My next product was made with the assistance of another respected member of the Warrior Forum, John "Zeus66" Schwartz. He had written an extremely popular thread about how to build monetised blogs really quickly, and it was an awesome method, and I said "hey, why don't I dig through that thread and collect all your great advice together and make it into a product?" - and he said "hey, awesome, go for it" so I put together that ebook and slapped a price tag on it and sold about 500 of them.
What Went Right
I didn't have to have any actual experience making money with this stuff. I went through the process of building the blogs to make sure it was technically accurate, timed myself to see what kind of throughput I could achieve, and ended up with twenty blogs which to this day earn me about $30 a month and I don't even remember where they are... so, needless to say, I am not updating or maintaining them at all and they do not cost me any time or money. This was a great place to be - I don't have to invent the method, I just have to test it and write it up. "I love JVs," I thought; "I looooooooooove JVs."
The completely pointless and meaningless "zombie" metaphor worked really well and got a lot of people interested. The sales page literally had a headline, a subheadline, a cover image, and a buy button. There was no sales copy.
Honestly, this was the easiest shit in the world. All I had to do was write it and throw pictures into it and have fun with it. I loved this project so much. I had fun with it.
What Went Wrong
Wellllll... see, there's this thing about people.
They're fucking stupid.
I had in big letters throughout the guide all this shit you should never ever ever do because Bad Things would happen and you would be fucked.
Guess what most of the Goddamn customers did?!
Support was a fucking nightmare. All these angry people bitching and complaining and moaning (like zombies!) about how they did exactly what I said not to do and Bad Things happens exactly as I said they would.
They went on blogger.com and started up a bunch of blogs and immediately put ads on them, when I said to wait several weeks before doing that... and the blogs got reported as spam. Or they went to wordpress.com where the terms of service say you are not allowed to put ads on your blog. Or they got asked to voice verify their account, but they ignored the request and now Google won't let them make any more blogs. Or, my absolute favourite, they opened multiple AdSense accounts and now they have all been closed and Google won't let them open a new one.
Honestly, what the almighty living fuck is wrong with people? "Don't do this," I said. "Bad Things will happen," I said. "God help you if you do this," I said, "because I can't."
And they come out of the fucking woodwork saying "I did it anyway, help me."
Fuck my life. Seriously. Fucking nightmare customer base.
The only other thing to go wrong was that about two days into the product development, John's wife had a major medical emergency and he was out of contact the whole time. This was not his fault. I had to build the product and do the launch on my own, and of course I did end up feeling rather like I paid him his half of the proceeds for doing nothing, but honestly - not his fault. Plus there was a tornado in the middle of all that and he lost the roof of his house,
Seriously, I can say "fuck my life" all I want about how I had to deal with shitty stupid people, but at least I didn't have to buy a new roof and sit at my wife's bedside in the hospital. Given the choice, I'll take the shitty stupid people.
What Was Learned
JVs are awesome and customers suck.
Well, more accurately, I kind of grasped what it was I loved about making products and what parts I kind of didn't like. I did not like the writing of sales copy; I mean, for other people, sure. For me? Not so much. This was largely because I knew very little about it at the time. I also didn't love coming up with the subject. Or the method. What I liked... what I enjoyed... what I was good at... was wrapping it all up in a pointless metaphor and making it entertaining. Colin Theriot has said as much several times; "You are not an engineer," he likes repeating. "You are an entertainer."
Except the next product kind of flew in the face of that...