Listen to our full episode on 27 Tips To Get You From Clients To Digital Products below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.
Key Takeaways for 27 Tips To Get You From Clients To Digital Products
⏰ Tips related to Time
- Carve out sacred, non-negotiable time.
- “I’m blocking off sacred time on my calendar to work on the programs and it’s non-negotiable.”
- “CREATING time to work on a certain website template instead of thinking ‘when I have the time, I’ll do x.'”
- “Using non-negotiable time blocks over time is my best tip.”
- “Being able to make time to work on my digital products ‘side business’ regularly. If I don’t work on it often enough I then come back to it, feeling rusty, overwhelmed, and usually procrastinate and overthink all the things!”
- “Protect the time on your calendar”
- Schedule your product time FIRST to make it the priority.
- “Putting aside time to work on my own projects every single day, and prioritizing that over my client projects.”
- “Waking up early and setting aside an hour a day to develop my online course”
- “Blocking out the first 1-2 hours of the day to work on it”
- Set a deadline and have a dedicated timeline.
- “I broke the whole project down into tiny little steps that I worked on every day for like 6 weeks”
- “Set a launch date. 🙂 Set a whole week aside to work on the product.”
- Use accountability to stick to that deadline.
- “I joined a program for creating products. She did a live round of the program that ran over a few weeks. At the end of the program, she shared everyone’s finished product with her audience. Having a deadline and that extra accountability/ incentive helped me get it done in a short time.”
- This is something we’re thinking about with WAIM, too!
- Use time blocking.
- “Blocking out time in my calendar and getting really specific with what I will work on during those time blocks, so I don’t try to do it all in a few hours.”
- Separate your “product mode vs client mode blocks” by dedicated days or even weeks.
- “Have client-free days or weeks. I work on a two-week on, one-week off schedule with clients. If I didn’t have that client-free week, I don’t think I’d get much creative work done at all. I’m the kind of person who operates better when I have a big chunk of time for that kind of work.”
- “I have set aside specific days for clients and the other days for my stuff. That helps”
- Treat your business like a client.
- “Treating myself like I was a client was so helpful.”
🚀 Tips related to Getting Momentum
- Start with something small, keep it simple, and get past the first product.
- Start with a small digital product to help overcome decision paralysis and the need to create THE PERFECT PRODUCT.
- Start small. Don’t try and do the epic, massive online program first. I tried doing that and never quite got there. I then went for something smaller and more manageable and got it done.
- Stay the course! Don’t decide you’re a failure if (when 😜) your first digital product doesn’t go as planned!
- It is so helpful to have a finished thing that now lives on my website, from which most of the effort (except marketing) is already done.
- Do it and put it out there. Make it good, not perfect. Fail fast, learn, and move on.
- Start with a small digital product to help overcome decision paralysis and the need to create THE PERFECT PRODUCT.
- Stay focused on taking imperfect action.
- Imperfect action is the only way forward. The first version will be messy, but you always can improve it later on.
- ‘It’s the start that stops most people.’ When I notice myself not moving forward on beginning the product development phase, I pull this out, kick myself benevolently, and repeat it to myself…and then, figure out an easy ‘first’ step, hit the egg timer for 15 minutes, and see what happens.
- Don’t get caught up in making it perfect. Launch it and then based on feedback and experience you can update it.
💪 Tips related to Fighting Overwhelm
- Make a plan and break the process down into small, actionable tasks.
- Have a plan so when you have a few minutes to spare you know exactly what to work on next.
- Break it down. I created a project plan which broke things down into smaller pieces so I could focus on one tiny piece at a time when I had a short window of time to work on it in.
- I broke it down into small steps and created products my current clients needed and turn them into evergreen trainings. Knowing that it was hard in the time of creating it but once the work was done, I knew it would be helpful and profitable later on
- Be organized and have a plan/checklist to follow. Don’t overcomplicate things.
🧠 Tips related to Mindset
- Anticipate the slowness.
- The transition has been so slow. And I have had to embrace that pace.
- Manage expectations, ie. Success doesn’t happen overnight
- Recognize that it’s going to take time to get it all done (marathon vs. sprint).
- Get excited about the process.
- I find it helpful to focus on digital products that I find enjoyable and that allow me to be creative.
- I worked on a product that was really fun for me, so it honestly wasn’t hard to make time for it. So I guess my advice would be… work on something that’s fun? Lol
- Remember the why (what’s on the other side)
- I kept thinking about the fact that digital products are a do-it-once and sell it many times.
- “Embrace the short term-squeeze for long-term ease.”
- Focusing on the long game and remembering that this was a little temporary extra grinding for the long-term pay-off.
- When it gets challenging, I remember that devoting time to digital products will pay off in the long run
- Use pre-sales to fuel your excitement (and accountability.)
- Getting my audience excited and in some cases pre-enrolled so I would be accountable and maintain the enthusiasm.
👌 Tips related to Current Client Processes
- Client boundaries and saying no.
- Saying no to some client projects that I could have done and made money, but didn’t really want to and also I wanted to make time to create some digital products and courses
- Saying no to clients, setting boundaries, and defining priorities instead of rushing into client projects.
- I have to be careful about not overscheduling client work and leaving space for product work. If I let it, client work will take up all my time.
- Make your client process more efficient.
- I switched to having my client work on one-week sprints rather than lonnnnng projects over weeks and weeks. Now I have time to set aside for working on new products to sell for at least one week each month, as I only take on max three client projects per month.
- USE your client process as fodder for product content.
- Every time I worked on a client project, I would make note of the pain point in their system or process and think about how I could make it better
- Have a dedicated space to take notes as you work on projects.
- “Keep open a doc that’s NOT for the project to catch all the ideas/thoughts that are unrelated so that you are less tempted to go down a rabbit hole BUT aren’t throttling the creative flow.”
- Include products in client contracts. (Gets students, makes client tickets more valuable, improves accountability.)
- It’s been helpful introducing digital product offerings within client contracts, eg the contract contains typical ‘client time’ + 5 licenses to a digital course for the client to use.
🧱 Tips related to Building Digital Products
- Batch creating and doing what comes more easily
- Batch creating videos for an online course
- Think about what might make it easier. I created an audio course, rather than something with video because it meant I could record and edit more easily and not worry about what my hair looked like
- Be open to experimenting with different products (just because courses didn’t work, try licensing.)
- I get caught up in the marketing plan for new digital products that it stalls me. But I have been licensing art too which is more digital/passive and that has been doing well!
- Outsourcing tasks gives me space to create the digital products I want to create.
- Research first
- Research first, don’t create in a bubble, or you may end up with something people don’t want or don’t understand that they need
- Assign and tackle steps based on your mood.
- Making a big list of tasks, prioritizing them by color of how easy or hard they will be. And just choosing things to do rather than being super regimented with a schedule worked a lot better for me!
- Use templates.
- Use templates. Use Creative Market. Don’t feel like you have to create everything from scratch.
- Use a resource you’ve already purchased to its fullest potential
- A course, checklist, program, etc.
- ⭐️ BONUS TIP: Think about the outcome for your customers
- Not only focus on the outcome that you want for yourself but also take time regularly to think about the outcome that you’re getting for your digital product customers
Show Notes for Episode 161: 27 Tips To Get You From Clients To Digital Products
We surveyed our audience and got some incredibly helpful advice from other biz owners who have made the transition from working with clients to selling digital products.
From the ~200 responses, we found 6 common categories of advice. Within those categories, we plucked out the best 27 tips (along with a bonus tip or two from us sprinkled throughout!)
If you’re currently working with clients but want to move to selling digital products, we hope this episode gives you tons of actionable tasks and mindset strategies to make the transition more realistic and achievable.
Links mentioned in the episode:
Teachery Digital Product Ideas Hub: ideas.teachery.co
Full Transcript of Episode 161: 27 Tips To Get You From Clients To Digital Products
⬇️ You can also download the .TXT file of the transcript
Caroline: If you clicked on this episode, you are probably someone who is trying to transition from client work to a digital product business. And boy, do we have an episode for you. I’m so excited for you to listen to it. But first, before we get to that.
Jason: We got to pay the bills.
Caroline: We got to pay the bills.
Jason: Yeah. And by paying the bills, it’s telling you about our unboring coaching program, which is called Wandering Aimfully Unlimited. And the doors are currently open, and they are open until April 4.
Caroline: What? So exciting. So with WAIM Unlimited, which is what we call it, in this program, you get monthly unboring coaching sessions, which are live sessions where we teach you around one topic to improve your online business. You also get access to Build Without Burnout, which is our six-month program that specifically walks you through how to transition from clients to products. Gives you one thing to focus on every single week, a checklist. Like, you don’t have to do any thinking. You just got to do the work.
Jason: Yeah. If you don’t know what digital products to make, we have a little Ideas Hub at ideas.teachery.co. I will drop a link in the show notes so you can click through to that. It just gives you a bunch of different ideas on ways you can use our course platform, Teachery, to create and fulfill digital products, which, by the way, Teachery is included with WAIM Unlimited.
Caroline: Pretty incredible.
Jason: Yeah. And then last but not least, we have a new product called Client Off-Ramp Operating System. Client Off-Ramp OS, which is going to be released at the end of this enrollment period to help give you templates, tips, a whole bunch of really cool stuff.
Caroline: It’s an entire Notion system that is basically designed to help you make that transition.
Jason: Really a lot of the things that we talked about in this episode, but in like a here’s how you can apply them and use them and work on them every single day.
