Crushing it with Product Development 101

Today’s guest post is by Daniel Sumner. Dan loves to create great free helpful content at his on own blog. You can also catch up with him on Twitter @danielsumner. Don’t be afraid to slide over and connect with Dan. 

Product DevelopmentProduct creation is hard work!

I would also like to bet that 90% of people who create a product only get as far as the idea stage and don’t know how to progress further.

I mean how would you get past the idea stage? What knowledge do you have on product creation? We weren’t taught it at school? The last time I looked there were no college courses for online product development. Do you just go it alone? Maybe I can help you out a little.

Choose your passion

Why would you create a product in one niche if you weren’t passionate about it? Could you immerse yourself into a product? Could you live it and breathe it if you didn’t like it? How could you give that product 100% 24/7 if you didn’t love it and love learning about it? With the world as your audience and the internet as your shopping mall, there aren’t many niches out there that you can’t provide a product for.

I guess by now you may have a niche idea in mind, so let’s move on

Planning is the key

Without prior planning you are dead in the water. Yeah sure you can create a product on the fly, you can wing it, you can scrape it all together and create it with post-it notes. But would it be as cool and as awesome as it could be if you just planned your full product before you even started?

Are you asking yourself the critical questions, such as:

  • Do I have enough knowledge?
  • Can I learn this knowledge?
  • Is my niche profitable?
  • Am I in the right niche?
  • Can I monetise my product?
  • What sales flow should I have?
  • What payment processor will I use?
  • What format should I have?
  • What format is going to work best for me?
  • What is the purpose of my product?

These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself before creating your product. If you have your bases covered then your product is going to CRUSH IT. I have no doubt.

The first stages of product creation start with an idea of what could be. Ask yourself the question, what do I need? What do others need? What can I provide to help people? These questions provide you with the grounding for the start of your product development plan.

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when creating your own product, your new product just needs to work and provide good information for the end user. For example, how many traffic programs are out there? How many FaceBook programs have you seen? If something is working for you then you can create a product. If you have something to teach, then why not teach it? If you have a software idea then why not create it? Like I said you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, just provide some great info that works and helps others.

Break out the mind maps

Below you will see an example mind map about product development (You can click the link to look at the map in full). As you can see there are a lot of angles to cover when creating a product and a mind map is the perfect starting point.

Product Ideas Map

Mind maps allow you to see things clearly and effectively build on ideas to create the perfect idea. By building mind maps for your future products nothing should be left on the table and no critical parts should be missed.

By creating more than one mind map for each module of your product, you can break your product down, and then bring it all back together again. With all avenues accounted for, it’s time for product creation.

Play to your strengths and outsource

Lets take a few things into account, such as what are you good at? Are you a good writer? Are you articulate? Do you have confidence behind a camera or using screen capture software? Are you awesome at graphical content?

By playing to your strengths you can make product creation very easy indeed. I mean how easy is it to do the things which are second nature to you? Very easy!

Unless you have the time to learn all aspects of product creation, it’s time to get tough and outsource. If you have problems with certain aspects of your products e.g. graphics, is it not time to outsource and save time and quality rather than struggle along with poor quality? Outsourcing is a must for a professional look and feel.

Here are 6 things you may want to remember when creating your product in the future.

1. Niche – Love your niche and be passionate about it. Your knowledge is power.

2. Format – Decide on your format and create the best product to your ability. eBooks, video and audio all have awesome power. Master these techniques.

Pages – Get your website pages down before hand. The last thing you need is to miss one when it comes to the end and launch day.

4. Sales flow – Plan your sales flow and how you want your product to flow. Do you want upsells, down sells, exit pop etc.

5. Payment processor – Plan your payment processor and who you are going to use. Can they accommodate the sales flow?

6. Test, Test ,Test

By using the techniques above you can create a great product easily and more efficiently with a lot less effort. By mind mapping and structuring your products, you can use the same model time and time again creating a fail safe structure which you can use over and over again which works!

