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Creating your product, step-by-step - with Vicki Weinberg
Episode 9811th February 2022 • Bring Your Product Idea to Life • Vicki Weinberg
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Amazon expert and Bring Your Ideas To Life Podcast host Vicki Weinberg shares the step by step process for creating your first product.

EPISODE NOTES

**Please remember to rate and review the podcast - it really helps others to find it.**

In many of my podcast episodes I talk with guest experts and product creators about different aspects of the product creation journey. For this episode I thought it would be helpful to put all these pieces together, and give you an overview of the entire process. I share the steps to take, and point you to lots of resources that you can use along the way from other podcast episodes to free checklists that I provide. Everyone’s product creation journey will be a bit different, but I really think there is something in here for everybody.

Listen in to hear me share:

  • Why I wanted to record this episode (00:38)
  • Define what your product is and who it is for (02:25)
  • Validate your product idea (04:15)
  • Carry out some market research i.e. look at other products (08:58)
  • Finalise your product specification (12:11)
  • Do you need a patent or any other protection? (14:43)
  • Work out your pricing (15:14)
  • Think about branding and logos (20:01)
  • Decide where you’d like to source your product (22:13)
  • Research credible suppliers (22:58)
  • Prepare your supplier communication (26:26)
  • Contact suppliers (28:28)
  • Order product samples and review them (31:13)
  • Get shipping quotes if applicable (35:28)
  • Order your product (36:01)
  • Work out how and where you’ll ship and store your product (38:09)
  • Decide where you are going to sell your product (40:45)
  • Open accounts with online marketplaces (42:15)
  • Write your product description (44:03)
  • Arrange product photography (45:00)
  • Ways you can work with me and how I can help you (45:45)

USEFUL RESOURCES

Podcast episodes:

Episode 9 How to carry out your own customer and market research - with Abbey Teunis

Episode 12 How to write a product specification for a physical product - with Vicki Weinberg

https://vickiweinberg.com/captivate-podcast/finding-a-great-supplier-to-create-your-product/

Episode 30 Where’s the best place to sell products online? - with Vicki Weinberg 

Episode 32 How to write a product description that sells - with Vicki Weinberg

Episode 34 How to take your own professional product photos - with Georgina Little

Episode 36 Shipping and importing your products - with Simon Arnold, Unity Logistics

Episode 54 Wholesale for small businesses - with Therese Ortenblad

Episode 58 Building a website for your products business - with Marie Brown, Beyond The Kitchen Table

Episode 64 How to sell on Etsy - with Anna Panteli, Anna’s Planners

Episode 72 What’s Your USP? - with Vicki Weinberg   

Episode 80 How to brand your physical products - with Cara Bendon

Episode 83 How to set up an effective e-commerce store - with Anna Heneback

Episode 89 How to make wholesale with - with Sasha Gupta, Cheeky Zebra

Blog posts:

How to take your own professional product photos 

Free downloadable resources:

Download My Free Product Creation Checklist

Download My Free Guide 7 Free Ways To Validate Your Product Idea

Work with me:

Find out more about my Product Creation Courses

Find out more about my Product Creation Power Hour

LET’S CONNECT

Join my free Facebook group for product makers and creators

Find me on Instagram

Work with me 

Mentioned in this episode:

Join my Free Facebook group for product creators & makers

Join my Free Facebook group for product creators & makers

Get your FREE product creation checklist

Get your free product creation checklist

Transcripts

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Welcome to the, Bring Your Product Ideas To Life podcast, practical advice,

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and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

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Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

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Hi, I'm thank you so much for being here.

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Um, I'm actually recording this episode on the week that it goes out.

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I'm just recovering from COVID at the moment.

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I've been, um, pretty much bed bound actually for the past week.

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So I'm recording this first thing in the morning when I've got my energy

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levels, where they are highest.

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Um, so yeah, really excited to be here and talking to you.

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I wanted to record an episode taking you through the steps in

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the product creation process.

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Um, I know that often in conversations with guests in solo episodes that I do,

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we often just touch on pieces of this.

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So I thought it might be really useful for you to put all of

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those pieces together and have an overview of the entire process.

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As I record this, I do actually realize that over the past year, I spend much

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more of my time on some elements in this process than others, which is quite an

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interesting realization for me actually.

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Um, but anyway, this will be a fairly brief run through, um, in the show

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notes for this episode, which you can find wherever you're listening.

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So whether that's on my website or in a podcast player, um, if you

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click on details of information, you can hopefully find the show notes.

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If you ever have any problems accessing these do let me know, and I can

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point you in the right direction.

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So in the show notes, there's going to be links to other relevant

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podcast, episodes and blog posts that go into some of the things that

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I talk about in much more detail.

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There are actually so many resources for this episode for you to look at just

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depending who, you know, what area you're at or anywhere your stuck or anything

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you need to find more information on.

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So hopefully whatever point you're at, if you have any questions, um, there'll

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be a resource somewhere or answer it.

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And of course, if not, you can always contact me directly

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at vicki@vickiweinberg.com and that's Vicki with an i.

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Um, and I also should say that this process might look a bit different.

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Which for you, depending on your product.

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So for example, if you're making your products yourself, some of these steps

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I talk about won't possibly be relevant.

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Um, but I still think there will be something in this episode for everyone.

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So with all that said, I'm just going to start talking you through the steps.

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So something I think you need to do very early on in the product

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creation process is define what your product is and who it's for.

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And I think this is really, it's something really important to think

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about, and it sounds really obvious, but sometimes just putting on paper.

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What is your product?

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What problem does it solve if it's solves the problem and who's it for.

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It could be really useful.

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I did an episode last year, talking about your USP or unique selling point.

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And I think this is absolutely key and it might be by the way that you

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don't know what your USP is right now, you might be listening to this and

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thinking, Vicki, I've got absolutely no idea, but that's fine too.

