3 Tips to Make Online Business Success As Hard As Humanly Possible

I wanted to talk to you about the hardest possible way to sell your stuff, for the least amount of money possible.

Yep, that’s right!

If you want to learn how to sell online products and programs and feel really stressed out and discouraged the whole time, well, I’m going to show you.

I know, I know, I know what you’re thinking: “What makes YOU the expert, Kathryn? How do I know I can trust you to show me the hardest, slowest, least profitable way to have online products and programs for sale?”

It’s because I’ve been there, done that. My expertise is hard-won. You can trust me. 🙂

(By the way, if you’re noticing my tongue-in-cheekness, well, don’t worry, I’m also going to show you the easier path too. 🙂 )

Tip #1: Don’t Talk to a Single Prospect Before You Create Your Product

This is super-important.

The key here is to just take a big stab in the dark and totally guess at what it is that your perfect prospects want to buy from you.

It feels a lot easier this way because then you don’t have to run the risk of someone saying to you, “Actually, I don’t think I’d buy something like that… I would rather buy this instead!”

In other words, you can just go off on your merry way and spend months creating this product – and all its accompanying videos, worksheets, bonuses, websites, promotional materials, emails, webinars, etc. etc. etc. – without having to bother with whether or not anyone actually wants to buy it.

(Been-there-done-that Kathryn says: The truth is that if you actually go out and talk to your perfect prospects – or even just friends or family who are similar to the people you want to help – I swear you will learn a ton about what your prospects actually want and that will make it way easier to sell your stuff because you’ll be creating things you know for a fact people want, because they will have TOLD you so.

I know this sounds deceptively simple. It is simple… so don’t overcomplicate it!

Bonus: You’ll also pick up a ton of awesome marketing language from talking to these people. Just write down the actual words they use to describe their wants and struggles and then use those actual words on your sales pages, in your emails, during your webinars, etc.)

Tip #2: Cram Everything You Know Into 1 Single Product

This tip is so so so important when it comes to making it as hard as humanly possible to sell your stuff.

Sounds counterintuitive, right? The more value you put into 1 product or program, the more people will want it and the more people will pay, right? So it should be easier to sell, right?


Here’s the truth: When you put everything and the kitchen sink into one single product or program, and then you try to market and sell it, you end up having to go on and on and on and on about all the features and benefits and bonuses and blahblahblah.

And instead of people going, “Wow I want that,” they actually go, “Oof, that sounds overwhelming. 5,000 worksheets? That sounds like work! 25 coaching calls a month? How am I going to fit that into my already over-jammed schedule?”

When you cram all of your knowledge and expertise into one thing, yes, people get overwhelmed. And people don’t want to be overwhelmed. So the result is that your thing is going to be harder to promote and sell, guaranteed.

Plus, there are fringe benefits to following this handy-dandy tip:

  • Your product or program will take forever to create because there is so. much. effing. content.
  • People won’t actually even be able to get the transformation or outcome you’re promising because they’ll be so overloaded with all the learning that they’ll either give up on themselves or shelve the training/product “to do when I have more time”… which never happens.
  • You won’t have anything left to sell because you put all your stuff into 1 thing, so that means no pesky repeat business for you.

(Been-there-done-that Kathryn says: I totally understand the temptation to put every shred of our expertise into one thing. We want to deliver massive value. We want to blow people away with our generosity. And, yes, sometimes we might be putting it all in there because of a little niggling fear we have inside of us that people will think we’re imposters or want refunds because they don’t see the value… riiiiiight?

Here’s the thing, though: It’s easy for YOU to ram all of your knowledge and wisdom into a 5-module course (mine used to be 8 modules actually – ahem)…because you’re the expert! Your clients aren’t experts yet – that’s why they need you!

Think like a teacher. You need to break it down. You need to go slow. You need to give people time to digest, ask questions, and go deep. You are actually doing people a HUGE disservice if you try to shove everything it’s taken you years to master into just a few hours of your time. Imagine if someone tried to force you to be fluent in a foreign language in just 5 sessions. Doesn’t work that way, right?

If you give people the time and space they need to process and integrate what you’re teaching, they’ll actually get MORE transformation and perceive MORE value… even though you technically taught them less.