Your turn

Did you find this helpful? Is this your first product? When it comes to product development and product creation, how do you do it?

About the Author:

Dan Sumner loves to create great free helpfull content at his on blog: You can also catch up with him on Twitter @danielsumner. Don’t be afraid to slide over and connect with Dan he really is a nice guy…


  • Des

    Reply Reply February 8, 2012

    Hey Dan,

    Great blog post mate and something I think everybody will learn from.

    BTW, I saw this link on Google+, so you know it works now 😉

    I agree with your niche selection points. I think this is the key to being really successful. get this part right and everything slots into place nicely.

    I was watching a presentation yesterday, and the guy was saying “love” and “know” your niche, that way, when it comes to writing about it or doing a video it won’t be struggle.

    Cheers mate,

    Talk soon.


    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply February 8, 2012

      Hey Des,

      Thank you mate and yes it only takes a couple of seconds after you hit the post button to Google + and write a little about whats going on. I have feeds setup with Facebook and Twitter. I am now considering removing them so I can write a personal message rather than the same old feed look.

      If you don’t love what you do then whats the point? It’s 10 times harder to do something you don’t like don’t you think?

      • Des

        Reply Reply February 8, 2012

        Absolutely, I think it’s all about doing what you love.

        I must admit, I’m really getting into the whole video editing side of things and found a new passion I didn’t know I had. Watch out Spielberg 😉

        BTW, can you let John know that the sharing links on the left are a bit too far left (on my screen anyway).

        • Daniel Sumner

          Reply Reply February 8, 2012

          I love video, but don’t like the editing. I have a few videos to do tonight actually.

          How does the share bar look now?

  • Paul Dimmock

    Reply Reply February 9, 2012

    Hi Dan,

    Great post and loads of useful information.

    Like idea of using the mind map above, I think from this anyone can plan out and produce a successful Product Launch. I find mind maps very helpful and do use use them sometimes when I get stuck.

    I think alot of people find product creation hard work but I think that this is the best part of the whole process. With your post people should find this task a little easier.

    Once and many thanks for the help and advice Dan.

    Best regards,

    Paul Dimmock

    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply February 9, 2012

      Hey Paul,

      Thanks for your comment. This post is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to product development. There is so much you can do with mind maps to create a great product. By simply planning a little you see a huge difference.

      I’m sure I can add another post here wit more information if you need it in the future Paul.


  • Eamon

    Reply Reply February 9, 2012

    Hi Daniel.
    There’s a great lesson to be learnt here from your layout.

    For me…the part where you mentioned – “Play to Your Strengths and Outsource the Rest,” couldn’t be truer.

    When I’m creating products I follow exactly a similar layout to the one you’ve just covered.

    Any products I’ve created of late, I’ve put together myself…the writing, audio, video, graphics and so on; but that’s only because I’ve learnt the process of how to put the pieces of the puzzle together. It wasn’t always that way for me…so if there are people reading here that haven’t yet created their first product…take Daniels advice and do outsource whatever tasks are necessary to get ahead, you can always learn the rest some other time.

    I suppose another key point that Daniel has conveyed here is…it’s all in the title, “MARKETERS” we’re in the business of selling online products and that’s what we should be focusing on more so, than trying to handle all of the tasks by ourselves if one hasn’t attempted it before.

    We’ve heard it so many times before Daniel, Failing to PLAN is definitely PLANNING to fail…but how many really take this onboard.

    Great post Daniel,


    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply February 9, 2012

      Great comment Eamon,

      You know yourself when you play to your own strengths you make developing 10 x easier.

      You do need to outsource jobs if you are not very good at them especially graphical look. We need to be critical of our work in a non bias way.

      .A lot of people, especially newbies look at their product which they have created and fall in love with it. They get the feeling of achievement if they have created their own graphics, there own eBook design and so on. To them it looks amazing; to others from the outside it can look average.

