Why Your Experiments With Products May Not Be Working (And What To Do Instead)

You’ve spent years consulting to clients—especially big corporates with all their complexities.

You listen closely and massage your consulting model(s) to work with the unique personalities and team dynamics of each situation.

You take pleasure in delighting clients as individuals (the ones in your sweet spot anyway).

But building products into your business model is a different animal.

Experimenting with products often means learning—or relearning—a few skills we may not have needed to sell services, especially high-end bespoke consulting projects…

Building a big enough audience. You can make a very nice living even with just a handful of clients if you brand and price your services just right.

But you can’t make a living on a handful of customers.

Let’s say you’ve got an email list of 1,000 potential clients and you offer a $50,000+ service. You don’t have to sell very many to create significant revenue—in fact if you hit just the average direct mail response of 2%, you’ve got a 6-figure plus business.

But selling a $500 product? Not so much. You’ve got to grow your audience and your hit rate to create a viable product business.

Moving from clients to customers. To develop product revenue as a steady stream vs. an occasional bump requires targeting a set of customers with an expensive, preferably urgent, problem.

Instead of seeking out those looking for a bespoke experience (the bane of product companies everywhere), you’re building a product for those who want the same, consistent experience.

Totally different mindset (I still kinda choke when I try to say customer).

Experimenting vs. perfecting. A history of successful high-end consulting tends to make you look for the “perfect” in any given situation.

You might dedicate hours, days and weeks searching for the best version of perfection with each bespoke client.

Products on the other hand, require you to iterate and experiment to find the minimum viable product that you can start selling and continue to build upon.

Sitting alone dreaming and tinkering in the ivory tower does not produce a better product—in fact it’s more likely to tank because you didn’t ask potential customers to evaluate the product in process.

Products aren’t for everyone. But if you want to give your experiments their best shot, try shifting your actions and thought process.

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