Reader Challenge Roundup: Mini-Product Creation and the Next Challenge

Reader Challenge: Mini Product“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” – Bernice Johnson Reagon

Every few months, I challenge you, the readers of SPI, to do something specific that will take your blog, business or brand to the next level.

In November of 2010, I asked you to write a Pillar Article, which yielded 51 posts, over 200 hours of writing, tens of thousands of additional visitors to your blogs and one person even landing a book deal.

In January of 2011, I then asked you to write a List Post, which resulted in 1,003 “things” in a total of 63 posts that were shared (and are still being shared) all around the web.

In March of 2011, I then asked you to step out of your comfort zone and publish a YouTube Video. There were 44 participants, most who have never before recorded or published a video in their life. The most viewed video now has over 15,000 views since then and is ranking #1 in YouTube for its particular keyword. I love it!

In May, I asked you to do something a little different that would take a lot more time to produce, which is why I waited so long to publish this roundup post.

I asked you to create a report, document, white paper, manifesto or mini-eBook about anything related to your industry, niche, website or business, and it should be given away for free.

My goal was to get you to do a few things:

  1. Show you that you can (and should) do a lot more than just write blog posts.
  2. Help you get into a product creation mindset.
  3. Help you gain more authority in the niche you’re in.
  4. Help you get more subscribers if you are building a list.
  5. Give you the push you need to do it.

To those who participated, I’m very proud of you and your accomplishments.

It takes a lot more than just content to produce something like this. There’s also all of the graphical elements, the delivery mechanisms, and of course, putting it all together.

We had about 20 submissions that I’m happy to feature below:

Healthy Ways for Stronger Days: 5 Quick and Nutritious Recipes by Nathan from Non-Stop Awesomeness

The Affiliate Research Formula by Steve from Noble Affiliate Lifestyle

What’s Stopping You? from Cara of 17,000 Days

The Daily Focus Pad from Ken at Destroy Distraction

Business That Can Change the World – The What and Why of Social Entrepreneurship by Justin from Impact Your Business

How to Be Happy by Mike of How To Be Amazing

Time Blocking 101 by Kevin at You’re Making Me

For Oily Skin by Ramy of For Oily Skin

Website Creation for Absolute Beginners by Robert of Website Tool Tester

Understanding the Risks of Spread Betting UK Shares by David of Trading Simply

Wedding Slideshow Planner by Harlan of Wedding Slideshow Ideas

Niche Sites for Beginners by Mike of Penny On the Floor

5 Easy Money Experiments by Jimmy & Pete of Niche Experiments

The Newlywed’s Guide to Budgeting by Tim of Faith and Finance

Get a Life That Doesn’t Suck by Benny from the Get Busy Living Blog

Don’t Envy the Successful Entrepreneur – Become One! by Sam at Grad Money Matters

101 Tips for Becoming a Productivity Superstar by Timo at

How to Network and Sell More Effectively by Sandra at

Get Out the Vote to Win by Ben at Get Out the Vote to Win

Earn Your First 1000 Dollars With Affiliate Marketing by Momekh at LifeETC

I didn’t have time to read through all of them – there’s a TON of content here – but I did read the descriptions of each and was very pleased with what I saw. I encourage you to download anything that might be of interest to you.

Investing time to write eBooks the Smart Way has definitely paid off for me, and I know it will do the same for the action-takers and go-getters that were featured here today.

As promised, I’m awarding two prizes to the pool of participants – one $50 gift card to a random entry, and then one $100 gift card to someone that I choose.

Congratulations to Kevin from who was randomly selected to win the $50 gift card, and congrats to Tim from for being selected to win the $100 gift card.


The Next Reader Challenge: A Story

I want you to write a post that incorporates a story – any type of true story that teaches something to your audience.

Stories are one of the most powerful marketing tools because when we read or listen to one we can actually relate to the situation and feel exactly what the storyteller is feeling. Even my favorite teachers were the ones who told the most stories.

Stories are powerful, engaging and memorable, and when combined with online business the results can be out of this world.

Check out the story I share on How to REALLY Profit From Your Blog and you’ll see exactly how a story can enhance the information you want to share with your audience.

