Why Are You Trapped in the Sandbox?

Are you ever middle of helping someone and suddenly it hits you... and you think, "I can't help you anymore?"

That's what happens when I come across someone who is in "demo mode."

Maybe you do this or you've come across someone who does this every now and then.  These are people who always setup web sites called "Test Web Site." Or blogs called "Demo Blog."  Or membership sites called "Temp Membership Site."

Come on man... tests are for students, demos are for little battery-powered keyboards and temps are for offices.  I honestly want you to make an actual product, an actual membership site, and an actual blog.

Lance and I talked about this in one of our private coaching calls but I think a lot of you can benefit from this advice as well...

Don't Ever Create a "Demo Blog" Ever Again, Pretty Please!

If you're showing a friend how to do something like create a squeeze page, or making a video about how to setup a download page for one of your products... or you're in a class that teaches you how to write a sales letter... then guess what, do it for real!

You don't know if an affiliate will promote it... or a guru will recommend it... or it gets picked up by the search engines or a social bookmarking site like Digg.  If you have your site out there, ready to sell, then that particular problem is solved forever, and you can start getting traffic.

I know it's scary, but guess what... the more you put stuff out there, the less scary it'll be.  How else are you going to become an authority on any subject?  How else are you going to get known for creating such and such product?  How else are you going to build a list, or build a following of any kind?

Here's a Big Secret...

I'm only well known in my niche because I put out a lot of products and send a lot of e-mails.  That's it.  Look at people who are way more famous than me and you'll see that all they did, was put out a lot of something.  Created a lot of YouTube videos.  Wrote a lot of print books.  Left more testimonials and blog comments.

Participated in more interviews than the average person.  (The average person records zero interviews per year.)

Before I ask something of you, I want to take a quick moment to tackle the common objections sandboxers tell me... just to make sure you can avoid their mistakes...

Excuse #1: I'll Figure it Out Later

No you won't.  Honestly, I never get "everything" right when sending an e-mail or launching a product.  Sometimes I'll forget to mention the URL, I'll leave out the guarantee, I'll mistype the download URL... these things happen!

So why try to do it twice (once for practice and once for real).  There are only so many hours in a day and when you do twice the work, it takes you twice as long.  Plus... you're excited about launching your product now, but who knows if you'll be excited in a couple of weeks?

Do it now, so you don't have to do it again.

Excuse #2: I'll Look Stupid

The only way you'll look stupid is if you have one of those sites that says "demo site" this and "test PDF" that.

This is a personal issue for me because we recently held a challenge in one of our private coaching classes.  That particular week, people had to write a sales letter promoting their membership site.

I felt like being a nice guy so I spent about two and a half hours recording Camtasia videos critiquing 19 sales letters in a row. Telling them what to change based on my experience, what stuff to remove, what to change in the headline, what to add... all that good stuff.

One guy asked, why didn't I get a critique?  And I said because your order button is labeled "Test Button."  And when I join your membership site it says, "Here's a test download link until I get something real setup."

Really?  You couldn't just upload your half-finished product and call it version 1.0?  Couldn't have bought resale rights? Couldn't have outsourced it?

Someone else said, I bought resale rights but I set this up as a test site.  This isn't a real site.  Why did I waste time trying to help you out then?

Excuse #3: I Don't Have Time

This is my favorite.  Look, we have all been guilty (including me) of spending a bunch of time explaining why we don't have time to do the things we actually need to do.  As in, write a big long e-mail that takes 60 minutes to write saying why we don't have 30 minutes free to setup that squeeze page, write that barebones sales letter, record that video product, and so on.

The times I was most busy, is when I was the most productive.  When all I had to worry about was being in college and freelancing, I totally kicked back.  If I only got 10 hours of sleep, I told myself I was sleep deprived.  If there was a day when I went to class AND had to program, I said forget it... I'm so overworked!  I went to bed between 2AM and 5AM every morning.

And yet... when I had to juggle college, internet marketing, dating multiple women in parallel, and a 20 hour per week day job all at the same time... I got the most out of every day. I completed school assignments at least a week before they were due -- usually the day they were assigned.

