The Biggest Mistake in My Whole Online Career (And How You Can Avoid it)

My peers told me all along.

I wouldn’t listen. I would say “Yeah yeah, I know” but I didn’t listen.
I knew better. Or so I thought.

I deserve to be PUNCHED triple-hadoken-style for not doing what I should have done
a looooonog-ass while ago.

I wasted the better half of two years, blogging my face off.

Not getting the financial results I was aiming for.

Just because I didn’t do the most obvious thing that would elevate
my online biz to the next level :

Creating my FIRST paid product.

Before you stop reading and think “What a simplistic and stupid statement”, let me explain the psychology and incredible after-affects that come with it.

Now, why the hell is creating a first, flagship product soo important ?

Remember that branding, especially online, is ALL about perception. Unless you’re super-famous, people probably DON’T know your past, where (or if) you went to college, or what your track record looks like.

All they see is your website, and the products and services you offer. So if they only find your about/contact page and an archive, they think you’re just blogging for fun.

Irrrrks.

It looks amateurish. It will NOT result in making moolah. It’s just shitty, ma-an.

People online judge your PROfessioal factor by what you OFFER product-and service-wise.

That’s why you, yes YOU, the product-less-poor-person who wants to build
their own, INDEPENDENT, online biz, should think about your flagship product as soon as possible.

Right now, even while you’re reading this post, think about how and what kind of product you can ship. Don’t be sooo fucking stupid like me who shipped the first product almost two years (!) later after the start of this site. When you’re at least 6 months in building your site, you should have a basic plan of what you can sell first.

  • Maybe a kick-ass PDF eguide
  • Or an ecourse that you ship vial email
  • Or a (small) membership site

It doesn’t matter what you choose – as long as you make it HIGH quality – and turn it into
your flagship product for now. The thing should include the essence of what you teach, like an informative summary of your BEST content, packaged in an easy-and-fun-to-consumable way.

Because IF you have your online flagship product, people will assume the following:

  • you are an expert in the field you made your product about (that’s why the topic of your eproduct is IMPORTANT )
  • that you run a real online biz
  • you know enough about your market / topic which you can share in different mediums (speaking gigs, consulting, book writing etc.)

Honestly, the PURE financial gain doesn’t even have to come from selling the product itself – the expertise aura and opportunities you get from it can be much more valuable !

Extra bonus: Give it a cool, branded name. My guide’s called the Outstander, and people use it frequently and treat it almost like a personal belief instead of a generic name for some guide.

Since my site, posts and beliefs all revolve about standing out (online), going for “The Outstander” name was THE WAY to beautifully promote my brand in premium product style.

Takeaway

Don’t commit the horrendous stupid mistake that I fell for.
If you want to make moolah with your online presence, build and SHIP a
kick-ass major eproduct ASAP.

EVEN if that first product bombs like a Kamikaze bomber, you
you can now proudly call yourself a published “author” and are considered a biz person.
You will get talked about in your market, and if your product is any good, you’ll get
approached by people who want to work with you. It happened to me and catapulted my career.

Create your fucking flagship product NOWWWWW.

And share the shit out of this post if it brought you value.

  • http://twitter.com/brianball brian ball

    Thanks Mars! It’s funny how you can tell somebody this, drop the f-bomb and be totally serious about your message – and yet, there’s some primal fear that will keep people from believing it. What is that?

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Haha Brian,
      I have no clue. 
      For me – it was PURE procrastination. Waiting forever and forever still I got the perfect product (that’s just fear smacking your brain).

      I also believe that people forget the psychological power that comes with a product launch – especially if it’s successful and goood.

      I swear, everyone I meet now who’s even only VAGUELY interested in creating a product, I’m going to smack them (the inspirational way of course) and tell to JUST DO IT.

      If you’re in that position, don’t wait. Contact me under my about page if you have questions Brian, just want to warn people & help them out NOT to be as stupid like me :)

  • Jonathan

    I have to hand to you Mars, you cut through the crap and reveal the blistering truth that most of us are jerking off when we should be packaging our ideas into a branded product.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Jonathan, to be fair, I was jerking off myself for wayyy too long because I discovered that blistering truth, haha.

      One tends to look only on the financial product gain by itself instead of seeing the bigger picture.

  • http://www.espressoenglish.net/ Shayna

    I had a product for sale 1 month into blogging (which I’ve just taken off the market, since it wasn’t quite as good as I wanted it to be. Selling another product in its place). 

    However, it was important for that first product to be up there because wanted new visitors and subscribers to know FROM THE VERY BEGINNING of my site that yes, I’ll be posting lots of sweet free info, but yes, I will also be selling stuff.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Now that’s pretty good Shayna, and I’m even talking about this with my clients – just showing that YOU’RE IN THE FOR THE BIZ and not just free-for-all blogging fun. 
      And it’s also good that you took it off IF you don’t like the quality – it has to be high quality, especially based on your standards !!
      That’s why I call it Flagship product, it should be the BEST MIX of what you offer  in your field – that’s how you get that expert aura  !

