5 Mistakes To Avoid When Starting A Digital Product Business


Many people become solopreneurs by setting up a blog or website with the goal of eventually running their own successful digital product business. They want to sell digital products on their blog or website that either they created, or that were created by others and marketed via affiliate marketing. But you can’t just throw up a blog, sit back and think the orders will just start flooding in!

When first starting out, the road can be filled with dangerous curves. Around every corner a new challenge crops up that was unexpected yet must be dealt with. And because most solopreneurs, by very definition of the word, start out being one-person businesses, there isn’t anyone that can help you — you must go it alone.

Fortunately, many people before you have blazed the trail first, so through their knowledge, you can avoid making some of the same mistakes they made when they first started. Don’t worry though, there is still plenty of mistakes you can make on your own, but by avoiding these 5 mistakes below, you can make your road a little smoother!

1) Not Having a Plan

Many new to having their own digital business jump into it without having a plan. Maybe they are just going to do it part-time to earn some extra money, so they put little thought into what the what, why and how of their new venture. This is a mistake — a plan can help you see success a lot more quickly!

The plan does not need to be a full-blown 20-page business plan like the one needed when starting a brick and mortar business and applying for business loans. But it does need to lay out in detail, your goal for the business, what you are going to do and how you are going to do it. So many people treat their blog or website as a hobby and because of it, never fulfill their expectations. If you want it to be a business, you must run it as one. If you run it as a hobby, that is all it will ever be — a hobby. And while it will make some money, it won’t anywhere near approach its full potential.

By treating your new venture as a real business, you have a plan laid out with your goal and a roadmap of how you are going to get there. Then it is just a matter of building it out according to your plan. But without a plan, you are going to waste a lot of time hitting roadblocks, going back and taking a different route.

A Good Plan Starts with Your Niche

Part of building that plan is researching the potential topic or niche of your blog or website. Your business will not be as successful in a niche where the audience is more limited; it also might not be as profitable if you go into a niche that is too broad as the competition might be too great.

You are better off going with a medium density niche where there is more opportunity for success, but yet one that is not so large that you will have trouble competing. Remember that small fish in a big sea theory. While the potential may be there, it is harder to get found.

One piece of advice given to those thinking about starting a blog or website is to go with what you know. And that is true for a couple of reasons. One, you will have more of an interest in the niche; it might even be a passion of yours. If so, your enthusiasm will reflect in your blog posts and products that you create.

Two, it will be easier to write based off your experience and knowledge of the subject. It is easier and will make your blog much more successful as you can interject personal stories and experiences into your writing. And you will not have to spend as much time researching the topic. The bottom line is it will show in your writing if you are winging it or know your subject matter.

The niche is the foundation of your plan — put a lot of thought into what you’re going to blog about and the plan for content and products will follow.

2) Not Knowing Your Audience

An understanding of your audience is another key aspect of any business plan, but many new to the business overlook it. They are going under the old philosophy of “Build it and they will come.” While that strategy did work a few years ago when blogging and online businesses were just starting to take off, the field is too saturated to use it today. It is just too hard to get “found” if you don’t have a strategy.

Part of that strategy is knowing the profile of your audience called an avatar. You must know certain things about them, like:

• What is their age range?

• What is their income range?

• Are they primarily male or female or about equally split?

• What are their hobbies or interests?

• What problems do they have that you can solve?

Knowing this information, you can target the products and services to your audience. For example, it would not make sense to offer an eBook on women’s health over 40 on your blog or website if your audience is either primarily male or in women in their 20s and 30s. However, it could be a good seller to an audience primarily comprised of baby-boomer women if it was marketed correctly.

So how do you find out this information? There are several ways, but what most do is either to ask them or hang out where their potential customers hang out.

Ask Them

One of the best ways to get precise information on your audience is to post surveys and polls on your blog or website. The answers you get back are valuable information about your audience specifically. And in most cases, it doesn’t cost anything. You can create poll questions in a post. Or create a survey using Survey Monkey or another survey service.

Go Where Your Audience Goes

Hang out on the forums and groups in your niche. Read their audience comments and interactions. See if you can pick out an area where there are a lot of questions or if you can see a need that isn’t being filled right now. Develop a product or service that fills that need and get it out there on social media sites with a link back to your blog or website. Keep it simple by using the one problem — one solution theory.

3) Not Building a List Right Away

If you have been online for any length of time at all, and have snooped around in internet marketing forums and groups, you have no doubt heard the phrase “The money is in the list.” The reality is that it completely true. Having a list of customers that like your offerings and routinely buy from you is the lifeblood of an online business. Without customers, who are going to buy your products or services? You may get some one-time buyers, but nothing on a routine basis.

But so many new online entrepreneurs fail to take the time to start their list right away. And it is understandable — you are a one-person show and have many things that must be done when starting a new online business. However, with that said, taking the time to start a list has to be towards the top of your things-to-do list.

Starting Your List

You know you need a list, but how do you start one? Most people start by offering a free gift to their readers in return for their name and email address. This exchange of information — their contact information in return for your free gift to them — puts them on your autoresponder list. When you have another offering, you have a list started of people who have shown an interest in your products (or at least your free gift). This blueprint will show you how to get traffic and leads from your email list.

Note: Some people will never progress from getting your free gift to actually buying something. After a period of time with them not buying anything, you may want to delete them from your list.

A common tactic used today is to make a new offering to your list first at a reduced price for a time period of a few hours to a week before opening it up to everyone via a blog or social media post. This gives your list the chance to get your offering first and at a lower price than the general public will buy it for later.

4) Not Addressing Your Customers’ Questions and Comments

This mistake ties in with the one just finished. You are starting to build your list of customers. Some of them are going to contact you either through email or your web contact form on your blog or website. If you do not address their questions, comments or concerns in a timely manner, they will go away; they will unsubscribe from your list and never buy anything from you again.

Being an online entrepreneur is very much a social skills-based business. And the good news is that, when your business is small and still growing, you have the time to get really personal with everyone who leaves you a comment or sends you an email. This is not only rewarding for you as a business owner (and them as a customer!) but it can also lead to great relationships and loyal customers down the line.

And don’t forget that you can also use customer emails and questions as ideas for blog posts or products to create in future!

5) Trying to Grow Too Fast

Another aspect of your business plan should be how you want to grow or scale-up your business. The mistake many make is trying to build up too fast thinking that quantity is key. In other words, rushing to offer a lot of digital products thinking there is numbers in volume.

While that may work in certain niches, it is usually much better to put up a few quality products that address the needs of your audience, instead of taking the “shotgun” approach and put up a bunch of inferior ones that really don’t solve anything for them. To know the difference is again a knowing your audience thing.

Starting out, you are a one-person show having to do everything yourself, so you are going to have limited time to produce content with all the other things going on. Don’t burn yourself from the very beginning! Start with one good product and add more, or improve the existing products, when you have the time, energy and knowledge about your audience.

By avoiding making these 5 mistakes, you will be far in front of the rest of the pack just starting out. This can give you an advantage and a kickstart to your business. To your success!