About being your own catalyst

Tobi Troendle

Jul 21, 2023

Building a digital product on the side is simply too much work!

This is what most friends & colleagues told me when I first shared with them the idea of building something on the side.

To me it is still fascinating that even without trying most people seem to know exactly how complex the process would be.

But honestly, this was also true for myself for several years - I knew it makes 110% sense to create digital products but I also didn’t start.

There was always an excuse why today is not the day while I was already telling everyone around me how successful any digital product would be.

Life in the conditional tense could be so beautiful.

I fell into the conditional trap many times. I had everything planned out in detail:

How I would create my product.

How I would structure it.

How I would market it.

The only issue: I didn’t start actually creating. And I also heard a lot of these stories around me.

Here is the problem: Especially when creating on the side to our 9-5 jobs, we start from a position of comfort

There is no need to create something today. And also not tomorrow.

There is only this little feeling in your head knowing that there is so much potential and poking you to please consider starting.

What we are actually lacking is activation energy to start the project. In basic physics this is described as follows:

“Activation energy is the minimum amount of energy that must be provided for compounds to result in a chemical reaction”

As you can see already in the graph, there is a solution to bring activation energy down to a bare minimum by using a catalyst.

This is exactly what helped me to get going.

Find your catalyst.

A catalyst can take many forms. Some people simply wake up one day with an insane amount of motivation (best case). Others hear a story of a friend being successful with a digital product. To me it was the challenge of the impossible.

While I was one day contemplating again how much work it would be to create an online course I remembered my master thesis, where I felt similar.

It was so much stuff to write and I couldn’t get going. So I challenged myself to finish the entire thesis in only two weeks. I made a plan how many chapters to write per day and wouldn’t stop until these pages where finished.

As it worked for my masters thesis I thought it is worth giving it one more try for my first digital product which should be an online course at the time.

Again I challenged myself to create, edit and publish the entire course in only two weeks.

With this catalyst in place it felt so much easier to start as I knew crunch time is not forever but only two weeks. So I started - and finished. I won’t deny these two weeks were tough but the feeling afterwards was totally worth it.

Both the moment where I hit publish for my course and the moment where I made the first sale.

So if there is an idea in your head about an ebook, some great wallpaper designs or an online course you wanted to create forever, think about it: how long would it actually take you to create it?

Set yourself an ambitious (close to impossible) timeline and get going.

You’ll be your own catalyst.

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Follow the journey

Every Friday, you'll get 1 actionable tip to build, launch and monetize a digital product.

1 email every Friday. Unsubscribe any time.