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These steps I'm taking you through, you don't need to

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necessarily be in the exact order.

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Um, I.

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struggled a little bit of ordering them and then just thought, do

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you know what everyone's process will be slightly different?

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And some people will do things in a different way.

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Um, so I've just kind of gone with what seems logical, but don't get

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too hung up on that please don't cause you really don't need to.

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Um, and if you don't know what your unique selling point of your product is,

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or you're not sure exactly who it's for.

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Um, so don't worry.

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You can work this out during your research.

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You don't, you don't have to know everything right now.

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These are just good questions to start thinking about at the outset.

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And if you're thinking, actually I don't have a USP.

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You know, I think I argued every product does even if the USP is you, so let's

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say you're making your own products that say you were an artist or you

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make jewelry, maybe what makes your products unique is you, and there's

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something about the process you use or the materials, or just the fact they're

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made by you and not somebody else you.

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You are your USP, because whatever you are creating is not going to be identical to

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someone else's because everyone has their own processes and does things differently.

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So, yeah, don't get, please, don't get too hung up on this.

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These are just things I want you to think about at the beginning,

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Something else I think is really important to do is validating your product idea.

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So what I mean by this is talking to people who might buy your products,

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your potential customers, and finding out what they want and what

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they need from products like yours.

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So obviously knowing who your customer is, is key.

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Um, it makes it a lot easier to make sure we were talking to the right people.

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I've actually spoken about validating your ideas a lot.

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I'm really keen on this.

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I even have a free guide with some free ideas and a whole podcast

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episode on this when I actually speak to an expert in customer research.

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Um, and, and this is a really important step in.Please don't miss this.

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Um, you've probably heard me say this before, but please don't just ask

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your friends and family, if they think your idea for product is a good one.

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So that when I talk about validating your idea, I don't mean find some

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people to tell you that it's good because, well, for a few reasons,

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one, if you're asking your friends and family it might go one of two ways.

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So it might be that they say, they say what they think you want to hear.

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You know, they care about you.

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They want to be supportive.

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So they'll say, yes, this is a brilliant idea.

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This is a great product.

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I'd buy this loads of people wants to buy it.

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Or they might be overly cautious because, you know, depending on their

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personality and they might think all this is a bit, it's a bit risky.

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And then they have sort of put you off a little bit and I'm definitely not

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saying don't listen to the opinions of your friends and family, and I'm

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not even saying don't speak to them.

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But what I am saying is the people whose opinions you really need to take into

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account are the people who potentially would buy your product and it might be

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that actually you are your ideal customer.

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So perhaps you're, you know, you're, you are a parent and you're

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creating a product to other parents.

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You might think, well, that's you, I know all about this because you

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know, I am someone who would buy my products, even if that's the case.

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Please, please, please.

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Do you speak to some other parents in this example, in the same situation,

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hopefully you'll know lots of them and get their opinions too.

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If you don't know the kind of people who might buy your product in real

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life, maybe you can find them in Facebook groups or in other online

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groups or even offline groups.

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Now that networking events are starting up again.

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Um, and I'm not suggesting you do anything.

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as formal as a focus group, but I think, you know, asking questions,

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like if you were buying a product like this, what would it need to

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do or be to meet your expectations?

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You can also ask him, you know, have you ever bought a product like this?

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Like let's say.

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You're looking to launch a product for new parents say Let's use anotherexample.

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Let's say candles, because I can use this throughout the episode.

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Let's say you're looking to create a range of candles.

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You can start asking people, do you buy candles?

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What sort of price do you pay for them?

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What are you looking for when you're buying them?

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What scents do you like?

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How would you like them to look?

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You can ask all kinds of questions and you can also do all of this

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without giving too much away.

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If your product is something that you think, actually this is a bit sensitive.

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Let's say you've got a really original idea and you're a little bit worried about

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someone else potentially taking that idea.

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Maybe it's an idea you think you might need to patent.

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And I should mention, I have an episode coming up on about this topic

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that will be really, really useful.

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So if that is you hold on a few weeks, because this episode

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is really going to help you.

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Um, and maybe, you know, you're not looking to patent your idea.

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Maybe it's just a, you want to keep it a bit close to your chest.

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That's fine.

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You can, you can obviously do that.

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Um, although there are the, to be honest though, the best

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way to validate your idea.

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Um, and I know this goes against what I've just said, but it depends on your product.

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You'll know which of these approaches is best for you.

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Um, but for some products, the best ways to validate your idea might actually

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be to see if anyone wouldactually pay for it because if people will

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actually give you money for your product, that is kind of, you know,

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that's a really strong endorsement.

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So, you know, you might take pre-orders, you might organize a small initial batch.

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Like let's say you make jewelry and you're thinking of branching out

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with different types of products.

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Maybe you make a few, you try and sell them.

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You see if people buy them, you get feedback from them.

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and you take it from there asking for money is actually the best way to check.

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If someone will actually buy your product.

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As I say, I have other episodes and blog posts all about this topic.

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It is quite a big topic.

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There are so many ways to validate your ideas.

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I should also mention, I have an episode coming up about crowdfunding.

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If that's something you're interested in, because of course that's another

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way of validating your idea by seeing if people are willing to pay for it.

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And of course, by them paying for it, they actually helps to fund your idea as well.

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Again, I'm not an expert in crowd funding, which is why I'm speaking to an expert.

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So that episode is also coming up in the next few weeks.

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So keep an eye out for that one too.

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And then as well as looking at thinking about your customers and thinking

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about what their needs are for their products and what they want for it,

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it's also really important to carry out some market research and look

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over products are actually out there.

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So, this is really easy to do online.

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I don't know how many of us are actually going into shops

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at the moment, if you are.

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That's great.

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If you're not, um, you can do this kind of research online really easily.

