Inside This Post
My Challenge: Launch Simple"stop overthinking and over-complicating"
The Questfor the "Agile Selling Stack"
GumRoad For Agilitywhy GumRoad is a great solution for speed-to-market
Walkthroughstep-by-step with Gumroad, Zapier, Mailchimp
[access] Video Walkthrough and Full Detailspay what you like for the full video guide
Sometimes you just gotta ship.
If you’ve thought about creating your own product / SaaS / book / course in the past, but you’ve just never been able to pull the trigger, then I hope you can use this guide to overcome the speed-bump that I kept hitting when trying to create something to giveaway or sale to my audience:
Now, I’ve read nearly every agile-startup & product launch post known to man…
…and have helped clients launch complex sales funnels, full membership sites, books, courses, etc., but when it came time to create something for my business, for some reason I couldn’t get out of my own way.
My initial thought was always positive(build quickly and iterate):
“Ok, you know what to do here. Just launch a pre-order of the content first. Follow Noah Kagan’s advice and start selling before you spend 100 years building content that you’re not sure that anyone wants / will pay for.”
But as soon as I sat down and started putting pen to paper, all of these dependencies would pop-up:
- “O, well, first I need to redesign my website”
- “What automation sequence am I going to set up for the people who opt-in but don’t purchase?”
- “What’s my lead magnet going to be?”
- “What’s the next piece of content I’ll need to get ready for people who download or purchase?”
- “I gotta get SSL set up on my server”
… And so on. Ad Nauseum.
This process has repeated itself several times a year for the past few years… and finally I had enough.
The Turning Point: Scope Down And Simplify
At Bryan Harris’s suggestion, I picked up a copy of Amy Hoy’s aptly named e-book “Just F***ing Ship”
A few things from the book really hit home for me (paraphrased from her text):
- Don’t start out trying to boil the ocean: Instead of trying to launch a huge paid course or membership site up-front, I’d go for a quicker-win: a small guide or e-book.
- Don’t make it over-complicated: I decided that I would try to make the selling process for the new product as simple and agile as possibe.This was a step that had really tripped me up in the past.
The Quest For The Agile Selling Stack
So, to fix this, I set out to find the LEANEST technology stack available to start selling a “highly focused” product in less than a few hours.
Here was my “must have” checklist for finding a viable solution:
- Must work with a site without SSL (I still hadn’t set up SSL on my site, believe it or not)
- Must have solid design & be conversion friendly
- Must integrate with Mailchimp
- Must not require a huge e-commerce platform installation or a lot of work to integrate payment processor
- Must be able to handle pre-orders
And here was my “nice-to-have” checklist:
- Ability to pass custom fields to Mailchimp
- I control the “Thank You Page” upon purchase and can set it to whatever I like
- Very “digital product friendly”
I remembered that I saw Justin Brooke (from IMScalable) using Gumroad to sell mini-courses and guides on his website… and I’d seen positive reviews about it from other content creators…
But I had some lingering worry about using GumRoad that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, so I went back to their site and checked it out.
< I Go To Gumroad’s Website>
“AH, they don’t integrate with MailChimp. Well, gotta spend 4 more hours researching viable ways to sell a digital product”… right?
Not This Time.
Assembling The Parts And Crafting The Product
I knew Zapier was a viable option for integrating tools like MailChimp and GumRoad… and while I’d toyed with it in the past, I’d never gotten too far into it.
At this point I had an “A-Ha” moment: I decided I’d go Meta and create a product explaining how to solve this exact problem.
So, I opened Word and started recording the steps as I went through the process of setting up what I’m calling the “Agile Selling Stack”.
In the end, it took me about an hour to get everything set-up, but a lot of that time was taking screenshots and recording instructions for my “product” (which would be a PDF walk-through when completed).
Detailed Steps & Video Walkthrough
you can download the complete steps of setting all of this up plus video walkthrough here (you can easily substitute the email provider of your choosing… GumRoad even has direct integrations for many popular email providers).Get Yours
Walkthrough: The Agile Selling Stack
Here are the key “high-level” steps I followed to creating my first product, which you can easily replicate.
My goal here was to not worry so much about the little details, but to “Just F* Ship” (per Amy Hoy’s ebook advice).
- (If you don’t already have a product) Identify a key result that your market is looking to achieve.For me, this was getting started with selling / giving-away a piece of premium content. I’ve noticed a lot of questions in the comments of popular marketers’ blogs about how to actually DO THIS. So I decided to make my product as “hands-on” and actionable as possible.If you’re not sure 100% sure which problem to solve, head over to BuzzSumo and search your keywords related to your market. Check out the most shared content and determine which posts could be expanded / modified to become a “How To” guide.This research can be a whole-other subject by itself, so eventually I’ll create a new post on how to handle this research and pick an idea to validate.
- Create a bullet-point outline of how they (your market) can achieve the result.You’ll need this in a moment to craft your product description in Gumroad and to write any accompanying content (like this blog post)
- Go create your GumRoad account.This is super-easy and takes about 10 minutes, including integrating your bank account.
- Set up your first product in GumRoad as a “pre-sell”…and set the pricing to “0+” if you’re using your content as a lead magnet, or “$7+” (or however much you want to charge for the end result) if you’re selling the product.
- Set the “release date” for the product in GumRoad.This is important because it will FORCE you to stick to a deadline and get your product shipped.
- Integrate GumRoad with your email service provider.See my full-length how-to guide at the end of this article for details on how to do this. If you want to skip this step, GumRoad even offers “Workflows” that you can attach to your products, which are like “mini auto-responders”. For me, I prefer to keep all of my automation / tracking inside my email service provider.
- Create a solid “Product Banner Image” for the GumRoad widget in Canva.The dimensions you’ll want to use are 1066 x 333. Again, see the “Agile Selling Stack” download at the end of this article for details on how to create a solid-looking banner in about 5 minutes, even if you’ve never used Canva before (spoiler-alert: Canva is extremely awesome and easy to work with).
- After you’ve finished creating your product in GumRoad, go to gumroad.com/widgets and create your “product widget”, which will give you a snippet of code you can insert on your site. You can even redirect your users directly to a gumroad-hosted page to download / buy your product.
- Start promoting your content through outreach, paid ads (Facebook, Twitter, etc).I’ll have a detailed post on how to do this coming soon, and will cover it in the “Expanded Version” of my guide (which you can pre-order below using option 2)
The biggest keys here are: Get started, eliminate technical barriers, and start with a focused product that you can “pre-sell”.
Conclusion And Next Steps
Challenge yourself to go “Agile” on your next product launch / proof-of-concept.
I’m borrowing this quote from someone (long forgotten), but I love it: “Published is better than Perfect”.
You can download the full video walkthrough of setting up this “Agile Selling Stack” by clicking here… the product is fulfilled through GumRoad, of course 🙂