Eternally Curious. Writing, Learning, Building in Public. Writing about Ideas + Inspiration + Insights for creators, solopreneurs and indie hackers | Simple tips and frameworks to help you build a sustainable solo business
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Hypothetical question -
If your dream customer walked up to you and asked you, what's the most expensive thing I can buy from you? How much is it?
What will you answer?
Do you think they will buy from you immediately? Just as you make that offer?
The answer depends on many factors -
- Can they pay that much?
- How much do they trust you?
- Do they think you're equipped to solve their problem
It's hard to get someone to pay for your offers if they're hearing about you for the first time. It's like meeting a stranger on the street and asking them for a thousand dollars.
They're not going to pay you.
If you introduce yourself to them, over time give them great value and build trust.
Offer some low priced products to explain to them that their investment in you won't go to waste.
And then, when they're ready, and they trust you, and they truly believe that you can solve their problem, they will take you up on your most expensive offer.
That's how I got a $1000 client within 24 hours of launching my ghostwriting service.
My premium clients didn't discover me 1 day, and bought the $1000 plan the next day.
They had been following me for a while, consuming my content and testing out my low priced products before making a larger commitment.
It's a Ladder
A ladder is a good analogy to think about this idea.
Think of your work as laying out a ladder for your dream customer.
Each rung is a new offer, more valuable (and expensive) than the previous one. And your customers climb them up one by one.
Nobody reaches the top rung in one go, they get there one step at a time.
So if you're creating info products, your value ladder can look like this -
- Free Content (Twitter, Newsletter, blogs)
- Free guides, cheat sheets
- Low priced eBooks, courses
- High priced courses, community
- Premium priced coaching, consulting
And if you're building software products, your value ladder can look like this -
- Free version (limited features)
- Low priced version (limited usage and features)
- High priced version (full feature set)
- Premium priced (Full features + priority onboarding and support)
This framework is also beautiful because as you grow, you make higher value offers and you witness your customers grow with you. I know so many people who've enjoyed my free content and products for a long time.
And then when they felt ready they got my higher priced products and services.
Here's what my ladder looks like right now -
You can grab this template and do this exercise for yourself here
How to apply this framework
It's tempting to look at the value ladder and craft the expensive offers first. But it can be a huge mistake.
The beauty of the value ladder framework is that you create the rungs with your customers as they grow. With every low priced offer you get feedback from your audience -
- Is it valuable or not?
- Does this problem matter to them?
- Are you capable of solving this problem?
These signals help you in crafting the next rung exactly based on the need of your customers. So it never happens that you build something and nobody wants it.
This also beautifully overlaps the transformation framework we discussed last week.
Each rung is a specific transformation.
You're helping your customers achieve a transformation and learning about the next transformation they will need.
You never build anything blind.
This concept saved me this year. Because back in June I wanted to build a cohort based course. But the more feedback I got from my audience, the more I realized that nobody needed another course, everyone needed results.
That's when I did a ton of research and found the mastermind principle to be the most effective way of getting people results in a high touch manner. NOT a cohort based course.
That's why I launched Indie Masterminds.
And to date, it's my most loved product. It is also how I can provide the most value to someone with my limited skill set.
But if I was chasing the latest fad, and trying to go after big money then I would have launched a CBC and nobody would have found as much value from it.
Good thing I had created enough free and low priced products till then, and produced a ton of free content to learn what people would really need.
So, quick homework for you today -
- Fill out the bottom few rungs
- Free content and low priced info products
- Or free and low priced features of your software product.
How soon can you build out the lower rungs?
Get to work and present it in front of your audience.
And the feedback from your audience will tell you the middle priced and higher priced rungs in the ladder.