Creating Products That Already Exist… Kind Of…

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 Artisticon, 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! 😀

9 thoughts on “Creating Products That Already Exist… Kind Of…”

  1. Hey Mitch,

    Great article here. I was just thinking about this topic.

    Nothing is really new … And if you decide not to create something because its been done to death, that’s the wrong mentality. So many people have been career thieves in any profession … Art…business..anything. You just have to know how to modify it enough to make it your own.

    – Andrew

    1. Thanks Andrew, although thinking of them as “thieves”… well, the book did refer to stealing didn’t it? lol Still, it’s valid to think of modifying to either improve or make something different in making money. Kind of like how so many people have figured out ways to make those croc shoes fancier; ugh! lol

  2. Hey Mitch,

    I learned that some time ago too.

    There are so many products out there but what our goal should be is to improve upon them and make them better. Or maybe they left certain parts of it out so include those too.

    I remember not wanting to create my course about building a blog community because I had shared so much already on my blog. Know what people told me? I want to find all that information in just one place. So basically I’ve given it all away for free already but you want to pay for it so it will all be together. Okay then so I did it. lol…

    If they want it, give it to them. 😉

    Have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving.


    1. Good stuff Adrienne. You know, I have the material together to write a book on blogging. I keep holding back though because every day it seems there’s someone else who’s just released a book on the subject. I do know that one of these days that book’s coming out though; I’m in no rush to do it, but I know it’ll be in my “voice” which makes it unique. 🙂

  3. Hi, Mitch sir, I think Andrew is right ‘You just have to know how to modify it enough to make it your own.’
    I sent you a mail on @imjustsharing please reply..

  4. Hey Mitch,

    I love Kelvin’s statement “They could, but they didn’t. You did.”

    Sometimes, as a product creator, I run into ideas and later find out someone’s already rocking in it. When I came up with the idea to build, I contacted a few friends and one of them told me something like already existed.

    That almost broke my excitement but I pushed on and the results is such a great money making tool.

    Everyone is unique and if we tie our unique qualities to our products, I think they will be unique too.

    Thanks for such words of encouragement. Product creators need them 😉

    1. Thanks Enstine. You’re right, all of us need to remember this kind of advice. I mean, there are people copying what others do that makes them successful all the time. Yet there’s either something just different enough to attract them or something else. I always figure there’s enough for everyone.

  5. Greetings Mr. Mitchell, and thank you once again for the mention. The thing I realized long ago — thought I haven\’t fully taken advantage of my realization — truly is there is very little new under the sun. People can find out whatever they want if they have the time and inclination to search the web and look for it, plow through it to find what\’s relevant and useful. The value in what you do is to do the hunting and assembling of information *for them* and handing it to them in such a nice little package — so they don\’t have to spend their time and patience because you\’ve already done that and presented it to them in a nice neat package. The spreadsheets are just one more step they didn\’t have to come up with because you already thought of it and implemented it and they just had to use it. More value added, as they say 🙂 Now if you\’d be kind enough to re-run that wisdom BACK by me later in the week, I\’d be mighty beholding to you. LOL. Enjoy your day.

    1. Thanks for commenting Mr. Ringold. I will make sure to remember passing the advice back your way later this week… if it’s needed. 🙂 Yours was an important lesson for me; as you can see, I still remember it more than 10 years later.

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