Episode 38: Launch a Product From The Community Outward w/Nicole St. Germain

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In this episode, organizational expert and up-and-coming product badass Nicole St. Germain shares her story of learning to launch products based on community involvement, strategies for list-building, pricing psychology and more.

Bootstrapped Product Talking Points

  • Why you should connect with a community from day one
  • How “give help to get help” can drive sales
  • How to know if you’re being self-promotional enough
  • Go-to moves for audience discovery and cultivation
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 Show Notes:

Digital Product Mastermind – Nicole’s Mastermind group on FB
Evernote for Product Creators – Nicole teaches you how to use Evernote to manage your product success
Mastermind Meeting Notes Template – Nicole’s product for mastermind groups
Get Your Shit Together – Nicole’s 7-day freemail course for online entrepreneurs
Digital Product Mastermind
Gumroad Small Product Lab
Convertkit
Nathan Barry
Justin Jackson
Conquering Client Conflict – Christopher’s free training course for freelancers

After relocating to a new state in 2015, Nicole felt like she was all over the place with her product aspirations. She immediately sought to get connected with a product community to help her. Feeling she needed a lot of help & feedback, she tried to offer the product community a lot of help & feedback. This led Nicole to various Facebook groups and, importantly, to the Gumroad Small Product Lab, where her product finished as an Honorable Mention.

The Small Product Lab turned into a product community of its own, and Nicole found that making connections & helping people aided her attempts to get sales later. Also, knowing that she had launched once with the help of a product community, she had the confidence of knowing that she could do it again.

Nicole learned lessons about going too fast, pricing psychology and list-building by starting out as part of a product community. It allowed her to design her launch process from the community outward from her very first product, a step that takes some founders a long time to come around to.

As many founders do, Nicole struggled with self-promotion and marketing, and made special efforts to counteract this, such as requesting help from friends and product communities. In addition to sharing this perspective, Nicole closes the show with her three action items for all of you aspiring founders to get busy with!

Episode 37: Startup Decision-Making and ROI w/Hiten Shah


In this episode, Quick Sprout and Kiss Metrics founder Hiten Shah talks about early SEO consulting, finding the ROI in a startup, and more.

Bootstrapped Product Talking Points

  • Why you need good distribution AND good product
  • Why innovation isn’t necessarily a priority
  • The importance of managing expectations
  • How patterns aid startup decision-making
Hi there! To help Chasing Product grow, please take a moment to visit iTunes and give the show a 5-star rating. Thanks!

 Show Notes:
Hiten.com – Hiten’s newletter
Quick Sprout – Make Better Content, co-founded by Hiten
KISS Metrics – Analytics Built to Optimize Marketing, co-founded by Hiten
Crazy Egg – Visualize where your visitors click, co-founded by Hiten
Neil Patel – Hiten’s co-founder & marketing badass
A Technique for Producing Ideas – book by James Webb Young
Conquering Client Conflict – Resolve conflicts, get more respect, make more money as a freelancer

Hiten Shah has made the transition from freelancing to products in a big way. Starting as an SEO consultant in the early 2000’s, Hiten has managed to hone his startup decision-making skills to a high degree, all while founding 3 companies, each offering a product not too far removed from the SEO consulting family tree.

“On a very high level, I’m just fascinated by the power of words & business”

In this episode, Hiten and I talk a but about keeping your freelancing business in order to better enable your product aspirations. We touch a bit on the importance of setting expectations and maintaining boundaries (which my free e-mail course happens to cover). In fact, Hiten cites his best freelancing skill that carried over into doing startups as his ability to manage expectations, calling it the most fundamental difference between success and failure. We also delve into his startup decision-making process by talking about some of the frameworks and patterns Hiten uses both when mentoring other founders and when making decisions of his own.

Hiten shares his insight on selecting the best marketing channel for your product, and why it’s necessary to have both a strong product and strong distribution rather than just one or the other. We also talk about the role of innovation in the startup decision-making process, and whether or not it’s as much of a factor now as it was 5+ years ago. He encourages founders to really think about the problem they’re solving and who has it. Hiten suggests that founders look for a direct path to ROI for their customers as early as possible.

And always, we finish the show with 3 action items that you can implement right away in your own business.

Episode 29: Launching a Productized Service w/Brian Casel

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Today’s guest is Brian Casel, a return guest, in a first for Chasing Product.  Brian is currently the founder of AudienceOps, a done-for-you content-marketing productized service. Before launching a productized service, Brian had successfully made the transition from freelancer to product creator over the past several years with his earlier businesses.

