How Launching A Free Product Doubled My Income

A few weeks ago, I decided to take on a new venture. I felt a bit stagnant with what I was doing, so I decided that it was time to release a new product. This decision was made after listening to a podcast about product development and realizing that I really didn’t have a product. After kicking myself in the butt for sitting on a bunch of knowledge and not doing anything about it, I decided to stop wasting time, and start taking more action.

I decided to give myself one week to come up with a new product and release it to my subscribers. The product was going to be a free video eCourse about how to get your online business up and running and the name was going to be the 7 Day Bootcamp. After calling up one of my Internet Marketing Buddies on the phone, we dissected the concept I was working on, outlined the product and I was ready to get to work.

There was one important decision that was left to be made – How much to charge for it?

After going back and forth about it, I finally decided that I wasn’t going to charge anything for it. I was extremely hesitant about this at the beginning, but decided that since it was my first major product, I was going to try to deliver tons of value to help build up my reputation, and then launch other paid products in the future.

The Process

So off I went into the land of withdrawal, where no one heard from me because I was busy outlining, recording, editing, working, designing and just doing all the usual things you have to do when you are trying to launch a product. The truth is, I had no idea what to expect. How would people respond? Would I be wasting my time developing a product that no one would use?

Regardless of my hesitations, I continued plugging away at the product and sent out a mailing to my list letting them know about my new Free product and when it was launching. At that point, I still hadn’t completed half of the product and the launch was a few days away. However, I had determined that I needed to just put myself out there.

On day one of the launch, I only had the materials for the first three days completed. In the past, I had some half-done products that were never launched so I decided that regardless of how incomplete the product was, I would launch it on the launch date and work my butt off to deliver the rest of what I promised during the duration of the bootcamp.

Everything was going great until day five. I just didn’t have the content ready. After stressing out about it for a little while and talking it over with my internet marketing buddy again, I decided to just simply send out a message letting my subscribers know that they had one day break and that they would get the rest of the content on the next day.

I was surprised at how well it was received. Some of the members even responded that they needed extra time to digest all of the content they were learning and were glad for that day break.

All in all, it ended well, and I got great reviews. It was definitely worth the stress, and now I have something of high value that I can use to grow my online business even more.

What About The Money?

Ok, lets be real. Yes, I launched the product because I wanted to help people. However, there was something else – I still wanted to MAKE MONEY with the product! That’s one of the main reasons why I do what I do online.

I decided that in order to still make some money while doing this, I would use affiliate links to products that I recommend along the way. For example, if someone wants to set up a website, they need to get hosting, so I included my affiliate link where I recommended a hosting company for them to get started with.

There are some premium WordPress themes that I use for all of my websites. In the training, I let people know that there are free WordPress themes all over the Web, and explain how to find them. I also include a link to the premium themes I use. Of course they are also affiliate links.

I wanted to be sure that for this product, people did not feel as if they were being sold to. It was very important to me for them to feel as if they were receiving nothing but value!

The results were fantastic (in my opinion). As a result of the bootcamp, I doubled my online income within the last month, just based on my affiliate commissions, without doing any kind of hard selling.

Lessons I Learned

  • Don’t wait for stuff to be perfect. TAKE ACTION and put stuff out there. This really hit home to me when I saw some guys launched a very successful product using the default WordPress theme. It gave me the kick in the butt I needed and showed me that it is better to get stuff out there and tweak it as you go.
  • Give value and you will receive value. Regardless of how “unprepared” I was for the launch, especially when it came to the technical aspects, I wanted to make sure that I never reduced the value of the content I was putting out there. When it’s all said and done, the content is what does the selling for you and it’s what makes the money.
  • Contextual advertising is very powerful. Yes, you can put a banner add on your site promoting a particular service/product, but if you can make your advertising so that it fits into the context of what your readers are trying to accomplish, that can make even more money.

What The Future Holds

As I mentioned before, my goal was to get my product out there. I wasn’t too concerned with the design, optimizing the landing page, making sure all of my T’s were crossed and my I’s were dotted. I just wanted to have a good foundation.

Now that I have the product completed, I’m going to work on optimizing the entire process, from the time a visitor lands on my page to when they complete the bootcamp and beyond. I’ll be adding more resources to equip them to accomplish their goals.

One of the things I also want to do is set up a paid, upgraded membership, where they can get more advanced content and benefit from coaching calls and other resources.

Take Home Message for YOU

My message to you is very simple. Learn from the lessons I learned. Don’t wait until everything is perfect to get started. Take action and results will follow. Get it out there, and perfect it as you go. You will learn a lot in the process, and you will achieve success much faster!

“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.” – Les Brown

About Leslie Samuel

Leslie Samuel is a blogger who believes that the internet can change the world. He runs an Interactive Biology website that Makes Biology Fun and teaches people how to grow their online business in his Learning With Leslie podcast. He also runs a Become A Blogger - A blog dedicated to helping people Change The World with their blogs. Follow Leslie Samuel on Twitter.

