📻 — Your First Online Business: Create, Launch, Sell, and Grow an Information Product — Part 2 of 4

This is your Community, Daily.

Reading Time: ~ 5 min.

Good morning yeniverse!

Before we jump into the larger issue… as you know I do… here are a few good reads from around the internet! Share them with friends and/or your communities! Some fascinating stuff.

  1. Gaming saves Microsoft. Gamestop memes. Limit via Bitcoin.

  2. Pomp and President of Shopify talk… shop. LOL. Steve and Bill.

  3. Dashboards are cool. Super-enhance photos! TikTok strategies.

  4. Instant endpoints. Chamath for CA Gov? What. Rosie talks Dev Love.

  5. A reporter job for the creator economy. Directly engage with your chef.

  6. Typeform’s new community, powered by Insided. Sell more, anywhere.

  7. Growth-hacking notion template. $4 pie. An automated lifePiku.

To infinity & community,

— john

If you’ve gotten through the first part of this 4-part series, then, you’re in fantastic shape because you’ve already done most of the heavy lifting!

I mean, let’s just be clear: You can’t sell, grow, or profit from an “info” product if you don’t have one to offer to your waiting audience, readers, customers, and growing community!

And, of course, we must be thinking about (and executing against growth goals for) community from the very beginning — without a community, what would you really have?

Launching is a Process, Not an Event.

Today’s focus — “launching” — is less of an actual “task” and more of a shift in mindset; in other words, we’re going to reframe your thinking about “the launch” and introduce a few new habits and behaviors that can assist you in getting ready for the 3rd step in the overall process: Selling!

🛑 — Here’s the sauce: Just like the larger SYSTEM of creating and selling an informational product, launching is also a system, a recurring process and not a singular event.

The goal is to launch continually as you work through the product-market fit process. This is an important point that will take some time to both get used to psychologically and then for you to mirror your behavior to this new truth!

So, at a high-level, what does “launching continually” look like? It means “building in the open” which means sharing your progress with your growing audience and community as often as you comfortably can:

“Building in the open” is a practice of sharing what you know as often and as candidly as you feel comfortable.

In this way, you’re “launching” your product continually and the benefits of this couldn’t be more powerful:

  1. You’ll grow an audience and community around the (future) product!

  2. You’ll build a pre-sale list / early-customer acquisition channel!

  3. You’ll build a better product because you’ll get feedback from the very people that want to buy your product!

Here’s the point: It is vastly better — and infinitely more strategic — to “sell” to an existing audience and community who really likes you and who feels like they’ve been part of the process and conversation.

If you need a really good review of two indie hackers and creators who have done this multiple times, go read Arvid and Rob‘s #deepdive:

Or, if you want another great example, Monica Lent‘s strategy of building in the open has resulted in some very decent results — in fact, she goes as far to say that you should try to “become friends” with your users while you’re building your products!

So, how does one begin the process of “building in the open” now that you’ve got the right mindset about it? It’s all about communication.

In fact, that’s the first step of building a “launch system” that will work:

  1. Determine your communication vectors. As I shared in my overview of how we’re building our CommSaaS, we intentionally decided to communicate to our audience and community via 4 tools: Twitter, YouTube, the Email Newsletter, and our Indie Hackers blog.

  2. Create a consistent schedule of publishing content into the channels that you’ve chosen. I recommend that you be as intentional with this schedule (and metrics / goals) as you might with a brand new email newsletter.

Whatever you choose in Steps 1 and 2 above make sure that you are — above everything else — consistent. Why? Because consistency creates the most important currency that you’re really building: Trust.

If there’s one “system” that I’ve built that grounds and powers my entire professional (and personal) life it’s this: I try to be the person that does what he says he is going to do. And I wake up each and every day making sure that I’m that type of person for my team, my friends, my family, and my YENIVERSE.

I mean, let’s not pull any punches: Why would anyone read anything that I write or even listen to me if I wasn’t also a trustworthy person?

This is what the process of launching is all about: Building a foundation of trust between you and your growing audience and community that will eventually and inevitably birth a ton of value for everyone.

The way that you actually build that foundation is by involving them in the larger dialogue and conversation about the process and product — how you do that is through the creation of content — like a tweet or blog post or YouTube video or TikTok or newsletter issue / update — that invites folks into that type of encounter.

✅ — Don’t miss this: I’m using this playbook right now via YEN.FM! This email newsletter is one of my most important communication channels between me (and my team) and our growing audience and community.

You see, building in the open gives me the opportunity to provide incredible value while also sharing updates and progress on my own startup and business which will help build momentum towards an eventual product offering and/or sale.

And I do it 5 days a week! And, it’s working. Now, ask yourself this important and penetrating question: Why aren’t you building in the open, really?

So, let’s quickly recap:

  1. “Launching” a product on the internet is a process, not an event.

  2. Building in the open is one of the best ways to create a scalable and repeatable system for building trust around your (info) product.

  3. Build trust by creating content consistently (scheduling really does work!) that invites and allows for intentional dialogue and conversation.

  4. Look for easy and obvious ways to provide immense value to your audience and community members.

Finally, if I were to be overly-prescriptive, I’d suggest seriously taking a look at building a system around these tools:

  1. Twitter — It just works.

  2. Blog — Use Indie Hackers as a blog for free! I use it!

  3. Newsletter — I have a larger guide here and even more examples in a larger B2B SaaS project here.

The reason that I’d start with these is because they have great short and long-term utility and are simple, efficient, and free ways to test-drive content generation which is how you start the conversations that build community.

🛑 — Community is the Operating System: If this wasn’t obvious, the process / system of launching is fundamentally about community; it’s about building important connections with other humans on the internet.

Finally, let me be clear: I’m not dogmatic about any particular communication tool, device, or social network and/or platform! All of them can be used for mass-effect. You should always use what you feel comfortable with and feel that you can commit to doing for a serious and considerable amount of time.

Naturally, experiment all-the-things! Entirely okay to test-drive and bail on the ones that you don’t like but once you find the channels that work, dig in deep and try to be amazing at them.

Remember: You don’t have to be amazing at all of them! Just the ones that you’ve intentionally chosen as conversation-points and conversation starters in your overall process of launching…

… over and over and over again.

I’m here to help! Hit me up at any time and let’s chat about what you’re building this year!