  • http://tips.fitnessreloaded.com/ Maria

    Thanks Mars, I will keep your advice in mind. I am also in the process of creating my first product.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Maria, I hope there’s more PRO in process than it’s in PROcrastination, haha.
      I am always AFRAID to show how MUCH I wasted with procrastinating mine.

      IF you make a flagship product that shows your expertise in your field, it can (and will) take your brand to the next level.

  • http://www.ryanhanley.com/ Ryan Hanley

    Fuck Yeah is such an excellent way to express excitement… Oh and I agree with all the other stuff you said too!  

    Glad you’re in my RSS now dude… 

    Hanley

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Haha, this post is a bit different from what I do for Mark at blogbusiness.com

      This is my edgy-be-yourself-in-your-face value ground. Much more closer to Mars Dorian in real life.

  • http://twitter.com/allanngo Allan Ngo

    Hey Mars! Kiss-ass post my man! Just curious, what was your turning point that made you sit down and finally do it? 

    The Outstander is great! I keep referring to it back and forth and little by little clarifying my message. By the way, the calling card advice was pretty neat.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Heya Allan,

      I think that come from my friends both online and offline bashing my sorry ass. 
      Seriously, I was talking about a long long time about launching it, never doing it because it wasn’t PROFESSIONAL enough and then starting again.

      That’s why OUTSIDE pressure is a good way to go. Don’t wait just do.

      I hope you get lots of value out of it man – if you have any questions whatsoever, shoot me a mail or go to about about contact page. Happy to help ya out.

  • http://garaughty.com/ marti garaughty

    As Seth says, “Just ship something”! So simple but so true!

  • http://www.sparringmind.com Gregory Ciotti

    I’m by nature a lurker on most blogs, but here’s my obligatory comment to say that your site is the damn bees-knees sir Dorian. Keep up the great work.

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      thanx Gregory ! 
      Lots of changes going to happen here – I want to take the whole visual marketing thing to the NEXT level !And also thanx for that mentioning on Daily Blog Tips, I remember ;)

  • http://www.byjanet.net/purple Purple Panda

    yeah, i know, i know…. !!
    and it’s been a year for me without anything..
    but i’m still working on my freebie/email list.. that should come first right?? I have this KICK ASS working title for an ebook (freebie or..?). The Unauthoritative Guide to Making Freelance Your Bitch  :D SO me right?? It came to me this morning.. now i gotta get cracking. 

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      The list is important, but Janet, I’m smelling some procrastination in your comment ;)

      Seriously, already create a concept for it NOW and a launch month date.
      I can hold you accountable and KICK your ass on social media if you don’t follow through ;)

  • http://www.techpupil.com Jeevan Jacob John

    Hey Mars, 

    First time on your site – and I am already glad I decided to check out the link from FB :)

    I have been blogging for  3 years now (and I haven’t created a product – Like you said, it is a big mistake).

    For the first two years, I was waiting for building more traffic first before creating the product (I have had enough of that, this year, I am actually making a product – It is under work, A Kindle Book).

    I know I should have done that earlier, but hey I mainly blog for the satisfaction and the learning experience (but, business is indeed one among the goals).

    Thank you for the post, Mars!

    Jeevan Jacob John

    • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

      Hey Jeevan,

      nothing wrong with blogging for fun – this post was more geared towards people who actually want to build a blog related biz.

      Good choice going for the Kindle – I think that market is still HOT right now, unlike the more expensive PDF guide world.

  • tehlia lauerman

    Excellent. Just the kick in the head I needed. Was completely in the belief that I needed a following/readership before launching a product to purchase. The idea has curled up and died. Why would anyone listen to what I have to say if I didn’t have a product that I thought was better then Air to sell.

    Found your site after hearing your blogcastfm interview today, so glad I did. And was even more please to see that after only a month of being up I was on the right track with my imagery, mission and being a unified person on every page. Crossing fingers my about page doesn’t make you snore.

    Thanks again for delivering the truth loud and clear.

  • http://twitter.com/jamescgunter James Gunter

    Hell yeah. I completely agree.

    I worked for over a year as a freelance content creator and I didn’t get very far. So I finally gave up and went back to a corporate job. Then I started paying attention to all the blogs and websites of leaders in the branding/content strategy space and realized that all of them had SOMETHING to offer other than their services. Even if it was a free whitepaper download or a document template, or something paid like a book or comprehensive guide. They didn’t just say that they were great at branding or web design, they actually produced something that proved they knew what they were talking about.

    Like you, I think I came to that realization a bit late. But recently I just started a few projects that I hope will get me on the path back to my own company/business and away from the corporate world.

    Good to know I’m not alone. Thanks, man.