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And in fact, it's a little bit easier online anyway, because not

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so much, we get an, a feel for the product, but for getting an idea

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of what people think about it.

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So for example, I like looking on Amazon that probably won't surprise you because

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for many reasons, but one is that there's just so much information there.

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If you.

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Um, if you selling a product that you think might end up on Amazon, at some

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point, it is a really good place to look.

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And even if you're not, um, there were so many reviews, which is really helpful.

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You can also get an idea of the price that people are paying for products.

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As I say, reviews are absolutely valuable.

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They'll tell you so much.

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They will tell you what people like about products.

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They will tell you what they don't like.

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Um, something else you can do as well as maybe even buy a few products to

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look at and you can always return them if you keep them in good condition.

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I'm sure I've shared this before, but when I launch my first product, I ordered

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some similar ones online so I could photograph them and it might actually

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keep them for a little bit longer as well.

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I'm not even sure if I did return all of mine in the end.

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So I'll explain why a bit later on.

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But I think that's a really good thing to do.

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And if your products are, handmade, maybe Etsy is a better marketplace to look at

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again, there were lots of reviews on it.

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See, I was just really a good idea to have an idea of the market.

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So is your idea of an original or a lots of people selling something

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very similar to your product already?

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And if they are that isn't to say that you shouldn't sell it, but is there

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something you can do to your product to make it different to everyone else's

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this is coming back to the USP again.

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So let's say you're selling a certain type of earring on Etsy,

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and you can see there were people selling similar earrings already.

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Is there something you could do to yours to make yours different?

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So wherever it is, the size, the materials you use, wherever they

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gold or silver, or, um, maybe the production processes that you use.

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To have make them there's all kinds of things.

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Um, and this is, again, coming back to reviews while reviews are great,

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because it might be that you look at products, very similar to yours,

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whatever marketplace you're looking on and you see some reviews and you see

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people are saying, well, I don't know.

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This is too small or all the material is really scratchy or, um, these earrings

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hurt my ears, or I don't know what the thing is or this candle, um, smell, you

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know, has a certain smell or brings off smoke or I don't know what the thing is.

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These are just some examples off the top of my head, but.

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You know, you can use what people are saying about product similar

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to yours, to help refine yours and get it the best it can be.

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And once you've done all of this research, and I appreciate that I've gone through

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this very quickly, but I'm not suggesting this is a quick process, but I do think

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it's something worth spending the time on.

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I know it might seem a bit like overkill, but I promise that it is worth it.

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And then you can use what you've done then to make your product the

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best it can be and kind of find it.

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You know, the specification for your product.

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So.

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The question is, I think you could give some thought here are, you know, how

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does my product meet my customer's needs?

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And it might be that the needs of your customer are just, I don't know,

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something, you know, maybe you make jewelry and that all your customer

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wants is, you know, they're looking for something to, to make them feel

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more polished or to liven up an outfit or just to make them smile and happy.

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Whatever that thing is, it doesn't need to be particulalrydeep,

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although some products of course do solve a particular need.

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Um, I have a guest on, in a few weeks, who's talking about a

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product they made to help, um, feed babies with feeding problems.

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You know, that's a very, that product solves a very distinct need.

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If yours doesn't, then that's not a problemand, um, as I spoke earlier,

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it's also thinking about how can you improve on the products already on

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the market if there are any, um, and maybe it's not even improve, actually.

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Maybe I've used the wrong word here.

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Maybe it's more about just making your product distinct.

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It's coming back to that USP again.

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So, if you are writing a specification, because you are looking for somebody

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else to manufacture your product, you need to make sure that it's detailed

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enough, that you're giving a potential supplier, everything they need to be able

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to quote for your products correctly.

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You don't need to share designs or anything that's confidential

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or give it all away at this stage, but they will need to know.

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Some basic details in order to give you an accurate quote.

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And even if you're making your products yourself, I still think a product

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specification will still be helpful.

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Say you may have to source some ingredients or components.

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If example, if you make candles, you might need to source jars or scents.

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And it's good to have this.

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It will also come in useful when you're writing your product description

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a bit further down the line.

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And of course, if you're making something creative, so art or jewelry, perhaps you

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work in sort of more intuitively, um, and maybe you don't need a specification.

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Um, I'll leave that to you, to you, to judge because you know your products and

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you know, yourself and your processes.

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I think for lots of us having something written down, even if

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it's just a material you use.

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Rough sizes, helpful components.

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Um, but if that isn't for you, then, you know, like I say, this isn't like a

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set in stone for me that would apply to everyone because we have all different,

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our products are all different.

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Um, this is more like a template for you to use as you know, as is

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relevant and appropriate for you.

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I think at this stage it's a good idea to think about whether you

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need a patent or any other kind of protection for your product.

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As I said, I'm not an expert here and it's actually next week's episode is

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going to be with an inventor, Mandy Haberman, and she has lots and lots

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of information to share on this.

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If you have any kind of product where you think actually someone might copy

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this, or I'm worried that someone else might try and replicate what

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I'm doing, please listen to this episode is really is one not to miss.

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So the next thing I like to do, and as I say, this works, this is different

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for everyone, but this is the stage where I like to make a decision on what

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I'm going to price my product at and there's a reason I like to do this now,

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It is because in my opinion, I think I'm more likely to get it right if I

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do it now, because I've just done lots of market research and I've just asked

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lots of customers, their opinions.

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So I know what my competitors are charging.

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So I know where my product fits against theirs.

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Say for example, And that there's, for most products is going to be a ballpark

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figure, you know, where the products will fit inside a certain range and maybe

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it's between 15 and 20 pounds, let's say, depending on what you're selling.

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So based on the specification for your product, you should

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know where you know, wherever in that ballpark your product fits.

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So let's say your product is made of more premium materials than your competitors.