Caroline: Exactly. So if any of that sounds like enticing to you or what you need right now in your business, you can check out more about the program wanderingaimfully.com/join. You can also email us with any questions that you have, [email protected]
Jason: And just one final reminder if you have not heard yet, our price for Wandering Aimfully is going up in 2024. So these last two enrollments here in 2023 will be the final ones at our $2,000 price point. And again, we have payment plans for that. But in 2024, we will be raising the price for the first time in five years years. So lock that price.
Caroline: We’ve added basically an entire Wandering Aimfully Unlimited on top of our existing program and haven’t raised the price in five years. So.
Jason: Jump in this year.
Caroline: That’s going to be 2024.
Jason: Okay, that’s it. Let’s get to the episode.
Caroline: Welcome to What Is It All For? A podcast designed to help you grow your online business and pursue a spacious, satisfying life at the same time. We are your hosts, Jason and Caroline Zook, and we run Wandering Aimfully, an unboring business coaching program. Every week, we bring you advice and conversations to return you to your most intentional self and to help you examine every aspect of your life and business by asking, What is it all for? Thanks for listening. And now let’s get into the show.
Jason: And I’m here too.
Hello there. Welcome to our podcast. You all can’t see this, but Caroline is currently rubbing my foot.
Caroline: Okay, first of all, I’m not rubbing your feet like massaging your feet.
Jason: No, I never said that. I said you’re rubbing my foot.
Caroline: I know, but your legs are so long, and they’re in my space, and I just thought, well, here’s a foot.
Jason: Interlocking leg situations here on the podcast. Very exciting.
Jason: Let’s get into some pramble.
Caroline: Okay, but I just want to say I’m really excited about this episode.
Jason: I know you are, but let’s get into some pramble.
Caroline: We can talk about pramble first.
Jason: Because we live in Portugal.
Caroline: We do.
Jason: And we are sharing the life here of what it’s like.
Caroline: Didn’t we change the name of the preamble to like…? Oh, no, that was pramvel when we traveled.
Jason: When we traveled for an entire year.
Jason: In 2022.
Caroline: Portu-pram. Didn’t we have…? Email us, if you remember from the beginning of this thing.
Jason: Tell us how our podcast is supposed to go.
Caroline: Remind me.
Jason: Okay, let’s get into it. Last weekend, we went to something you’ve been looking forward to for quite a while. It’s something that I have zero interest in, and it confirmed that, in another country, I still have zero interest in it, and that is…?
Caroline: The flea market.
Jason: The flea market.
Caroline: Okay. When we first scouted this area back in August…
Jason: Where we live right now.
Caroline: Where we live right now, we live near a town called Lourinhã. And when… I remember, we were driving around the town and we did see the flea market set up, and I was like, oh. And I was like, that’s interesting. And so I had had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to visit this flea market. Also, it was really hard to find because they don’t call it a flea market. That’s like, a very American term, I suppose. And I wish I had the… through some digging, I found a Facebook page for it. I don’t remember the Portuguese name for it, and I think there are different names, but it’s something like Mercado Antiquities or something. It’s like arts and antiquities market or something. Again, don’t have the correct name for it. And they set it up on the second Saturday of the month. And I think it’s just a combination of, number one, traveling for a whole year where you don’t have things, really. Like, you have your clothes in your suitcase, but you don’t have things. We would consider ourselves more on the minimalist side. But I do miss having a couple of objects that are special and that make me feel like a space adds my own personal flair. And so I’ve just been missing special objects is the best way to describe that. Okay. And then, of course, moving in here, where I feel very grateful that our place came furnished.
Caroline: But it has none of our personality. And so, as the weeks go on, I am missing a little bit of that personality to our space.
Caroline: Trinkets. And so now I could just go out to a store and buy trinkets, of course. But there’s something so delightful to me about going to a flea market to look for the diamonds in the rough. The treasure hunting part of it, I get a lot of pleasure out of, because I like that 99% of the stuff is like, let’s just be honest. It’s people’s junk. Okay.
Jason: It’s people’s junk.
Caroline: It’s definitely people’s junk. Different than people’s junk.
Jason: Different than people’s junk. Right. Yeah. For sure.
Caroline: Different than people’s junk.
Jason: This is where it’s appropriate to put your junk out on a table for everyone to see. This is the place.
Caroline: I do not recommend putting your junk out on the table. You know what I mean? And also, I have to say, I found this woman’s YouTube channel around Christmas of this past year that I showed you and she basically goes to high end places like Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware or Anthropologie or whatever and finds their styling guides and then creates like dupes, as we say.
Caroline: From thrift stores and things like that. And so it shows people how they can get…
Jason: It’s like a $300 gold reindeer at Restoration Hardware. She finds, like, a silver plastic reindeer at Home Goods and, like, spray paints.
Caroline: Yeah. And I get an absolute dopamine high from this woman’s videos. And so anyway, I think I credit her, and by credit, I mean blame her for this treasure hunting mindset I’ve been in. So that’s a long, roundabout way of saying, we went to the flea market. Jason had just absolute hives from looking at everyone’s junk.
Caroline: But he was a good sport about it. And I found a gorgeous ring that I’m obsessed with, a pair of earrings.
Jason: I will say the jewelry that you found is fantastic, and it was a total of €15.
Caroline: I know. And then I found this gorgeous glazed ceramic vase.
Jason: Gorgeous is subjective on the vase, but that’s okay.
Caroline: It’s gorgeous.
Caroline: It’s a gorgeous glazed white ceramic trophy urn vase, I think the term that I later on discovered, and it was €8.
Jason: I mean, the gentleman that sold it to us held it up about his head while speaking Portuguese.
Caroline: Yeah. It was really cute. I said, Quantos? Which I think was the correct way to be, like, “How much?” basically. And he just took that as like, he told me, “Oito.” Eight, and I said, “Okay.” And he took it. And because it’s shaped like a trophy, he raised it over his head like he had just won something. And these are the interactions that are just fantastic.
Jason: I will say.
Caroline: That cross cultural boundaries.
Jason: Yeah, those are the fun moments. But unfortunately, for, like, the 45 minutes that we walked around, it’s a tiny flea market, by the way, too. It’s like four aisles. And if I was to call them vendor booths…
Caroline: Yes, they’re booths.
Jason: Yeah, there’s, like, tents with people’s junk strewn about. There were probably 60 of them, maybe a little bit more. So, yeah, it’s not like we were going through, like, a gigantic… Again, this is a small town flea market here, but I will say it confirmed a couple of things for me about myself, which is A, I don’t like flea markets, B, I don’t like seeing people’s junk or their junk in a public place, and C, I don’t think I like treasure hunting.
Caroline: No, you don’t.
Jason: I think I want just directly take me to the chest and let me open it and see all the gold. I don’t want to wade through. Yeah, I don’t want to go through, like, the islands of Peril.
Caroline: We need to do some type of psychological breakdown of what is the…
Jason: Like I looked at some of those tables of stuff and I was like, I want to run away. That was the feeling I had.
Caroline: And see every absolute, just decrepit baby doll that I see.
Jason: Oh, yeah, there were some creepy baby dolls.
Caroline: It makes the final treasure that I find that much better because I’m like, there is something gorgeous amongst these baby dolls, and I will find it.
Jason: I will say the one thing, just in case you were curious. Like, we’ve been to flea markets before in the US. I feel like a US small town flea market, it’s identical to what we went to.
Caroline: Absolutely. Same. Hard same.
Jason: There’s really no difference.
Caroline: People sitting in their chairs who you know come every time, and they’re sort of like…
Jason: You’re just going to walk by.
Jason: But then you have the hand woven macrame hanging person who’s like an artisan.
Jason: Where you’re like, yeah, if we had some walls that were our own, we would buy a couple of these.
Jason: They’re beautiful.
Caroline: Heads up. We just learned numbers.
Jason: Yes. In Portuguese.
Caroline: And let me tell you, do not go to a flea market without knowing your Portuguese numbers.
Jason: You definitely need to know the numbers.
Caroline: I was asking people how much things were, and thank goodness I knew because remember that macrame that was absolutely beautiful and I said, how much? And she said, Sitenta?
Caroline: Or sit down. Sitinta.
Caroline: Which is 70. It was, again, such a high.
Jason: We would have had to do, like, finger numbers together.
Caroline: Also, I just ran into another artisan woman who makes these cool things out of recycled cardboard, and we just had a lovely conversation, and I told her we just moved here and I’m practicing in Portuguese, and she was just like, I’ll teach you some words. So she taught me feito à mão, which is like, made by hand. Hand made.
Jason: I will say, if this flea market was like a craft fair… No, I know it wasn’t. I’m saying if it was, I think I would have had a more enjoyable moment.
Jason: But it’s all the decrepit baby dolls and like, the rusty shovels and things that were lying around that kind of takes it out. There was a whole booth where there was like a walkman and there were like a bunch of like…
Caroline: But see. That’s delightful to me.
Jason: There was, like, legitimate…
Caroline: I had a walk down memory lane.
Jason: I would just say, like, trash on the table and then a walkman, and I’m like I feel like someone just, like, dumped out their garbage bin on this table and, like, maybe I’ll make a couple of euros.
Caroline: I know, but think of all of the stuff that was not very valuable there. And then think of the treasures I came away with. And again, the contrast of it all makes it so worth it.
Jason: Not worth it.
Caroline: We just figured that next time I will go by myself once I take my driving lessons.
