This week I received something special in my inbox, an email containing the royalties from my first book. It was a great experience to open the email and know that people liked my book enough to buy it and then tell others about it. And better yet, I get paid for the expertise and knowledge I have built up over many years.

Knowing the information is one thing. Packaging it into a product that users want is another thing.

The three things I learned the most from writing, publishing and marketing my book is:
1. Great content takes time, it takes way longer than you think
2. Great design really helps (I love our little monsters!)

And most importantly of all

3. Build your community before you publish

The third lesson I learned the hard way a while back. A few years ago our design agency Spoiltchild built a cool marketing platform called Toddle helps users create beautiful email newsletters in seconds. Back then, I didn’t know about lean and we built Toddle to solve a design problem – most newsletters we received looked pretty terrible – a “build it and they will come attitude”.

The problem with this approach is, you have to find users when you launch and crucially, you have not tested whether your product solves the problem you thought it addressed in the first place. These two problems together are enough to bring any business to a halt.

From our Toddle experience, we realised pretty quickly that community is key and lean works way better than “build it and they will” come. So when my book was published; we had built a community of engaged users who appreciated and needed it’s information. We built on the community we had already brought together and leveraged it. To build on that momentum, we are about to launch another product, a spanking new email marketing programme specifically for our amazing community.

To sum up, it has been an immense learning experience putting my knowledge to use as products. It’s been fascinating learning how to make this knowledge available to others and seeing how much it is valued by them. Good content is very difficult to find and people will pay for content that helps them improve their business. I believe that productising your knowledge is a very valuable way of sharing what you do and building a sustainable business, no matter what industry you are in.

Questions to consider:

Can you productise your knowledge?
How can you help your users?
How could you save them time and help them grow their business?