The Most Unmentioned Part of Product Creation

30 replies
The most unmentioned part of product creation is powering through the boring bits.

Ugh.

I am about 83% finished with this information product I have been working on. I have the last bits to do. Everything is written down, so I know what has to be done.

On a good day, I think I've managed to knock out around 5,000 words. Yesterday, I think I managed maybe 500. Tonight, I've just thumbed through my note cards of what's left to do.

Ugh.

While there is some satisfaction in finishing a portion and removing its card from the stack and tearing it up, ugh.

There is, no doubt, a tendency to save the most boring stuff for last. Get the good stuff out of the way first, the stuff you're excited about, the stuff you don't mind writing about. Leaving all the other stuff until the end.

And, there's a double whammy with the last bit. You can't write it as though you are bored out of your mind; you need to write it with the same level of excitement with which you wrote the rest of the content. So, not only do you need to find the motivation to push and get it done, you also need to generate within yourself some level of excitement for those topics, even though they are so, ugh.

Anyone have any advice for powering through the boring bits you left yourself stuck with?

And, yes, I probably will be sitting here incessantly reloading the page, checking for responses, anything but to work on, ugh.

Ugh.
#creation #part #product #unmentioned
  • Profile picture of the author Dan Grossman
    No kidding.

    This is my checklist for the site I'm working on now
    • Plan and Develop the Software
      • Determine what data will need to be collected and stored.
      • Design the database, then convert the schema to SQL/DDL statements.
      • Decide on the major units of modularity for the software, lay out the application structure.
      • Code the model layer classes which retrieve, represent, modify and store the data,
        along with stubs for the controller that are just intelligent enough to start recording
        ad clicks and conversions. Doing this and verifying the queries and the code were accurate
        took over a month (this is the core of what the software does, so it has to be right).
      • Complete the controller code with a basic skeletal UI.
      • Design a proper interface and write complete user interfaces to the reports.
      • Code the CRUD and authentication stuff - logging in, adding campaigns, editing
        ads, importing and exporting data, etc.


    • Plan and Design the Website
      • Find a designer to create a logo so I can set up a splash page for the service
        and finish the UI design.
      • Mock up the website layout and pages needed.
      • Explore galleries and directories of other sites to identify what kind of design
        I think will work for this site.
      • Write up a design brief and find a designer to do the work. I ended up doing this
        with a contest at 99Designs for about $950.
        A week and a half later, get the finished design in Photoshop format.
      • Slice and code the design in HTML and CSS, with days spent hacking it for
        Internet Explorer 6 (still not quite there!).

    • Write the Website Copy
      • Spend a lot of time identifying benefits to focus on.
      • Write, write and rewrite feature pages.
      • Create supporting graphics, screenshots, etc.
      • Produce a promotional video for the service, highlighting key benefits and features.
      • Decide on initial plans and pricing, considering competition and target customers.


    • Prepare Support and Documentation
      • Spend days recording screencasts of how to use the service to track
        advertising, integrate with various sites, import and export data, etc.
      • Convert screencasts to Flash videos, write up the HTML pages to embed them.
      • Write tutorials, glossary, etc.
      • Sign up with ZenDesk for ticket management,
        help desk/knowledgebase, forums, feedback forms, etc.
      • Set up e-mail hosting with Rackspace Email (formerly MailTrust), since my own
        spam filters suck. Make DNS changes for the e-mail hosting and help desk.

    • CYA & Legal Stuff
      • Write a Terms of Service agreement to protect myself as much as possible.
        Very important, businesses are going to be using this service to make material financial decisions.
      • Write a Privacy Policy with the help of the Direct Marketing Association's generator.
      • Come up with a backup and recovery plan, and write code to create offiste copies of all
        user data each night.
      • Document all the server software needed, configuration changes to make, etc. in order to
        set up the service on a different server in case the first should crash/die/disappear/etc. Guesstimate
        capacity until I need to upgrade.


