The Mini-Guide for Writing a Super Complete Post in 20 Minutes by Katherine Montero
Thank you so much, Gumroad and Small Product Lab! ❤
The Mini-Guide for Writing a Super Complete Post in 20 Minutes by Katherine Montero
Thank you so much, Gumroad and Small Product Lab! ❤
On July I took the wildest ride I have ever take: Small Product Lab. And it wasn’t just the wildest ride but it was also the most rewarding one.
Small Product Lab did some things with me. It changed my profession from blogger to author. It helped me to change my feelings towards my creations in less than 10 days. It showed me the exact steps to stop being a terrified writer and become a succesful winner.
Sometimes we like to sabotage ourselves with fear but Small Product Lab gives you all the tools you need to change that fear into creativity. Not the creative type, the creator type (if there is such difference).
This amazing journey took 10 days of my life but I’m still enjoying it, and guess what? I don’t think I’ll stop talking about it any soon (my dear still-non-existent children and grandchildren, this will be your bedtime story). I took this ride on July 2015 and just when I thought I came back home to reality, I realize it was really just the beginning!
Want to travel with me? Want to start loving your creations instead of fearing them? Want to stop being that terrified creator who doesn’t know what will happen but still has too much to share to the world?
Grab your sit, cause I’m gonna tell you all about it!
I can’t start talking about Small Product Lab without telling you all about Gumroad. Gumroad is the best platform for creators so they can share their work and let their audience get it! Gumroad is powerful yet simple and easy to use. Also is the most convenient platform, you’ll see why in a couple of paragraphs!
Gumroad was created with one goal in mind: sell your work directly to your audience. ❤ And it accomplishes it very well!
I found out about Gumroad about 2 years ago. It was the time when I thought that the only way of make a living online was writing posts in thematic blogs for money, putting a lot of ads in your personal blog and working in an agency full time.
But the last few years have been full of knowledge. I started reading Yael Farache in 2012, saw how she presale her book, La Vida Simple (The Simple Life), all 2012 and delivered it on 2013. I saw how she created something and presold it. I also bought it.
Later 2013, I found Frank Scipion. Another creator who was making a living of what he likes the most. He helps people with his products and makes a living online to have a simple life with his family. I subscribed to his newsletter and one day he wrote about Gumroad.
He wrote Gumroad was the friendliest platform for people who wanted to sell their creations and he wasn’t wrong. I created my Gumroad account on April of 2014. I tested it and sent me a few emails from Gumroad and uploaded some products and bought them to myself to see how Gumroad worked, and it was SO easy I had to start doing something to put it there immediatly!
It doesn’t matter where you are living, Gumroad can help you reach your audience wherever they are. It’s an online platform and you get your own link to have your own store, the connection Gumroad developes between creators and audience is so unique and intimate, you’re gonna love to have your books, films, designs or music in there.
To start using Gumroad, you just have to create your account, customize it and upload your product. To get a payment you just have to make at least $10USD every two weeks and that’s it. You get paid via bank account if you live in the United States of America or via Paypal if you live anywhere else.
I had the guts to create my Gumroad account because I noticed it was specially for three types of people: filmmakers, musicians and writers. I was a writer and I could sell books if I ever wrote one. But, to be honest, Gumroad is meant to anyone who creates something valuable for her or his audience. Now, there are filmmakers, musicians, writers, artists, designers, speakers and a lot of enthusiasts trying to live a happy life creating their things! ❤
Now, let’s get serious, how much does Gumroad cost? I mean, not all these solutions are for free, right? Yeah, you’re right, Gumroad is not free but it’s not expensive. I like to say that Gumroad is convenient. You only get charged when you make a sale.
Oh, and also, the fee is not high at all. Gumroad only charges you 5% per sale + $0.25USD. AND THAT’S IT FOR HAVING A DIRECT CHANNEL WITH YOUR AUDIENCE AND LAUNCHING YOUR PRODUCTS AND CREATING A LIVING WITH YOUR PRODUCTS!
I was thrilled, I really had to try it!
I created a 10 page guide to attend a tech event for half the cost (because I had a code but wanted only my readers to have it, so I put it on Gumroad at $0USD, of course). Then, I uploaded a few presentations and small ebooks, all in spanish… but not a big project.