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You know, you're probably going to be at the 20 pounds end of that scale.

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Whereas if you're, you know, deliberately trying to simplify your product, maybe

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you're using different materials.

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Maybe the production processes will be simpler.

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Maybe there's going to be components of your product that aren't there.

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Maybe the packaging is going to be simple, whatever it is, maybe you think,

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okay, I can price at that lower end.

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Um, I think this is a really good time to do this because you

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have all of this information.

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I think the danger of pricing your product later is then you are a

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bit biased based on the production price, or perhaps your time if

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you're making the products yourself.

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And you know, there's not really production price.

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Of course there's the cost of materials because then you're pricing

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with the aim of making a profit.

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And the price that you choose might not be viable.

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So let's say you are, let's say, even though you're making your product

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yourself and you've got all the costs of the materials and you've worked out how

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long it's going to take you to do this.

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I actually spoke to somebody on a podcast episode and apologies.

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I've spoken to so many people.

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I forget who it was.

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It was that was telling me that they were making cars.

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And apparently, you know, cards, they were made out of card and then

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they were laser cutting or by hand cutting out shapes in the card.

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So obviously the card probably doesn't cost very much to purchase.

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I assume.

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I don't know if this is just an assumption.

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However, she was explaining that the time it took her to make one cards.

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When she looked at what, you know, what she would have to price the

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cards at it made no sense at all, because I think it was something like

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a couple of hours to make one card.

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Now there's only so much you can charge for a card isn't there.

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Um, there is an upper limit and actually it just, wasn't

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going to be worth her time.

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However, if she'd gone the other way and she had.

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Worked out.

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Okay.

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It's taken three hours to make this card and a materials cost this, and

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my time is worth this amount an hour.

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I'm going to, you know, she might've ended up saying, okay, I'm going

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to charge 60 pounds for this card.

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I don't know what people's hourly rates are this just to figure

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out the air, but obviously no, one's going to pay £60 for a card.

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Yeah.

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And that is kind of the danger of pricing the other way round

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Using another example, let's say you go to a supplier to get

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a quote, to make your product.

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And the supplier says, well, it's going to cost 10 pounds a product.

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And you know that on Amazon, let's say, you're looking on Amazon and everyone

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else is selling similar products.

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So between 10 and 12 pounds, and then you're thinking, well, I'm going to have

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to charge more than 12 pounds because with the fees, I'm not going to make a profit.

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And then before you know, it, you've got the most expensive

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product in that category.

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You're, you know, you're charging 15 pounds simply based on your production

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price, but no, one's going to pay that 15 pounds because your product

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isn't actually that different from the one that's priced at 12 pounds,

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that already has reviews, et cetera.

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Not sure if I'm making this complicated, but what I'm basically trying to say is

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if you do make your pricing decisions, now when you get prices, either you work

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out the cost of materials and the time piece of make your product, or you get

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quotes on suppliers, you can see if a profit is possibleum, really early on.

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And if not, then, you know, you can do something about it.

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So you could perhaps try other suppliers, whether that's for

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materials or to make your products, you could perhaps look at sourcing

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your products in a different country.

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Like let's say you were looking to have it made in the UK and you find

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out actually that's not viable.

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You then can make a decision.

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are you happy to source your products overseas, which we'll

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talk about a bit more later.

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Can you tweak your specification?

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Could you use different materials?

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Is there something you can do?

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Or it might be that at this stage, and I really hope this doesn't happen,

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but it could be that at this stage you go, actually, this just doesn't

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work because when I look at the costs.

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And when I look at what I can sell it for, I'm just not going to make a profit.

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And I really hope that doesn't happen.

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And if it, you get to the stage in that does don't be despondent

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because you've had one product idea you're really likely to have others.

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Please don't give up.

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So the next.

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I think has to do and as I say, you don't have to stick to this

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order is to speak to designers and think about branding and logos.

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Um, this is definitely optional depending on what your product

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is, but I think you will like, you need a logo at the very least.

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So even if you're sellingum, so I have made products on Etsy, most of

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the purchases I make on Etsy, you do get a little sort of thank you card

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or something with a logo on there.

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Um, and that's possibly something that you can do yourself.

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Um, I use 99 designs for my logos and branding.

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Um, I had an episode very recently with Cara Bendon who's a branding expert who

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talks about the importance of branding.

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That's definitely one to listen to.

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Um, and yeah, I know that at this stage it might not be possible to spend a

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lot of money on having a brand created and everything designed for you.

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But I think as a, starting as a starting point, even if you do

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use a tool, like I keep saying Canva, but I think Canva is great.

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A free tool.

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Like Canva do something yourself.

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Um, that could definitely be an interim measure and then further along the line

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and perhaps you could redo your branding.

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Um, I know how, you know, I definitely know how it is when you start out.

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There's so many costs, there's so much you have to pay for, and you definitely

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don't have to do everything at once when I started this consultancy, for example,

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and I know it's different because it's the consultancy to service business, but

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I actually did my branding pretty cheap.

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I had a logo done, and then I sort of worked out the rest of myself.

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And it's only now in the, you know, couple of years in I've actually paid for a full

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rebrand because I was at the point where I felt my business was established enough.

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And it sort of felt like the right time.

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Um, I should say as well, if you are looking to have a product.

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That's going to have a particular package in so for example, it's going to come in

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a nice box or bag or, or whatever it is that might be worth investing in someone

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to design it for you because packaging design is quite a skill and not something

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that all of us will be able to do.

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So just want to put that out there, but obviously this would

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all depend on your situation.

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So I think, you know, A good thing to do is start to think about where

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you'd like to source your products or perhaps components to make your

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product if you're making them yourself.

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Um, I, and I put ideally in brackets here, because what I mean by this

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is, um, it really depends on what you're looking to sell because you

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can't get everything in the UK.