    • Plan the Marketing Campaign
      • Sign up with an e-mail marketing company to manage mailing lists, autoresponders, track e-mail
        opens and bounces, etc. Set up the lists, confirmation and reply mail text.
      • Write a 12 page guide to optimizing AdWords Quality Score to give away for free to
        e-mail newsletter signups.
      • Contact affiliate networks about support for recurring commissions. Figure out what's
        reasonable to pay to affiliates without destroying any profit margin. Pay an overly high
        setup fee to open the new account.
      • Compile a list of bloggers that reach target customers and are willing to write a
        sponsored review of the service when it's available.
      • Start a Twitter account specific to the service and start following people that talk about
        advertising and tracking every day.
      • Start an online marketing blog to establish the service as an authority in the field and
        attract search engine traffic to the site, potentially resulting in new customers. Spend a day
        finding and installing MySQL libraries for PHP 5.2, which is not yet officially supported
        by Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so that WordPress will run.
      • Buy SSL certificate not only to secure the signup/payment forms, but to have a "secure site"
        badge to show on those pages to increase conversions.
      • Prewrite e-mails for the autoresponder (drip campaign, automatically sent on schedule).
      • Start writing a press release and comparing wire services.

    • Getting Ready to Launch
      • Decide how to handle payments, upgrades, downgrades, overage fees. Look at invoicing
        services for the overage fees beyond the monthly subscriptions.
      • Set up Authorize.net's Customer Information Manager for PCIDSS-compliant storage of
        payment data for the monthly billing. Write the code to automatically charge customers each
        month. Test test test.
      • Set up PayPal subscription links, IPN script to handle updating the database.
      • Write and test a signup/payment form.

    The documentation part is taking forever. Tutorials, walkthrough videos, etc. Just gotta tell yourself it'll be worth it when it's done.

    I try to write down a goal for what part I'll take care of tomorrow at the end of the night, and the next day, do whatever I wrote.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post

      No kidding.

      This is my checklist for the site I'm working on now
      You've got quite a list too! I have about 65 items left on my list.

      I try to write down a goal for what part I'll take care of tomorrow at the end of the night, and the next day, do whatever I wrote.
      I've tried goal lists, and they don't seem to work for me. Things just keep getting added at a faster rate than they get checked off, which only serves as demotivation. I have a To Do list on my desktop that's 6 months old. Actually, I have two different To Do lists that are 6 months old...

      I go a bit in the non-linear route, as in, here's what needs to be done... pick one.
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    • Profile picture of the author Tyrus Antas
      Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post

      ... stuff ...
      Wow! Looking at your checklist makes me realize I'm too messy with my development process. I've been procrastinating on doing something similar myself.

      Tyrus
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      • Profile picture of the author Sean Kelly
        Don't throw away the 'completed job' cards, highlight them!

        This way your eye is drawn to all the work you have completed rather than the pile of work you still have to do.

        There is a great sense of satisfaction seeing all the work that has been done. It's amazing how you forget just how much you have completed.

        Highlighting completed tasks takes care of this and there is a massive 'feel good' factor as well

        Sean
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        • Profile picture of the author Elmer Hurlstone
          Man up, Dan!

          Just suck it in and get it done.

          If this advice works, kindly let me know and I'll try it on myself.

          Elmer
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          • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
            Originally Posted by Pete223 View Post

            Just think of what having this new project completed will mean to you (and your family) when all is said and done and the bucks start rolling in!!!
            The problem is that cash in hand is a better motivator than potential cash in hand.

            Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post

            I try to outsource the "boring" bits but I enjoy
            what I do so much that I feel jealous when I
            give stuff to other people to do.
            I overcame that long ago. It's kind of nice to take something, describe it to someone and have it magically appear in your inbox days later.

            Originally Posted by Kevin Riley View Post

            I also love creating images for my books, and will spend way too many hours looking for just the right picture.
            I like that part too, which is why the cover is already designed.

            Originally Posted by Robert Boduch View Post

            Take a look at whatever it is you have left to do and ask yourself if it's really essential to the completion of your product. You may have it in your mind that it's boring and laborious work, but how would your readers perceive it? Is it something they've got to have... or could it be left out entirely?

            If it's a necessary component, what makes it so? If it's that much of a struggle to write, how will it read?
            Yes, it is necessary. Imagine you were writing a math book with flash cards, and what you had left to do was the flash cards, which was a lot of monotonous work, plus you want to mark sure you have them right, so you also need to check them against math tables or a calculator.

            Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post

            The most boring part is seeing all the
            "You have received a payment" emails
            in your in-box. It can get so tedious!
            Those can be, but mainly because the spammers got a hold of my notification address so, too many times, when I think I've got money, I've got offers for little blue pills.

            Originally Posted by Sean Kelly View Post

            This way your eye is drawn to all the work you have completed rather than the pile of work you still have to do.
            Then I get distracted. Look what I did! I can't believe I did all this! I remember when I never thought I'd get this part done! Or this part! Or this part too! Wow! I did a lot!

