My Big Fat Dumb Costly Business Mistake ~ Product Development and Marketing – Part 1

If you have years of successful speaking under your belt, there’s no need for you to keep reading. This is specifically for rookies and those like myself – starving to death between paid speaking engagements. Why couldn’t someone have taken the time to tell me what I’m about to tell you? Yes, yes, I know…it was meant for me to make this costly mistake and share it with you so that you don’t end up doing the same thing.

Honestly, I’d heard a number of speakers and coaches say what I’m about to say. But the truth of the matter is that I was too busy thinking I knew everything and what they were telling me was really a sales pitch disguised as “education”. Big fat dumb costly assumption on my part. While my ultimate goal is to attract and retain a like-minded group of folks who want to empower themselves for the sake of helping others, I want you to do it AND make money. If you aren’t 1.) consistently booking at least 3 paid speaking engagements per month and 2.) getting at least $3,000 for each gig, don’t send out another proposal or chase another lead until you create a product that’ll make you some money in back-of-the-room sales. Seriously – you’ll end up peddling free articles for a living like me! Give yourself 30 days max to produce it, package it, and distribute it. Here are a few recommendations to get you going in the right direction:

Pick a Topic and Talk About it: Supposing you’ve branded yourself and identified your target audience, choosing a topic is a piece of cake. Now is the time to let everyone know why you’re the subject matter expert by sharing your personal experiences and educating people at the same time. People relate to real people and true stories. Relax and have a conversation with your audience. Don’t come across as a know it all and lecturing is a big no-no.

Decide on a Format/Medium: I’m sure there’s a fancy formal MBA term for this, but it all boils down to what will your product look like? CD, podcast, e-book, guide? Audio is the way to go for speakers and trainers. If you’re a writing coach, an e-book or guide is the perfect way to showcase your talent and expertise. My suggestion – have an audio and print option available. You now have two products to sell! Customers love choices and you’ve given them the power to make the buying decision that best suits their needs.

Launch Your Campaign: No one will know that your product exists unless you tell them. As a matter of fact, you should’ve been telling people while you were in the discovery and development phase. Don’t listen to people who believe you should only tell those in your industry. Find new friends who aren’t put off by your entrepreneurial nonsense. Take them under your wings and show them the ropes. They’ll think they’re in the company of a hot shot business tycoon and will move more product by word of mouth than you could ever sell by yourself.

Everyone in the service industry should market a product. The key is to keep your individual niche in mind when creating your deliverable. Solicit feedback and make enhancements accordingly. Ask for testimonials and include them in everything you send out – it speaks volumes for your business and adds instant credibility.

About the Author:

Donna L. Johnson is a public speaker and business coach with a passion for empowering and serving others. She teaches entrepreneurs how to define and create their own individual success by offering free weekly teleseminars and eBooks. Contact Donna today at or email

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