When I published my e-book How I Launched a Profitable Freelance Business for Under $50 (And How You Can Too) online about 10 weeks ago, I really had no expectations. I didn’t build it up with a product launch. I didn’t do any promotion whatsoever other than mentioning it in a blog post and creating a separate page for ordering.
Learning the lessons described in the e-book took years of trial and error, but the actual 26-page e-book took only 4 days to write and produce. In fact, I even took my laptop along with me while getting a pedicure. I could have left the laptop at home, but I wanted to be able to say one day that I had written some of it while someone was rubbing my feet.
I didn’t use any expensive software. My original cover was not going to win any design contests – it was just a simple cover that I made on my own. Only after the book sold 200+ copies did I have the wonderful Nate Whitehill of Unique Blog Designs create a new cover design for me for $99.
It cost me a grand total of $0 to write and publish this e-book. However, in just 10 weeks, the e-book has sold 246 copies @ $12 for a grand total of $2,952. To put that number into perspective, here is a screenshot of an order record with 25 orders on a page. 246 sales translates to about 10 of these order records.
This may not be much compared to other people who have ideas and systems that will make millions of dollars. But I think that chasing “millions” of dollars may be one of the reasons why many people never even make $1 online. Instead of focusing on the few ways to make millions of dollars online, perhaps it is more profitable to pursue one of the millions of ways to make hundreds or thousands of dollars online.
I think that with gurus tossing around huge million dollar sales figures, many of us have developed a mindset that if something isn’t going to make millions of dollars that it’s not worth pursuing. $3,000 may not be a million dollars, but it’s nothing to scoff at. A few thousand dollars can greatly enhance the quality of your life. $3,000 can buy:
- A 10% down payment on a 2008 128I RWD 2-Dr Coupe L6
- A 7 day Mediterranean cruise for 2 with a balcony view
- A semester of in-state college tuition in many states
- A 42″ flat screen TV and complete surround sound system
- Freedom from $3,000 worth of credit card debt
“If you ask me to name the proudest distinction of Americans, I would choose—because it contains all the others—the fact that they were the people who created the phrase “to MAKE money.” …Americans were the first to understand that wealth has to be created. The words “to make money” hold the essence of human morality.”
– Ayn Rand
Turning Your Personal Experiences Into Solutions for Others
Every single one of us has years of experiences that are just sitting around inside of our brains – experiences that others would love to know about. If you’ve spent years learning something through trial and error, don’t you think that someone would be willing to pay a few bucks to bypass all those failures you experienced in order to obtain the valuable information you know today?
Instead of asking yourself, “what can I write about in order to sell an e-book,” ask yourself, “what have I learned through trial and error that could save other people a lot of time and heartache if only they knew what I know now?”
Dave Navarro told me something in one of our coaching sessions that really got me thinking differently about the potential for making money online. He said that there are 300 million people in the United States alone. If your knowledge could be valuable to even 0.01% of those people then you have a potential target audience of 30,000 people. Is what you know valuable to 0.01% of the U.S. population? And that’s just the U.S. On the internet, there are no geographical boundaries. (P.S. Thank you Simon for correcting my math in the comments!!)
Turning Your Failures into Dollars
For years, whenever anyone would ask me about my greatest fear, I would answer “fear of failure.” Now I truly understand that failure is just as much of an essential part of success as the success itself. For years I refused to try anything that I thought I might fail at. As a result, I just kept on doing the same old things that I knew I was good at.
Now I feel motivated and compelled to go out there and make mistakes. The more mistakes I make, the more first-hand knowledge I gain about how to succeed. Having a license to try and fail is liberating! Every mistake that I make and can learn from can save someone else time, money, and stress. Thinking like this gives new meaning to the saying “what would you do if you knew you could not fail.” Because in every failure, there is a way to become successful – even if it is just through sharing your story!
Joshua Denney sent me a very thoughtful gift the other day out of the blue (thank you Joshua!) – a book called “How to be Happy, Dammit!” In that book are many sage words of wisdom, but one that very much relates to the topic of interpreting failures: “You live in a world of 1,000,001 interpretations. You must resist staying stuck on merely 1.” In other words, there are many ways to interpret your trials, errors, and life lessons. These lessons can become your greatest assets – so go out there and try things even if you fail!
Pull the Trigger
Now that you know that hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars are sitting in your brain somewhere waiting to be turned into a transferable knowledge, what will stop you from taking action? Even if you create an e-book that brings you a few hundred dollars, would it be worth your time? Just the simple act of creating something and putting it out there can teach you volumes. Here are some excuses that I made that kept me from publishing my information for far too long:
“No one will be interested in what I have to say”
That’s just not true. Humans have advanced rapidly because of our ability to learn from the experiences of others. Have YOU benefited from your experiences? Is it possible that even 0.01% of the population could also benefit from your experiences?
“I don’t know how to publish an e-book”
That’s easy. Start by creating a Word document. If you have a Mac, you can turn your Word doc into a PDF in the “print” options. If you have a PC, there are free programs out there like Primo PDF that will instantly turn your Word doc into a PDF. Next, upload your e-book to eJunkie which will provide you with an entire payment processing system. eJunkie offers a free trial and then allows you to sell an unlimited number of your e-book for $5 per month. (Thank you to Alexis Dawes, author of the e-book “Desperate Buyer’s Only” for the heads up on eJunkie!)
“I don’t have time.”
Yes you do.
I want to give special thanks this week to Stephen Hopson of Adversity University Blog who was kind enough to invite me to do a two part interview on his blog. Whenever I think I “can’t” do something, I think of Stephen.
Not only is he an amazingly successful motivational speaker, he has achieved this level of success without ever having heard a sound in his life. That’s right – he is completely deaf and has excelled at his dreams of becoming a motivational speaker and pilot. Whenever you’re feeling challenged, I invite you to browse through Stephen’s blog for a dose of heavy inspiration!
More Special Thanks!
I definitely want to give special thanks to all of the people who were awesome enough to post about my e-book on their blogs. Thank you!
- Dave Navarro
- Michael Martine
- Jon Phillips
- Nate Whitehill
- Stephen Smith
- Forty Plus Two
- Dave Starr
- Joshua Clanton
Read the original comments discussion here (82 comments)