As an independent manufacturer, which product should you manufacture?

You can make many types of products. Here are some of the most common examples that can be easily operated as one person.

Information Products

One of the easiest ways to make a product is to categorize a set of information into your hands, organize them appropriately, and package them.

Generally speaking, any kind of knowledge is good for this. You may think that you don’t have a certificate, or that you don’t know enough about the subject, or that you have no one comparable to an industry authority, but if you think you have a set of skills, millions of others will not be on this issue. Unique point of view, then you must have something to say.

Among millions of people who know less about this topic than you, there are thousands of people looking for ways to do what you can do online every day, and dozens of them are willing today Spend money.

Products can have various shapes, and depending on them, the prices you can provide will vary greatly.

E-book

The first product I talked about was e-books. It can be distributed on various platforms (such as Amazon Kindle or others) or sold on its own website.

Depending on the distribution system, the format will change. For example, the format and layout of Kindle books are very different from downloadable PDFs.

For anyone who wants to start with a product, e-books may be the easiest starting point, because compared with the complexity brought by other communication systems (such as audio and video), the author’s writing is much easier, but It must not be underestimated. The commitment required to create high-quality e-books. It is not worth copying the simple blog posts that many people find shortcuts to success and making 10-page e-books.

Online course

Compared with e-books, online courses are more advanced. Platforms like Udemy allow anyone to create courses and sell them to audiences from all over the world. Usually, online courses consist of video lessons (perhaps quizzes), textbooks or other useful materials.

Online courses are much more difficult than e-books, and updating it is even more difficult, because updating e-books is enough to edit the text and publish a new version, while online video tutorials need to add phrases from the video, you need to re-record the video, prepare the recording environment, etc. .

The essential difference between e-books and online courses is the relationship with customers. If you really rarely want to interact with e-books, then for online courses, students want to interact with the person who created the course.

Therefore, if e-book writers can think of a writer’s life isolated from the rest of the world when writing books, then for online courses, it is necessary to plan student support from the beginning.

Usually, the price difference between e-books and online courses is very obvious, which will greatly affect the marketing techniques you will use because you will have more budget to attract new customers.

software

If you are a programmer, you tend to choose companies that do business around software you write. I did the same thing and tried almost all possible skin options, so in addition to a brief description here, I also provided my personal insights.

iPhone / iPad / Android application

Everyone has at least one idea for a new mobile app every week. On the other hand, these devices are easy to find with you, and existing applications cannot meet these needs. This is definitely a very attractive business, and of course it is also "cool".

Considering the number of apps released every day (especially games), it is really difficult (if not nearly impossible) to appear in the app store. Success stories are real, but more unique than rare ones, and it usually takes months or even years of hard work to achieve "overnight success", which is usually done by a large team with a lot of available resources. And, just as I often read online on a dedicated website, even if your application is on the leaderboard for weeks, it is not always the case-the resources invested will be rewarded.

Sometimes, independent developer applications will succeed, but they are becoming rarer, just like winning a lottery.

Unfortunately, due to the congestion of the store, the application usually only starts with the first version because it can zoom the chart only once, but the problem is that the release must be carefully planned and it is not easy to put all the correct cards on the table.

The application business has a major disadvantage in terms of distribution, because the main players maintain close control of the market, decide what the platform can do, and they can change the rules of the game according to their preferences. Application releases and updates need to be reviewed, which means that the release cycle will slow down. In addition, if you are not the first user to contact you, you will not be able to contact them.

My point is that the application business can be said to be a great business, but it requires a lot of work. The application does not always run in isolation, so you will also need a server-side platform as well as two ecosystems on Android and iOS It needs to be tested on so many different devices, so considering the new models released every year, and you can't test your application on just one or two devices, it's also quite expensive. Moreover, this requires a lot of luck (or a high marketing budget).

Desktop application

With the development of mobile devices, applications for Windows or OSX are one of the areas that have been declining in recent years. Now, many tasks are done more and more through smart phones, and many people don't feel the need to use a computer. This does not mean that the industry is dead, desktop computers are indeed used, and applications are always required to perform any type of work on the computer.

Mac applications increasingly have corresponding versions of iPhone and iPad (or Apple Watch), so we don't always have to treat them as isolated sectors, but users can get our multi-platform products from different traffic sources.