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So not everything is made in the UK and not everything can be sourced in the UK.

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Assuming you're listening to this from the UK.

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Um, I did a whole episode on sourcing your products in the UK versus overseas.

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I think it might be a little bit out of date now, if I'm honest after Brexit

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and all the supply delays and things have changed a lot, actually, since

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I recorded that, um, I probably need to do an updated episode on that soon

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but I think it's worth weighing up your options here.

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Um, and perhaps looking into multiple scenarios.

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So for example, if you are looking at something that you can get made

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or sourced in multiple countries, it might be worth looking into more than

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one, and then you can compare costs.

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You can compare quality lead times and then make a decision.

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Because I do think this can be something that people get

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a little bit overwhelmed by.

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I know I certainly did, um, At the outset.

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And when I was looking to source my first product, I was really.

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Baffled by the whole thing, where should I get it made?

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And in the end, my first production run was in China because

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that seemed quite accessible.

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I use Alibaba, which is a sourcing platform, which made it quite easy.

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Um, I then looked at moving my production to Turkey after that.

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Um, but for me, sourcing in Turkey initially just didn't feel as accessible.

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And actually that only became an option.

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Once I started networking and I started meeting people and they

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introduced me to their suppliers and that's how that became possible.

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But so that's the other thing to say with this actually is you're

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not making a decision forever.

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So if you decide, actually I want to make my products in

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the UK, um, and you do that.

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And then you find out actually the costs aren't working and you

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need to look at sourcing them somewhere about, you can do that.

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You can change your production.

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Um, don't think that the decisions you make now, you know, you have to stick to

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forever and ever because you really don't.

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So once you've had that, you've had got an idea where you're going to

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be looking and it's then starting actually looking for suppliers.

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And as I say, remember, this applies to all your components, your packaging,

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maybe your ingredients so if you're using candles, it's making candles.

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For example, is there one type of essential oil or wax

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it's better for your product?

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So it might be, you're looking more at the actual products and then the

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suppliers, but you need to start doing some research again, I did a whole episode

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on this because it's a really big topic.

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My main advice here is to be really far right.

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There is absolutely nothing wrong with using Google to find suppliers, to verify

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if they're actually real companies, you know, you can get Google reviews now.

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You can get reviews for most things, can't you.

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Um, and you can also work for sourcing agent.

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If you feel a bit overwhelmed by actually doing this yourself, you

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can find sourcing agents online.

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You can find them on platforms like People Per Hour, Fiver probably.

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Um, you might not want to do this.

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You know, and if you, whoever you do work with, obviously you need to make sure

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that they've got great reviews themselves.

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Um, but using your networks is another really good tip here, as well.

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As I said, I found a new supplier when I wanted to change production

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for my first products, by some through someone I met at a network.

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I have a client who's managed to find a sourcing agent to work

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through free one of her networks.

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So I think I've spoken about this before.

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I haven't, I, the importance of networking and connecting with people,

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doing similar things to you, it might be that people actually don't want

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to share their supplier information.

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And that's fair enough, because they've worked really hard to build, to find

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that supplier and build that relation.

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But then again, there will also be people who are happy to share that with you.

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Um, and as long as you, you know, you're not expecting anyone to sort of start in

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there, you know, sharing these things.

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If you, if you ask them in a place.

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You know, knowing that there's a very good chance they won't

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actually be happy to share.

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And you're comfortable with that then by all means by all means ask.

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Um, so once you've started, you know, perhaps you've got a list

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of suppliers that you think, okay, these all look really good.

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I'm going to start contacting them.

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Then you need to prepare some sort of communication.

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Um, if you're looking just for components or ingredients, Probably you may not

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need to do this, but then again, you might, when you you'll know that better

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than me, um, I should say that there's an episode on this and I'm sorry, cause

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I've said that quite a lot, this episode.

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Um, so what you're looking for here basically is a brief, so tight, anyone

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looking at it knows exactly what you want.

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And we spoke, I spoke about this a bit early when I sort of spoke

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about finalising your specification.

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Um, you also need to ask any sort of deal-breaker questions

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that you really need to know.

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So if there's anything that would prevent you from working with someone.

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So let's say it's minimum order quantity.

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Let's say you only want to order a hundred of something.

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And if they say you have to order a thousand, then they're not the

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supplier for you um, make sure you ask that if you need them to be able

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to package your products in house and that's a deal breaker ask that

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I don't suggest in your initial communication asking loads of questions.

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I I'll be honest.

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I used to do this.

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Um, but you know, as a process and you learn.

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But what I've learned actually at the outset, it's kind of more important

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to ask your, you know, one to three key questions, um, because a lot

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of, a lot of it's about relationship building and yeah, I think it's

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definitely worth, um, you know, there is going to be a back and forth there

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should be a bit of conversation.

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So I think at the outset, when you first start reaching out

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to suppliers, I think the first thing is sort of working out okay.

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Who are the ones that aren't going to work out?

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Kind of almost disregarding those sort of, if that's a harsh way of saying

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it, but, um, yeah, that, that's kind of the main, the key of when you first

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start reaching out to people, it's going okay of all of these people

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who is not going to work for me.

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And then they're put to be a handful that you can then you know, move forward with,

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So let's say we started contacting them.

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I'll be honest.

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This is where it gets real.

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This is where it gets scary.

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Start sending those specifications out.

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See what comes back.

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If you are looking to source products that say you're listening in the UK

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and you're looking at UK suppliers, um, I do think it's worth emailing them.

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Because even if you phone in my experience, most people will say,

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actually, could you send that on email?

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But if you're comfortable, I would also follow up with a phone call.

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It just gives you really nice opportunity to find out more about the

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person that you'll be working with.

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Um, a bit easier to build a relationship.

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It's also always easier to ask questions on the phone that is to go back and

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forth on email is always a lot quicker.