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  • I loved the saying “Don’t wait for stuff to be perfect”. There is no such thing as perfect. We can improve our content and products only if we start doing it and start getting feed backs from others. We learn a lot through the process.

    Great Post Leslie. Loving all your posts

    Prajwal Shinde

    • I must agree, trying to be perfect is just a great excuse to not getting things done most of the time.

      Monica Beltran

  • Leslie, Thank you for your post!!! I have a product that I have been “perfecting” for the past few months, and I know that I really need to just get out there and DO IT! I truly appreciating you sharing your story!

    • Good Luck with that Michelle, However,here is one small Tip, Make sure that your product is upto market standards and two get feedback from your customers after purchase.

  • Awesome post leslie! It’s cool to hear that. Yeah, i agree with what you said. We don’t have to wait until it get perfect. Thanks for sharing.

  • wow, I am working on a very very similar project that is being launched in 2 weeks. Its a free, 7 day video e course on how to set up an ecommerce store lol. amazing. Didnt even know this one exists. I like the motivation of just get it out there tho. I have so many ideas for tracking, tweaking, optimizing etc but the more I look into them, the more I see the work stacking up. This post has given me the motivation to just launch it.

  • That’s a very smart way to continue to build your network. Ideally as well, the material gets passed around too, so not only do folks get a taste of what you provide and want more, but your affiliate links get more exposure as well. Good stuff!

    And yes, never wait for things to be perfect, because by then (ie tomorrow), the technology will have changed. 🙂

  • Hey Leslie,

    That’s great to hear. I did something similar where I created two online courses that were completely free and included affiliate links in the course… so a win-win. It wasn’t a make money online niche either (it was on the Law of Attraction), so I’m proud to say that what you’re sharing does work in other niches 🙂

    • It’s always good to see when the same principle applies in other niches. In fact, I think in many ways, some of the things we do in the Make Money Online niche is easier to do in other niches. I’ve found that to be the case for my Biology Website. I’m surprised at the opt in rates and the level of traffic I’m receiving with minimal effort.

      Glad it’s working for you Steve!

  • Interesting post! I’m just preparing to do a low-priced teleclass, and this gives me some ideas on additional ways to monetize it. We were planning to do a free download of the material, so I could do affiliate links in it..duh! Thanks for the tip.

  • A persons email address has turned into a form of money. What are you going to exchange for it. You have to offer a free product if you want to build a substantial list.

  • Great post! I am in the situation of nearly producing my first online courses…..just need to make it happen!

  • I like that you went ahead and launched without needing it to be perfect. It really shows an entrepreneurial spirit. I do find that the more value I give my readers, the more I get back from my blogging efforts.

  • Reading this post just reminded me – I have ebook still in draft which explains how to build a sales funnel.

    I thought time and again whether to launch it with videos as paid or free but am inclined to go down the free route.

    At the end of the day if people are serious about taking action they will click your affiliate links.

    The reality though is the majority will start with all the best intentions in the world and leave it gathering dust – so your statement by Les Brown rings true



  • Hi Yaro and readers,

    It took me a while to launch my first product too, then I realised just how easy it is to create a product.

    Sure, product creation can be tricky when tweaking video settings in Camtasia, etc but can really be as simple as writing a Word doc and converting it to PDF.

    I’m glad I learned how to create information products.

    Thanks for the insights.

  • Leslie,

    Thanks for that post. It really resonated with me. Offering a free video bootcamp is a great idea. Especially if you can add those affiliate links in there. I am definitely going to try and put a similar free product together.

    Thanks for the inspiration.

  • Thanks for this insightful post. From this I lerned many things also your ideas and suggestions give me confindence.

  • Sometimes you just have to take action instead of thinking about doing something, especially if you have a lot of knowledge about the niche.

    That was a very smart idea to recommend a hosting solution and paid themes, without being pushy or emphasizing that they should buy hosting through you etc. If they are enjoying all of the free content then it makes perfect sense that they would take your advice on theme and hosting recommendations.

    Do you literally spread the course over a seven day period and do you send out follow up emails as part of the email sequence?


    ~ A

  • Great tips you mentioned here, especially the one regarding “Contextual advertising”. People like free stuff and we want to make money. This method makes it possible to achieve both results.

  • Thanks for sharing Leslie. I enjoyed reading how you found success. I especially like your last tip about not waiting until everything is perfect, we need to act to get results. I also agree that results will happen that much quicker if you just get going.

    – Robert

  • […] Yaro Starak explains how he doubled his income by releasing a free product that wasn’t even finished until days after it’s release! Think you don’t have time to launch your own product and make some money from it? Read this article from Entrepreneur’s Journey! […]

  • First great writing, personal experience helps others to learn new things, from whole post I think the most important point is “Give value and you will receive value”. Keep sharing new things.

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