            And, by that time, you've killed another hour.

            Originally Posted by Aaron Moser View Post

            You have to change the way you think of doing the boning parts. Right now you mind is thinking "Ugh boring" and you'll just keep procrastinating until you convince yourself that it's not boring.
            Actually, I did cross off two items from the list last night.

            But added six more.

            Easier said than done right?
            Yes.

            Well every time you feel resistance to write you have to outweigh those thoughts with positive ones. So instead of thinking "Ugh boring" think "this shit is fun!". Make it easy on yourself by just thinking differently.
            Actually, I just sit down and do it. I don't think "boring" or "fun". It's only when it's time to move to the next section, and pick out the next section, that those thoughts creep in.

            Originally Posted by Elmer Hurlstone View Post

            Man up, Dan!

            Just suck it in and get it done.

            If this advice works, kindly let me know and I'll try it on myself.

            Elmer
            Yes, it does. Try it.
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  • Profile picture of the author Pete223
    I think you just need to put your head down Dan, turn off all the distractions
    (Warrior, Skype, email, Warrior...etc...etc...) and get it done!!!

    Just think of what having this new project completed will mean to you
    (and your family) when all is said and done and the bucks start rolling
    in!!!

    Good luck with it!

    Cheers, Pete
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  • Profile picture of the author John Taylor
    I hope your "Ugh-liness" gets better.

    I try to outsource the "boring" bits but I enjoy
    what I do so much that I feel jealous when I
    give stuff to other people to do.

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author MicahF7
    Well... I think what Pete said is right on. And the same goes for John... You have to shut stuff off and get down and accomplish some stuff! Out source stuff that other people can do.


    Micah Rush

    <><
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    • Profile picture of the author Kevin Riley
      I never seem to find any boring bits. I love creating. Just finished off a cool special report in weight loss last night. It was so interesting I kept getting more great info from latest breakthroughs.

      I also love creating images for my books, and will spend way too many hours looking for just the right picture.
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  • Profile picture of the author sparrow
    Unfortunately there is no way around it, unless you outsource. I just spent a good amount of time creating some products recently and as it has been mentioned shut everything off and get to it. Otherwise if you can afford it outsource it.

    ED
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  • Profile picture of the author Emily Meeks
    That's the exact same problem I'm dealing with >.< I'm a DIY kind of person, except when it comes to all the tedious grunt work. Speaking of which, I have a lot of tedious grunt work left to do before my site launches ("Fuuuuuuuuu...")

    When I get the budget I'll probably outsource the most boring tasks, but I get my feet wet in a bit of every field - graphics, web design, copywriting, next on the list is programming, etc. I really don't feel like learning programming but I'll do it anyway, just because I would feel more in control. Outsource the bulk of the work, trim any details that need it.
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    • Profile picture of the author PhiltheBear
      The golden rule, though, is to make the bits that bore you to create absolutely non-boring for your reader.
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      • Profile picture of the author Robert Boduch
        Hey Dan...

        Here's an idea:

        Take a look at whatever it is you have left to do and ask yourself if it's really essential to the completion of your product. You may have it in your mind that it's boring and laborious work, but how would your readers perceive it? Is it something they've got to have... or could it be left out entirely?

        If it's a necessary component, what makes it so? If it's that much of a struggle to write, how will it read?

        Best thing to do is to reassess the parts of the whole that seem to present the greatest challenge to you as a product developer. What does your reader want most out of these sections and why? Figure out what it is that your readers really want and then just give them those tidbits in the most direct way, like you're revealing a new discovery to a close friend.

        Cut through to the core and be sure to cover the juicy stuff. Then move onto the next section that's holding you back and do the same. Streamline the difficult components so you're providing the key information without all the extra (and perhaps unnecessary) words.

        Just power through and get it done and see the finished product in your hands.

        Robert
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Franklin
    If you are committed to going through the "boring bits" and not outsource them, then I suggest you work on it in blocks of time. That is solely focus on it for 2 hours and then reward yourself with a 1 hour break.

    Also, please PLEASE do not let these bored emotions reflect in your work! Whether it is an article or long e-book, you need to run it through a few different people. Let their fresh eyes go through your content and pinpoint any places that you need to correct....Ask them if there's any content that would make the reader confused, or even bored!
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

    The most unmentioned part of product creation is powering through the boring bits.

    Ugh.