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Um, of course, if you look into sort of overseas, that might not be possible.

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Um, I suggest at the outset.

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So let's say, I always suggest you contact us.

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I should say this, actually.

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I always suggest you contact quite a lot of suppliers because it will

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be, you'll be amazed at how many just aren't going to work either

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because they can't meet your spec or, you know, for various other issues.

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Um, because one issue I've encountered when sourcing products

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abroad sometimes is communication.

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So sometimes that might be a language barrier.

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So it might be there.

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I feel the person I'm speaking to, perhaps doesn't fully understand what I'm looking

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for, or it might be that they take a long time to respond to me and that obviously

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can happen wherever you're sourcing.

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It might be, you know, you send an email and it's been two weeks and

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you haven't heard anything back.

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So possibly, you know, that isn't a good indication for

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positive long-term relationship.

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So I suggest disregarding all of those people initially.

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Um, because like I said, we are looking for a long-term relationship and I

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also would say right at the outset, um, disregard anyone who can't meet your spec.

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And I know this might sound really obvious, but I think it

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can be really easy to get swayed.

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So you've spent all this time, you spent, you've done loads of

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research and then you've got this specification for your product.

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You know exactly what you're looking for.

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It's amazing how easy it can be.

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You know, to kind of get a bit knocked off course here.

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So for example, my first product was a hundred percent bamboo swaddles, and I,

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when I started contacting suppliers, I got a lot of people come back and say,

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oh, I can't do a hundred percent bamboo, but I can do 80% bamboo, 20% cotton,

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for example, or I can do organic cotton.

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And the amount of time I spent thinking would 80% bamboo works does it have to

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be a hundred percent or does it have to be bamboo anyway, could it be cotton?

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Which is really silly because I'd spent so much time coming up with

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my ideal product writing it down.

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And then just because somebody who looks good online will say, no, actually

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I can't do this, but I can do this.

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I was then questioning it.

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Um, don't do that because you know exactly what you want.

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Please don't get swayed unless it's something, you know, Different,

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you know, for example, somebody says, you know, you're looking for

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a certain production method, let's say, and someone comes back and says,

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actually I can't do that production method, but I can't do this one.

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This is why I think it would be good.

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And this is why I think you could work.

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Um, you know, perhaps they suggest a screen, uh, sorry, a printing methods.

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That's perhaps um, cheaper than the one you were thinking of, you know,

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then that's something to weigh up, but the core of what your product

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is and does and is made of, I would say, don't, don't be swayed on that.

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Um, it is time to be ruthless, being ruthlessit's not in my nature.

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That story that I shared with you just now probably really makes that clear.

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Oh, yeah, I wasn't very good at this when I looked atit the first time round,

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I obviously got better as I went along, but the first time I went outsourcing

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products, I have to say, oh, I don't think I was great, um, at disregarding anyone.

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I just was too nice.

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And I was like, oh, I don't really want to say no to you, but you can't.

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Can't do that.

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So the next thing to do, or one of the next things to do as I say I keep

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saying, even though I say it to the next thing don't be beholden to this

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order is to narrow down a few suppliers.

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You know, you found a few people that you think you could work with.

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The price looks good.

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What they can do looks great.

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You think they can meet your spec, narrow it down to a few and

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then order some products samples.

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I always suggest ordering to two to three samples, um, from suppliers

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that you've that you'd feel happy placing an order with assuming

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that your sample is up to standard.

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So even if you're just looking for materials to make your products or

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components, or perhaps you're even just looking at packaging, let's just say,

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you're making your products yourself, but you're looking to package them in

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a specific type of box or envelope.

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Um, please still order samples.

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It's so important because every kind of, you want every piece of

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your product to be, to be great.

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Um, I know I've shared this product before, but my first product was

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actually a really good product, but the packaging wasn't up to scratch because

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I never ordered a package in sample and didn't realize how flimsy it was.

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And my boxes were literally falling apart, which meant the products

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inside were getting ruined.

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I had no idea this was going to happen.

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Um, I got lots of complaints as you can imagine, and returns, and that could have

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been avoided if I had just paid a little bit more money to get packaging sample.

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Speaking about money.

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Um, some people will charge you for samples some won't, um, if you're

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ordering sort of, sort of materials to make your product it's possible

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that we will have to pay for them.

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If you are looking for a product sample, that's customized.

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So.

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You're not just looking for a supplier to send you something similar

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they've made for another customer.

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You're actually looking for something bespoke.

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There will likely be a fee for that.

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If you're just happy to have, you know, a sample of their previous work, then some

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suppliers will send you that for free or maybe they'll ask you to pay shipping.

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It really depends.

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Um, and then when they arrive, you need to compare the samples

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you have with each other.

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So it's great comparing, like, for, like I said, as you noticed the easiest way,

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if you have similar products at home, or perhaps you ordered similar products,

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when you were doing your research at the outset, you can compare to those too.

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I mentioned earlier that some of the sample competitor products

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I bought, I kept hold of.

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And the reason I kept hold of them is because I wanted to compare them

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against the samples I was getting just to see how they held up.

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Um, if you're.

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I something that you can use or wear, then do it.

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So, you know, wherever it wash it, play with it, wherever it does, um, use it and

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see how it stands up to day-to-day use, you know, if you want to basically find

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any potential issues before customer does.

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So yeah.

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Any product samples you have you wants to use them.

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Maybe you can ask other people to use them.

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Maybe you can show them to other people perhaps if there's something, you know,

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you can't decide between two samples or something you're not sure about, maybe you

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can ask other people for their opinions.

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If it's something visual, maybe you can share on social media, if you

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feel comfortable doing that and ask people, if you like this or this,

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it obviously, it all depends on, you know, what your product is and does.

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Um, but I think any input you can get from your ideal customers at

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this stage is a really good thing.

