How to Create Something from Nothing: The Secret to Building a Product from Scratch

Note: This is part of a 7-day challenge called “Please Don’t Starve” which is intended to help you create and sell your first product in a week. To learn more about the challenge, click here. Today is Day 4.

How do you create something from nothing? You don’t. You always start with something. Creation comes from chaos.

And so will your next book, course, or big project.

How to Create Something from Nothing: The Secret to Building a Product from Scratch

Listen to the audio version of this lesson here:

Recently, I was working with a new ghostwriting client on his book idea, and I asked him what he wanted to write about. He shared a bunch of ideas and stories, then said something that piqued my interest:

“And then there’s this idea that I don’t really think is that big of a deal, but every time I talk about it, people want to hear more.”

“That,” I said. “Tell me about that.”

For the next hour, I took notes while he dictated this idea to me. And now, we’re writing a book about it.

Shortly after that, he shared the idea at one of my Bestseller Bootcamps, and everyone in the room sat up in their chairs when he got to that part of the idea that he wasn’t sure was significant.

On and on this went for months. Now, he has a literary agent, a book proposal, and we’re talking to publishers about a book contract. All because he started with something people were interested in.

This is what I call resonance. You don’t find your voice as a writer by simply saying whatever you want. You don’t discover your style by just going on and on about the things that you are interested in. You always start with demand, and as an artist, this looks like listening to your audience.

You don’t find your voice as a writer by simply saying whatever you want.

Jeff Goins

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Starting with resonance

Resonance is the idea that when you create something—whether it’s a speech or book or a marketing campaign—certain messages tend to connect with people more than others.

In music, resonance means that some objects vibrate more intensely when they come into contact with certain frequencies. This is why we say things like, “that piece moved me to tears.” At a vibrational level, this is actually happening: the art is literally moving you, causing you (or the surrounding objects) to vibrate more intensely.

I know that sounds weird, but it’s science, so you’ll just have to trust me. 🙂

So how does this work for the projects we’re trying to create?

How do we make products that resonate with people?

Well, thus far in this experiment we have validated the product by getting feedback on the idea from friends and strangers and asked people to pay us money for it. Now, it’s time to build it.

Before we actually create something, we need to figure out how this is going to work. You don’t need anything fancy. Just a simple outline will do.

Creating a product outline

Here’s how it works.

1. Find 10 people who agree to be your beta users

Ideally, these are paying customers.

When people get something for free, they tend to either devalue it and disengage from the experience or just lie to you because they don’t want to hurt your feelings.

You need to try to get 10 people who will tell you the unbiased truth; if they’ve paid you money, you can trust they aren’t just blowing smoke or telling you what you want to hear.

Now that you’ve validated your product and gotten at least 10 paying customers to give you something to create it (again, this can be a coaching program, a very short book, a mini-course, etc.), you can build this thing to their specifications.

2. Ask these 10 people what they want from you

Questions should include things like:

  • How do you like to learn?
  • What format is best for you (audio, video, written, in-person, etc.)?
  • Do you prefer I send this to you via email?
  • Should we use an online membership portal like a website or Facebook group?
  • Do you want to be able to connect with other people going through this experience?
  • How much access do you want to the teacher or creator?

3. Ask what they want to learn

Write out a short outline based on their feedback.

Share your outline and ask them what’s missing or what you should change.

Make updates to your outline based on their feedback.

4. Start building the product

In the next lesson, we’ll show you:

  • How you can create a product online
  • Sell it before you’re done developing it
  • Form a plan for how you will finish it

You will need a Thinkific membership, which is the tool that I use to build digital products (this is a platform that allows you to sell eBooks, courses, membership programs, even your time as a coach), so don’t think it has to be some kind of fancy tech doodad for this to work.

Click here to get started with Thinkific (it’s free!)

Share your outline and progress in the Facebook group for this challenge.