Jason: I also do think it was good for me to go with you just so that I can feel comfortable for you going by yourself, so I can see what it’s like. We’re in a foreign country. Neither of us speak the language well enough. We’re in new country, foreign to us.
Caroline: I know.
Jason: Yeah, but I’m just saying foreign to us, country. Neither of us speak the language well enough. We wouldn’t have known the customary thing to do and like haggling and whatnot, like, you would have figured it out. But I just feel more comfortable now the next time you go, I know what you’re getting into.
Caroline: So that was so fun.
Jason: As your protector by law, that’s what I’m saying.
Caroline: Right. You’re a man. And so you just need to protect me.
Jason: Of course. Yeah. Through matrimony until death.
Caroline: I’m basically your property.
Jason: I am not going to say anything about anything like that.
Caroline: This is sarcasm.
Jason: This is hard sarcasm.
Caroline: Hard sarcasm.
Jason: And also, Caroline says the jokes for that, not me. Exactly. Anyway, let’s move on to the second thing that I put on our notes just to give a little update on because, again, I think it’s interesting to hear when people are living in a new country, what they’re going through.
Caroline: And also we’ve been sharing a lot of fun stuff. This is just more of a bureau… admin.
Jason: Kind of like the car crap, which is still going.
Caroline: Car crap is ongoing.
Jason: Thankfully, it’s easy to rent a car. We found a local rental place, so we’re just continuing to rent until we figured out. Medical insurance. So we have talked about this before, but just a quick reminder, portugal has a very good public free medical system, healthcare system.
Caroline: Meaning, like, if we had to… If something happened and we had to go to the hospital, we could go to the public hospital and it would be taken care of.
Jason: Yeah, fully. Like, doesn’t matter if you’re a citizen here or not. It’s just…
Caroline: Well, I don’t know the exact rules on that, so I wouldn’t say that. But we would be covered with our residence card.
Jason: As well.
Caroline: Right? I don’t know.
Jason: Yes. Anyway. So part of the medical insurance equation, though, is just like in the United States, if you want to pick your doctors, if you want to choose the hospitals that you go to, if you want to know that if you have some type of more expensive procedure, what you’re going to pay out of pocket for that thing? Now, granted, I think some of that would be covered in the free system, but you wouldn’t be able to pick.
Jason: And so it’s like, let’s just say, knock on wood, you broke your elbow playing in that softball league that you’re going to join. And we had to go to the hospital. We would just, like, go to a random hospital. You get the doctor you would get. As opposed to if we had private insurance, we could scout out the best orthopedic elbow surgeon in Portugal. We could take you there, and then we would pay whatever it would cost to take you.
Caroline: Also, based on what I know, the best orthopedic surgeon might work at the public hospital.
Jason: Yes, for sure.
Caroline: But yes, the point is, if you want more flexibility and you just want to have that choice, you can supplement with private insurance. And so we have been shopping around different insurance plans. We have a broker who has sent us some options, and we are now combing through. And I just want to say…
Jason: It’s not any easier here.
Caroline: Yeah, it’s still overwhelming to look through coverage options, but I will say the one difference is that the decision feels a little bit less high stakes because, like in the States, if you pick the wrong plan, you’re talking about the difference. I say the wrong plan, meaning a plan that just doesn’t suit your potential needs the best. You could fall into a situation where you’re paying $25,000 for…
Jason: Well, for sure, yeah. And you also might not realize, like, oh, my out of pocket was way more than I thought that I was going to pay.
Caroline: The difference is, here the plans we’re looking at, you’re very well covered. And I was just looking one of the plans that we’re looking at the hospitalization coverage, and I need confirmation for them on this, but I think it’s something around here is basically like under this plan, you’re going to pay somewhere between, if you’re in network, you’re going to pay somewhere between €250 at the minimum to €750 at the maximum. But then for the first year, you just pay a flat €500 for a hospital stay.
Jason: Right. That’s it. Not per day. That’s like the whole plan.
Caroline: If something happened and I had to go stay in the hospital.
Jason: Your elbow broke when you’re playing softball.
Caroline: Well, I don’t think that’s a bad example because I don’t think you have to go to the hospital. I get a bad infection. And like, they have to…
Jason: From your broken elbow from playing softball.
Caroline: But that’s wild. I think that’s what has helped me is it’s kind of a painful process of looking through everything and reading the fine print and thinking it through and asking questions. I don’t like that part, but the stakes feel a little bit lower.
Jason: Forgive me if I don’t know the answer to this, because you always took care of our insurance stuff. This is a nice delineation of our lives. Is US insurance only open enrollment now? Like, you can’t join an insurance provider at any time anymore, or is it only open enrollment for certain times and areas?
Caroline: No, I’m pretty sure that the way that it works…
Jason: It’s all open enrollment?
Caroline: In the United States is like, you have open enrollment, and that’s the time when you change insurances.
Jason: Got it. Listen, we may not have that perfect, but here the difference is that doesn’t exist. So it’s just like you join whenever you want, you sign up whenever you want.
Caroline: And every plan, I think, has stipulations about what your cancellation is.
Jason: It’s what your cancellation and what time to care is. So it’s like for six months, you can’t be treated for X, Y, and Z as you would like anything else, like when you sign up for a new dental plan.
Caroline: There’s some interesting differences there, but in terms of cost, without doing hard numbers, basically, for what we used to pay in one month in California for insurance for both of us, we’ll pay that in one year for private insurance here.
Jason: Which is pretty incredible. Yeah, that’s amazing. And we wouldn’t even have to do that if we didn’t want to. I think we’re just really doing the private insurance because we have a couple of things on the horizon that we want to specifically choose some providers for.
Caroline: That said, tune back into the podcast for whenever we go to the hospital for the first time.
Jason: From a broken elbow.
Caroline: From a broken elbow. Let’s not manifest that, please.
Jason: Well, you’re not going to play softball. I thought it was a very fair thing.
Caroline: But obviously, it’s all theoretical until you go and actually get through the system and have that experience. But that was one of the appealing parts about moving to Portugal, is that for the cost that you pay, the care that you get is quite good.
Jason: Yeah. Okay, so that’s our Portugal update. Just standard life stuff here. Living, working, finding little restaurants. The weather has turned incredibly nice, and we’ll see if it stays that way through April, because April is specifically supposed to be a rainy month.
Caroline: Abril, águas mil. So it’s like there’s like a little saying that is basically like April, a million…
Jason: Lot of rain.
Caroline: A thousand rain.
Jason: All right, let’s get into the episode because I know Caroline is chomping at the bit.
Jason: To share these 27 tips.
Caroline: 27 tips.
Jason: Which we’re not a big, like, listicle family, but this felt fun to share.
Caroline: So I’ll tell you where the origin of this episode came from. Specifically, if you are a person who right now has an online business that is primarily a client service business, and you are looking for more freedom and you are looking for more flexibility and you want the ability to scale beyond just your time and also to have the money to be able to say yes to the clients you really want to work with and say no to the clients that you don’t.
Jason: And diversify those income streams. So you’re not just having your time tied to clients.
Caroline: We have identified over time that this is a large percentage of our audience. So you listening right now might be nodding your head. That’s me. That’s me. That’s me.
Caroline: The thing about it is we decided to do this epic survey to our audience and just to better understand what some of the struggles were of people who have yet to make that transition from clients, primarily, to digital products, primarily your online courses, your memberships, your programs, your templates, anything scalable and digital. And we wanted to understand what were the hurdles people were running into. And we also wanted to understand people who had made that transition already, what was really helpful for them. And so Jason and I have been enjoying so much going through these survey responses. We got something like 160 survey responses.
Caroline: Maybe more than that.
Jason: Yeah, something like that.
Caroline: But it was just incredible because that’s 160 people that have real circumstances. So we’re going through the responses, and I started to see some patterns, and I thought that it would be incredibly helpful to share with you from the people who said they had already made that transition…
Caroline: What did they find helpful in bridging that gap? And so if you’re someone who’s trying to make that jump, don’t just take our word for it on what we would do. Take it from these people who have actually made that transition. And we basically categorized them all into these 27 different tips, and they span across six different categories. So I’ll give you the lay of the land here. A big chunk of them, the number one response category was about time.
Jason: And I think I looked at it, I think it was like almost 40% of responses were around time.
Jason: So time was the number one factor.
Caroline: That’s why we’re going to start there. The next group was all about this idea of getting momentum and just kind of like getting over that first hump of getting started making a digital product. The next group was about fighting overwhelm and using your time effectively. The fourth group was all about just mindset, things that helped during that transition period. The fifth group was all about making client time more efficient and more effective for that every time you do spend time on clients. And then the last category was just about things that made the product building process easier.
Jason: Yeah, I think one thing I do wanted to say before we start getting into all these and like sharing quotes from people who submitted this information and we’re not sharing anybody’s names or anything, we’re just sharing some snippets. But what I think is really helpful about this is it’s very easy for us to record an episode about, hey, if you want to switch from clients to digital products, here are the things we would do. But the truth of the matter is we made this transition many years ago. So the things that we are saying are based on many years ago data. These are people who have done this recently.
Jason: And so I’m really glad to see that pretty much everything that we would say to a T that has worked before still works.
Jason: And so I think this is really helpful just if you’re listening to this and you might be thinking like, yeah, but guys, you haven’t worked with clients in a while. It’s like, that’s why we wanted to do this. And why I think this is so helpful is because we have a bunch of quotes that basically just reconfirm a lot of the things that we have thought and said.
