Good enough for prime time: How to clear the last hurdle to releasing your info product

by | May 31, 2010


“I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument, while the song I came to sing remains unsung.” Rabindranath Tagore, poet

The last hurdle to creating your info product is finishing it. Declaring it complete. Done. Ready for prime time.

Yikes! Releasing your creation into the world can be scary. What will people think? Is it good enough? Who are you to claim expertise or insight?

This article looks at this last hurdle and shows you how to clear it gracefully.

The problem of originality

One of the blocks to completing a product is worrying that it is not original enough. Now that you have written and/or recorded your product, it suddenly seems hackneyed. No different than scores of other products on the market.

But it is different. It’s as original as your fingerprints.

What makes your info product original

There are four things that make your info product original, unique in all the world:

  • Your tribe
  • Your point of view
  • Your way of communicating
  • Your personality

Your tribe is the people who resonate with you and your message. It doesn’t matter how many other similar messages are out in the world because yours speaks to their needs at this moment. Your product only needs to be relevant to this tribe to be ready for prime time.

Your point of view on a topic determines what elements you emphasize and why. Your way of thinking not only about the nuts and bolts but also about how they relate to each other and to the needs of your tribe is distinct from anyone else’s. That adds up to originality.

The way you communicate comprises your choice of words, the way you organize your thoughts, and your choice of media. Even when what you say is the same as what someone else says, the way you say it makes it unique.

Finally, your personality is what brings your product to life. It’s the animating spirit or voice that lets people know you are a human being. It’s the key to making a strong connection with your tribe. Like your signature, it distinguishes your work from everyone else’s.

The important thing to remember is that you already have all four of these things to make your info product original. While you can make choices to polish each of them, you already have a tribe, a point of view, a way of communicating, and (doncha know?) a personality.

In other words, you don’t have to force originality. You’ve got it.

What makes your product good enough?

No matter how hard you have worked on your product, it is natural at the end of the process to worry about whether it is good enough to release. Will the quality of your work stand up in the marketplace?

The thing to understand here is that “good enough” is always a moving target. The more you work on something, the more you see that you could improve. At some point you need to declare enough or you’ll never stop.

So what constitute’s good enough? I like the 70% rule. Release your product when it’s 70% perfect and fix the next 20% in a future revision. The logic behind this is that you’ll be better able to address the 20% after the product has been out for a while, and you’ve gotten feedback. The remaining 10% represents that part of perfection that is always changing. You’ll never get there no matter how hard you work, so let go.

You’re at the finish line

Closely related to knowing your product is good enough is knowing when to declare it finished. Where good enough has to do with the quality of the product contents, finishing has to do with the quality of the packaging.

Who wouldn’t want to release a product that is as beautiful as it is useful? Especially if you and your audience are particularly creative. Besides, a beautiful presentation gives your info product authority.

But if this is your first info product, you may not have the deep pockets to hire a designer for the cover, layout, and graphics. It’s not good for your business to spend too much in these areas until you can be certain that you’ll earn more than enough to justify the investment.

Fortunately, you don’t need fancy design to release a product that is credible and valuable. What is important is that your product be neat and easy to understand.
Odds are that you’ve bought a few info products yourself (if you haven’t you really should, if only to get a feel for the medium). Look at how they are designed and put together.

Choose a product that looks nice without being too flashy. Notice how the margins are set, what font is used, how paragraphs are spaced. Imitate these elements as best you can keeping it as simple as you can. As with the quality of content, shoot for 70% and you’ll be fine.

It’s about singing your song

Your info product is the song you’re here to share with the world. Don’t let preoccupation with how your instrument is strung keep you from making music. The more you play, the better you’ll get.


Photo credit: kruemi via Flickr
Under a Creative Commons License