So that’s it – write a new blog post (on or after September 16th) that incorporates a true story that teaches something valuable to your readers. Send me an email through my Contact Page and make sure you write READER CHALLENGE at the top so I can catch it.

You have until the end of October to send me a link to your published post, and since I expect a lot more entries this time around I’ll be giving away three (3) $50 gift cards to 3 random participants.

Write a story, write an even better headline, teach a lesson to your audience and send me the link by the end of October. I’ll feature it here on SPI in the next reader challenge roundup post.

Cheers, and have a great weekend!

  • Hemal

    Niceee, im gonna jump on board and write something for the next one! :)

  • Robert

    Thanks a lot for this challenge. It was the perfect opportunity to actually get that ebook done. I hope the SPI crowd will find it useful! Your next challenge also sounds great, I can only encourage everyone to participate.

  • Dave #inoosa

    I am really looking forward to reading all the above articles. Thank you to all the participants who have given their valuable time to this task. Thankyou, thankyou thankyou and 1 more to Pat – Thankyou!

  • Ramy Khuffash

    I think plenty of people will be up for the next challenge. Everyone has a story to tell!

  • Momekh

    Hey Pat.
    I remember exchanging emails with you regarding the ebook i submitted. The ebook was titled “earning your first 1000 us dollars using affiliate marketing”.

    I am now wondering why the ebook was not even included in above list?

    Did you forget or was there something wrong with the ebook?

  • STRONGside

    Hey Pat,

    Great idea for the post challenge. I have a perfect idea in mine, so I will be happy to accept your challenge. Looking forward to participating!

  • RobM | Premium SEO Articles.

    Writing factual posts i can do and is relatively easy. Writing stories that touch emotions are hard to do but very very effective. All good sales copy is mostly story with intertwined facts. Good post.

  • Dan @ I Would Coach

    Great timing, this was next on my to-do list! What finally pushed you over the edge to write your “eBooks the Smart Way”?

  • Tom Ewer

    Great idea Pat – I will certainly be taking part. I was listening to Internet Marketing For Smart People by Copyblogger the other day and they were talking about how people process information most effectively when it is presented in a story format. Additionally, I myself love posts that weave a story into the information provided.

  • Kevin Gomes

    Pat, I have been a big fan of your blog for at least 6 months. The Niche Hub got me here, but its the value you share and how transparent you come across that keeps me coming back. I recently launched a blog and will be participating in this challenge. I will also look at the backlog of “challenges” and implement them yourself. I like how you call them challenges, but really you teaching people to be more successful by the post.

  • Tim

    Thanks for this challenge Pat! It was the encouragement I needed to finish my second eBook! And many thanks for the $100 Amazon gift card! Wow!


  • Lauryn Doll

    I like this idea!
    Will do!

  • Rob Cornish

    Nice Pat!

    Love the challenges! I entered the video challenge before [didn’t win though! :-(].

    Will have to think long and hard about the story…

  • Steve Roy

    True stories can be incredibly powerful, so I’m glad to see this challenge. Count me in!

  • Bakir Kreso

    Hi Pat,

    does “my story” have to a blog post or can it also be a nichesite-site??



    • Pat

      It can be on a niche site if you want – whatever you’re publishing on – just use a true story to help send a message to your audience. Good luck!

      • Leon Aldrich

        I wrote a true story about a niche super hero and how I became his trusted virtual world sidekick.

        His powers were unmatched by anyone on earth. Even I, with my power of humor & smooze, had little to do but shine his boots, mend his hero cape and help deflect an occasional rainy down pour with my sidekick umbrella.

      • Bakir Kreso

        I already started writing!

  • Steve Scott

    This challenge was a great one and resulted in what looks like a metric ton of great free ebooks for people to check out.

    The next one sounds exciting too. I am certainly interested and will be in. Thanks for doing these!


  • Kevin Achtzener

    Hi Pat,
    Thanks again for the Amazon Gift Card. I’ll put it to good use.
    I’d been slowly working on that eBook for months and this challenge helped me get it finished and out to the public. I appreciate the nudge.

  • Benny

    I thought writing an ebook was daunting but I took it small steps at a time. Having this challenge made me want to finish it before the deadline. Thanks for including me but also thanks for making my 3D book cover!!