Caroline: Which is also the bad news is if you’re looking for the secret thing that is just you haven’t heard yet that maybe… because we’re all doing that, we’re like, okay, but what’s the secret secret thing that makes it ten times faster? It’s going to be a lot of the same things. But if there’s one thing that I want you to take away from this episode, first of all, we’re just giving you all the things so that maybe a handful of them really resonate. It’s not like you have to do all these 27 things. It’s like, no, pick like three to five and go, I’m going to go all in on this idea and really live this mantra because I think it’s going to be really helpful and yeah, so it’s not to try to do them all.
Jason: Yeah. Also, if you do want to come back to this episode, hopefully you will have always checked the show notes to see if there’s a place to find the recap. We have been doing like, full show notes pages of our podcast now for a couple of months. This one lives at wanderingaimfully.com/161. That’s the episode number is 161. You can find that listed in the show notes, but also just easy to remember. If you ever want to look for our show notes of an episode, look at the number in your podcast player and go wanderingaimfully.com/ and just put that number in. And that’s how we try and set up these notes. So when we go through these 27 tips, if you’re like, oh, I’m scrambling to remember these. You don’t have to scramble. You can always refer back to the post where we keep them all for you.
Caroline: Great job.
Caroline: So let’s just get into it.
Jason: Let’s do it.
Caroline: Let’s just blow through these. So again, first category here.
Jason: Let’s not blow through them. Let’s take our time and share some helpful knowledge and advice for people, I think. Unless we’re trying to get through a flea market, then let’s absolutely blow through it as quickly as possible.
Caroline: Again, at the flea market. Let’s go through slowly and methodically and enjoy the process. So the first bucket is all about time. And by far the number one thing that came up over and over and over again was this tip: carve out sacred non-negotiable time to work on your digital product. That came up over and over again. So some of the things that people said were, quote, I’m blocking off sacred time on my calendar to work on the programs, and it’s non-negotiable, creating time to work on a certain website template. Instead of thinking, when I have the time, I’ll do X. How many of us have thought that, oh, when I get some extra time, I’ll start working on that digital product? It’s not going to happen. You have to carve out the time. Someone said using non-negotiable time blocks over time is my best tip. Being able to make time to work on my digital products side business regularly. I thought this was an important addendum, like, kind of consistently have that sacred time. If I don’t work on it often enough, when I come back to it, I feel rusty, overwhelmed, and usually procrastinate and overthink all the things. This is why I think the regularly piece is important, because I think they’re so right. When you spend a little bit of time away from it, there’s like a reentry deficit. And then the final thing was like someone said, protect the time on your calendar. So that’s why I said specifically sacred non-negotiable time because it’s two parts. It’s not only making the time, carving it out on your calendar, but it’s also deciding that that time is then sacred and non-negotiable. And that’s the only way that your client work is not going to seep into this digital product work time.
Jason: Yeah, and I think just anything that doesn’t get prioritized is not going to be a priority. And that is just when you’re making a transition, prioritization, it doesn’t matter what you’re transitioning from and to, prioritization is key because it’s likely you already have good systems and processes for your client work. So that doesn’t need prioritization. What needs prioritization is the new thing, the new journey you haven’t embarked on yet, which is creating a digital product business, which is a whole set of other problems to solve.
Caroline: So speaking of that, tip number two is to schedule your product time first in order to make it the priority. So if you’ve struggled to prioritize digital products, try bumping it to the first thing you work on in the week or the first thing you work on in the day. So a couple of people said putting aside time to work on my own projects every single day and prioritizing that over my client projects, waking up early and setting aside an hour a day to develop my online course, I liked that strategy. That doesn’t work for everyone. But again, if you could figure out a way to optimize your sleep schedule and then kind of bump up your wake up time, that’s found time, essentially, right? Blocking out the first 1 to 2 hours of the day to work on it. This is what someone else said. So again, when you put it first on your schedule, it becomes easy to prioritize.
Jason: And I think there’s something to be said for, again, the client work is going to be the work where you likely have already built the neuropathways of, okay, I need to do this, I need to do this. You can just get into that flow a little bit easier. Working on your digital product business is like, okay, there’s a huge overwhelming list of things that you need to do.
Caroline: You’re going to feel the self-doubt. You’re going to be overthinking.
Jason: You need the maximum focus time that you have. So if that’s the first in the day for you. And again, I think this one’s really good just of like, when is the time of your work day when you have the most energy and focus, prioritize your digital product transition and the things you need to do there and then do your client work afterwards.
Caroline: This is kind of the, if you’ve heard of like the eat the frog strategy, which is a productivity hack of like, doing the thing that you have the most resistance towards first thing, because…
Jason: We can just say eat the broccoli because I don’t want to eat any frogs, but I really don’t want to eat the broccoli.
Caroline: But it’s more nonsensical to say eat the frog, which just makes it more memorable.
Jason: I don’t want to eat any frogs.
Caroline: Okay, you don’t have to.
Caroline: Number three. Tip number three.
Jason: I could kiss a frog though, if it’s cute.
Caroline: Thank you for interjecting.
Jason: You’re not a frog.
Caroline: Does it have to be cute?
Jason: To me, if I think it’s cute.
Caroline: It’s a personal preference.
Jason: Yeah. I personally would like to find the frog cute. And just so you guys know, you all know I find every frog cute. Go ahead. This is what I bring to the…
Caroline: You’re doing great, sweetie. Tip number three is to set a deadline and have a dedicated timeline. And again, I want to be really clear here. Not every one of these tips is something you have to do.
Caroline: Some people are going to find a more flexible timeline is more conducive. Some people are going to find they need more discipline. Like, you really have to put all of this advice through the filter of your own experience and the way you work but my hope is that you’re going to pick up three to five things that you’re going to be like, this is going to help me move forward. So set a deadline, have a dedicated timeline. Someone said, I broke the whole project down into tiny little steps that I worked on every day for six weeks. So setting that almost like sprint timeline of let me do this for the next six weeks was helpful for them. Someone else said, set a launch date, smiley face, set a whole week aside to work on the product. We’ll talk about that in a second.
Jason: I think this dedicated timeline thing is really helpful too for all of you who are listening that have tried to maybe build your first digital product and you just haven’t gotten it done. However you’ve tried to do it in the past, try a different timeline set up. So if you’ve had a really dedicated timeline in the past and it just didn’t work, then maybe try like a looser timeline where you’re like, well, let me just work on this when I feel the flow and comes to me. And on the flip side, if you’ve always been like, I’m just going to see when the time comes to me and when I feel in the flow to work on this, maybe you need to switch to dedicated timeline to see if you can actually make progress.
Caroline: Yeah, try what hasn’t worked yet. Tip number four is to use accountability to then stick to that deadline. So someone added they were a vote in the column of a dedicated timeline. And then they also added, I joined a program for creating products. She did a live round of the program that ran over a few weeks. At the end of the program, she shared everyone’s finished product with her audience. Having a deadline and that extra accountability helped me get it done in a short time. So this is like layering then an accountability factor on top of the deadline. So if you’re like, okay, I want to have my product completed in the next eight weeks. You can do that in a number of ways. Yes, you could join a program. You could join WAIM Unlimited if you want. We have an accountability program.
Jason: That’s pretty cool.
Caroline: You could have an accountability buddy. You could post your deadline publicly. Like, there’s all these different accountability levers that you could use. But if you really, again, going back to if it hasn’t worked for you yet, try to layer on that accountability piece to some sort of deadline and see if that gets you farther. And then tip number five is one that I thought was sort of a non… no brainer and it came up so many times, which is why we like to do this because things that you think are so go without saying are oftentimes things that need to be repeated, which is use time blocking. So you should be sitting down to your computer. If you’re trying to transition through something like this that requires navigation and strategy and probably a workload that is a little bit more rigorous than what you’re used to, I think you’re going to have to use some of these kind of productivity levers in order to be more organized. So time blocking, I forget that the way that I used to do things before time blocking was to sit down at my laptop and just go, what do I want to do today?
Jason: Exactly. And there is some sense of freedom when working with clients when you’re like, listen, the clients are already, like, setting deadlines and timelines, and I want my days and weeks to feel like I have control. I don’t want my calendar to tell me what to do as well. But I think as two people who can tell you very specifically how much time blocking changed the game for us and made us more productive people and gave us more freedom because we were more productive with the time that we were blocking off, that really helped us.
Caroline: And just to be clear, if you’re like, wait, what exactly is time blocking? Time blocking just refers to the simple added benefit of not just having a to do list, but actually assigning when those items are getting done on your calendar and how long they’re going to take. So quite literally, dragging blocks onto your calendar to say, I’m going to be doing X at Y time. And I almost forget that there was a time where I didn’t do that because of how beneficial it’s been for me. And I actually was one of those people that rebelled so much against it.
Jason: I remember having the conversation with you, and I think the moment for you was us realizing, oh, you’re coming from your nine to five job. That was very scheduled and you had meetings and everything. And the last thing you want in your, like, your own business is to feel like you have that schedule again, but it’s actually empowering when you create it.
Caroline: Yes, because what I realized was going back to what we said about I have the most willpower and mental energy and focus in the morning, and I was wasting all of that good brain juice on deciding what I was going to be doing that day.