The other thing is that you do want to be able to have next-level products to sell people once they’ve completed your basic stuff. If you give it all away in the first program, not only will you have nothing left to sell but you won’t have a base of happy customers to sell to because they didn’t really get much out of the first thing you sold them (see: overwhelm, above).

The takeaway? Pull a ton of content out of your products and focus on ONE small transformation/outcome at a time. That will educate and empower your clients AND transform them into loyal fans, eager to buy your next thing. It’s better for you and, yes, it is truly, truly better for them, too.)

Tip #3: Overcomplicate the Techie Stuff

You heard it here first, folks: To sell your stuff online the hardest way possible, you really want to have every single fancy techie bell and whistle you can get your hands on. Preferably the most expensive ones that are so darn hard to use you also have to hire a virtual assistant to be able to run stuff for you… another added expense, hooray!

On that note: Make sure to also drop as much money as possible into your techie tools really early on, ideally before you’ve ever even sold anything so there is a great big stressful cash outlay weighing on you while you try to launch your new product.

Whatever you do, don’t keep it simple. To really make sure your online business success is as elusive as possible, you want to have the most complex email marketing tool and also one of those merchant accounts/shopping carts where you have to go through a weeks-long application process just to be able to accept a credit card.

Also, be sure not to take advantage of any free trials that could help you get the lay of the land and see if you like the tool they’re trying so hard to get you to buy. If you buy all the techie stuff outright and then launch your product before you actually have any money coming in, then that will really add to the difficulty and pressure of your fledgling online business. Bonus points if it’s really, really hard to back out of your monthly commitment, too.

(Been-there-done-that Kathryn says: You know how much I adore keeping the techie stuff simple. You know why? Because I used to do it the hard way and it totally sucked.

It took me 2 years to make my first dollar in my first online business because I struggled with how to accept money and how to market my thing. I built the most user-unfriendly website known to mankind. I even self-published 3 books online to help bolster my credibility – OMG.

I guess the silver lining of learning things the hard way is that I now have so much to teach and share with you – which I love doing. And I would really, really prefer you keep things simple with affordable and easy-to-use tools that do what you need them to do, but without so many bells and whistles that you can’t figure out how to actually work the darn things.)

Okay, Okay… Here’s How to Launch Your First Online Product NOT the Hardest Way Possible:

Ahhhhh… well, that was fun reliving all my biggest online business mistakes.

(Not so much! What about you?)

If you would like to learn how to create an online product or program without all the marketing hassle and techie nonsense, I hope the honest tips I shared above helped… and please also be my guest for the Product Creation Masterclass (it’s free), hosted by my pals at ConvertKit (the email marketing tool that I use, love, and can’t stop talking about).

This is the second year ConvertKit has led this incredible no-cost training that teaches you how to build your first online product and earn your first dollar in 30 days… and I’m so stoked they’re doing it again!

What exactly is the Product Creation Masterclass?

ConvertKit has jam-packed this 4-week training intensive with everything you need to know to conceptualize, build, promote, and sell your very first successful product in less than a month, which I super-love (if you’ve been around my community for more than 5 seconds you know I’m alllll about monetizing quickly). The Product Creation Masterclass includes:

  • 20 daily lessons starting January 15th
  • 4 expert interviews featuring Melyssa Griffin, Maya Elious, Jeff Goins, and Chris Guillebeau
  • They’re also partnering with some incredible companies to help you create your product by offering free trials to:
    • Thinkific – for product/program creation
    • SamCart – for selling your stuff
    • ConvertKit (of course!) – for email marketing and program delivery

Register here for this free Masterclass.

I really hope you’ve found this post helpful. If you have, please do 2 things for me: (1) leave a comment below and (2) share this post with 1 or 2 people you think would really benefit. Thank you!

I appreciate you,


  1. Tracey Powers

    I’m guilty of all 3! I just have to commit to the time to do this. I hate to pass it up. And if you recommend it, I’m in!

    I still need to route my website to the LeadPages Landing Page and out of that proprietary Live Edit Aurora mess of a website.
    ahhhh overwhelm!

  2. Rosalie



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