Traditionally, desktop applications were distributed independently on the developer's website. Only in recent years have we seen the introduction of stores such as the Mac Store and Windows Store. These bring the same concept to the mobile app store on the desktop, each with pros and cons: distribution and eyeballs and less freedom. Of course, on the desktop, we can still do dual distribution, both to sell the application through our website, and to keep it in the store.

Desktop users are less than mobile users, but the price is much higher, because the market value of desktop applications can easily rise to 50-80 US dollars, which is a price that mobile applications are unlikely to pay.

Both desktop and mobile applications have a problem: they run on computers and devices that you cannot control, and if there is a technical problem, you usually don’t know how to solve it, and you need to spend a lot of money to solve the problem and provide technical support. time.

CMS plugin or theme

CMS stands for Content Management System, this software allows you to easily create and manage websites. WordPress is the most famous open source CMS, it powers 25% of all websites and has an impressive 60% market share of CMS.

The software has a really large user base, and you can provide these users with other functions through plug-ins, or create themes that modify the site's graphical interface.

Over the years, the most popular plugins have been downloaded tens of millions of times, and many themes have achieved great success.

Plug-ins usually have free and professional versions, or free versions that you can extend through add-ons, some are free and some are paid.

On the other hand, theme businesses are almost always based on commercial themes sold through dedicated markets such as ThemeForest.

Of course, there are other business models. For example, you can let free themes increase sales of commercial themes, or you can have paid plugins, even if that means creating a personalized customer acquisition channel, because the WordPress plugin directory only accepts free plugins.

Of course, WordPress is not the only CMS. Two words about working on other CMS: usually the model is the same, and each CMS has more or less plugins or theme ecosystems. Although most CMS users use WordPress, the competition is indeed fierce. For every successful plugin, in the same market segment, there are 100 plugins that have failed and few people use or give up.

Therefore, it is possible to find a less popular CMS and develop products around it.

In all cases, your software runs on a site that is different from any other website. A site can run many plug-ins that may interfere with you. In any case, if something goes wrong, it’s your product’s fault. You will have to spend a lot of time providing technical support and debugging customer sites (even if you also provide free products, even for non-paying customers).

You should also consider that having a CMS-based product means that you must always release an update that solves the problem or introduce support for a new platform version.

Sass

So far, I have talked about the software you make and the software that customers download and use on their devices or websites.

SAAS is different. It is software that runs on your own server, and users can access the software using a browser. The advantage of this model is that you can 100% control where the software runs, so you can eliminate all problems related to distributing products that run on other computers or interact with other products.

SAAS is usually paid on a monthly basis, which is different from a typical application you buy at a time.

A great advantage is that the problem is solved immediately. If you publish an application and it crashes, you need to publish another update, but the update needs to be approved (it may take a few days), and people need to install the new update before they can use the application again. At the same time, 1 star will pop up.

For SAAS, errors can be resolved immediately by loading new code on the server, and for all users.

The number of browsers you need to support is limited (2-3 are the most popular), and it's easier to handle differences compared to multiple environments that can run desktop or mobile applications.

Some disadvantages of SAAS-based services:

  • There is no distribution system like App Store or CMS plugins or themes. You have catalogs and users enter these catalogs, so you have to do 100% marketing yourself
  • Unlike a deployed application, it has only one point of failure, so you must ensure that the service is always available because everyone is connecting to your site. If there are hardware or network problems, all of your customers will not be able to use the services performed by the product, so you need to really consider availability and sort out technical information.
  • Selling a subscription service is definitely more difficult than buying it at once, and you have to deal with itStir, The percentage of users who decide to stop paying you each month
Additional components for the SAAS platform

This model combines the creation of plug-ins with SAAS managed by others. For example, Shopify, Salesforce, Atlassian, they provide services to their customers, and open their platforms for independent developers to provide additional features for their products.

There is usually an official market, so distribution and marketing are easier, and your add-ons usually run on the server (not always), so the same considerations for own SAAS apply.

This model is very profitable because usually such platforms are used by business users who have paid a certain amount to the platform, and if they are looking for your app, it’s because they need a certain type of Services they are using.


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