Caroline: Instead of previous me deciding what I could do that day. And then if it needs to be flexible and moved around, I can do that. But there was no thinking involved. It’s like, oh, I already said I was going to do this today, so why don’t I just do it? So time blocking. Tip number six is to separate your product mode versus your client mode blocks by dedicated days or even weeks. And this is advice we give all the time because we’ve seen it work for so many people. But just to add color to this, someone said, have client free days or weeks. I work on a two week on one week off schedule with my clients. If I didn’t have that client free week, I don’t think I’d get much creative work done at all. I’m the kind of person who operates better when I have a big chunk of time for that kind of work. So there are some people who maybe are a little bit better at multitasking and can do that.
Jason: And this is the difference between us.
Caroline: It’s the difference between us. You are so good. It takes you no effort to go into a different brain mode and go between things. You could very easily be like, I’m going to do product in the morning.
Jason: It’s what I do all day now, exactly. Like, I switch between admin tasks or creative tasks or writing tasks or problem solving.
Caroline: I need to be in deep creative mode in order to get into this deep flow state. So I would be one of those people who definitely needs a product week. So I would work on getting my client schedule to a place where I could have a product week. But if you’re not the person who if you don’t think you can do that, try a product day. We give this advice all the time. Try product Digital Product Fridays. Or if you want to use the advice from before about starting the week so it’s priority, Digital Product Mondays, right? So that’s tip number six. And then our final tip in the time section, tip number seven is to treat your business like a client. Someone just said, treating myself like I was my own client was so helpful. And I know it’s going to be hard to manufacture or trick yourself into kind of having the same level of accountability that you would to a client, but sometimes I think taking this to an almost absurd level could be helpful. It’s like, what’s your business name? Put it on your calendar like it’s a real client. Send yourself the worksheets.
Jason: Today, I’m working on my client Sassy Squarespace Templatess.
Jason: And we’re going to work on setting up the landing page for Sassy Squarespace Templatess.
Caroline: Have your partner be like, the client contact can be like, hey, let’s do a little role play. Okay?
Caroline: This is what I would do. I would be like Jason.
Jason: I’m sensing some junk is going to be on a table.
Caroline: Okay, junk is about to get on the table. Let’s just do role play. You’re the client manager. You’re like, the point of contact for my client Sassy Squarespace Templatess. And I need you to just send me an email every Friday to be like, hey, how’s it coming on this? And then I’m going to be like, oh, God, I better get back to someone.
Jason: Definitely going to sign up for a Sassy Squarespace Templates to Gmail after this.
Caroline: All I’m saying is, if it hasn’t worked yet, try something weird.
Jason: Exactly. Try and have some fun with it, too. I think that’s the other part of it.
Caroline: So that is…
Caroline: Time. And this was, again, by far, the biggest thing that people said. And so if you’re like, these are all the things that I know that I’m supposed to be doing, but I’m not doing them.
Jason: Guess what?
Caroline: Yeah. They are.
Jason: You got to do them.
Caroline: So the time is the one thing we can’t do for you. You’ve got to figure out how to get that into your schedule in order to build this digital product runway in business. So let’s move on to second category. So this category was all about getting momentum and really getting over that first hump of just getting started. Okay? And so the thing that came up, this was probably the second most thing next to sacred, non-negotiable time, was start with something small, keep it simple, and get past your first product. I kind of lumped those all together because I just think it all falls under getting momentum. But some things that we heard about this were start with a small digital product to help overcome decision paralysis and the need to create the perfect product. This person said, start small. Don’t try and do the epic, massive online program first. I tried doing that and never quite got there. I then went for something smaller and more manageable and got it done. Next person said, stay the course. Don’t decide you’re a failure if/ when your first digital product doesn’t go as planned. And I put this in the category of kind of just you got to get past the first thing.
Caroline: Like I told Jason, it’s like the first pancake. You’re doing everything first for the brand new time. Just make the goal, getting the first product done, having it be a small digital product so you can learn everything, and then you can adjust in the future.
Jason: Do you know what goes in pancakes?
Caroline: Batter, obviously.
Jason: Just a bag that says batter.
Caroline: It’s batter. It’s sort of wet.
Jason: The batter comes wet.
Caroline: Yeah, the batter, the mixture.
Caroline: The pancake mix is dry.
Jason: Okay. Okay, nice.
Caroline: And then there’s some type of wet that makes it batter.
Caroline: So I think I nailed that. Okay, good. Moving on. This person said, it’s so helpful to have a finished thing now that lives on my website, which… from which most of the effort, except for the marketing, is already done. And I put this in this category because, again, it’s like, get past the first product. Do you know how good it will feel to have the thing made that you can adjust? So if you can just try to, again, get past the first one, and then someone said, do it and put it out there. Make it good, not perfect. Fail fast, learn, move on.
Jason: Yeah. I think one of the things that gets overlooked in this process is, as a client business owner, forgetting what it felt like to get your first client and the momentum that that gave you to go, oh, I can do this.
Caroline: I can do this.
Jason: I can work with people because this person said yes to me. And now I feel what that feels like. It’s the exact same thing for building a digital product business. Make the first small, imperfect product and go, oh, I made that. I now have a landing page. I have a place that someone can buy this. I have a whole fulfillment strategy if someone wants to go through it. That’s awesome. Now, does it suck? It doesn’t matter. Did your first client suck? You don’t remember? What you remember is, I made the thing, it helped me then move on to the next thing and helped me learn all these different things that I need to learn for this type of business.
Caroline: Yeah. And if there’s one mental shift that I could implore someone to make it’s to stop, especially because I think we’re at the age of the online course or digital product industry is mature enough to this point where you can see them everywhere. Right?
Caroline: And the problem with that is you’re seeing people who are launching their 4th, 5th, 6th, 10th iteration of their product, and you’re thinking that you need to aspire with your first product to that level of mastery.
Jason: Yeah. This is the classic, like your starting line, you’re comparing to someone else’s finish line.
Caroline: Exactly. So don’t do that. If there’s one shift that you could make from this podcast, please just make the first bad pancake.
Jason: Make that pancake. Put some batter in a bag and pour it out.
Caroline: Tip number nine on this topic of momentum is similar but a little different, which is stay focused on taking imperfect action. So the first one was like more outcome. This is more of like just imperfect action is the only way forward. The first version will be messy, but you can always improve it later on. That’s what someone said. This other person said, this is a mantra. I wanted to be very clear that we didn’t come up with this mantra, but this is a mantra that someone says to themselves. It’s the start that stops most people. And this is a mantra that has helped them. They just say it to themselves. So they said, when I notice myself not moving forward on beginning the product development phase, I pull this out, kick myself benevolently and repeat it to myself. And then I figure out an easy first step. I hit the egg timer for 15 minutes and I see what happens. And I love that. That’s so tangible. So you just say to yourself, it’s the start that stops most people. And you just make that getting over that first starting hurdle your goal. Set the timer and get after it. And then the last supporting little tidbit here for that is don’t get caught up in making it perfect. Launch it and then based on feedback and experience, you can update it.
Caroline: And I love this because I’m just picturing all these people who have made the leap that you listening to this episode want to make. And I just picture them all encouraging you and saying like, hey, this is the advice that we would give ourselves. So that’s what I hope that you’re picturing when you listen to this episode is there’s this group of over 100 people who are now where you’re hoping to get and they’re saying like, listen, this is what’s going to get you there.
Jason: Yeah, exactly.
Caroline: Okay, that was momentum.
Jason: Next category.
Caroline: Our next category is about fighting overwhelm.
Jason: We are at tip number 10 of 27 here.
Caroline: And using your time effectively. So tip number ten is to make a plan and break the process down into small actionable tasks. Again, this seems like a no brainer, but how many of us have gone, okay, once I finally find the time, maybe you found a pocket of 3 hours and you’re like, I’m going to work on this product. But because you haven’t broken it down into steps, it’s so overwhelming. So do yourself a favor and for those 3 hours, make the plan. There are so many checklists that exist out there, including ours, or programs you can follow in order to tell you exactly what it’s going to take to make a digital product. So write it down. Break it down into small actionable tasks. Someone said have a plan so that when you have a few minutes to spare, you know exactly what to work on. Someone else said break it down. I created a project plan which broke things down into smaller pieces and so I could focus on one tiny piece at a time when I had a short window of time to work on it. Someone else said I broke it down into small steps and created products my current clients needed and turned them into evergreen trainings. Knowing that it was hard in the time of creating it, but that once the work was done, I knew it would be helpful and profitable later on. And then be organized and have a plan/ checklist to follow. Don’t overcomplicate things.
Jason: Yeah, I remember when our WAIMer, Chelsea, went through Build Without Burnout, which was our first cornerstone program that specifically helped solve this problem, which was going from clients to having a digital product business. And we built it as a six-month plan, 26 lessons or 24 lessons, all with sub lessons within them. And the entire key behind this plan was we just want to give you the thing to focus on every week so that there’s no mental power for you to have to sit down and go, okay, what do I have to focus on? It’s like, no, we just tell you what to do. And all that is, is just us taking that entire process in a checklist format and breaking it down into weekly things to focus on. And I remember Chelsea said that was the most helpful thing for her to know that she didn’t have to think about what to work on this week for a digital product business. All she had to do was just log in to Build Without Burnout, see what lesson was now unlocked next. And she really loved that they were all locked because she couldn’t move forward. Even when she had, she was, oh, I’ve got some momentum. And she’s like, wait, I don’t want to burn myself out in this process. And just every week she would show up and go, oh, okay, now I’m working on my landing page. I didn’t even think I was going to work on that this week, but now I’m going to start working on it. And here are the tips and here’s how to do that. So I think having any system like that, whether it’s something that’s in with within WAIM Unlimited like we have, or just finding something that can remove that mental overwhelm is really, really helpful.