Last year, I was invited to talk about blogging on the Day of the Internet. I talked about when blogging what works is to do everything backwards. Then I thought it would be a great idea to share that material online, I translated it and uploaded it to Gumroad.
I had the passion, I had the proof that making a living online worked, I had the best platform I could have, what could go wrong? Well, everything.
I only made one sale for $3USD.
Since that day, I kept the intention to create something for myself. I was terrified of launching anything ever again because I though maybe I needed a wider audience, maybe I needed a better product, maybe I needed more time to create or maybe I needed a bigger product, maybe I’ll just do it later, maybe I should just go and accept a job on an agency to make a living, again.
But Small Product Lab happen.
When I got the Small Product Lab email from Gumroad, I knew I had to subscribe immediatly. The Small Product Lab is a course / community / contest / laboratory / plan to create and launch a product in 10 days hosted and created by Gumroad.
I really don’t know why but I can imagine Gumroad, maybe, saw a lot of other creators like me, fullfilled with passion and trying so hard to create a little something for the world and saw how all of us were direct to hit our walls, maybe they saw our mistakes and thought: we should create a 10 day course to help these creators and tell them: you’re not alone, we know it’s hard to create something and launch it, but we’re gonna teach you how to do it right, small, quick and fun, we’re your platform, we got your back!
Also they can see a lot of success stories and spot immediatly what really helps a creator to launch. Then they sent that email and I subscribed to the SPL because I wanted to launch something someday even though I was scared of doing it, again.
The first Small Product Lab ever was on June (a pretty difficult month for me because I was ending my University cycle) but I subscribed anyway.
If you had to describe me with a Pokemon it definitely would be Slowpoke. I take so long noticing what is going on in the world for a reason: I really love to read all my email. ❤ Like, one by one. I like to think it’s a gift and a curse. I read one by one so I can read all my email and never miss a thing, that’s a gift. But also a curse because I take too long to catch up and people think I forgot to answer, most likely I’m answering emails I got 5 days ago.
And that’s exactly what happened with the Small Product Lab emails. I read them all like 5 days later and when I read you had to share a lot on public I was more than terrified. I though that maybe I just could follow the plan on my own rythm, later.
Somehow, I lost like 3 emails of the series and thought that maybe it just wasn’t for me this creation thing. I focused on getting my papers to the new University cycle and on my trainings because my country is hosting next year’s Central American meeting and I want to represent my country with my best performance.
Anyway, I felt like if I lost those 3 emails, I didn’t have a plan to follow and everything could go wrong, again. So I didn’t do anything. But, on July, Gumroad emailed again, with the SPL Lesson Booklet and the invitation to join the next Small Product Lab.
I joined. I had no excuses. I was on summer break, had plenty of time, I had the lessons on a pdf and I had a new opportunity to live a Small Product Lab.
I added an alarm on my Google Calendar to start the Small Product Lab and then, bam!, it was already day 0 and we had some homework to do.
I want to share this with you because I think this was the only way I could go through my fear to actually launch something. I made myself a promise of doing EVERY SINGLE LITTLE THING on the Small Product Lab, I would do all the homework and do all the assignments and launch no matter what.
Remember, I had the passion and the proof and the platform, but something was missing and I didn’t know what it was. But Small Product Lab created this plan and suddenly 70 people launched in the first edition and they were all so happy with their results, maybe that 10 day course is what I was missing, a plan with steps and assignments, someone to tell me what to do, exactly. So, I pushed myself to promise me we would do everything, step by step.
The days that were the more difficult to me were the 0 (you have to introduce yourself), the 1st (you have to share your deepest fear) and the 2nd (you have to choose your product after a very exhaustive analysis).
I remember introducing myself like “ok, it’s about time“. I was really nervous.
I remember sharing my deepest fear in one real general sentence so my SPL-friends didn’t feel I was terrified. Just like 30 seconds later, Christopher Hawkins asked me to detailed my fear. I remember holding my face with my two hands for like 10 minutes while I was sweating. I did share what was happening, at the end, and he wrote to me, to us, to the group, the best answer he could give me, the best words someone like me could read in that exact time.
