels, direct mail campaigns, and even television advertising. The key is to keep testing and tweaking to make the most of every marketing effort so that your business continues to grow.

I am launching a workshop for new entrepreneurs called Design a Business You Love.

Please Check it Out.

Design a Business You Love


Build a Business, Not Another Job

Build a Business, Not Another Job

Are you wondering how you can build a business and not another job?

Many people dream of working for themselves, being their own boss, and having the freedom to only take on clients and projects they love.

What they don’t realize, though, is that there is a huge difference between building a business and being self-employed.

Business owners scale their income. Self-employed people trade dollars for hours

Business owners leverage the skills and talents of others. Self-employed people rely only on their own skills.

Discouraged yet? Don’t be. Every business owner started out self-employed. Just don’t stay there.

These tips will help you build a sustainable business instead of just another job.

Make a List of What you Hated about your Corporate Job

Often times we don’t know what we want in life but we sure as heck know what we don’t want. Make a list of everything you hate or wish you did not have to deal with at your corporate job.  For me, it was pointless meetings without an agenda and dress codes.

Take a solemn vow not to let any of those items creep into your new business.

Don’t Try to Do It All Yourself

Building a sustainable business requires that you leverage the talents and time of others. While it might seem cost-effective to simply do everything yourself—especially in the start-up phase when you likely have more time than money—it’s a path to burnout and stress.

Instead, separate your tasks into those that you love and are especially suited for (such as marketing) and those you dislike and aren’t good at. Then make a solid plan to get those that you aren’t good at off your list of things to do. If you feel like you can’t afford to outsource it all right now, start with what you tend to procrastinate the most on, even if it’s just a few hours each month.

Don’t Allow Yourself to Work All the Time

The trouble with working at home is that you live at work. And that means that there’s no clear line in the sand between your work day and your home life.

Since there’s always work to do, it’s easy to find yourself working every available moment—often to the detriment of your family relationships.

You can help avoid this by:

  • Setting—and maintaining—clear work hours
  • Having an office with a door you can close when you’re done
  • Scheduling time for family and other activities
  • Taking time for yourself

Vacations and Downtime Are Important

Don’t create a business that requires you to be “in the office” every day. At the start, you may need to be available more, but you should definitely be planning for the day when you can be “off the grid” for extended periods of time.

  • Have trusted contractors who can handle things when you’re not available
  • Leverage automation tools such as autoresponders and autowebinar systems
  • Create repeatable systems so you’re not always re-inventing the wheel

While you might not be able to hit the road with no internet access for weeks at a time, at the very least you should be able to reduce your workload to a daily check-in.

Sound impossible? It’s not. With some forethought and planning, you can create a team—and the systems they need—to successfully run your business without becoming overwhelmed and overworked.

I am launching a workshop for new entrepreneurs called Design a Business You Love.

Please Check it Out.

Stay True to Yourself through Simple Living

Stay True to Yourself through Simple Living

Stay True to Yourself Through Simple Living

How can you stay true to yourself through simple living?

My grandmother used to say, “If you don’t love what you have, you can’t love another thing.”  She was sharing the concept of simple living.

You embrace what you have, accumulate less, and hopefully have more time, energy, and money to spend on what’s truly important to you. However, if you don’t know what’s truly important, then simple living becomes a bit more complicated. Knowing yourself and staying true to that person will help you embrace your life fully and live well with what you have.

The concept of simple living is easy enough. You embrace what you have, accumulate less, and hopefully have more time, energy, and money to spend on what’s truly important to you. However, if you don’t know what’s truly important, then simple living becomes a bit more complicated. Knowing yourself and staying true to that person will help you embrace your life fully and live well with what you have.

From Mass Consumption to Conscious Consumption

As consumers we often accumulate goods without putting much thought into them. When you know who you are and what you want, and you stay true to yourself, you consume less. Instead of allowing impulse shopping to take over, you’re able to stop and ask yourself if the purchase supports you and your desired lifestyle. Mass consumption becomes a thing of the past and conscious consumption becomes your way of life.