Caroline: Perfect. So I love this next category because it’s the mindset stuff. So this is tips eleven through 15. And these were just kind of mindset things that were helpful as people move through this transition. So tip number eleven is to anticipate the slowness.
Jason: I think this is such an important tip.
Caroline: This is huge. Yeah. So it’s patience. Someone said the transition has been slow and I have had to embrace that pace. Someone else said, manage expectations, i.e. success doesn’t happen overnight. Someone else said, recognize that it’s going to take time to get it all done. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. And so this is just a recurring theme over and over is just yeah, of course you have one foot in both worlds. You have a foot in your client work and you have another foot in the digital product world. And there are two different ways of operating a business. And so of course, you’re going to feel stretched and it’s going to take longer because you’re going to be waffling between the two. And that’s okay. That’s the expectation.
Jason: Yeah. I think the unfortunate part of the online business world is that all that’s glorified are the fast overnight quick successes. What isn’t glorified at all are the people who are like, yeah, it took me a year while working with clients to build my digital product business and then I started making $1,000 a month from it. Who’s going to be excited to read that? But truthfully, I think right now, if you’re listening to this and I told you, hey, the past couple of years you’ve been trying to do this and it has haven’t worked out for you. What if one year from now, if you worked on this slowly, you could make $1,000 a month and then from there it could go up because now you actually have something that’s working. You can figure out how to market it and promote it and grow it, wouldn’t that be a win? And I know $1,000 a month is not going to replace most people’s client income, but it’s a start. It’s the beginning, and it’s where you need to get to that maybe you haven’t gotten to before.
Caroline: Definitely. So tip number twelve is to get excited about the process. So someone said, I find it helpful to focus on digital products that I find enjoyable and allow me to be creative. Someone else said, I worked on a product that was really fun for me, so it honestly wasn’t hard to make time for it. So I guess my advice would be work on something that’s fun. Lol. And I think this is great advice. Also. Yes, you want to be strategic, and we’ll talk about that in a second. But also, wouldn’t it be easier if you could just get yourself excited about the process of making the thing? What is it that’s going to get you excited? Is it learning a new tool? Is it making it fun and making it different in your voice? Is it branding it? Whatever you need to do in order to get excited about it. Listen to a cool playlist only when you’re working on your new product.
Jason: Yeah, and I know that we’ve heard from a lot of our WAIMers that join is that they’ve joined other programs and they followed someone’s specific advice on building a certain thing only to realize it wasn’t fun. They didn’t enjoy it at all. And so I think that’s where we give a lot of freedom in our program. It’s just like, listen, we’re not trying to tell you one thing is better than the other. We want you to chase where your energy is going, where you’re excited about, because where you find those things is where you’re going to put your time. And so it’s very different to go, okay, I need to build this online course about helping people build Squarespace templates. But you don’t really want to do that. But instead, you would have a ton of fun if you created Squarespace templates on the fly that people could subscribe to on a monthly subscription to get new ones all the time, whatever that could be for you, because these are your Sassy Squarespace Templates. You just have to think things through and like, am I building a business that I actually want to be working on? Because otherwise, why are you doing this?
Caroline: Right? Which when we go through our identifying your offer in our process, in our coaching session about how to really nail down your offer, that’s such a big piece of it is, what do you enjoy? Because that’s the thing that’s going to make it sustainable. Tip number 13. Remember the why, i.e. what is on the other side of this transition. So someone said, I kept thinking about the fact that digital products are do it once and sell it many times. So just by focusing on what is it all for? That can sometimes be such a motivating factor to when you’re in the slog and you’re on week five and you’re like, this is so much to try to balance with my client work. Remember, there’s going to be a time where it all gets a little easier because you can sell this thing that you’ve put the time into one time. Which brings us to our next point, tip number 14, which is related, but Jason…
Jason: Go ahead, Carol. Go ahead. Hit them with your phrase. Go ahead.
Caroline: I have a new mantra that I want everyone to adopt. And I…
Jason: I would like everyone to…
Caroline: Love a mantra.
Jason: Pull your car over. Pause the treadmill.
Caroline: You’re overselling it.
Jason: Put the dishes down.
Caroline: You’re overselling it.
Jason: Stop your walk. Just get ready for it.
Caroline: You’re overselling it.
Jason: No, I’m your hype man. I’m hyping you up.
Jason: Coming to the stage is Caroline Junk-On-The-Table.
Caroline: It’s feeling a little…
Jason: No. I’m like, we’re at the flea market and I’m announcing your booth.
Caroline: Okay. I do appreciate that.
Caroline: This was a new phrase that I came up with, and this is what I want you to remember. Embrace the short term squeeze for long term ease. That’s it. Short term squeeze for long term ease. Okay. It rhymes, which is the main benefit.
Jason: Right? Of course.
Caroline: I told Jason, I was like, I want to come up with a name for this very specific period of time where things are going to get harder before they get easier. Okay? And this is the short term squeeze. It’s where you feel squeezed between your clients, this client world and this digital product world, and everything feels hard because they’re both pulling out your time. Like I said, you’ve got one foot in both. And so you feel that pinch, you feel that squeeze, but remember, it’s for long term ease. So again, you’re making things harder in the short term so that they can be easier in the long term. So when that happens, just remember, short term squeeze for long term ease.
Jason: Jokes aside, I do love this phrase.
Caroline: Copyright, Caroline’s…
Jason: Caroline Junk-On-The-Table.
Caroline: I’m sure it exists, but don’t tell me if it does because I really came up with it on my own and I felt so smart. This person said focusing on the long game and remembering that this was a temporary extra grinding for long term payoff sounds like a short term squeeze for long term ease if I’ve ever heard it. The other person said, when it gets challenging, I remember that devoting time to digital products will pay off in the long run. Yeah, it’s the short term squeeze for the long term ease. I mean, I should make T shirts, honestly.
Jason: Hot topic.
Caroline: It’s a hot phrase.
Jason: It’s a hot topic and it’s selling on…
Caroline: Make it a meme.
Jason: T-shirts. A hot topic. Go ahead.
Caroline: Tip number 15 in the mindset category is also to use presales to fuel your excitement and accountability. We love this tip.
Jason: We do this with every single thing we’ve ever sold.
Caroline: So someone said getting my audience excited, and in some cases pre-enrolled so that I would be accountable and maintain the enthusiasm, which is such a good tip. And of course, once you get to that point where you’ve built up a little bit of an audience, doesn’t have to be huge, but if it’s highly targeted, you go, hey, I’m making this product X, Y, and Z. I’m pre-selling it at a deeply discounted rate. Here’s the rate, sign up here. If I get enough, blah, blah, blah, all of that. And then imagine you’re working on the product, not only then do you have enthusiasm because you’ve actually made money off of the thing you’re going to deliver, but now you are accountable to a timeline. So it goes all the way back to our time category about setting a deadline.
Jason: I will say that I don’t think people who have not yet sold a digital product understand the empowering and exciting feelings that come with getting your first sales.
Jason: And if you can sell something that doesn’t even exist yet, your Sassy Squarespace Templates, and you can get five people to buy in at $80 per just as your first customers take off the board, the fact that, okay, it’s only $400, I’m not going to be able to replace my client, that doesn’t matter.
Caroline: Doesn’t matter.
Jason: I think that people get so caught up in the it’s only five sales at this amount, it’s not going to change a thing. If you’ve never experienced seeing those emails come through, seeing those sales notifications come through, it’s a whole feeling that’s hard to describe.
Jason: And once you have that feeling, it becomes the thing that you want more of in this type of business. And it’s a thing where we can tell you, from now, we’ve done 20 launches of WAIM Unlimited in all of its various forms over the past five years. Every single launch that happens…
Caroline: The math doesn’t math there, but go on.
Jason: No, I’m saying 20 total, because in the beginning, we did monthly launches. We did… Yeah, I’m saying all of it. Everything we’ve done in five years.
Caroline: I was like, we launched twice a year is five years.
Jason: That’s just ten, let alone all the ones in the beginning, which were every single month for over a year.
Caroline: I forgot about monthly.
Jason: Yeah. So what my point is, is that even five years later, every single sale notification that comes in, I am so excited about.
Caroline: Oh, yeah, for sure.
Jason: And it’s not because of just a financial thing. It’s because it’s the…
Caroline: I made a thing.
Jason: I made a thing that someone else wanted.
Jason: That is the thing that is so difficult to explain to someone who has not experienced that before. And especially… I think it’s even especially if the thing doesn’t exist yet, because that’s just like, oh, wow. Someone believes in my ideas.
Jason: I haven’t even made a Sassy template.
Caroline: It crystallizes what a lot of us get into in the first place this for, which is to help someone. And so you go from having this nebulous customer avatar of like, I help so and so designers, blah, blah, blah. And it’s like, no, no, I help Chelsea.
Caroline: I help… Chelsea paid me for this. I want Chelsea to get the solution.
Jason: Five people’s names that aren’t your friends or family members. Go ahead. This is improv.
Jason: Okay. That’s a little bit cheating, but okay. That’s a WAIMer, who’s come up recently for us. Go ahead.
Jason: Okay. That was our pet center. Go ahead.
Jason: Okay. Yeah. Good.
Caroline: Petunia. Those are all my friends.
Jason: Man. Anytime we can get you to do a little improv exercise, it makes my heart…
Caroline: Why am I like this? Why? I know what names are.
Jason: You do. In that moment.
