When I first heard about Gumroad’s Small Product Lab challenge, I was intrigued and frankly, a whole lot intimidated. The concept is that, in 10 days, the participants would conceptualize, create, and launch a “small product.” I didn’t think I could come up with an idea in 10 days, much less an idea that was feasible, marketable, and that solved a problem that actually needed solving. I signed up anyway and the emails promptly got lost in the inbox shuffle.
Then, Gumroad ran the challenge a second time and a group of us decided to tackle this challenge head-on. Long story short? Last Thursday, I launched my first ever ebook: The Ultimate E-Course Toolkit!
The entire process was such a whirlwind; I’m still a bit shellshocked (and recovering from sleep deprivation) from it all. Nonetheless, I’m so glad I committed to doing it this time around and managed to create 26 pages of super sexy worksheets, planners, calendars, and resources that I can both sell and send to my e-course clients. YAS!. I learned so much from doing this, so after 10 days of craziness, here are my top 5 takeaways from the SPL challenge!
1. Plan, Plan, Plan
One of the best parts of the SPL challenge is that, even though it was a super tight timeframe, they plan out what you should be doing each of the 10 days. Plus, they have you create your own gameplan to carefully map out every aspect of what you’ll be creating, how you’ll be delivering it, and how you’ll promote it. When doing something like the SPL challenge, it helps so much to make a plan, and force yourself to stick to it!
2. Get + Stay Organized
I’m pretty bad at this, if I’m being completely honest; organization is definitely not my biggest strength. I found, though, that at least having some semblance of organization was crucial to succeeding here. For me, the best way to organize my ideas was a combination of trello and a master document where I put all of my links, research findings and other notes. I began the challenge with a super detailed outline and referred back to it every time I’d start veering off course.
3. KISS (Keep it Simple, Stupid)
You’d think this one would be a no-brainer, but at some point I found myself with 20+ pages in the Toolkit and wondering if I needed to add even more sections! 10 days seems like a good chunk of time but in reality, when combined with client work and, ya know, life things, 10 days is a crazy short timeframe to create and sell a product of that size. Keeping it simple and sticking to my original plan was the only way I was able to launch in 10 days, and even then it required an all-nighter to pull it off.
4. Embrace the Unfollowers
Despite the fact that my email announcing the toolkit was the first one I’d sent out in over a year and included an exclusive discount, I still got a few unfollowers. My initial reaction was to be bummed (ok, and a little indignant), but then I reminded myself that it was a good thing. Why would I want people on my email list who don’t care about what I have to say for the first time in so long? And if they’re not as excited as I am about this crazy entrepreneurship rollercoaster that we’re on, then why bother trying to appease them? My list might be a little smaller, but at least I know it’s full of people who are interested and invested in what’s going on.
5. Have a Support System
This was definitely what got me across the finish line with the SPL. I had a group for accountability and was in the SPL Facebook group as well, where we all shared our progress, worked through our (many) challenges, and helped promote each other. Having other people to bounce ideas off of and cheer me on was great, and it also inadvertently created a bit of a “peer pressure” effect for me – since I’d publicly committed to creating and launching the toolkit in 10 days, I had no choice but to follow through!
Oh, and a bonus #6? As always, done is better than perfect.