80/20 Drummer Launched, First Sales

Whew it’s been a whirlwind.

I crossed a milestone last night though. 80/20 Drummer went live, and woke up to discover $40 and change in my account, mostly from buyers who redeemed pre-order codes. I’m fighting anxiety that no more sales will come, that these were a fluke, etc. I’m tweaking pages like crazy for conversion. Hey – this blog is supposed to let you guys into my world. I’m the guinea pig.

In early November I decided metrics for the site were good enough to justify launch. I had a great deal of fun shooting and editing the first two chapters, and am lucky I gave myself an early deadline, because Final Cut Pro crashed my computer repeatedly, and I had to learn on-the-fly how to free up space on my ancient Mac.

Yes, next year I’ll get a new computer. But part of the fun of this blog is trying to create duplicatable success. And it’s not much fun if I’m like, “yea so you can get a video up on the web for minimal investment. Just $3000 for a new Power Mac and Final Cut.” Nope, so I did it bootstrap.

Got a timely leg-up from a hero, Noah Kagan, who turned me onto gumroad.com for file hosting just when I needed it. Anyway, delays aside, the videos are up now.

And I can finally invite Breaking Ferriss readers to my landing page – http:// … wait – I better give myself some anchor text, for my first link. Learn Drums Online. There. I’ll ask just one thing – please don’t click any of the “buy” buttons. I’m still watching analytics on the Gum Road side to see the disparity between the numbers of people who click “buy” and those that actually do.

So I have two chapters up, and I’m experimenting with pricing for conversion. I’m thinking eventually I may give Chapter One away for free, or sell it very cheaply, to build some rapport and trust with viewers, and to entice them to purchase further chapters.

Wait – you need context.

80/20 Drummer is my first “muse”, a passive income business market-tested for as little money as possible before investing (in my case mostly time) in product development. It’s – well I guess you’ll see what it is when if you check out the site, but suffice-it-to-say I researched the competition very carefully and tried to position it in a space nobody else was really covering. Noah Kagan (of Appsumo, a startup ninja), Dan Maxwell (another “entrepreneur whsiperer”), and of course the titular Mr. Ferriss, all preach the gospel of bootstrapping, and when it comes to product development that means releasing the bare minimum to start earning, as quickly as possible.

IN my case that meant chapters 1 & 2 of an eventual five – offering them both as individual downloads or, for a savings, as a package.

Quickly, here’s what I’ve done so far to help conversion – “conversion” just means the rate of visitors to your site who actually buy.

Redid the design of the page to draw the eye to key components, including using buttons instead of simple links. (Kind of alchemical – we’ll see how well it works.)

Introduced a tiered pricing system, whereby the first chapter is cheaper than following chapters, for good reason. Chapter one is mostly expository, and I want to lower the barrier to entry.

Offered a 3 month money-back guarantee, linking to a description whose analytics I can check to see how important it is to potential buyers.

So What’s Next

Now that the product is launched, I’ll check sales every day for the first week-or-so to see if any additional tweaks in pricing or webpage design (for instance moving the price page to the “third layer” page) will affect conversion.

I’m leaving for Asia next week to realize another lifestyle dream – seeing Hong Kong and revisiting Taiwan. (And in the process doing a scouting/buying trip for Shoe Gogo, Chih-Yu’s fledgling shoe importation vehicle.) Before I take two weeks off playing the drums, I want to at least shoot all the footage I’ll need for Chapter Three. If I weren’t leaving, I would spend the next month flooding Youtube with free drum videos redirecting to my site, since I believe that’s the best single source of traffic. (Music colleagues who asked me for advice on SEO, that’s a big piece of my advice…)

I will do that when I get back. But it’s good that I’m going. It’s pretty optimal the way this fall worked out. My life is starting to resemble a college student’s again. Start a product development experiment at the beginning of the semester, big push before launch, then (hopefully) well-deserved couple of weeks off. Foreign travel is great, too, because there’s nothing quite as immersive. No email on the phone. No daily routine. Little English. Can’t wait.

Anyway, the hour grows late. Would I recommend anyone follow in my footsteps at this point? Not yet. But I feel good with where I am at the close of the year. Much healthier relationship with my day job. Much healthier relationship with music. Much healthier relationship with my family and friends. And having crossed my first product-development finish-line. IN the end, I know 80/20 Drummer won’t make me rich. But the money in my account underscores that entrepreneurship is real – that it’s possible, even for an average joe like me.

Anyway, look forward to writing in the new year. I’ll post a link to my Asia articles when they’re up.

Pax

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