Caroline: Petunia and Lou?
Jason: The glasses have come off. The tears are now flowing. Oh, boy.
Jason: I’m so sorry. For those of you who are just like, just give me the rest of the tips.
Caroline: Anybody else. Please tell me that somebody else is bad at improv as I. My brain’s like, what are names?
Jason: Yeah, exactly. I’ve never met another person before. Do dogs count? I know some dog names. All right, let’s get into the second to last category, right?
Caroline: Second to last category. Yes. Okay. So this category is all about shrinking your client time that you’re spending now so that you can devote that to product time and squeezing the most out of your client time. Let’s just call it squeezing the most out of your client time. Right. So tip number 16 is client boundaries and saying no. This is also a very important thing, saying no to some client projects that I could have done and made money but didn’t really want to. And also I wanted to make time to create some digital products and courses. So that was a tip from someone. Someone else said saying no to clients, setting boundaries and defining priorities instead of rushing into client projects. And someone else said, I have to be careful about not over scheduling client work and leaving space for product work if I let it. Client work will take up all my time. This connects very well back to the time piece, which is if you’re going to find or carve out the time to work on your product, that’s going to have to come from somewhere. So you have to create boundaries around your client time in order to keep it contained.
Jason: And I just want everyone listening to this to know we know what it feels like when I have to do a lot of work to get a client. How am I going to say no to a client? And that’s the cycle that you get into, is that as a client service business owner, you basically get into this thing where you’re like, every client that shows up, you’re like, Whoo, okay, I got another one. That’s great. You can’t really imagine saying no to one because you’ve built this whole habit over and over again of saying yes to them.
Caroline: This is that whole thing about kind of leveling up your mindset, which I know some of it is total bullshit, don’t get me wrong, but some of it isn’t, which is that you have to start thinking in a more savvy business kind of mindset, which is there’s an opportunity cost to your time. So when you say no to that client, it’s because you know that if you say yes, the opportunity cost is that’s time that you can’t spend on your digital product, which is where you’re trying to take your business. Right? So you have to consider it a little bit more and go, Where am I trying to go? And it’s going to take discipline, and it’s going to take boundaries, and it’s going to take making hard decisions. But again, go back to the mindset category and stay connected to what that outcome is that you’re looking for.
Jason: Hey, real quick, if you could not mention my competitors, Savvy Squarespace Templates, we don’t talk about them here at Sassy.
Caroline: It’s Sassy. That’s right.
Caroline: Well, we’re not competitors. We’re peers, and we’re all just… There’s plenty to go around, Jason. Abundance mindset. Okay? Tip number 17 is to make your client process more efficient. So this person said, I switched to having my client work on one week sprints rather than long projects over weeks and weeks. Now I have time to set aside for working on new products to sell for at least one week each month, as I only take on a maximum of three clients projects per month. I think this is so smart. So this person strategically moved their schedule to take on three clients a month at one week per project so that they had a full week to work on their products. So it’s a three and one. Somebody else earlier said the two on one off type of thing really sit down and think, could you kind of make your client project timeline more efficient to create some of those product mode versus client mode tips that we said before?
Jason: And listen, I know your knee jerk reaction might be, well, I can’t control my clients getting back to me. So it’s really easy to say, change up my thing.
Caroline: Set the expectation.
Jason: Set the expectation. Have the conversation with your client. Tell them that you need to transition to this for your own life and schedule and that this is better for both of you because they’re going to get the work done faster.
Caroline: Also, let me tell you a side tip. Let’s go on a side quest.
Jason: Yeah, let’s do it real quick.
Caroline: This is something I didn’t understand soon enough when I was doing client work.
Jason: Are we going to see Petunia on the side quest or Lou?
Caroline: Petunia and Lou. In the early days of doing client design work, what I didn’t realize, because I was so early in my business journey, is like, I was so afraid to set some of these parameters around my process, around my timeline, because I thought it would turn people away because it felt too rigid. What I didn’t realize is the more parameters you put around your process, the more professional and confident you actually appear, because a potential client is going to go, well, they must be doing this for a reason. And it takes confidence to say, hey, no, this is actually how I operate. Like, are you cool with that? And so I know it’s scary, but when you live in that place of like, oh, well, it could be this or it could be that, the more malleable that you sort of come off in your process. That’s not the same thing as to say flexible, right? Like, you can be a good human being and be flexible, but I’m just talking specifically to that person who knows that they’re being malleable because they’re trying to people please and they’re living in that lack of confidence place. Really work on trying to create some parameters for your process because I promise you, you’re going to come off more confident.
Jason: And having a good process gives you confidence because you can say, like, I have this process.
Caroline: This has worked.
Jason: This is what I do.
Jason: Get out of my way. Kicking people.
Caroline: Please don’t kick people.
Caroline: It’s kidding.
Caroline: It’s kidding.
Jason: Petunia is kidding.
Caroline: Tip number 18, use your client process as fodder for your product content. So this is really about now every ounce of energy you spend on your client process. Even though you’re not technically working on your product, you’re trying to mine that process for product content. So it’s like double dipping. Okay, so this person said every time I worked on a client project, I would make a note of the pain point in their system or process and think about how I could make it better. And so again, now you’re putting on that product hat and you’re going like, how can I just be in problem solving mode and put that into my product? Tip number 19, have a dedicated space to take notes as you work on projects. I love this tip. Someone said, I keep open a doc that’s not for the project to catch all the ideas and thoughts that are unrelated so that you are less tempted to go down a rabbit hole but aren’t throttling the creative flow. So this is like super tactical.
Jason: Yeah, for me, if this was me, I would have a whole separate app. So I would use like, let’s say like Evernote, just an example. I don’t use Evernote for anything at all. But if I was making this transition, I would go, Evernote is my digital product place for all my thoughts because I can get the app on my phone, I can get it on my iPad, I can get it on my desktop, and I can have it all synced up, and I don’t have to think about it. It’s not like a doc that lives in a folder that’s in or whatever.
Caroline: And then you go to that folder, and then you see client stuff.
Jason: And it’s like, no, I’m just opening this app, and that’s where I’m putting all these thoughts.
Caroline: But then what’s also powerful about this is they’re using it when they work on client stuff because they know going back to the previous tip, they’re going to have ideas, so just pop it right in there. Pop a popper right into the Evernote, and you won’t get down that rabbit hole, right? Like, you’ll just be like, okay, it’s there, and you don’t have to stress about, oh, am I going to remember.
Caroline: And all that stuff. I like this very tactical tip. Finally, in this section, tip number 20 is to include products in your client contracts. Okay. I like this. This is very tactical as well. So someone said it’s been helpful introducing digital product offerings within client contracts. For example, the contract contains a typical client time plus five licenses to a digital course for the client to use. And I love this because number one, you’re adding value to your client offer, and number two, you’re getting kind of like students into your let’s call it a course.
Jason: Yeah. And I think a really good example of this is Sassy Squarespace Templates. So, like, you’re a Squarespace…
Jason: Designer and you work with clients and you build their sites, but now you’re moving into building templates that people can use. You tell your next client, Veronica, and you say, hey, Veronica, here are five licenses that you could give out to any of your friends to use a template that they can create their own Squarespace sites and however you want to do that. I’m just saying as an example.
Caroline: You may not want to cannibalize your clients in that regard. Right. But if it was a more auxiliary thing of how to maintain your Squarespace site. Right. So you do have to do some thinking there because you don’t want to… Well, unless you definitely do want to make that. Yeah, if you want to make the full transition, then sure.
Jason: I just think there’s a lot of opportunity there to think through. Oh, my existing clients are people that know people. And this might be really helpful just to get some first digital product experience through them.
Caroline: Because that’s the thing. What is going to help you sell your digital product down the line is if you can get people results. And to get people results, you need people in the course. And so this is like a good way to kind of seed people and get feedback, too.
Jason: People know people know people. And if you could get them to bring two people and then them down the line. Down the line.
Caroline: Down the line. And it starts to form…
Jason: It’s shaped like a triangle.
Caroline: It’s more of like a three dimensional triangle with, like, a few people at the top and then people down the line.
Jason: And then every horizontal line of the triangle is a BMW. BMW. BMW. BMW. We’re just making MLM jokes.
Caroline: It’s an MLM joke. Okay, final category, if you’re still listening. Congratulations.
Jason: You’ve done great.
Caroline: You’re going to do amazing things.
Jason: Also, if you’ve listened this far.
Caroline: The keyword is…
Jason: Send an email and subject line is Petunia. And I just want to see how many Petunias we get. That’s all you have to do, just pop up in your email app and just send a Petunia.
Caroline: And your favorite gif.
Jason: Also spell it however you want. Because I’m thinking about it, I’m like there’s a couple of different ways you can spell Petunia.
Caroline: I mean, I think there’s a right way. So whoever spelled it right.
Jason: Wins some… Win some of Caroline’s…
Caroline: A bMW.
Jason: Pancake batter. It’s a bag of something wet. We don’t know what’s inside because Caroline doesn’t know how to make pancakes.
Caroline: I have a husband who makes pancakes for me.
Jason: And I do love making the pancakes.
Caroline: I know. They’re so delicious.
Jason: I just like asking publicly when it’s something that I make all the time, of, like, how would you go about this? Just be curious to see how you would do it.
Caroline: Okay, well, how would you go about what are something I do that he doesn’t know about?
Jason: I mean, all kinds of Notion stuff. Figma stuff.
Caroline: Yeah. How would you do that? How would you Figma? How would you Notion?
