Don't Try to Create the Wave — Ride It

Updated: Jan 24

In this post I'll teach you everything I've learned about building a scalable, low maintenance business through thoughtful product design.

If you're still in the contemplation stage of launching an online business, perfect.

It's easier to implement the ideas in this post if you're still designing your product.

However: If you've already got a product, this post is just as valuable for evaluating and improving your offers.

This process starts with setting your ego aside and asking yourself whether or not someone truly needs your product.

Even if you've got an incredible product that you know will change the way the world operates, you should ask yourself if the world is ready for it.

Side note: I'm in no way saying to stifle creativity and ignore your inventive side.

Creativity is your best bet for differentiating yourself.

(Say what you will about Tekashi, he definitely differentiated himself. Even if his creativity came through controversy rather than rap.)

But if you're an artist, musician, or thought leader, the last thing you want to do is stop being creative.

What I'm saying, is that you should:

Listen to Your Industry

In the case of musicians and recording artists, the most successful are the ones always pushing boundaries, trying new sounds, flows, pockets, etc.

But while they're constantly creating, they're also paying attention to what resonates with their audience.

You need to do this in every business.

Part of why I posted the Perfection, Consistency & Failure to Launch blog before this post, is because I believe you have to start creating and publishing in order to learn who your audience truly is.

You have to see what sticks before designing a great product.

Once you see what peaks interest, you can start to tweak and fine tune from there.

I got this concept of "Don't Create the Wave, Ride It" from Chris Dixon while he was talking about the success and failure he's faced.

Chris is an entrepreneur who had his first success with a computer security company that he started in 2004.

At the time, people were learning about malware, hackers, phishing, and viruses — so it was a perfect time for his security product.

His next business, founded in 2008, focused on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.

Most people today know of AI and how important it's going to be for our world going forward, but Chris's problem was that he was too early.

As genius as it was for him to stumble across the power of AI years before the masses, he struggled to make it successful because people weren't ready for it yet.

Some of the best salesmen are able to convince people that they need a product, even if it's ridiculous.

The shake weight was an absurd, absolutely hilarious trend.

How it ever managed to sell, I have no idea.

But it was just a trend.

Trends don't last.

Solving legitimate problems is what actually lasts.

Which is why the best products are painkillers.

Find Your Painkiller

I learned this concept from Scott Oldford's book The Nuclear Effect, where he states:

"When it comes to the kinds of outcome your Product provides, there are two main types: vitamins and painkillers."

The idea is that while most entrepreneurs think their product is a necessity (a product that people need in order to solve a pain they face)

Most of the time, their product is just an non-essential vitamin.

And don't get me wrong, vitamins sell.

I use to pound Flintstone Gummies as a kid... like an unhealthy amount.

But what people really need is painkillers.

(This is an analogy. I'm not talking about actual vitamins and prescription drugs.)

I'm talking about a product that solves a problem in someone's life.

I used to go to a chiropractor/therapist twice a week to relieve pain and keep surgeries out of my life.

I needed that service to stay mobile, sleep well, and mitigate pain.

Then I was introduced to peanut rollers and Theraguns. Literally changed my life.

Which makes sense that they were completely sold out this holiday season.

They're scaling, very quickly, because they're problem solvers.

(And in my case, painkillers.)

Now it's worth noting, most products are vitamins.

But if you want something that sells itself so well that you can get them to market and let the results do the work, the BEST type of product is a painkiller.

And these are the easiest types of products to scale with.

(Going back to listening to your industry, you can't convince someone they have a pain they don't have.)

The doctor doesn't come to you to tell you your problem, you go to him and ask for a solution.

Maybe I've gone overboard on the medical examples...

So, let's consider a more practical example.

The most valuable thing my business can offer, essentially, is Lead Generation.

Every topic I cover, has to do with marketing, which is Lead Generation at its core.

And my ideal client, given my experience and network, is a financial advisor.

(Because I've worked for them, seen their processes, and seen their problems.)

