We all know by now, that in order to create a successful career online we need to sell a product. But.. what are you going to sell? It’s quite possible that, at this very moment, he business model may appeal to you and make sense, but you have absolutely no idea, where to begin.
The process of creating new income streams is different for everyone, so you won’t necessarily want to model my approach exactly because your knowledge, skills, and resources may not align with mine. Even so, I’m sure you’ll learn something from this walk-through.
Pick an Idea
Your first step is to pick an idea. This is fairly obvious, but the hardest. One of the simplest ways is to grab a pen and paper, and brainstorm a list of ideas. Keep writing down ideas until you run out of ideas. Then look over your list, and pick one that seems decent.
Many people get caught up trying to pick an idea. If you get stuck here, you can’t progress. So whatever you do, don’t let yourself get stuck here. Make a decision no matter what.
One of my favorite ways to choose among different options is simply to ask, Which option is the most me? That usually narrows it down quite a bit.
Worst case if you can’t decide, flip a coin. You’ll progress faster by getting a few projects under your belt than you will by trying to dream up the perfect idea in advance. Some creative people will advise you to fail faster, which is good advice. Notice that picking an idea is not the same thing as whining about why you can’t pick one.
It’s also not the same as saying you don’t have any good ideas. Try to be open minded, suppose, your idea is to create some kind of digital product and sell it, such as an ebook or audio program. You can sell this product through your own website, but you can also go through through Amazon, iTunes, Google Books and other online sources with a great deal of traffic, depending on the format. For a digital product, you’ll need to determine a topic and a format.
Once again, you can brainstorm possibilities. Then pick something, and keep moving forward.
Don’t get caught up in vacillating. Just decide. Your decision won’t be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be. Just pick an idea that seems pretty good, and run with it. You’ll get better at picking ideas once you complete a few projects and see how they turn out.
If you already have customers, it’s wise to ask them what they’d like to see and to use their answers to help guide you. For example, I did a survey a while back that told me that my readers would love to see some e-books and audio programs. So if I create products in those formats, I’m aligning with what they want. It can help your sales if you give people what they want.
If you don’t have customers, then you could guess blindly, but you could also go where your future customers are likely to be found, and ask those people. For instance, if there’s an online forum where likely future customers of your could be found, go there and ask people what types of digital products they like. Another option is to create what you like, and focus on attracting customers like yourself.
Do Your Research
Doing some research seems wise, as long as you don’t overdo it. If you spend too much time researching your decision though, you could get stuck in analysis paralysis and never get out there and create the results you want.
At some point you have to go beyond research and get moving. But it’s easy to fall into the trap of endless research and never feel a clear signal to make a decision and start taking action. You may even get bored or overwhelmed with too much research and just set the whole idea aside and not do anything. This happens to people often.
Too much research can even make the problem worse. You learn about even more places you could go. You learn about even more income streams you could create. The field of possibilities only gets bigger the longer you look at it. Isn’t the whole universe like this?
So what’s a good way to solve this problem?
Maybe we should look at people who’ve already solved it. How did they do it? There are a lot of possible solutions, but I’d summarize the most common strategy with one word: accessibility.
People who make decisions in a vast solution space tend to get into motion and stay in motion by favoring those options that are closest to them. They essentially follow the path of least resistance – not always but most of the time.
Look at other common decisions you’ve had to make, and you’ll probably see the accessibility aspect waving back at you.
How do you decide what to eat each day?
Where did you get your clothes?
How did you end up in your current living space?
How did you connect with your current social circle?
How did you get your last (or current) job?
How did you connect with your current relationship partner?
If you pay attention, you’ll probably see that accessibility (i.e. the path of least resistance) is already huge part of your decision making process. The problem is that you aren’t applying it equally well to other areas of life where you’re feeling stuck, such as creating passive income streams. There are some good reasons for that, which I’ll get to in a moment.
Now let’s apply this same idea to income streams.
People who stay stuck generally make this too complicated. They’re too focused on choosing the right income stream, as if there can be only one. They’re too concerned with making mistakes, as if that matters much. What they should be focused on instead is what’s right in front of them. There are probably just a handful of highly accessible streams to start with, and it’s good enough to choose from among those.
Look to your hobbies because I’ve seen lots of people build successful income streams around their hobbies – music, art, dog training, baking, herbal remedies, corset making, media coaching, social media skills, beer making, travel skills, etc. They started with what was right in front of them, sometimes literally right in front of them. Just pause for a moment and look around you. There’s probably a potential new income stream in your field of view right now.