When he wrote me back and I read every link he gave me, I repeated a sentence he wrote “I’m building an asset, I’m building an asset, I’m building an asset“.
I remember I was sitting in my living room for like 3 hours trying to figure out what I was gonna create by following all the steps Small Product Lab gave us for day 2. It was so funny because I really wanted to do something and that something had the perfect score when trying to pick the one thing you were gonna create but, at the end, you have to match your products with your goals and then, I realized that something I wanted didn’t have to do anything with my goals, so I picked The Mini-Guide for Writing a Super Complete Post in 20 Minutes.
I confess the first three days were the most difficult because breaking a mental barrier is harder than putting myself to work on something. I like to work, I like to write and I like to learn. But if a mental barrier is keeping me away for actually doing some work, writing or learning, is most likely I won’t do it.
But thank God that first day I got a reply from Christopher Hawkins! 🙂
Last but not least, Small Product Lab is a contest, too. At the end, they chose an overall winner, several winners, honorable mentions and people’s choice award. All of the winners are included in a beautiful colletion where our beautiful products are hanging in there. It’s like the official prom picture. ❤
But also, the overall winner gets an incredible package to take his or her creative business to the next level. Here’s the prize package for the July 2015 edition, the one I joined:
So, how much do you think this 10 day course actually costs? A LOT, right? Well, not exactly. You can join right now and wait for the next edition. The only payment Small Product Lab wants from you is your time to create in 10 days and your work for launching your product!
I would love to share everything I did on the Small Product Lab BUT I think this is just what you need to know: if you have fear of creating, if you’re a terrified writer or designer or coder or speaker or artist or musician or filmmaker or any profession you practice, deal with that fear as soon as you can, follow a plan, create a small product and launch it (if you wanna do it with Gumroad and Small Product Lab, they’re gonna host the 3rd edition of the SPL on September, join now!).
If one thing I can assure you, you will challenge yourself in 10 days, you will be a part of a great community in those 10 days and you will have the mentoring of great people like Barret Brooks, Nathan Barry, Jeff Goins and Christopher Hawkins in those 10 days!
I decided I was gonna create The Mini-Guide. I even published a post about it telling you I was creating The Mini-Guide for Writing a Super Complete Post in 20 Minutes.
Long story short: when I was abroad, I got a job as a blogger and got a payment per post, so I had to publish as fast as I could to secure my food and shelter at the end of the month. To do so, I created a system to publish quickly and save a lot of time to study, be with my family or hang out with my friends.
I wanted to share this system I created for myself with you so you can publish your ideas or your work and save time to spend it on the things you really want!
I shared my thoughts with my SPL friends and suddenly a few of them were interested. I felt joy in my heart. I was about to write something interesting! And suddenly one of my SPL friends directly told me: add me to your list, this is my email!
I was thrilled!
The only thing I was hoping for was to create something you found as useful as it has been useful for me all these years!
But hoping doesn’t get you anywhere, so I started working to actually create it following the Small Product Lab.
One of the assignments was choosing your first audience. As I was building something to save time, I quickly though my first audience was busy people. Which, indeed, they’re busy but Nathan Barry told me to narrow down my audience and be really specific about it.
It took me 12+ tweets and 30+ minutes to actually do it (you can see the tweets where he kindly tells me how to do it right here). At the end, I even got a happy face.
I did it, that was for sure, but I didn’t actually understand why I did it until a few days later. See, when you narrow down an audience that much, it’s easy to think you will loose market, sales, people, audience. But here are the things we don’t get about choosing an audience:
Here’s how I post most of my articles: I take pictures, upload them and write. But I couldn’t just do that with my landing page. I remember publishing my landing page with a blank background and getting a few people interested in The Mini-Guide even then.
But I promised myself to do every assignment and one was choosing a background. I didn’t know what to choose. I never choose. I just take photos, upload them and write about them, most of the time. And I’m no designer either (or at least that’s what I thought but I created some pretty banners for The Mini-Guide ❤ ) so at first, I didn’t know what to choose.