  • Jeron

    Great stuff but The 5 Easy Money Experiments isnt working!

    • Pat

      Should be working now Jeron. Thanks for the heads up!

    • Jimmy – Niche Experiments

      Oh no, I heard that was the best one 😉

  • Khaleef @ KNS Financial

    Congratulations to my buddy Tim for winning the last reader challenge. I think I have the perfect story for the next challenge (although it’s a little long).

    Thanks for the push, Pat!

  • John Colley

    Great Idea – well done!
    I shall definitely put my thinking cap on!
    I have already downloaded your great ebook and am working on mine!
    Have a great weekend
    Best regards


  • Gabor Szabo

    Hi Pat,

    this is the first challenge since I started to read your posts and since I subscribed to your mailing list. I like the concept very much and will think how could I use the same idea – running such challenges – to increase the involvement of my readers.

    I like your current challenge too and it would be nice to get a $50 voucher however there could be something much more valuable that you might be able to give. As I am new here, I might be knocking on open doors, but if not, please consider this idea:

    You might offer to review all (or selected ones) of the stories submitted to you. You could tell each one of us how to improve the story or you could post a link to the post on your blog asking all the other readers to comment on that story.
    I don’t know about others but I certainly would be happy to get feedback from people with lots of different views. People who might have no previous knowledge about the field I am working in.

  • Jimmy

    Hey Pat,

    Thank you so much for featuring us on your reader challenge. It’s an honour to get a mention on SPI after being a reader/viewer/listener for so long.

    Rock on!

  • Harlan Yee

    Hey Pat,

    Your challenge really helped me get on the ball and write my ebook which was one of the last components of my niche site. I initially offered the free ebook on my site exactly 2 months ago and have 57 subscribers now. That’s almost one a day which is big for me! Since adding the opt-in form, it’s pretty much running on auto-pilot right now. I’ll be up for your next challenge!

  • Todd

    This sounds great. I have been thinking about rebooting my site/blog for a while now ( a year or two) and really haven’t started. This could be an opportunity to really get going.

  • Darcy Pattison

    A great resource for this is Annette Simmons, WHOEVER TELLS THE BEST STORY WINS book (find it on Amazon). She walks you through the process of finding, polishing and presenting six types of stories: Who-I-Am, Why-I-Am-Here, Teaching stories, Vision stories, Value-in-Action stories and I-Know-What-You-Are-Thinking stories. Each has a different use, each is helpful. I have used this often when I speak or write for my blog.

  • David Tong

    I never knew there’s an ongoing challenge at SPI 😀 😀

    Time to think of something great to share :)

    Dave Tong

  • Robert

    Looks like I have some reading to do! Congrats Tim on winning the giftcard!

  • TheAutoMod


    This is looks like it’s paving the way for a coaching course?! =0) I love it and wish I had seen this earlier. I’m in for this next challenge!

  • Mark

    Awesome Pat! Didn’t even realize I had over 15,000 views on my youtube video until you pointed it out. That’s awesome!

    Thanks for always inspiring. Looking forward to participating in this challenge as well.


  • Timo Kiander


    Awesome… it’s time to start planning my story :)

    These challenges are a fine way of getting stuff done.


  • David

    Hi Pat

    Thanks for inspiring me and others to participate in this latest reader challenge, it really does help new bloggers like me to stay focussed on providing different content for our audiences. I am definitely entering the next one.

  • Sean Breslin

    Hello Pat your advice was spot on… I am now giving away a report on reseller hosting and all the signs are positive… That it is a winner!

  • Phil

    Great idea Pat, I’ll be writing a post for my site and send you a link and keep my fingers crossed!

    Actually I am kind of doing this now on my site, as I am going through the Internet Business Mastery Academy and writing about the experience as I go. So that is really one very long story!

  • Khia

    I check in here every now and then and looks like I stumbled on a great day to come by. This challenge comes right on time as I already have ideas about which story I want to share with my readers. Totally in!

  • Scott

    Here is mine :)

    Pirate living
    This is about my homeless, rich, biological father. I had not heard from my biological father in many years. My last contact with him was in 6th grade.

  • Mike Reeves-McMillan

    Thanks, Pat, like a couple of other commenters I took this as a motivation to get my planned ebook finished, and I’m very glad I did.