To Stay True, You Have to Know Yourself First

Living well with what you have means that you are grateful for the items and people in your life. It also means that you love yourself. And to be able to get to a point where you love yourself and can surround yourself with people and things that support you, you have to know yourself well. You have to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. Staying true to yourself begins with knowing yourself and then creating a life that suits you.

Gratitude plays a significant role in living well with what you have. Instead of always wanting and needing more, you can be grateful for what you have. This mindset and level of personal awareness is essential because it is easy to slide back into old habits.

Staying true to yourself also requires a great deal of awareness. You have to be able to listen to your instincts and also your thoughts. You have to be able to sort your temporary emotions (the ones that say that you absolutely must buy that new pair of shoes) with the vision that you have for yourself and your life.

Living well is about finding a lifestyle that supports who you are and what you want. It’s impossible to find that lifestyle and to maintain it if you aren’t able to stay true to who you are. Every day you’ll be bombarded by distractions and messages that are contrary to your vision of your future. You’ll be told that all the cool people have the new phone or wear designer shoes or have granite countertops. It can wear you down if you don’t know who you are and what you want from this life.

7 Ways to Start Designing Your Lifestyle

7 Ways to Start Designing Your Lifestyle

7 Ways to Start Designing Your Lifestyle

Do you remember that question when you were little?

What Do You Wanna Be When You Grow-Up?

When I was little, we had a book that said…”When I grow up what will I be? I close my eyes and count to three…1…2…3″

The choices in the book seem silly to me now, a secretary, a stewardess, or a nurse.  Those were the only options for young ladies back then.

Every year thousands of kids are asked what they want to be when they grow up. Many don’t know. Even worse, many adults are still struggling to figure out what they want from life. Like many, they fall into the trap of doing what’s expected of them. They end up bored, unsatisfied and make poor decisions based on the life they are living now. They never follow the dreams they had as a kid; instead they wander aimlessly without any goals or direction.

That’s pretty scary.

If you don’t know what you want in life, isn’t it time you figured it out? People who know what they want function better in society, know where they are headed, are happier, and make better decisions in life.

7 Ways to Start Designing Your Lifestyle

1. Be selfish with your time

If you are constantly saying yes to other people for your time and commitments, you can’t figure out what you want to be doing. Put yourself at the top of your list. Ask yourself what you would be doing right now if you had no family, friend or job obligations.

2. No Regrets

Don’t regret things you did or didn’t do in the past, or saying no to others. It’s your life and you should live it the way you want that makes you happy. Constantly regretting things from your past stops you from going forward.

3. Re-examine Your Priorities

Sit down and really think about what you need the most in your life. Is it family and love? The freedom of creative expression? Financial security or serving others? List your priorities. Think about the legacy you want to leave when you exit this world.

4. What Makes You Happy

Figure out what makes you really happy. Is it being around kids or helping the elderly? Maybe it’s traveling or owning a successful business. Determine what the one thing is that makes you the happiest. Then you’ll have a pretty good idea of where you want to be in life.

5. What Makes You UnHappy

Be specific. If you don’t like your office job, figure out what exactly you hate about it. Is it your workload? Or your freeloading co-worker? Or maybe it’s being inside when you’d really rather be out of doors all day long. Can you fix it? Or make changes somehow?

6. Stay positive

It may take time to truly determine what you want to do. You’re likely to have some detours along the way and make some decisions that will affect how you continue. Keep a positive attitude to help you keep going.

7. Question Your Limits

Are some of your thoughts limiting beliefs? Things like “I’m not smart enough to do that” or “artists have to starve before hitting it big” are thoughts that limit you taking action and exploring whether this is something you might be interested in doing.

Not knowing what you want to do or get out of life can be depressing and scary. We all have a purpose but many don’t know what it is yet. Not knowing where you’re going can lead you to make poor choices along the way as well.