I went to sleep before 10AM 10PM and woke up around 5AM to knock a few things out during the quiet hours of the morning.  I used a calendar, an autoresponder, voicemail, all that good stuff... because I had to.

Now It's Your Turn...

There simply isn't any reason to setup a test site of any kind.  Your time every day, your time every year and your time alive is limited.  So I want to get your over your hurdles.  So here's the deal with you leaving a comment...

  • Option #1: "I'm Better Now." Tell me what you did to get out of the sandbox.  When did you stop creating test sites and started making real sites?  What got you to do it?
  • Option #2: "Still in the Sandbox." Are you still convinced you need to create test sites instead of real sites?  Tell me why and I'll talk you out of it.

I'm really looking forward to your comments... this is a real personal subject for me... so leave a comment below and let me have it!

Filed in: Product LaunchesProductivity

Comments (150)

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  1. Ron Barrett says:

    Hey Robert…great stuff, as usual!

    You know, after I thought about it, there really is no good reason to create a ‘test site’…I mean, if you aren’t driving traffic to a site yet and it hasn’t been indexed by the search engines, why would you want it to be a ‘test site’?

    Create the page, do your testing/tweaking of layout, colors, whatever else, and THEN start driving the traffic to it. That way you don’t have to re-upload everything to the live site and delete the test site (if that’s what you are going to do).

    so…”I’m Better Now”…but kind of “Still in the Sandbox” until I convince myself that it’s the ‘right’ thing to do. Convince me.

  2. Robert Plank says:


    Or even skip the testing and tweaking of colors. I’ve bought from plenty of ugly sales letters. Can you think of a time when you went to a sales letter and you said, “I really want to buy what he has to offer, but I wish the logo was in cornflower blue instead of azure…” Probably not.

  3. Hi Robert,
    Yet again you put your finger right on the key issue – self-doubt. AND as I know from every one of your programs – the self-assurance comes from ‘doing’ rather than thinking about doing. “I’m better now” and use your techniques to create the mindmaps of the topics I want to cover and just get on with it, My only reasons for getting Trapped in the Sandbox these days is when I’m working on the material I want to cover (content), rather than the actual doing.

  4. Hey Robert,

    I feel like you are talking to me personally

    Although I never called anything a test or demo, I am guilty of not launching, and losing the initial inspiration, excitement, and even the why I wrote this, recorded that… to the point that I have now 21 products and only the last 3 that I made since Christmas make any sense to me.

    So, I am in your “in the sandbox” category.

    My last powerpoint actually shed light and made it clear to me why I have been so reluctant to put out the other products: they were a veritable mish-mash, hodge-podge, eclectic mass of random ramblings… if I may say so myself… lol.

    I learned through those products self-expression, writing techniques, video production, webinar secrets, membershipsite theory and practice, interviewing pointers, etc. etc. while the output was a little shabby…

    The last 3 powerpoints, which I delivered to a live webinar series are the first things I have ever done that created a “system of thought” that is worth mining.

    So, I promise you that this one product-family will get out, and maybe, inside this system all the other seemingly random stuff I have made will find their logical place, and I will look like an overnight success… lol lol lol.

    Thank you for being relentless in the pursuit of excellence. You have been my mentor, and you have been the person I model myself after.

    I created all those 21 products while in your coaching programs

    Without you and your programs I would still be where I started 7 months ago: an hourly coach… a glorified “freelancer,” with more education than you will ever need, but no products, and no idea what to do when I grow up.

    Thank you.

  5. Robert Plank says:


    So out of those three products, which of those could I actually go to right now and purchase?

    There’s nothing wrong with having products you’re not 100% proud of, you can still sell those, they’re just bonuses to your good stuff.

  6. Yeah okay Robert… nuff said. No more “test” or “demo” or “this is just for practice”!!!

    No more excuses about being too busy (actually, it wasn’t me that said this in the coaching… but I get the point you’re making)… just do it! (Sorry Nike!)

    Get it out there, in the best possible format that you can and run with it. Tweak it later. Deal with the client service issues later because….as it happens, unless I’m REALLY lucky and hit a home run… it’s not actually that likely that I’ll have hordes of unhappy customers in the first place!