In this episode, Brian talks about what he’s been doing since we last heard from him, what he’s learned along the way, and shares some insights into what launching a productized service requires, without becoming overwhelmed.

Bootstrapped Product Talking Points

  • The importance of a team
  • Why “done for you” is the new hotness
  • Content marketing for personal vs business branding
  • Building an audience from nothing
Hi there! To help Chasing Product grow, please take a moment to visit iTunes and give the show a 5-star rating. Thanks!

 Show Notes:

Casjam – the online home for Brians projects
Audience Ops – Grow your audience, your email list, and your customer-base with done-for-you content marketing
Restaurant Engine – Brians original Saas product
Content Upgrades – WP Plugin for use w/Audience Ops service
Software Product Marketing & Design (the previous episode of Chasing Product, featuring Brian)
How To Start A Freelancing Business That Won’t Fail

It was interesting to talk to Brian again after having him on the show so early on. He’s been talking about launching a productized service for a while now, even creating a course to teach others how to do it. Getting to sit down with him and actually talk about how a bootstrapper can go about launching a productized service was educational.

Brian learned that launching with a team was crucial – he wasn’t interested in going back into freelancing. Launching a productized service with a team behind it on day one allowed Brian to work ON the business instead of in the business. He had no interest in this business if he’d be the only one doing the work, which is reasonable.

The other part of launching a productized service that was crucial was focusing on doing ONE thing really well for an ideal customer. Audience Ops does content marketing for B2B software companies; that’s their focus. This powerful focus made a lot of decisions very clear in the new business.

The real wisdom in launching a productized service is in how easy it is to launch and how little infrastructure is needed ahead of time. Launching a service offering allows for lower costs and lower technical requirements on day one. Brian was able to launch the offer with a 1-page sales pitch and start signing up clients right away. It may *use* software, but software is not the offering.

Launching a productized service is not easy, but Brian was able to take the lessons learned from previous business efforts and roll them into this one. It’s a big inspiration for those of us who hope to eventually do the same thing.

Episode 4: Software Product Marketing & Design w/Brian Casel

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Ready for more talk about bootstrapping? Brian Casel joins us for the 4th episode.  We talk about Brian’s experience developing and releasing 2 Saas apps (and more!). We also get to cover some practical aspects of keeping on track through a bootstrapped product launch. As if that weren’t enough, Brian and I also cover some good nuts-and-bolts material regarding software product marketing & design, planning your work, and more.

Bootstrapped Product Talking Points

  • how Brian’s new book can help bootstrappers understand – and benefit from – the marriage of software product marketing & design,
  • the importance of planning your work and patience,
  • allowing yourself to develop as a professional before going out on your own,
  • why copywriting is absolutely critical to a bootstrapper
  • the new direction Brian plans for his freelancing work

Brian also shares 3 concrete action items that he recommends to aspiring bootstrappers looking to move measurably closer to their own bootstrapped product launch (and dovetail with your software product marketing needs).

Speaking as an aspiring bootstrapper, I found Brian’s interview answers really valuable.  In particular, Brian’s dedication to planning his goals out ahead of time really speaks to me.  This is a practice I already use with my consulting projects, and for some odd reason I haven’t fully applied this practice to my product endeavors.  Have you?

Design for Conversions – Brian’s new book about software product marketing & design
ThemeJam – Brian’s first bootstrapped product business; premium WP/e-mail/website themes
Casjam.com – Brian’s personal blog
RestuarantEngine – Brian’s bootstrapped product; a Saas site-builder for restaurants
SweetProcess – Brian’s other bootstrapped product; a Saas app for documenting your procedures and systemizing your business

FreelanceSwitch – Freelance Advice and Freelance Jobs
Mixergy – Learn from proven entrepreneurs
Public Beta – an online learning community for entrepreneurs by entrepreneurs
StartupsForTheRestOfUs – Rob Walling’s bootstrapper podcast
Adii Ienaar – co-founder of WooThemes
StudioPress – Premium WP themes
Jason Shuller – Creator of Press75
Evernote
The T-Shaped Web Marketer (via Moz)
The Cascading To-Do List (how to get BIG things done) – how Brian makes things happen with his work
SmallSpec – Christopher’s bootstrapped product for painless functional specs; join the launch list