    I am about 83% finished with this information product I have been working on. I have the last bits to do. Everything is written down, so I know what has to be done.

    On a good day, I think I've managed to knock out around 5,000 words. Yesterday, I think I managed maybe 500. Tonight, I've just thumbed through my note cards of what's left to do.

    Ugh.

    While there is some satisfaction in finishing a portion and removing its card from the stack and tearing it up, ugh.

    There is, no doubt, a tendency to save the most boring stuff for last. Get the good stuff out of the way first, the stuff you're excited about, the stuff you don't mind writing about. Leaving all the other stuff until the end.

    And, there's a double whammy with the last bit. You can't write it as though you are bored out of your mind; you need to write it with the same level of excitement with which you wrote the rest of the content. So, not only do you need to find the motivation to push and get it done, you also need to generate within yourself some level of excitement for those topics, even though they are so, ugh.

    Anyone have any advice for powering through the boring bits you left yourself stuck with?

    And, yes, I probably will be sitting here incessantly reloading the page, checking for responses, anything but to work on, ugh.

    Ugh.
    Oh man, seriously, you better start outsourcing! I can sense burn out due to a lack of motivation otherwise!
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  • Profile picture of the author John Taylor
    The most boring part is seeing all the
    "You have received a payment" emails
    in your in-box. It can get so tedious!

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author Aaron Moser
    Dan,

    You have to change the way you think of doing the boning parts. Right now you mind is thinking "Ugh boring" and you'll just keep procrastinating until you convince yourself that it's not boring.

    Easier said than done right?

    Well every time you feel resistance to write you have to outweigh those thoughts with positive ones. So instead of thinking "Ugh boring" think "this shit is fun!". Make it easy on yourself by just thinking differently.

    But don't listen to me I'm the world's biggest procrastinator. LOL

    Good luck.. I know how it is.
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  • Profile picture of the author Voasi
    Outsource the boring bits. The boring parts are usually the parts that a monkey can do, that's why it's boring.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nathan Denton
    Power through those final steps Dan. Think of the satisfaction you will have once it is complete. What I like to do is lock myself in a room, no TV or music and just mow through the work. Boring yes but it really helps to knock a project out.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin Koop
    Eventually, you will probably want to consider outsourcing the "boring bits" as has been mentioned by many before me.

    In the meantime, the only advice I can give is to take a short break and get a radical change of scenery. If you like to golf, go golfing. If you like to get outdoors... go for a hike.

    Just choose something you can do for a few-hours or a day at most that rejuvenates you. Once you get recharged, you'll likely power through whatever is left and put it to bed. (or to market, really ;- )
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    • Profile picture of the author kf
      Two things. I second what Kevin said. Take a break. Put it in a drawer. Don't work on it for a day, or longer. Go do something completely different and fun. Disengage your brain.

      Second thing. Can you pre-sell the product? Make a really appealing offer for people that pre-pay ... some special trick or extra bonus? Then the payment will already be in your account and you will have to finish the sucker off. Since you already have seen that it sells well, perhaps it won't be so 'boring'. You could even sell the 'lite' version (as it is now) at a special price with a no-fee automatic upgrade to the full version when it comes out.
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      • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
        Originally Posted by Kevin Koop View Post

        Eventually, you will probably want to consider outsourcing the "boring bits" as has been mentioned by many before me.
        Outsourcing really isn't in the budget for this project.

        Originally Posted by kf View Post

        Second thing. Can you pre-sell the product? Make a really appealing offer for people that pre-pay ... some special trick or extra bonus? Then the payment will already be in your account and you will have to finish the sucker off. Since you already have seen that it sells well, perhaps it won't be so 'boring'. You could even sell the 'lite' version (as it is now) at a special price with a no-fee automatic upgrade to the full version when it comes out.
        I don't think Clickbank will let me presell something.

        I've thought about a "lite" version as you mentioned, but, being nearly 84% complete, the "premium" version wouldn't be adding much more.

        I've just got to power through this thing. I managed to cross three things off the list last night. (Or, rather, I tore up three cards. )
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        • Profile picture of the author Dan Grossman
          Originally Posted by Dan C. Rinnert View Post

          I don't think Clickbank will let me presell something.
          You're under no obligation to involve Clickbank. They're nothing but one (expensive) option for selling online. Presell with PayPal if you'd like.
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          • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
            Originally Posted by Dan Grossman View Post

            You're under no obligation to involve Clickbank. They're nothing but one (expensive) option for selling online. Presell with PayPal if you'd like.
            I know, but another reason is, rather than setting up a presell page and offer, and setting that up through PayPal (when the end-product will be through Clickbank), I'd rather take that time and spend it on working on the actual product.
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            • Profile picture of the author jbsmith
              A few tips that I use...