    And what’s the worst that can happen? Just give ’em their money back and apologise to them… then make damn sure you don’t do it again. That’s been known to work wonders and people will buy from you again if you resolve to sort issues out promptly and with integrity.

    So with that said… I gotta get back to work dude :o)

    Gareth C Thomas
    Founder, nay, creator!! of http://www.lifestrategiesforsuccess.com/members (my FIRST EVER live membership site LOL)

  7. Dave says:

    For me, I just had to resign myself to something I’ve known about myself since grade school: I suck at making things look good.

    I mean it: I could take the very WP theme you use here, install it on a site of my own, and I promise you it won’t look as good on my blog.

    True story: took a battery of career aptitude tests back in HS. Sure everyone here has done the same. Aced all the sections on “higher” mental functions. Last section was a giant grid of sorts where you had to draw a tiny straight line from the top of each tiny box to the bottom. 5 minutes we had, or something. Graded on bell curve. I didn’t make enough lines *period* to get out of the bottom 2% of the curve. Actually straight lines, far less.

    I can’t make anything I touch look good. Well, occasionally a plate of food. Nothing nicer than handing a 7-year old boy a plate you make and he says “Cool!”.

    Any web page you make look good I can ruin in no time flat. I’ve just learned to accept my failings and move on.

  8. Robert Plank says:


    Luckily you’re not a graphic designer then. But in this day and age you can just buy a template and use a theme, and that problem is solved in about 2 minutes.

  9. Nancy Boyd says:

    Hi Robert,

    Man, how _do_ you nail these things so well? Guess you really HAVE been there/done that!

    Me, I’m out of the sandbox on some things but still very much in there on others. I have a really great ebook I wrote more than 4 years ago — but is it on Clickbank? Is it published? Well. . . I have the domain. The book itself is ready to go. I even have gathered bonuses.

    So why isn’t it launched? I allowed ONE person whose negative feedback got me stuck to stop me! Yeah dumb, right? All she said was something I know is true: “People won’t want to go to all the trouble to think through all the steps.” Right. So that’s why I wrote it. So they can actually THINK through all the steps!

    But I let that stop me.

    I think it’s a stupid reason and this year I WILL launch that book!

    What I know from my own experience with these things is that it doesn’t even have to make sense — if we allow it, _anything_ can get us stuck.

    It’s up to me to decide how to get myself un-stuck, and who to listen to. The one thing I know is that the only people who really matter are those who pay for the product; *those* are the people I intend to serve, and I am committed to doing the best job I can to deliver what they want.

    But fear of not being perfect isn’t a good enough reason to deprive them of what I know WILL help them!

    Robert, I truly appreciate you pushing us out of our comfort zones so that we can get out of our own way. There aren’t too many others out there doing that — and it’s one thing I really value about you. Thanks.


  10. Robert Plank says:


    Is there a reason why you are saying you will launch the book “this year?” Why not this week? Why not today? If it really is all ready to go… why risk giving yourself a chance to talk yourself out of it?

  11. Jenn Rush says:

    Hmmm… a test site. What a novel idea!
    Well, based on what you said, apparently not so novel. Guess I don’t have the problem as I currently have three websites. These aren’t sites of products I’ve created, so maybe they don’t count.
    http://www.iqt2.com is my corporate site. I crashed it awhile back and had to reload the old site, so it is out of date… but it is still up there.
    http://www.empowerls.com is outdated also, but I’m not fixing it because I’m moving to a new Web 2.0 site at http://www.empoweredlearningsolutions.com. A couple of months ago I put up a specific subsite at http://www.empowerls.com/gov specifically for an email promotions to government-related people. However, other than the front page, that site certainly isn’t limited to government entities.
    As of last week I’ve been madly populating my new site at http://www.empoweredlearningsolutions.com. You can visit it if you’d like, but the shopping cart isn’t in place yet.
    I’ve got to say that as the Digital Wordsmith, I love your statement, “tests are for students, demos are for little battery-powered keyboards and temps are for offices.” Kudos for a very concise, correct and expressive sentence! (Of course, I basically love just about anything you write.)
    As soon as I get my current site up and running along with my newly planned “Recession Buster Offers” I’m going to create a course on intercultural business communications. I’ll be writing a chapter per month and creating a webinar to go with it. At the end, I’ll have an ebook and a package of webinars. In the meantime, I plan to use your advice and sell the chapters for the $6.97 each month and the webinars for a yet undetermined price. (Since I am disabled, I can’t put out a chapter and webinar a week like you can. LOL!)
    Thanks for all you do. Everything you put out is so useful!