So, I thought in my first audience. What do they like? What do they want? How I can help them? Since I was helping them to save time writing to spend on the things they really want, I chose a really beautiful background with a cup of tea and a notebook for writing without pressure! You can still watch that background in http://kath.pw 🙂
I shared my landing page with my SPL friends and 11 subscribed that day. 11! When I saw that happening, I only could think of how I can make this product more presentable, they deserved more than a good background.
Then, I thought it was important to choose colors for The Mini-Guide and for the button on the landing page and for the banners I created and for the product image! But, again, I thought in my first audience and I could save a lot of time picking colors and designing banners because I was thinking in them.
I had another assignment where I had to share something about the creating process. I wrote about how I had The Mini-Guide 70% completed and that kind of stuff. But then it hit me. Your first audience MIGHT care that you almost finish The Mini-Guide but they would definitely care if you help them to save time. As that was my goal, to help them save time writing to spend it on the things they really want, then they would be so much more interested in WHY choosing a first audience helps you to save time while creating. I called that post the importance of choosing your first audience.
The more specific my audience was, the more I could write The Mini-Guide for them. I started writing it and when I ended writing the first draft, I felt I had my asset ready. I started to ask for preorders until I had that first draft in my hands. It was a guarantee for me that I had a product and that my first audience would actually get something on launch day.
First, I told my email list. And guess what? The first three preorders were from people that fit in perfectly in the description of my first audience (so, yeah, it’s important to choose your first audience!), that meant narrowing down your first audience actually works and helps you save a lot of time, it also meant that everytime I made a choice thinking about them, they felt I was talking exactly to them and that is why they preordered! And also meant that I was helping three people and that The Mini-Guide I was working on was the ultimate success! I had 3 preorders before launch day, I was kicking my last launch’s ass!
After jumping all over my house because of the 3 preorder notifications, I was more excited than ever to make my product prettier. 3 people were gonna read The Mini-Guide so it had to be well dressed. I told my SPL friends about the availability of the preorders and more preorders started to rain in my inbox!
They felt The Mini-Guide was the product they needed to save time writing, they wanted to be the first to read The Mini-Guide, they thought The Mini-Guide was enough to give me their money. But I was so grateful I started working in a lot of extra gifts for early buyers. I finally posted the entire list of gifts for early buyers on the post: The Mini-Guide for Writing a Super Complete Post in 20 Minutes is available for preorders!
I really though I was showing my gratitude to the first preorders, but when I posted the list of extra gifts for early buyers, more people wanted to preorder The Mini-Guide! They were being so generous towards The Mini-Guide it only encouraged me to work even harder!
Instead of publishing The Mini-Guide for Writing a Super Complete Post in 20 Minutes, I ended up launching The Incredible Package for Publishing a Super Complete Post and Attract More Visitors The Friendly Way! You can read the launch day post if you want to, I called it: Read The Mini-Guide for Writing a Super Complete Post in 20 Minutes, today!
Finally, it was launch time!
I sent an email an hour after the launch and stayed near my computer for the next three hours just in case anyone of my first 19 people wrote me back.
After that 3 hours I had just 2 things in mind: keep the extra gifts for early buyers until August 31st and sleep without setting an alarm.
Officially, my 10 day journey from terrified writer to published author ends here!
But life had a different plan.
Small Product Lab announced the winners and The Mini-Guide for Writing a Super Complete Post in 20 Minutes and me won the July 2015 edition! ( http://blog.gumroad.com/post/126554894283/small-product-lab-july-2015 ). ❤
And thanks, of course, to my first 19 people who trusted in me and The Mini-Guide enough to make a pre-order! I worked even harder for you and because of you!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!
Here are some links I want to share so we can celebrate together:
Now, I can only think of 3 things:
I still can’t believe I was a nominee for La Prensa Grafica Tweet Awards! ❤
Specially in the Geek category, that was kind of a big deal, to be honest!
La Prensa Grafica is one of the most important newspapers in my country and they had their 100th Anniversary this year. They wanted to celebrate it in a million ways, one way was a party for the Twitter Community and they created the Twitter Party and the Twitter Awards.
This happened back in April, the last day of April, my birth month. I was ecstatic to end my birth month with this kind of gift! ❤
La Prensa Grafica and sponsors transformed Las Terrazas, Multiplaza in a big blue party room with a blue carpet and everything!
