Creating Products That Already Exist… Kind Of…
Posted by Mitch Mitchell on Nov 23, 2015
Five years ago today, I wrote a post highlighting a product I’d created about 5 years earlier as it pertains to my leadership coaching and training business. The post was titled Mitchell Employee Evaluation Module because that’s what the title is of the item as well. If you want to skip the post and just check out the item itself, click here.
Although I talked about the item in that previous post, it was fairly clinical and pretty short. I just told what it was then; I was in a period where I remembered that I had products and wanted to get the word out. The strange thing is I never wrote about it on my business blog; I’m going to have to rectify that, and soon.
I didn’t talk about the process of creating it and a moment of indecision about it. I figured this was a good time to talk about that because, though it’s not a fascinating tale, it’s an inspirational one, if I say so myself. 🙂
If you’ve ever been an employer, you know it can sometimes be difficult to conduct interviews to find the right people for the position you need to fill. The problem is that for most positions there are a high number of people with close to the same qualifications and it can be hard to figure out which person to take. You also have to guard against perceptions of favoritism, racism, sexism, and a host of other isms. Truthfully, I hated having to go through the hiring process as a director.
If it’s that stressful to hire employees, try imagining what it might be like hiring someone for a leadership position. Then imagine what it’s probably like for people who might be looking for someone with certain qualities on one day of interviews, then suddenly changes the next day. It can get pretty ugly for many people.
It was never a problem for me though. I always knew the type of people I wanted to put into leadership positions. As you can imagine, I was also kind of different than the norm, and in the right position to do so.
Health care billing is one of those positions where a person without a college degree can actually be promoted into a supervisory position. Depending on the hospital, many can also get promoted into director positions if they show they have the skills in bringing in money and managing what we call the front end of the revenue cycle process. You don’t need to know all of that; what you need to know is that those types of jobs don’t always require a college degree.
Or do they? That actually depends on the hospital. There are many hospitals across the United States that not only require a degree, but want some kind of certification as well. There’s very groups that offer certifications in that respect, which means it’s pretty expensive to get those degrees. Therefore, not everyone has one; I don’t. However, I’ve done pretty well; I did help a hospital increase their revenue by $730 million in one year after all (yeah, I’m bragging lol).
It was the “do they or don’t they” question that prompted me to create the module. I sat down and came up with categories I felt were important in deciding what type of person an employer might need. Then I came up with different qualities under each category. In all, I ended up with 46 qualities.
I then created a spreadsheet for employers to use. The basic idea was to first answer a series of questions that lead hiring parties to determine what they were actually looking for. The next step was to go through the 46 qualities, based on the other answers, and pick 10 overall qualities they wanted in new managers.
This helped for two reasons. One, it made those who had to do the hiring actually evaluate what they needed and why. Two, it gave them the option of deciding if they needed that degree or not.
Just so you know, most of the time when people are hiring and ask for a degree, they don’t really need someone with a degree. It’s use is aimed at reducing the number of applications that come in for a position. Some might not want me telling you that, but I’m not in HR. lol
It was during the period of creating the spreadsheets when I had a minor dip in faith. This led me to talk to my friend Kelvin, who now runs a business called Intensely Positive. I hadn’t told him I was creating the product until I’ve reached this point, so he just listened as I explained the whole thing to him.
My issue wasn’t that there were other products on the market that could help employers figure out how to hire people. They weren’t exactly like mine, so I had that going for me. My issue was that I was creating spreadsheets that would become part of the package.
I said to Kelvin “These are just spreadsheets I’m creating in Excel. Anyone could sit down at a computer and do this.”
His response was quick: “They could, but they didn’t. You did.”
Truthfully, that’s all it took for me to go ahead and finish, which I did by the end of the next week. Other than my books and CD series, it was the first product I created. Not that I’ve sold a lot of them, but I have sold some. Back then I actually had to mail them out; now it’s a quick download. Luckily, it doesn’t need to be updated either; whew!
This is the beauty of creating products. Sure, there might be something similar, but nothing is actually a total copy when you think about it. Our buddy Troy Sweezy convinced me to read a book titled Steal Like An Artist, and the author pretty much said this same thing, that being very few things are actually new in today’s world. People either improve them or make them different in some way so that people believe they’re totally new.
If you’re using the excuse that “it already exists” or “why would anyone buy from me”, get rid of it now. Create your product, put it out there, market it, work it, and sell it; go ahead and do your thing. Even if it doesn’t become the next blockbuster thing that makes you a millionaire… you created a product! 😀