    I’ll definitely be participating in the next challenge – I tell stories on my blog all the time.

  • Tom

    Great stuff, I think this will push me to do an ebook as it was my next to do list.

  • Bryan Knowlton

    My readers love to hear stories about overcoming obstacles and getting things done. I will email you when my new post goes up!

    Thanks Pat!


  • Kala

    Pat, honestly I am cutting out so many email lists I”m on that feel so self serving-they send a video even but no content just sales of this or that “mastermind” group. Yours is one of the few I actually open eagerly, as you actually teach stuff! You actually deliver content. It’s amazing how many lists I get on for a nice giveaway and I like what they are saying so I want more, then immediately it becomes sales after sales….Uggg.
    I didn’t enter your create a You Tube video contest, but in fact you were the one that motivated me to do it. And I did create one-you had a step by step post that was so so helpful. Folks will buy from you because you actually deliver and have wonderful sincere vibe.
    Be well,

  • Tung Tran

    Just downloaded some ebook from this challenge and I am reading them. Very useful! Thank Pat for informing me about these great ebooks!

  • Joe S

    Hey Pat…great post and challenge. I feel like I cheated on the challenge because I literally just modified a post called using twitter trends to build your wordpress traffic to include a true story built in it. We are definitely on the same page on the power and impact of using true stories for explaining topics. Good stuff!

  • Paolo Jorge Lojo

    can it be an about me page? or does it specifically need to be a post?

  • Kelly

    Looking forward to the challenge, Pat! Exciting!

  • Momekh

    Happy to have my ebook (earning your first 1000 usd with aff marketing) on this page! And I am definitely in for the next challenge as well!

    Thanks for the inspiration and opening up your blog so all of us can have a ‘go at it’. :)

  • Caroline

    No idea how I missed the challenge in May, I’ve written two ebooks since that time (and referred back to ebooks The Smart Way both times.) This challenge is perfect for me, almost every blog post I write includes a story of some kind. Sending in my first entry now. Can we enter multiple times?

  • Erik Emanuelli @ Free Make Money Advice


    I am working in a new eBook,

    this will push me to finish it !

  • Yayson Potter

    Thanks Pat for putting this together. Can’t wait to start reading all of these eBooks!

  • Rose Smith

    Wow Pat! You’ve got a diverse pool of talent here. Awesome ebooks and fantastic titles and websites from these folks as well!

    Creating my first website using your marketing tactics, I feel like a mosquito in a nudist colony, so much ground to cover I don’t know where to start. Your on-spot advice and creative ideas help keep me on track. I

    ‘ve read eBooks the Smart Way! three times now and I think I’m ready to enter your next contest. Wish me luck and good luck to everyone else! Take care, Rose

  • Filipe Moreira

    Hey Pat! I really like your challenges! They inspire me everytime I read them! Actually, I wrote a pillar post and also some lists posts based on your proposals. Unfortunately, I didn’t launch my blog already, although I intend to use all this content that I’m creating in this project.

    I’ll launch it in 1st January, and all your content, challenges and tips helped me so much during my first start as a blogger!

    Now I’ll work on these new ideas of creating an ebook and also a story post teaching something.

    Have you also a great week!

  • Nathan Agin

    Thanks so much for having this challenge, Pat – really thrilled that I met the deadline and was included!

    Also hugely appreciate the 3D cover!

    Keep up the awesome work!

  • Alison Fishman

    Awesome…I’m in!

  • Norazura yusof


  • Sam Baker

    Thanks for the previous challenge, Pat. It really helped me get the eCourse done. I had it on my TO DO list for so long, and this was just the push I needed. I have already added about 40 new subscribers to the list in just the past few weeks (which is big for me!). Thanks.

    Regarding the next challenge, can the story be a profile of someone else that I publish on my blog? I periodically add “inspiring stories” on my blog of others who have had some level of success in my niche, and would love to scout out someone new and include that story in this challenge.

  • Don Miguel

    I love the concept Pat, I’m in. Wish I knew about your challenges sooner!

  • Gold Coast Spring Water


    I didn’t participate in this challenge… but I’ll be jumping into the next one! Its a great concept that fosters small business growth. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and its certainly evolved. Keep up the innovation …

  • DJ

    Hey Pat,

    Great challenge!