To be honest, even though I was thrilled to be a nominee, I was gonna go with a simple blue dress (the one I used at the New Year’s dinner with my family). I mean, I know it was a party and I know I was a nominee, but at the end of the day it was a Twitter Party where me and my friends have fun and tweet all night long, right?
The day before the event I found out about the blue carpet! And also the event was to benefit Asociacion Paraiso Down. So, it wasn’t just an event with a blue carpet, it was a charity event with a blue carpet.
I quickly changed my mind and decided to wear a red dress I wanted for so long! ❤ See, this was a perfect event to wear it and who knows? I might not be able to wear it anywhere else EVER!
I went to Multiplaza, the mall hosting the event, real early to get my hair and make up done! Again, if I’m using that red dress I wanted for so long, I’m not gonna use it with a hair bun.
And so I went to Sears to get my hair done (they had a inner beauty salon for customers with the Sears Card) and then I went to the Dior aisle to get my make up done! ❤
I was feeling like a princess in the entire process. Even though it was hard to get that make up done because I was crying everytime she tried to put the eyeliner. Or the mascara. I’m not used to wear make up (and that’s why I feel weird or look funny when I try to, haha).
But at the end, we were talking about the fragrance. 🙂 She asked me what fragrance I would like to wear that day and I told her like “I thought this was just the make up, so I put perfume home“. She smelled it and told me “no, no, I’ll clean that up and you’re wearing full Dior tonight!“. Even she wanted me to feel amazing that night!
And I chose Miss Dior.
At the end, I just needed to change my dress and put on my heels to walk through that blue carpet, which, by the way, was hard to walk through. Since I was a nominee, I had to had an interview in the blue carpet with a lot of cameras in front of me and without messing it up by answering non-sense.
I remember they asked me if I have found love on Twitter and kindly answer: Yes! The love of all my friends! ❤ And then, they asked me about the phone I use everyday, because I was a nominee in the Geek category and I showed my Nokia Lumia 820 that was inside my gold wallet I got for Christmas 2014! ❤
Hahaha, it was a great night, I think. I was feeling amazing and I was able to show a pretty me that my Twitter friends can’t see that often (I remember the look on their faces when they recognized me and then the hugs they gave me to show their joy to see me that happy that night!) and I was able to wear a dress that I don’t know if I’ll have the opportunity to wear, again! 🙂
I can’t thank enough to Sears El Salvador and Dior for making me feel that pretty that night! Seriously, thank you so much! ❤
I made a terrible mistake last night. I did the assignment for Day 4, I published my progress and delete everything an hour later.
I might be exaggerating with my reaction but I realized the image I uploaded to illustrate my progress was not meaningful for my first audience.
And if it wasn’t meaningful for them, I wasn’t talking to them at all.
I had a hard time trying to choose my first audience. I didn’t know how to do it. I asked Nathan for help and did it because I’m trying to follow everything on the SPL.
But when I did, I thought that I was closing the doors for myself by only choose one little audience.
Kept working, anyways, because I remember him tweeting “expand later”. So, I think the mini-guide really could help a lot of struggling bloggers or busy writers out there. And I’m going after all of you! But later.
The thing is choosing a little audience is not closing the doors of your product. It’s making things easier.
I had a blank background when I launched my landing page but the assignment was to find an image. There’s a lot of images! Choosing just one was freakin me out!
But I thought in my first audience and then it was easy to choose!
I was dealing with colors but I thought in my first audience and it was easy to pick!
Yesterday I published my progress with a not meaningful image for my first audience but today I’m sharing the importance of the first audience for picking stuff that you could struggle with.
And I bet that this one tip on how to save time creating your product by choosing your first audience and stick to your election (at least for the first edition of your product) is more meaningful for my first audience than a random image not meant for them.
There are a couple of friends who are starting the SPL challenge right now. There are a couple of friends who are a few days behind.
My advice is to not rush the first three days. Do not avoid doing the assignments just to catch up. Think about those carefully because it will make things easier for you on the next days.
I think the ten things that made me happy this week post it’s a terrific idea. So, I wanted to give it a try and this might be the forever Sunday post! ❤
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