Introducing My New Project: an Information Product for Freelance Bloggers
I’ve been focusing on highly actionable posts over the last couple of months on Leaving Work Behind. Whether it’s been setting and achieving goals, blogging, or negotiating freelance rates, there has been something for just about everyone.
Whilst I love producing those posts (and there will be plenty more to come in the future), today I want to take you back to where it all started.
Those who have been LWB subscribers from the start will remember the blow-by-blow accounts of projects I was working on through 2011 and early 2012 – from niche sites, to authority sites, to freelance writing. Well, I have been working on a project for a few weeks now, and today I want to introduce it to you.
You may recall from a recent post on business inspiration that I had come up with many interesting ideas on holiday in Bulgaria back in May. And yet, it took until just a few weeks ago for me to finally start work on any of the projects that I had dreamt up.
This kind of procrastination is extremely damaging (but also extremely easy). I was effectively floating along, achieving little. Sure – I have a healthy freelance income which pays the bills and then some, and the blog is growing, but in terms of setting up independent income-generating assets, I was going nowhere. I was caught in a form of what Corbett Barr calls “The Blogging Trap“.
I realized that without a project to work on – something more than just the freelance work – I was quickly slipping into mere “existence”, rather than “advancement”. And that is not the Leaving Work Behind way.
So I have decided to take a big jump out of my comfort zone and release an information product, and I want you along for the ride. This is the first post in a series in which I will share every step of my journey – from the first word, to the final launch, and beyond. You can expect the same level of candidness as you have ever witnessed from me on other projects.
Why Decide to Create an Information Product?
If you have read my recent post on business inspiration you will know that I am certainly not short of ideas. When I finally came to the decision to pull my finger out and get something done, there was a considerable selection of potential projects to choose from – blogs, membership sites, plugins, and other miscellanea.
So why did I choose an information product? Simple – because I wanted something that acted as a convergence point between the following:
- What I’m good at and can teach
- What my existing audience wants
Whilst I could have started a new blog (I’ve got an idea that I am completely in love with) or developed a WordPress plugin, doing so wouldn’t really be making the best of what I already have. I decided that it would make most sense to produce a product that my existing audience might want to buy.
Finally (and perhaps most importantly), I felt that I had spotted a gap in the market.
A Guide to Freelance Blogging
Which leads me to the announcement of my upcoming information guide, which will be a guide to freelance blogging.
I believe that freelance blogging specifically (as opposed to freelance writing generically) is highly underrated and undervalued. Not only can it pay well (I earn the equivalent of $100 per hour from some clients), it can also lead to an enormous wealth of opportunities.
Freelance blogging can lead to:
- Creating your own profitable blog
- Releasing your own product (as I am doing)
- Editorial work
…and so on. Not only that, it gives you the absolute freedom to run your day as you see fit – whether that is doing just 3-4 hours of writing per day (as I do), or treating it as a full time occupation and earning yourself a six figure income (as I could). You can effectively quit your job, work half the hours and earn the same amount of money, freeing up an enormous amount of time to pursue other projects (or have a round of golf).
And with my audience, I believe that I have a glorious mix of people:
- Those who are already interested in the concept of freelance blogging
- Those who are not interested, but might be if they understood just how lucrative and freeing it can be
I am really excited about releasing this guide – not only to help those who want exactly what I am offering, but also for those who are struggling to figure out how to quit their job and build a life on their own terms. For those struggling bloggers, the answer is staring them right in the face, and I can’t wait to open their eyes to it.
My guide is not going to be a 20 page pamphlet – I plan for it to be a comprehensive resource that will teach you everything you need to know in order to become a successful freelance blogger. If you consider the effort I put into some of my blog posts (such as my recent goal setting guide) and multiply it by a number of times, you will have an idea of what to expect.
Will It be Worth It?
In short – I don’t know (who ever could?). However, I am reasonably sure that it will be.
In putting time and effort into this guide, I am taking a calculated risk. My viability calculation is as follows:
Time Taken * Desired Hourly Rate = Necessary Break-Even Point
So for instance, say the guide would take me 30 hours to produce, and my desired hourly rate (i.e. how much I would like to earn for each hour I invested in the project) was $75:
30 * $75 = $2,250
In order for me to consider the guide a success, it would have to earn a minimum of $2,250 in its lifetime. If I were to offer the guide for say $47, I would need to sell just under 50 copies in order to break-even on my time investment.
Although the above numbers are not the ones I used to calculate my break-even point, they are indicative of the process I went through.
Since I have never released an information product before, I can have no accurate expectation of how it might perform. However, I am relatively confident that it will do well enough in the long run for me to recoup my investment. Only time will tell.
Fear of Failure
The idea itself and the calculation of viability were the easy parts. Actually creating the guide, and subsequently marketing it, is where things will get tough.
In short, I don’t know what I am doing. This is one of the key factors that kept me procrastinating for so long. I had the idea, but I feared failure. What if the guide is a flop? What if I get it all wrong?
The answer finally came to me whilst I was reading The $100 Startup, in which Chris Guillebeau essentially gives you two options:
- Continue to procrastinate and get nowhere
- Embrace the chance of failure
I chose option two. I am embracing the chance of failure. The worst case scenario is that I sell a handful of copies of the guide, make a few hundred bucks, and learn a great lesson regarding how it all went so wrong. Best case scenario, I meet or exceed my expectations, grow my blog’s following, and kick my business up to another level.
It rather sounds like a win/win, doesn’t it?
I have been writing for a good few weeks now, and the guide is already well over 10,000 words long. I basically jumped in without planning the book out in detail, which was a bit of a mistake.
Now that I have got a good start on the guide, I plan to step back from the day-to-day writing and focus for a week or so on planning. I also need to think about an actual launch date – I am hoping for sometime in October, but am not quite ready to publish a formal date yet.
I need to map out the chapters, headings, and subheadings, coordinate interviews and case studies, and consider pre-launch marketing and affiliate networking. I need to decide in what format I will release the guide (PDF? Kindle eBook?). All of these things are completely alien to me. I don’t know what to do. But I will do something, and I’ll either screw it up or do a decent job. Either way, I’m going through with it, and you will have a front row seat for the whole experience.
Who’s coming along for the ride?
Creative Commons image courtesy of h.koppdelaney and uxSears