    Since besides an english vlog/blog, I’m also running a dutch blog, I’m wondering, can the story be in another language than english 😉 ?

  • Chris R. Keller From

    Hi Pat and all,

    I just realized I completed this challenge as well without even realizing it.

    I created a sales process template.

    If anyone has time to check it out and send me an email with feedback that would be awesome. I will take any feedback I can get.

  • alanbuzz

    Im writing my story as we speak

  • Allie | Ramblings of a WAHM


    I am in! As if I don’t have enough to do coming up with a marketing plan and creating a forum for my readers to follow with me the Think Traffic Project. I may have to have this one in my forum also!

    Looking forward to the stories!


  • Mike Collins

    I’m definitely going to enter this one. I’ve already got an idea in mind and this is the perfect motivation to get cracking on it.

  • Gary Shouldis

    Thanks for always giving me motivation. Your a positive and upbeat guy, that’s why I always come back. I’m going to get started on my story today!

  • Jamie Northrup

    Challenge Accepted!

    I have just the story in mind, I’ll have it up in the next week or so.

  • Steve

    I accept the challenge. The story hmmm ? I’m sure I can get something out of my experiences with my two areas of interest.

  • Dwight Anthony

    Really like your challenges Pat, keep ’em coming.

    Dwight Anthony
    Financially Elite Blog

  • Tram Tran

    I’m writing mine now, can’t wait to share and inspire;)
    Best of luck to the gift card winner also

  • Jeremy Roberts

    I wrote an article like this on the 12th of September without having known about this challenge – any chance I can submit it anyway?

  • Tim Rosanelli

    Hey Pat,
    This is a terrific challenge. I have my idea for a written article, but my main media is video. I developed a few videos (I am a martial arts instructor) teaching a karate lesson and telling a personal story about developing the technique through using it effectively in a tournament. I posted it today. I believe that the story makes the lesson more powerful and believable as something effective. I’m editing a second video with a personal story. I will add this technique to my videos more often.

    I’ll let you know when I complete the written story. Thanks for the advise.

  • Kala

    Hey Pat and fellow readers, I finally made a product! yayy and it’s really as a result of reading your Ebook, I read two others but yours was most through– honestly! So we’ll see its called “Zen of Crisis,” and it’s a kit of my genre/niche which is holistic health and spirituality. I hope to write a full book, but got inspired to break it up into bits to get it out there sooner. It has relaxation and mindfulness techniques to deal with stress. It’s inspired by my unemployment as a result of workplace bullying and the need to really reinvision my life as a result-much like you did. So again Namaste to all.

  • Tram Tran

    Hi guys, check out my story

    I hope to be as inspirational as Pat one day=)

  • Becca Brewer

    I’m really stoked about this challenge! Excited that I have all month to pick something really good. :)

    (PS, Really digging the challenge idea, generally.)

  • Jamie Hudson

    Awesome challenge Pat! Haven’t paid any attention to them before. Definitely going to participate this time and will be sending you my post via the contact page. Game on people…

    – Jamie

  • Renee King

    Hi Pat,
    I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to have found you. I know that I want to be able to eventually make my living online and now I feel as though I have a chance to put my dreams into action. Here is my contribution to your challenge. I have a budget travel blog, but will periodically write inspirational articles to help motivate others and at the same time keep me focused as well.

  • Murphsy

    Hi Pat, I’ve already submitted this through your contact form but haven’t heard from you since. So I’ll just follow the example set by others and plug my story here as well: – It’s a story about how I had to delete a website to make a better website.

  • KC

    I love your website and refer my clients who need help starting up a business to you!!!

  • geraldine

    when i’m up to something, like doing a creative project, i call it lizard brain challenge. and this month’s lizard brain challenge is joining nanowrimo. but, instead of writing a novel, i’m writing an ebook. it’s an idea i got from and i decided to track my progress. for a newbie like me, taking a first step is the most difficult. when i finished it, i don’t know if i get readers. but the most important thing is when i can say that ‘it’s done’.

  • Boudewijn Heylen

    I have been a fan of your blog for at least 12 months.

  • Derek Olsen

    I’m all over this.