[SoloGrowth #06] The myth of the “one product business”

  • Stephen Pratley

The myth of the “simple business system” is an attractive one.

“All you need is Twitter and Gumroad” is an easy sell to people who won’t invest time or money into their business, but once you buy the first product you realise there’s a lot more going on in the business.

The myth survives because of the 95% of readers who buy nothing, and never see behind the curtain. They parrot the advice and start to believe it themselves.

But if you’ve ever bought a successful information product, you’ll know there’s a lot more to making change happen than a single sale.

Businesses that make change happen, do it over months and years, not in a single sale.

Ever heard of someone going to just one AA meeting?

Ever been to a doctor and he hasn’t asked for a follow-up visit?

Even a simple habit can take at least 18 days to change. Ones with more resistance to change can take a year. So, if you’re serious about making change it’s critical that you create a business that’s built around more than one contact .

The idea that you can just make a single product and pick up constant new customers is wrong on 2 levels.

First it’s wasteful. Getting someone to buy once takes more effort than getting a second sale.

Second, it’s ineffective. Building a business on a single sale doesn’t get results.

No results, no testimonials, no proof. Which keeps it hard to sell.

Typically once someone decides to pay, you need 3 products.

  1. Find an early problem that your market has. Create a low priced product around solving that problem. Price for impulse buys, focus on quick wins that will get you testimonials.
  2. Find ways to solve it faster or better. This might be simple templates of some sort or even software. Offer that immediately.
  3. Look for where the market needs long-term help. This is where communities have value, where you can get to know people in more depth and they can get continued feedback on their efforts. Offer it as soon as you can after the first sale, then repeatedly in follow up.

Skills like sales, copywriting, leadership, fitness or relationships need nurturing so people can keep improving. Without either you or a community to help, they’ll quickly fall back into old habits.

If you only ever sell the ebook, the chances are your customers won’t ever really get to the result that you promise them.

And that’s far less ethical than going back to sell them continued help & support.


Stephen Pratley
Growth Tips for Solopreneurs
Connect with me on Twitter


PS. Starting from May I’m going to be offering consults to help people to:

The first slots will be a lot cheaper –  probably around the $99 mark for a session of 60-90 minutes – just because I know it takes trust to be the first person to buy a product

If you’d like to get on the wait-list, just reply to this email and I’ll send you a payment and booking link.


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