Greetings from Cape Verde, everyone. What a crazy trip it’s been. Over the weekend I’ll return to the U.S., visit Pittsburgh for their TedX event, and make it to Chicago for the beginning of Empire Building week.
One week from yesterday (yikes), I’ll launch my biggest business project of the year while riding the Amtrak rails home to Oregon. If you’re new to AONC or just want to catch up, check out these entries:
This brings us to today. The EBK is almost finished (I’m doing a few more case study interviews from the road) and ready to launch out into the world. But first I thought I’d ask an important question… how much do you think it should it cost?
Yes, I really do want to know what you think. You can post your opinion here in the comments, and there’s no wrong answer—just say what’s on your mind and we’ll see what everyone has to say. But if you need more information about it, keep reading.
Where We’re Going
The big question when planning “the next step” for any community is to ask, what is the most natural progression? Where are we going, and how does this step fit into the overall mission?
In terms of the business side of things here, almost everything in the Unconventional Guides store is deliberately under-priced compared to the value it provides. We have a 28-day community group for $100 while plenty of other people in this field charge $150+ for one phone call. We have a Frequent Flyer guide that guarantees at least one free plane ticket for just $49. And so on.
This pricing model has served me well, but it has its skeptics. Every time I raise the price of something, it ends up selling more right away. Strange but true. In Austin recently, I was fortunate to receive business advice from all kinds of people I respect and trust. Every single one of them said: “Don’t underprice this thing! An Empire Building Kit shouldn’t be low-budget.”
(The eminent Copyblogger said to me in a roomful of people who all nodded their approval: “We love you, Chris, but you need to charge more for your stuff.”)
The Goal: Build Your Own Empire
First, here’s the goal: to help aspiring emperors build a successful lifestyle business in one year by doing at least one thing every day. I define lifestyle business as a project that produces at least $50,000 a year in net income with few (or zero) employees, doing something you love that other people are thrilled to pay for.
My preference is for online businesses that can be run from anywhere, since that’s what I do, but the case studies include all kinds of people doing all kinds of things.
There are two “killer apps” to this project. The first is the collection of no-holds-barred case studies, and the second is the step-by-step, one-year plan. Emperors will get the case studies right away, and the 365 steps, tips, and reminders in daily emails for an entire year.
A Chicken for Every Pot
I’ll have three options for the EBK—one on the budget side for people just getting started (“Emperor-in-Training”), one for experienced entrepreneurs who want to take their business to the next level (“Alexander the Great”) , and one in the middle that I think will serve most people the best (“Hail Caesar!”). None of them will be extremely expensive, but none will be cheap either.
All three empire-building options include:
- Numerous (10+) case studies in a range of formats—video interviews, audio interviews, transcripts, and PDF compilations
- A detailed overview of the lifestyle business. What it is? What should you know right from the beginning? How can you create your own empire like all of the case studies have done?
- Additional instructional videos (with key lessons included in text form as well) dealing with specific topics or common questions
In each case study, I talk with the other entrepreneurs all about money—remember, these are people who make $50,000+ a year without employees and by doing something that they love. I ask them: “How did you make this happen? What was your best decision and your biggest mistake? What do you wish you had known when you were first getting started?” And so on. The focus of every conversation relates to this question: “How can other people do what you’ve done, in their own way?”
The middle and premium versions each include a number of materials related to product launches, including a 43-step checklist I use every time I produce a launch. The premium version takes the transparency further by providing a detailed breakdown of the entire Unconventional Guides business—exactly how much money comes in for each product, lessons learned from each launch, copies sold, challenges ahead, and so on.
Anyway, you can view a complete list of everything that’s included next week—for now, I just wanted you to have a good overview. And by the way, if it’s out of their price range, no one should feel any pressure whatsoever about buying the EBK. I’m thrilled that I can publish 90% of my work for free (like the 100 articles a year I post here) or for very low cost (like my upcoming print book, which will hit the stands this fall with a retail price of less than $15).
This probably isn’t the most strategic pre-launch message—I’m supposed to be telling you how amazing the EBK is and why you should buy it—but I decided it would be better to hear what people think about the pricing issue first. I’ll cover the rest of the pre-launch on Monday, as long as I get some time away from everything that’s going on in Chicago.
By the way, if you think that making money is outrageous and that I’m a bad person for doing so, then you can go ahead and tell me that here too. I know there are some people who feel that way, so let’s get this out of the way so we can all move on.
For everyone else, I’ll look forward to serving you, either through the Empire Building Kit, something else in the store, or (most important of all) through everything related to the non-profit side of AONC.
But First, the Question
After thinking about it for several weeks and getting input from everyone in Austin, I have a fairly good idea what the price of the EBK should be…. but I’d love to know what YOU think. Nothing is set in stone yet, so I’ll pay very close attention to your responses in making the final decision.
Don’t think about it too much, and don’t worry about giving the “right” answer.
How much should the Empire Building Kit cost? Feel free to provide a specific number, a range, or any general input on price and value.
Update: Thanks for all the feedback! There is a huge range of views in the comments — it shows what a diverse crowd we have. I’ll be in Chicago tomorrow and getting ready for the launch on Wednesday.