Jason: I go to Upwork.com?
Jason: You YouTube for pancakes. We’re really getting into, like, a marital…
Caroline: It’s evolving into a marital dispute.
Caroline: Okay. Final bucket.
Jason: Last bucket here after…
Caroline: And these are just about making the product building process easier and also things that I didn’t know what category they went to.
Caroline: Okay. Tip number 21. Batch create and do what comes more easily. So a lot of people said batch creating, like, videos or course content or whatever, that’s just a tip about creating things. Someone else said think about what might make it easier. I created an audio course rather than something with video because it meant I could record and edit more easily and not worry about what my hair looked like.
Jason: I think this is…
Caroline: Such a good tip.
Jason: Such a good tip. Just especially in the first product creation.
Caroline: Yes. Because remember…
Jason: Go for the like…
Caroline: It’s a pancake.
Jason: Beautiful studio backdrop. You got to have all the things. Again, you’re comparing your starting line to someone else’s finish line. Do a thing that you can do that feels doable. And that’s what we always talk about. It’s much easier, even for us who like doing video and can set it up. We’d rather just record over a keynote presentation.
Jason: Because we don’t have to be on camera and certainly, yes. Doing a little intro of you on camera adds more personality, but you don’t even need that if what you’re actually teaching is helpful. So don’t worry about putting your face out there and having to go through that whole step.
Caroline: Yeah. And also there’s some type of inverse relationship between of course you want to make your product look good, of course you want it to feel professional. But there’s an inverse relationship in terms of the more powerful your information is in getting someone the results that they want, the less polished your thing needs to be.
Jason: And digital products are digital by nature. So you could do the audio course to start, and then you could come back around and do a video course, an upgraded version years later, and then it’s an added bonus for everybody who’s already in that thing.
Caroline: Right, but if there’s something to focus on, it’s like really focus on is the content going to get someone the results?
Caroline: Okay. Tip number 22, be open to experimenting with different product ideas just because courses didn’t work. For example, you could try something else, like licensing. So this person said, I got caught up in the marketing plan for new digital products, and that stalls me. But I have been licensing my art too, which is more digital and passive, and that has been going really well. So this is, again, if the first thing doesn’t work for you, if you just find out, I don’t like promoting digital templates. I don’t like promoting online courses. Okay, cool. Find another way. Go a different route. Try a different digital product route.
Jason: This is where I love the folks who lean into using, like, a Creative Market. And they’re just like, I’m just going to create it in my own little Creative Market store, and I’m going to put things up there, and I’m going to let this marketplace that exists help me build my digital product.
Caroline: And I’m going to game that part of the system. Right?
Caroline: Tip number 23, outsource. So outsourcing tasks gives me space to create the digital products I want to create. Again, doesn’t apply to everyone, but maybe you are like, I’ve tried every which way to find more time. I can’t do it. Start thinking about what are the tasks that you could pay a little bit now to outsource to someone in order to recoup that cost when you do have your digital product?
Jason: I think the wonderful thing about outsourcing, too, is that it has drastically changed in ten years, even five years. Upwork, Fiverr, all these different things. I know sometimes they get a bad rap, but a lot of times there are really talented people on there who can do quick work of things that would take you a lot longer.
Caroline: Yeah, because they’re experts. They just churn things out. Tip number 24, research first. So someone said, research first. Don’t create in a bubble or you may end up with something people don’t want or don’t understand that they need. This is just about choosing the right offer. And this is really tough, right? Because this is why there’s no one size fits all advice. Because some people, they might have a more compressed timeline where they need something to work. And in that case, I think being highly strategic and making sure that you have some type of product validation is key. But another person might go, I can’t force myself to make something just because it’s strategic. I need to enjoy it. Then maybe the advice there is to focus on something that really brings you joy. So this is about knowing yourself. But I definitely think that overall, a good, savvy piece of business advice is make sure that there’s a demand for your product.
Jason: And also just go where people’s attention is. So it’s like right now, if you were to create a course about using Flickr, no one uses that anymore. That app is completely dead. But it’s like Canva is extremely popular at the moment, so there’s a whole marketplace of people who use Canva. Use that momentum of that product. And in a couple of years, Canva probably won’t be that hot as it is right now. It’ll be something else, and you just have to be aware of those things. So that’s part of your research as well.
Caroline: We have two more. Oh, I misnamed or numbered them.
Jason: Oh, I see that. Well, we’re just going to have to throw in one.
Caroline: Okay. We’ll have to throw in one extra.
Jason: Which is an improv game, which I think will go well.
Caroline: Yeah. Tip number 25, assign and tackle steps based on your mood. So this is actually something that we went over in one of our coaching sessions called the Project Lab, about how to break big projects down into tinier tasks. But this advice is all about assigning a power mode to each of your tasks or an energy requirement or a mood requirement for each of your tasks, and then tackling tasks based on your mood. This doesn’t work for everyone, but if you’re someone who’s highly impacted by kind of your mood and your state of mind that you’re in, this could work for you. Or if you’re someone who deals with something like a chronic illness and your energy fluctuates quite a bit, I think this is also great because you can assign an energy requirement for each task, and then when you’re having a good energy day, you can tackle those high energy tasks. And when you’re having a low day where you’re like, all I can get done is just this one task. Go to the low energy tasks. Right? And so this person said, making a big list of tasks, prioritizing them by color of how easy or hard they will be, and then just choosing things to do rather than being super regimented with a schedule worked a lot better for me. So again, this goes back to maybe time blocking isn’t the thing for you, right? Like, you have to be flexible in your productivity approach because every person’s brain is different. Number 26. Tip number 26. Don’t be afraid to use templates. So this person said, Use templates. Use Creative Market. Don’t feel like you have to create everything from scratch. We still use this to this day. We add fun illustrations to things, and a lot of times I just evaluate, I could design all these things, and then I just go, is this worth my time?
Jason: $8 solves the problem.
Caroline: Or can I pay $8 to solve this problem? Exactly.
Jason: Yeah. Cool. Okay, I think we end with one improv tip from each of us, which means we’re going to give a bonus of 28, but one final tip from each person for the entire digital transition from clients.
Caroline: Okay, you go first.
Jason: Here’s my final tip.
Jason: We are selling our WAIM Unlimited program right now, and my selfish thing would be to say to buy our program. But I’m going to go the opposite direction here, because if you’ve listened this far, then I think you already know whether you’re going to buy WAIM Unlimited or not. And this like, it doesn’t matter. What I would say is you have probably already purchased something that is going to help you do this transition. I want you to really invest in going through that thing and following through on it all the way. So whatever the product, the template, the resource, the checklist, the coaching program, the accountability group, the mastermind, like any of those things, actually use it to its fullest for the next three to six months. Really commit to being a part of it to get the result that you were promised on this journey because you know you want to do it. That’s my final tip. What’s your bonus tip?
Caroline: My bonus tip?
Jason: You didn’t listen to a word that I said, did you?
Caroline: No, I was thinking about my bonus tip. It said, find a thing that you’ve already bought and go through it.
Jason: There you go. Okay, good enough.
Caroline: This is like when Jason always goes, I go, Were you listening? And he goes, yeah. And he just repeats back what I said, but I know for a fact he wasn’t listening. But he just happens to have the type of brain that can regurgitate.
Caroline: Does anyone else have a partner like that? So frustrating. I’m like, okay, but objectively, you weren’t listening.
Jason: All right, what’s your final tip?
Caroline: My final tip is to not only focus on the outcome that you want for yourself, which is likely more freedom, more flexibility that a digital product business can provide you, but to also take time regularly to think about the outcome that you’re getting for your digital product customers, and people are motivated by different things, but I think there’s a specific type of person who is motivated by helping other people, and the advice is often like, go back to your why. And so your why can often be connected to not just what you’re trying to get for your own life, but what you’re trying to get for your customers’ life. How are you trying to help them? This is something that helps me a lot whenever we work on WAIM is I just think of like I know that there are people who join our program in…
Jason: Virginia, Lou, Veronica.
Caroline: Lou, Veronica, to name just a few. But to be able to take someone who is stressed out and then they’re, like, fighting potentially with their partner because they’re stressed about money and they feel like a bad parent because they can’t… All these things that weigh on them. Thinking about how online business can create a life of them, where they are more at peace, where they are having more fun, where they have more flexibility, where they don’t have to work every day if they don’t want to, like those types of things, it can transform people’s lives. And I know that sounds so cheesy sometimes, but on the days where I really want to keep going or I want to get reinvested with our business, I connect faces to those people and it helps me keep going. So if you’ve been stalling on the digital product side of things, think about your offer, think about your product, think about what it’s going to help someone achieve and think about what that does for the world at large. And maybe that’s enough of a motivating factor to help work on it.
Jason: Cool. Those are your 27 plus one tips.
Caroline: I want to thank Petunia. I want to thank Lou.
Jason: Yeah, for sure. Definitely.
Caroline: I want to thank Tabitha.
Jason: I’m so excited for all the Petunias, Lous, and Veronicas who are listening to our podcast that have now heard their name way more times than they probably normally do. Yeah, that’s it for this episode. As we mentioned at the top of this, our Wandering Aimfully Unlimited unboring coaching program is currently open for enrollment until April 4. So if you want to check that out, wanderingaimfully.com/join. And there are links in the show notes if you can’t remember anything that we talked about in this and you just want to click those.
Caroline: Hope you enjoyed this episode. Love your faces. Thanks for listening.