Four great reasons to create your own product – and how to get started
Love to earn a residual income? Discover four great reasons to create your own product, and how to come up with an idea and get started.
Have you ever had an idea for a product to sell? Perhaps it’s something you’ve never considered, particularly if you’re already offering services.
Selling a physical product can be a great option for lots of business owners and here are a few reasons to consider it.
In this article, Vicki Weinberg, a product creation and Amazon specialist shares read four reasons to create your own product, to help inspire you, and advice on how to get started. So you too can make money while you’re not actively working.
Four great reasons to create your own product
So why should you go to the effort of creating your own product? Here are four exciting reasons why.
1) You’re not trading time for money
There are only so many hours in the day and we have lots to fit in alongside our businesses – including home life, children, holidays and the unexpected events that crop up from time. All of these can impact the time we have available to work. One of the great things about selling products is that once your product is ready to sell, you can literally make sales while you sleep!
Diversifying what you offer can also help minimise risk. If for some reason you’re unable to work for a while, your products are still there, and people are still able to buy them – hopefully without too much input from you!
2) You can be as involved, or as hands off as you like
This leads nicely to the next benefit. Yes, you absolutely need to put time into creating and selling your product, but you should reach a point where you don’t have to be present (whether at your laptop, or in a physical place) to make money from selling your product every day.
You can automate and outsource most, or all, of the sales process (for example, working with someone who can receive and fulfil your orders) to reduce the amount you need to be involved even further.
3) It’s an opportunity to learn new skills
If you decide to launch and sell our own products, there are steps involved that you may not have experienced yet. You’ll learn about research, sourcing and negotiations. You’ll need to think about marketing, finances and customer experience. All of this is great for your personal and professional development.
Of course you’ll likely have some transferable skills too – and once you know how to create a profitable product you can confidently repeat the process time and time again.
4) You can add value to what you already offer
If you’re already busy running your business, the easiest way to start selling products is to think about what you could sell that would enhance the services you give to your customers already.
An example of this is if you’re a beauty therapist you might sell massage oils, or skincare products. If you run a coaching business perhaps you sell affirmation cards, a planner or stationery. The point here is that you know your customers and you can think about products that they need, they’d like to buy (ideally from you!) and would benefit them.
If your product appeals to your current clients, you’ll hopefully have an audience who are ready to buy from you right away.
Another benefit to this is that by selling products alongside your services, you might reach different people (who initially find you via your products) and acquire new customers that way.
How to come up with an original idea for a product
I think selling products is a great business model – whether as your sole business, as a side hustle, or alongside your current business.
If you’re now tempted to give creating your own product a try you might be wondering how to come up with a product idea that’s original and will sell.
We’ll talk about the latter shortly. First I want to share a few ways you can come up with product ideas of your own, that you’ll be excited about and eager to move forward with!
Is there a problem that you (or someone else) has that a product could solve?
If you frequently experience some kind of annoyance in your life, even if it’s just mildly irritating, it’s likely you’re not the only one!
If something comes to mind, firstly take a look and see if there’s a product that already exists that will solve the problem you’re having. If there is, and you’re able to, buy it, try it and see how you get on.
If it works for you, that’s great – problem solved! If not, can you come up with something else? Or can you think of how the product could be improved? My next suggestion goes into that in more detail.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, have a think about what the product might be, do, etc, as a starting point. It would also be useful to find out if other people have the same problem and their thoughts on how it could be solved. After all, if this is an issue that’s unique to you, it might be hard to sell to others!
Could you improve on something that already exists?
I’m sure you own, or have owned, at least one thing where you just knew it could be better. Perhaps you even knew how to improve it. Or maybe it’s not even better that you’re looking for – just different.
Even if you have a product you love, you might be able to think of ways you could change it, to make it better, or simply make it your own.
Take a look at what else is out there and see if you can identify gaps in the market, such as price, quality, or features and create a better version.
It might be the case that you don’t know how to improve something – but reading reviews of existing products can give you some ideas here. For example, if you’re looking to buy something and while reading product reviews the same comments come up time and time again, this might be an indication that the ideal product doesn’t exist (yet) and give you some ideas.
I’m not suggesting for a minute that you copy what someone else has done. I’m talking about using existing products as inspiration, or a starting point – with the aim of creating something new and original.
Is there something you need that isn’t available?
Do you ever think, “If I only had an XYZ?!” If you’re looking for something, and you can’t find it, why not create it?
Don’t feel like this needs to be a big, fancy, idea either. Maybe it’s an existing product in unusual colours, or a water bottle that fits in a certain bottle holder.
The point is, it just needs to be something that you can’t buy already. You could also check social media platforms for consumer conversations about products that they want to use or see in the market.
Use your own expertise
As mentioned earlier, if you have a business already it’s a good idea to have a product that compliments your existing products or services.
Talk to your customers and find out what they need. Ask questions about their pain points and problems they face on a day-to-day basis.
Consider your skills and knowledge. If you have particular skills or knowledge in specific areas, consider creating a product that capitalises on those strengths.
Hopefully this is enough to get you inspired. The key is to be creative and keep an open mind.
Will anyone buy it?
The final thing to cover is the importance of validating your product idea before spending any time or money developing it.
This means speaking to your ideal customers and getting their input, plus researching the market and seeing what other, similar, products are available.
It doesn’t matter how much it costs to create your product if you’ll never see a penny of it again. If you have no idea whether it’ll sell and be profitable, then it’s a huge gamble.
Researching your customers
The first thing I suggest doing is think about who your customer is. Once you’ve established that, the next step is to find them and ask some questions.
You can do this however you like – face-to-face, focus groups, via a questionnaire, or by asking questions online.
The important thing is that you ask relevant questions that will give you an insight into what potential customers are looking for (or would be looking for) if they were going to buy a product like yours.
This includes what they like and dislike about existing (similar) products, if any exist, what they’d expect to pay, and their wish-list for a new product.
You don’t necessarily need to incorporate every single thing, from every single person – but you do need to get a range of responses.
Researching the market
It would also be useful to know if there are any similar products available right now. If there are, you can do some online research (for example, on any retail website that has reviews – such as eBay or Amazon) to find out what similar products costs and what customers are saying in reviews.
This will tell you a lot about what customers like and dislike – and these are things you can incorporate into your own product design.
If you have a little budget for this you can buy products (you can always return them) and take a good look at them for yourself and perhaps even share with your potential customers to see what they think. (Again, no copying, this is for inspiration!)
The goal of the research is to create a unique product, that’s different to others on the marketplace (it’s important to be able to articulate how), that customers want.
Going through these validation steps might seem tedious, but they’ll really help to ensure your product has the best possible chance.
Vicki Weinberg is a product creation and Amazon specialist. She offers support and consultancy for anyone who wants to create their own products to sell. You can buy Vicki’s book, Bring Your Product Idea to Life here.