Financial advisors need clients in order to grow and meet their income goals.

But the problem for most of them is lack of time.

It takes time and dedication to manage someone's wealth the right way.

And it takes an awful lot of time to market their services, find people in need, and get those people to trust them with their money.

If I can teach them ways to automate their marketing and Lead Gen., I'm saving them a ton of time, giving them new clients, and putting money in their pockets.

I'm alleviating their growing pains.

Once you have that pain figured out, product development comes a lot more naturally.

The next step?

Figuring out your pricing model.

High Dollar Sells Better

This may be an uncomfortable concept for people just starting out, but it's the best way to develop a product.

Think about the Theragun example.

Before it was released, the traditional percussion massager you'd find in Sharper Image looked like this:

(I think we can all agree that both the design and naming of that device was.... questionable.)

But let's do ourselves a favor and not ask what people intended to do with that product after buying it.

Instead, let's look at the price point. $60.

The top Theragun model goes for $600.

The same can be said for Peloton, who initially developed an exercise bike meant to compete with the price of other popular bikes.

It wasn't until they decided to drastically increase the price that they became so popular.

There's something to be said about the exclusivity of a product that's expensive enough that not everyone can buy it.

Not to mention they built a community around it, and turned it into a status symbol.

Now, neither of these examples are perfect, because at this point both Peloton and Theragun are mass producing.

They've already scaled.

But this high price, high quality model actually works for small businesses too.

This is another concept from The Nuclear Effect.

Most people think "I don't have much authority yet, so I'll offer a cheaper, more broad product to a lot of people, and then when I get authority and testimonials, I'll start increasing the price of my product."

The problem is, it's not sustainable to offer a cheap thing to a ton of people and try to maintain 1000's of clients in order to make a respectable profit.

You'll end up drowning in a ton of clients, trying to provide value and not lose any clients due to turnover.

Not only do you not have time to gain more clients, but you also don't have the time to provide true value.

Nobody will take you seriously, they'll feel scammed, and your mental health will suffer.

It's much better to offer a high dollar, high quality product for a small group of people, and then develop smaller products, courses, software later down the road.

When you start to scale and automate you can start to offer a product to a wider group of people, and take the price point down due to the volume of clients that automation provides.

But first you need to discover an incredibly specific client profile, someone with a very specific problem, and very specific goals.

Only then can you develop a product, service, method that provides true value.

Which is just that — true value.

Your product has a right to be more expensive, because it delivers real results for the small group of individuals you start off with.

Which is why:

Dynamic is Better Than Static

Be honest, what do you think's better for your health, a bottle of Hydroxycut, or a personal trainer/health coach?

If you're serious about your health and living longer, what are you going to turn to?

A $50 bottle that offers something that we know isn't natural or sustainable (lose weight while behaving like an obese person does) — or a professional with a tried and true method?

(This is another great example of true value and intimacy costing much more than a cheap, unrealistic product.)

If you're really being honest, you know that a trainer/coach can get you from where you are now to the ideal state you want to live in.

There's a huge difference in these two products, because one is a static, quick fix you're probably (hopefully) only going to buy once.

The other is a dynamic product that assesses who you are, what type of body you have, and works with you over an extended amount of time to reach and maintain your goals.

The value behind a coach, is that they consider your transformation in its entirety.

On your end, you get customized plans, routines, tips, etc. to use along the way.

On their end, they get to charge for each of those products.

Maybe they're using a subscription model (best model in my opinion) but they're still able to charge for each of those products within that subscription.

And the best part is that you know, understand, and agree with their price.

Because you're getting true value.

If you're trying to develop a product that sells itself, is easy to scale, and worthy of a high price:

  1. Listen to your industry

  2. Find your painkiller

  3. Develop a high-dollar, high-value product

  4. And make it dynamic.

Let's talk about my content/ideas!

Like, comment, DM me on instagram (@benny_digital_), email me at, whatever you prefer.

Until next time,


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Ben Dewhurst

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