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Um, If you are sourcing abroad, you will then need to figure out

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how to get your products here.

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Again, there is a whole episode on shipping, which is really worth the

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listen um, shipping is a minefield.

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There's lots of get your head around.

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If you are looking to source your product abroad.

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I think this is an episode really worth listening to, um, you might

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want to think about shipping before you actually place an order.

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Um, because if you are looking to ship from overseas, the shipping terms will

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impact on your final products cost.

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And obviously this is something you'd want to know before you commit to

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ordering, which is why I mentioned it now.

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And then let's say you have chosen a supplier based on samples.

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You've looked at, you've worked out how you're going to get your product to you.

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Um, it's decision time and it's time to order if you're

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ready, which is super exciting.

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Um, and this is actually the point as well, where say you

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wanted to haggle a little bit on price and say haggle, negotiate.

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It's probably a better word on price or, or the quantity.

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This is probably the time to do it in my opinion, because.

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You've been having some conversations with suppliers, perhaps you've

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ordered samples of their product.

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They kind of know that you're in, you know, that you are, is something

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you're, you're genuinely interested in.

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I personally think that there's no better time to actually sort of talk.

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You know, can it have any leeway on the price or is there any leeway on

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the amount I order because they know that you're genuinely interested.

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Whereas if you go to them at the outset and you ask for a price, you know,

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the very first, you know, one of the first communications that you have,

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and then they say, this is the price.

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And then you say, can you do it cheaper?

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I don't really feel that they're going to be that incentivized

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to give you a better price.

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They don't know you probably everyone or most people you know

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that contact them, you know, have these kinds of conversations.

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There's no relationship.

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Whereas I think if you, you know, you've seen their product, you're happy with it.

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You've been having some conversation.

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You're starting to build a relationship.

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I think that is definitely the best time to ask for some sort

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of discount or negotiation on quantities, if you need that.

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Um, and then another thing might be is they might actually the supplier might

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actually say, well, no, I can't do that.

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But what you could say is, okay, are you prepared to give me some sort

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of discount or quanitity change or whatever it is on my second order?

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Um, I've seen that happen quite a bit as well because.

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Sometimes suppliers might be worried.

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Okay.

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We can give you a really good price and you might make one order from us

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and then you will never come back.

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Um, perhaps you can agree and you can always have this in writing, but when it

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comes to the second order, the price will be slightly reduced or the quantity will

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be reduced to whatever is you're looking.

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Um, speaking about shipping, you know, coming back to this, it's now quite a

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good time to think about where and how you shorts store and ship your product.

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Um, you need to have a bit of a plan for this day.

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Will you still products yourself in your house, in your garage?

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Will you send your products tocustomers, yourself, how will you do this?

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Will you go to the post office every day?

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Will you have Royal Mail come and collect from your house where you use couriers,

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will you use a fulfillment center is cut.

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You know, it's time to start thinking this kind of thing through.

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It might depend on the marketplace use.

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For example, if you use Amazon, there was the opportunity for Amazon to store.

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Distribute your stock for you.

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Although tip I have here is if you are thinking of using Amazon FBA, which is

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what Amazon calls this, um, I would not send 500 units to Amazon's warehouses.

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Um, because if your products don't sell as quickly as you'd like, that's

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an awful lot of stock sat there.

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And also if you want to sell on other multiple channels and we'll get onto

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channels in a minute sales channels.

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Um, if all your stock is tied up in an Amazon warehouse, you wouldn't believe

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how hard it is to actually get it back.

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I say hard, it's not the process.

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Isn't actually difficult, but you pay for it.

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And it takes a long time.

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So if you have all these stocks at an Amazon warehouse, and then

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you decide at the weekend, you're going to do a farmer's market.

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Um, you might find yourself stuck because you might not physically be

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able to get your products in time.

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Um, yeah.

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Do you know actually something that happens to me?

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I don't know if I should maybe admit this is I needed, I always,

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in the same situation, I was doing a baby show and all of my products,

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like all of the things I'm saying.

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don't do I'm basically saying them because I did them and I know it's not great.

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I sent all my products to Amazon.

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They were all in.

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I had probably thousands of units in an Amazon warehouse, I decided to do a

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baby show and I needed obviously stock.

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I had, I had a bit at home, butonly so much.

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I needed more.

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Um, and I went to Amazon to request some stock to be sent to me.

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And they said it was going to take two weeks.

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I needed it in like three or four days.

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So what I had to do is pretend to be a customer.

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I was a customer I basically went onto the app.

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You know, the Amazon site, we all shop on ordered however, many of all my products

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and got them sent to me via Amazon prime.

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So they'd be at my house the next day.

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Um, but of course that meant that, well, one, I was paying for my own products

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and then I was also having to pay the Amazon fees for dispatching them.

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And yet it just wasn't it.

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Wasn't great.

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So that's why I say don't do that because it's yeah, not good idea.

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So talking about, um, sales channels.

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That's think about where you're going to sell your products.

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Yeah.

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There's obviously there's an episode on this.

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Just assume that everything I say really that there will be an episode for this.

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Um, and in that episode, I go through lots of different marketplaces

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and talk about the pros and cons.

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If you haven't yet decided where you're going to sell your products, I really

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think it's worth listening to, um, and do take some time thinking about where

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are you going to sell your products?

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Because as you've likely heard me say before, not all marketplaces

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are right for every product.

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Um, if you're selling handmade products, for example, You're possibly

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going to have going to dobetter on Etsy than you are on Amazon.

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Let's say, although that does depend on exactly what you're making.

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Um, but yeah, there will be marketplaces that we bet is from youth and others.

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There were lots of niche marketplaces out there.

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So marketplaces, repair, and home business marketplaces for sustainable products.

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For example, um, when I say marketplaces, I'm talking about online.

