On 7 April 2021, Gumroad promoted their #GumroadDay. It's one day when sellers on gumroad.com get to keep 100% of sales revenue.

#GumroadDay looked like a success because it got a lot of exposure on Twitter and it drove sellers to promote their product on Gumroad, usually with a one day discount.

While it looked like a great opportunity for sellers, some lamented that they didn't have anything to sell to take advantage of it.

So I wondered, would it be possible to create something to sell in an hour? That thought turned into a personal challenge.

Deciding what to sell

First step: what to sell?

I only had an hour, so I needed something I could create easily and quickly. And for customers I'm familiar with.

These came to mind:

Photos

In the last few months, I've been playing around with taking stock photos and uploading them for sale on EyeEm. I have a lot of photos and it would have been easy to pick a few, edit them, and sell them.

Problems:

  • I don't know the customer segment well and don't have an existing audience or channel for it.
  • I don't think Gumroad is known for selling stock photos.

My time

I could sell my time. I'm a freelancer after all, and I know how to sell this well.

Problems:

  • It's not a scalable product.
  • I wanted to sell something that's cheap enough, and my time isn't cheap.

Documents

I'm a freelance web developer, and over the years I've built and refined various processes and documents I use for my day-to-day.

One of the documents is a "Standard Terms and Conditions" document I include in every client contract. I could repackage this easily and it can be sold at a cheap enough price. And freelancers are constantly looking for legal document templates to reuse for their own projects.

So a "Terms and Conditions document template for freelancers" seem to be the best option, because:

  • There is a clear problem: creating a legally binding contract document is expensive, difficult, and boring.
  • There is a clear target segment: freelance web developers, like me.
  • There is an obvious solution: a template document that's quick to use.
  • Execution is easy and obvious: just take what I've been using and refining for so many years and repurpose it into a template.
  • There is a ready distribution channel: the small audience that I have and taking advantage of the #GumroadDay hashtag on Twitter for discovery.

I tweeted it...

and immediately got a positive response...

Creating the product

This was easy.

All I had to do was take the document, and replace all mention of my business name with this placeholder: [[ YOUR BUSINESS NAME ]].

I assumed that potential customers for this document template would be freelancers who are less experienced. So I needed to include a simple "user guide".

In doing so, I realised that Terms and Conditions document on its own is half the solution, because there's usually another document that accompanies it: a Proposal document. So I decided to also add a simple Proposal template into the package.

Again, this is easy because I already have one I've been using for my own client projects.

The result is a package consisting of a Proposal template and a Terms and Conditions template for freelance web developers, in Google Docs format.

Total time: 1 hour.

Packaging and sales copy

Next, I had to sell it on Gumroad. And this actually took a bit of time.

First I had to write the sales copy. Next I had to include a couple of screen grabs to show what the documents look like. And finally, I needed a cover image for the product.

For the sales copy, luckily I already had a prior product on Gumroad (an eBook) which I can refer to. I just used the sale copy structure from that product and tweaked it.

For the cover image, I went on Canva and looked for some ready made templates I can use. I did find one that I like, and spent 10 minutes just changing the copy. The result:

Promotion

Once I've created the product on Gumroad and published it, I tweeted it out with the #GumroadDay tag for visibility.

I also shared it with a handful of forums and groups I'm a part of, on Slack and Telegram.

Result

Only 7 copies sold, but, the first sale came in within 5 minutes!

I wasn't actually expecting to sell any as the challenge was mainly to see if I could create and sell in an hour.

But the beauty of creating a digital product is that you can keep selling it many times.

Summary

The whole process from idea to sale took 2 hours. I didn't quite meet the 1-hour challenge I gave myself, but 2 hours is still quick.

What I underestimated was the time required for packaging and sales. This took about an hour.

Giving myself a very tight time constraint was fantastic for focus. There was no time to waste time on "research" and there was no time for perfectionism. There was only one goal: ship.

This meant I had to work with what I had and what I knew, and this is something a lot of founders lose sight of, me included. Using what you know and selling it to people you already have access to can save you months of time.

Riding on a trend is also a great way to get exposure. In the case of this product, it was #GumroadDay in Twitter. I could also look out for other trends in future, for example #FreelanceDay and create a promotion for it.

So, in the end, 7 sales isn't much. But I can reinvest that money into ads and more marketing to try and sell more.

But the main lesson is this:

Building and launching requires less time than you think.



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