Products vs Services– is an interesting way to divide the things we spend money on. I think that we are generally more likely to feel good about spending money on a Product. Sometimes I am genuinely happy I am spending money on a service. Even there, however, the satisfaction usually comes from how much I do not want to, or cannot, do what the service professional is doing for me– think Roto-Rooter.
Products, on the other hand, even digital ones, are things I can get a little ownership pride and satisfaction from at almost any time. I enjoy buying new things, and the acquisition of the thing feeds an appetite of mine. And if the product becomes one of those things you return to again and again because it is beautiful or useful or best of all, both at the same time– that thing can confer long term and independent value. It becomes a treasured part of your life, perhaps even changing your identity.
Today I was listening to Tim Ferris’s, “The 4 Hour Work Week.” Timothy contrasted Product based and Service based businesses– Product businesses are easier to run from anywhere, while Service businesses usually require more face-to-face, interactions with clients and collaborators. This got me thinking since most of the work I charge for as a freelancer is Service based business.
So how could I product-ize my expertise and abilities? That’s the puzzle I’m trying to work out. I think I might have some ideas, but I’m still working them out. One piece that is a little disjointed in the Tim Ferriss advice is that he wants you to have a product based business but then goes on to tell you not to invent a product and find a market, but rather look for a market and then invent a product for that market. It seems like the chicken and egg situations, since your audience/market ideas are likely to be heavily dependent on your product, while at the same time I see what he means about finding a market of people who have a certain set of paint points and then inventing the product to answer the needs of those people.
So far most of my ideas are about leveraging know-how into training, recommendations, and educational materials. The benefits of this are that this is a proven business path. Others have done this and are doing pretty well at it, as far as I can tell. On the other hand, there is a decent amount of competition so differentiation and niche-ing will be quite important, if I decide to pursue this angle.
I am also still trying to think outside the box. How can creativity help me jump a paradigm. How does photography and videography geekiness translate into a product or line of products with lasting value. I guess inventing some piece of gear could be a way to go. Software is also a pain-point for people using cameras. I will have to keep working on this problem.
The line below is what sleep blogging looks like for me. I was trying to write this blog last night and managed to write the following line while I was drifting off to sleep. I include it here as a piece of evidence that I tend to use large words in my sleep.
The products, however, have the ability to be multipliers. If you have a precautionary tale, write