              1. Outsource - often you can outsource a chapter or section of your written info product as an article or report project that costs MUCH less than having an entire ebook written. I've had chapters written for under $50 that were extremely good because I was able to outsource to someone who both knew writing AND had past experience with the topic.

              2. If you have boring parts - I would seriously question whether you need to have it in your product. I know sometimes it is required, but first versions of my info proudcts are usually shorter, more "teaching" oriented and less "general informational" since that is what gives how-to products their real value - the teaching.

              3. Look for ways to turn the boring parts into different formats. For example, if I'm writing about a nifty way to use my digital camera for getting night-time shots - but writing it all would be boring - then I setup a video camera and illustrate the settings in a 10-minute video and link to that from my ebook.

              4. Sometimes PLR exists for the boring parts. While PLR lacks depth and specialization - they typically do a decent job of covering the basics for many topics.

              5. Have someone interview you. Instead of writing it all out - have someone ask you a question and talk about it for 15-minutes, then have the audio transcribed - that way you can bundle the audio and turn your ebook into a multimedia package if you do a few of these.

              6. I've also taken boring topics and spiced them up with a story or case study that communicate the same point - instead of just writing the basic information.

              Hope those help...

              Jeff
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        • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
          Dan, I know that everybody is different, but I don't separate the product
          creation process. For me, it's just one continual thing. I start it and when I'm
          done, I'm done.

          The problem is, too many people become way to emotionally attached to
          the process itself. I'm not saying don't be passionate about your work. What
          I'm saying is, you're creating a product on your chosen niche that,
          supposedly, you're an expert on, so just get on with it. Say what you have
          to say and be done with it. To me, the table of contents is just as vital
          a component of the book as the meat of the book. I don't look at one any
          differently than I would another.

          As a result, I don't get all hyped up when writing about some super killer
          tactic to generate traffic, or whatever, and I don't start yawning myself
          to sleep when I'm writing the introduction or summary.

          This allows me to keep an even keel throughout and ultimately, allows me
          to finish products with blinding speed.

          Does it take practice to reach this point? Yes, lots of it. This is why so
          many people have half finished books. They get bored half way through
          and just can't push themselves to move on.

          If I were like this, my biggest product (1700 pages) would have never
          been written. I would have gone stark raving out of my mind.

          Wish I had a solution to your problem Dan. It really comes down to
          mindset and discipline.
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          • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
            Originally Posted by Steven Wagenheim View Post

            Say what you have to say and be done with it.
            I've largely finished that part. The portion I'm working on now is those odds and ends where I have to brush up on my own knowledge or do some research.

            Does it take practice to reach this point? Yes, lots of it. This is why so
            many people have half finished books. They get bored half way through
            and just can't push themselves to move on.
            I was bored halfway through but kept going. It is perhaps boredom more with the process than the project. Which may have been your point, but mind too numb to go back and check.

            I have a smiley problem. Don't worry, though, I don't use them in my forthcoming product!

            If I were like this, my biggest product (1700 pages) would have never
            been written. I would have gone stark raving out of my mind.
            If I don't stop soon, mine may end up that large.

            Wish I had a solution to your problem Dan. It really comes down to
            mindset and discipline.
            There is one other important ingredient. It's not a necessity--it is something many people can and have done without--but it is something that can be a powerful productivity tool, and it's something so basic that many people take it for granted. But, if you don't have it, you may need it. And if you do have, you wouldn't want to do without it.

            But, maybe I should save that for a WSO. :evilgrin:
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  • Profile picture of the author xohaibx
    The boring bits can always be outsourced, but again you'll have to see that the quality isn't compromised ... Another good way is (if you want to do it yourself) is to try working for 30 minutes and take a 10 minutes break .. set up a kitchen timer and be fast.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
      In the almost two weeks since I first posted this, I have gone from 65 things left to do to about a dozen now. And, that includes having added some things as well...

      On top of that, I've met my unofficial goal of reaching a specific page count, and odds are looking good that I may be able to meet my unofficial goal of reaching a specific word count.

      The only downside is that a couple of those dozen things are big things...
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