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Of course, it might be there.

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You have, you know, you don't want to sell your products online, perhaps you're

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looking to wholesale your products.

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Um, if you are then do, please listen to the episode I did with

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Therese all about wholesaling.

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Um, I think that would be a really useful one to listen to in a good place to start.

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Um, and I also have an interview with Sasha, from Cheeky Zebra, who talked about

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wholesaling, her cards and how wholesale is now a huge part of her business.

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That's also something else to listen to.

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Um, but wherever you're going to sell your products, in my opinion, a simple website.

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It's a good place to start.

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So a simple web site and one off a marketplace I think is really good.

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I don't think you need to be everywhere on day one.

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I don't recommend it.

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Um, a website is good for many reasons and yes, there is a web.

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Uh, there is, um, an episode on that as well.

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Okay.

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So we're almost there I promise.

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The next things to think about doing is, okay, so you've worked out where

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are you going to sell your products?

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Say maybe you have a website you're guessing built, or

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you're building on yourself.

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You definitely can build one yourself if you are.

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And it's e-commerce I recommend Shopify because it like, it really

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is a sort of all in one website builder, all the payment stuff's

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built in personally I found Shopify.

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Really easy.

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Um, yes, there's an episode about Shopify as well.

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Um, as I said, there really are episodes and everything I'm finding out.

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So as I write this, um, so, you know, when, when your product's on the way,

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this is really the time to get set up, to do some research, to figure

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out how to get your listing online.

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Um, so Amazon, for example, isn't always easy to get started on.

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So I would give yourself lots and lots of time.

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So you're not up against a deadline.

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Um, I have loads of what resources specifically for Amazon.

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How to get set up on Amazon things to think about how to create a

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great listing, it's all there.

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Um, and I'll link to that, obviously in the show notes, if you're looking at

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selling on Etsy, then I did an episode on with Anna Panteli she was on the podcast.

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It might've been last year now, actually it's a great episode.

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She's a really good person to follow on Instagram.

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Um, and she also has some courses opening soon.

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She has so much knowledge on it at, so I do recommend taking a look, Anna.

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Yeah.

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Wherever you're going to be selling your products you'll need

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to write a product description.

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It's really important that you write this for the marketplace, your selling

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on, um, and obviously that will be different for each marketplace.

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If you're, if you're selling on Amazon, for example, which has, you know, I know

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every very well there's a set format for product descriptions you need to follow,

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um, Yeah, it's also really important wherever you sell your products that

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you do keyword research, and that again will be different for every marketplace.

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If this is something that's completely, you know, feels, you know, very

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complicated and because this is a really important thing to get, right?

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My advice would be using an expert, find someone who's an expert in writing

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product listings for the marketplace you're looking at and get some help.

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If you're like an Amazon, I can obviously help you if this, if you

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look in front of the marketplace, If you need help with this, let me know.

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And I'll see if I can find the right person for you.

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Um, and you will also need good product photography.

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Um, again, you can do this yourself, um, and maybe you feel like this is

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something that you can, you can do.

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Um, if not, you can always use a photographer.

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Um, I have a blog post about taking your.

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Um, photographs, um, for using online and also interview with a product

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photographer, which I think would be a really good listen as well.

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So that is it.

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Um, I don't mean to make it sound overly simplistic.

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In fact, I'm not even sure if I have, um, this, this turned out to be a much

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longer episode than I thought it with be.

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Um, and I'm sorry if I sound really out of breath as well, I don't think

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I've talked this much for a really long time, so I don't know if you can pick

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up, they've been quite a few pauses as I've had to breathe a little bit.

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Um, I know there are lots of steps, but it is a process.

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You can follow it along.

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You can follow step by step.

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You don't have to do the steps in this order.

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I have, um, a product creation checklist, which might be really useful,

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but it outlines all of these steps.

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It's literally just a sheet that you work through and tick

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things off as you do them.

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That might be really helpful.

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That's linked up in the show notes.

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Um, I've also in the show notes, I'm linking to all of the relevant

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podcasts episodes I've spoke about.

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Although to be honest with you, if you're at the beginning of your product creation

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journey, you're somewhere in this process.

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I would say the majority of episodes will be really helpful.

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Because when I speak to guests often, it's this stage that

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we, that we focus on as well.

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Um, I also have some online courses specifically on product creation.

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So one is just about the first bit, so researching your idea and the second,

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the full course takes you through the research stage and everything up until

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having your product ready to order.

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I also offer product creation, power hours where we can spend an hour on

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zoom together, and you can ask me your questions, or we can work through

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something together, um, whatever you need.

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And this year I'm also launching one-to-one programs where

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we would meet every week.

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And I would sort of go through the process the next step in the process, with you,

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you would go off and actually do some work, but you'd obviously have access to

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me in between calls and we basically work through creating your product together.

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So if you're interested in any of those, you can find more information

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on my website, Vicki weinberg.com, also linked in the show notes.

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You can email me at vicki, vicki@vickiweinberg.com and yeah,

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I'm always really happy to hear from you always really happy to help you.

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I hope you found this episode useful.

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Um, if you have any suggestions, other things you'd like me to talk about then of

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course, just get in touch and let me know.

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Okay.

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Do remember to share this episode with your friends or anyone else you

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think would benefit from listening.

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So thank you so much.

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And I'll speak to you soon.

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Thank you so much for listening all the way to the end of this episode.

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If you've enjoyed it, please do leave me a review that really helps

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other people to find this podcast.

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Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss any future episodes and

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do tell your friends about it too.

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If you think that they also might enjoy it, you can find me@vickyweinberg.com.

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There you'll find links to all of my social channels.

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You'll find lots more information.

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All of the past podcast episodes and lots of free resources too.

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So again, that's Vicki weinberg.com.

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Take care, have a good week and see you next time.