      It’s always a good idea to get an expert (if you can) to give it the once over. You can use the warrior forum for critique if needed.

      You are right Eamon, we are in the business of selling products, we are also in the business of providing value as well.

      Some great comments there Eamon. Thank you.

    • Des

      Reply Reply February 10, 2012

      So true mate. How many people do you get on the WF complaining about upsells. HELLO, can you say “McDonalds” (Is that a large) “Amazon” (others also viewed) etc etc etc.

      To be a true marketer I think you need to embrace all facets (including product creation). In fact i think we should spend most of our time doing this :)

  • Kevin A Long

    Reply Reply February 9, 2012

    Great post Dan, as usual top notch content.

    I like the bit on outsourcing, I thought because ‘nobody’ could do a job like me, I never bothered doing it, but soon found out at my cost.

    Stick to what your good at and outsource everything else.

    The first things I outsourced were my graphics, and the difference was massive, and also,outsourcing is real affordable now, with the likes of Fiverr and oDesk, I dont think there is anything that you cant get done for you now, and usually sooo much better than you can do.

    Once again, thanks for the post.


    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply February 9, 2012

      Hey Kevin,

      Outsourcing saves so much time and effort. Especially when you can’t do what you want to. I am not the best at creating graphical content, this is why I outsourced it. I can then get busy creating something I can do.

      I know of some marketers who have outsourced whole products and made great profits from that product (no names :-D)

      Thanks Kevin.

    • Des

      Reply Reply February 10, 2012

      Kev, I think Dan was spot on with this one. Do the jobs you’re good at and outsource the rest.

      I must admit, I love playing around with graphics and seeing what I can create (6 hours later), Hmmmmm, maybe my time’s best spent on more productive things and then use good ole Fiverr!! 😉

      @Dan I can’t believe how much time outsourcing saves. It’s money well spent in my book.

  • Pauline Bennett

    Reply Reply February 9, 2012

    Hi Dan
    as I think I have told you before one of my goals for 2012 is to create my own product so this was a great post for me, I love the mind map!
    I know it takes a lot of hard work to do this but this will be a great incentive for me.
    Have a great day

    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply February 9, 2012

      Hi Pauline,

      Yes you have, and I’m glad I can provide you with something to take away from this post which will help you do just that.

      Let me know if you need anything else I may be able to help you with in the future.

      Thanks Pauline.

    • Des

      Reply Reply February 10, 2012

      Hey Pauline, Dan wrote a great blog post below:

      Not exactly on product creation but definitely related and a good read.

      There are loads of free tools you can use from:

      They’re great resources for getting your ideas down and then building on those ideas.

      I also like to write my main content in notepad. At least this way I can’t bold, underline or italic stuff. Since I’ve started doing this, I’ve managed to get loads of work complete.

      Try em and see what you think :)

      The best thing is including the mindmap with your product as a nice little bonus for your client. This is bearing in mind that you haven’t had to do any extra work in the process.

      • Daniel Sumner

        Reply Reply February 12, 2012

        Hey Des,

        Thanks for sharing some great resources there mate. Nice addition to the post.

        Thank you 😀

  • Mary Kathan

    Reply Reply February 9, 2012

    Hi Dan

    I really like your mindmap.

    I am learning a lot from you by watching how you are focusing on structure with your blog and your thought processes.

    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply February 9, 2012

      Hey Mary,

      Thanks, it didn’t take long :-)

      It’s great to hear you are learning from my posts Mary much appreciated.

      Thanks for your comment.

  • Ian Stables

    Reply Reply February 9, 2012

    Ian Stables here. John Thornhill has helped me to build my own website called So I’m here to offer some helpful advise around what John has said.

    Mindmaps are an excellent tool for creating your product. Here’s why…

    You can put the main subject of your information product in the middle. Next you add on main part as branches. Next simply add different things to include about each part to each relevant branch.

