To celebrate the rebrand to Small School, we have a special for you (only June 11-14, 2024) →


February 19, 2024

Are Lean Creators The Future?

Kevon Cheung

Founder & Head Teacher

How many times have you decided to build an info product only to get sucked into overthinking and overbuilding it? You didn't know whether people wanted it. Anyway, you finished it quietly in your room then well, you found out the truth.

I see so many creators of all stages struggle with this. Yes, the key is to figure out how to package and sell knowledge, but they are always stuck in the "building" mode.

  • Let me add more topics and content
  • Let me upgrade my video setup
  • Let me create a bonus and checklist because some people might want them

It is as if the more time you spend on a product, the higher the price you can sell it for. This is so wrong.

I went to an entrepreneurship school (yes, it exists!) and graduated in 2012. I started coming up with ideas and I read Lean Startup by Eric Ries which just came out. I was quickly obsessed with the idea of a minimum viable product (MVP). If you haven't heard of it, here's the definition from Google:

An early, basic version of a product (typically a computer program or piece of technology) that meets the minimum necessary requirements for use but can be adapted and improved in the future, especially after customer feedback.

What got me hooked in the last 12 years? Let's break it down.

  1. Basic version.
  2. Minimum necessary requirements for use.
  3. Improved in the future after customer feedback

If you've been reading from me for a while, you know that I care so much about involving my audience and getting feedback.

This MVP concept was mainly for software and startups, now I'm thinking — what about info products and creators?

Can creators adopt the Lean approach and build profitable and sustainable education businesses?

Here's my prediction:

1. A Lean Creator uses data to figure out what to build and teach

It shouldn't be a guessing game. There are so many ways to get data.

For example, I like to gauge interest from social media posts and emails before I build anything. Once I think an idea has potential, I set up a live paid workshop to test demand. I've written a popular article on this.

2. A Lean Creator builds the minimum version to get the teaching across

I've noticed something pretty crazy in the last 3 years. A lot of creators (including myself) would jump to follow a trend, say cohort-based courses. But many were creating one without understanding what that format was best for.

It is okay though. Follow the money or explore a new thing, that's valid.

But clearly, while it takes a lot of effort to create them, it is not easy for many creators to convince someone to buy their $700+ cohort-based courses.

Creators always want to build something big, but it is time to reverse it.

Instead of a cohort-based course, you can spend less time to build a self-paced course. Or actually, instead of a self-paced course, you can spend even less time writing a small book (PDF).

The key to teaching is to help students move from point A to B. Why are creators making it so difficult? Why do you want to prolong their learning?

3. A Lean Creator involves potential customers in shaping new products

I'm guessing only half of the people reading my newsletter know that my philosophy around building in public is centered around involving potential customers. Are you one of them? High five!

Your product will fail if you don't get feedback to improve it. This is why beta readers, beta students, and beta users are such popular concepts.

Other than feedback, it is also nice to get early traction and testimonials to help you build momentum toward the official launch.

4. A Lean Creator creates less and achieves more

You didn't become a creator because you want to work more, manage more people, and create more things that require your attention.

It is the opposite.

You want to find a place you can contribute to and build depth. You build workflows to grow and stay in touch with your audience. And you have systems to run this business.

Successful creators are already doing these things but I think if you want to enjoy more success, you should become a Lean Creator.

Newsletter Signature Divider
Newsletter Signature Divider
Newsletter Signature Divider
Table of Contents

Find Joy in Chaos

My book has been read and used by 1,000+ creators to build their Twitter/X presence. You’ll learn how to systematically attract fans and opportunities.

Get Find Joy in Chaos

Find Joy in Chaos

My book has been read and used by 1,000+ creators to build their Twitter/X presence. You’ll learn how to systematically attract fans and opportunities.

Get Find Joy in Chaos