    A good way is simply to dump everything you know and find out about the subject your product’s about. Then as you go or at the end just organise them into each branch.

    An excellent free mind map program to use, that I use, is called freemap. It’s free. Simply google it and download it.

    I hope you find this helpful.

    Kind regards, Ian Stables

    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply February 10, 2012

      Hey Ian,

      Great site, your blog is coming along nicely.

      Thanks for add more value to the post Ian, some excellent advice there my friend.

      Have a great weekend.

  • craig

    Reply Reply February 9, 2012

    Great post Dan. Love the way you structure everything. Very easy to read and follow. Thanks.


    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply February 10, 2012

      Hi Craig,

      No problem, just glad I could help you out 😀

  • Donald

    Reply Reply February 10, 2012

    Hi Dan,

    Good post. You skiving again…lol.



    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply February 10, 2012

      lol yeah Donald, I was at a loose end 😀

      Thanks for stopping by.

  • Linda

    Reply Reply February 10, 2012

    Hey Dan,

    I haven’t actually put a product out there through clickbank, but in the past month I put 4 eBooks that I wrote on Amazon and just now getting them on B&N’s Nook. I enjoy writing “How To’s” based on my knowledge, which makes it so much easier.

    Sales are coming in, which is surprising me, but also motivating me to keep on writing.

    I think you are right on about all the points mentioned here about creating your first product. You have definitely been listening to John 😉

    Hope you have a nice weekend!

    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply February 10, 2012

      Wow Linda, brilliant! I don’t use Amazon, maybe I should I have heard a lot of talk about how profitable it is becoming due to Kindle.

      It’s great when you can write about what you already know. It makes the job so much easier.

      I have been listening Linda, loud and clear :-)

  • Ed

    Reply Reply February 10, 2012

    Hey Dan…

    Couldn’t agree more with all of this *SOLID ADVICE*…as you know I’m in the middle of creating my 12 monthly membership site based around eBay and funnily enough I’m or the first time venturing into *new* areas of format within the product creation…

    Mind maps and power-point videos…my point is it’s also about taking action on product creation even after careful preparation and planning you have to get your feet wet so to speak and experience building the the momentum to create more and more products easily!

    The more confident and comfortable you feel at product creation the more you will being willing to build your on line business on the back of your own products!

    Such a valuable post…people should read this and sit back realizing that they have just been given an alternative future on a plate…*SERIOUSLY*!

    Cheers Dan and John great content here….Ed.

    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply February 10, 2012

      Hey Ed, how are you my friend :-)

      Working with new formats is cool and scary all wrapped up in one. Once you master then though, it plain sailing. But I’m sure you know this Ed.

      You are right Ed, there is no point standing around waiting for it all the build itself. You just have to jump in with both feet. Having a plan is great and it does help you hugely in the long run.

      Thanks for the comments Ed as always much appreciated.

  • Dee

    Reply Reply March 3, 2012

    Hi Daniel
    Missed this post for some reason!
    I plan everything, love brainstorming. As Ian said start in the middle and work outwards like the spokes of a wheel. One idea leads to another.
    As you know I am into product creation this year, my problem is to stop turning them into blockbusters! LOL!

    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply March 3, 2012

      Hey Dee,

      Yes that’s works very well. But what have I always said? Nothing has to be perfect. If it was it would never get released!

      Thanks Dee:-)

  • Kerry

    Reply Reply November 30, 2012

    Amazing blog on product creation and planning. One of the very few practical ones i’ve ever seen. If i may ask, what software did you use to create the mind map which you created in the blog? (As i have gone through alot myself but this particular one looks very professional)

    • Daniel Sumner

      Reply Reply November 30, 2012

      Hi Kerry, thanks for the kind words. I use a program called Mind Node Pro for Mac. It really is simple to use.

      Thanks Kerry.

      • Kerry

        Reply Reply December 1, 2012

        Cheers Daniel

        • Daniel Sumner

          Reply Reply December 1, 2012


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