  12. Robert Plank says:


    So what’s the deadline for yourself, for putting up the recession buster offers? What’s your reward to yourself if you finish early or on time?

  13. As always an article well worth reading.

    You put the finger right spot on. The many efforts we try, yet never get quite finished is testimony to the truth behind your words.

    2010 will be the year when things get done – the right way. Thanks for inspiring in that direction.

  14. Dave Doolin says:

    Yeah yeah yeah… I figured this out late last year. You’re dead on.

    I’m even reducing the number of drafts I start, and deleting drafts I have underway. Takes too much time and energy to go back through and figure out what the heck I was thinking at the time.

    I bet you throw stuff away, delete files, etc. Haven’t seen an article on that. I could use read it.

  15. Dave Doolin says:

    Dave F, I am right there with you buddy. I’m the anti-art.

    It’s even worse for me: I break stuff. A buddy of mine once told me I could mess up an anvil. I just don’t get how I can follow instructions to the letter… and stuff doesn’t work. Why’s that my fault.

    On the design and graphics side, I’ll eventually outsource everything. Currently working on finding people to trade work and time with now.

  16. Audre says:

    Problem #1:
    I haven’t labelled things on my sites “test”, but I’ve been guilty of putting up WordPress sites and then not putting any content on them.

    Soltution #1:
    What I’ve done to solve that is simply not renew the domain name if I haven’t put content on the site during the past year. That has narrowed my focus from having sites in lots of unrelated niches to having related sites in one broad niche.

    Result #1:
    I’m now finding it easier to focus and generate content. When I have an idea for one site, it’s easy now to make small changes and use the content for other sites.

    For me, it’s been a process of learning what online business models I’m really suited for and which niches I really want to spend my time in.

    Problem #2:
    The biggest challenge I’ve faced is not knowing how long thing really take. Sales letters and gurus often boil down plans to a level of simplicity that absolutely explodes once you put the steps up on a mind map.

    A project that looks like it has only 10 easy steps can easily turn into hundreds of tasks. And many of them will stall the entire project if you have to stop for a mini-learning curve. Dozens of mini-learning curves can eat up time, energy and motivation.

    Solution #2:
    So now I mind map before I spend resources on any potential project to uncover those hidden time-bomb learning curves.

    Result #2:
    So as I got better at some of the basic technical things like setting up WordPress, learning Html, etc., things got exponentially smoother.

    PS – I really like the way you focused the discussion by suggesting comment topics. Nice feature.

  17. Steve says:

    I’ve never even contemplated putting up a test site, let alone wasted time building one. I’m not nearly as prolific as you, but over the past year I’ve launched more than two dozen sites.

    Some make money, some don’t.

    So what?

    None of them would have earned a penny if they were test sites.

    What I try to do is learn from both my successes and “failures”. Sometimes it’s as important to learn what not to do as it is to learn the “right” thing to do.

    And the only way that’s going to happen is by putting it out there.

  18. I agree with you on so many levels that I thought I’d focus on where I disagree with you instead. Demo sites have a purpose but not in a production environment.

    As an example, I bought some opt-in php software from some guy named Robert the other day and I wouldn’t put that on a live site until I knew how it worked. In those cases I use XAMMP and a local deployment to learn the software. I also bought iThemes Builder (a premium WordPress theme) and I wouldn’t put that complex piece of software on a production site until I had the nuts and bolts down because you can create some real funkiness with it if you’re not careful (it lets you have different themes applied to different pages in a WordPress installation and so on.)

    I agree with your work schedule when you were younger. I had a professor who would get up at 4AM to work because it was quiet in the house and there were no interruptions. (He also had laminated note cards in his shower so he could capture spurious thoughts… that I haven’t tried.)

  19. I had a client call in the midst of my commenting but I wanted to add that it is important to fail quickly. If I put site up that is a bad idea, I don’t want to stretch that failure out over a year… it’s important to learn the idea stunk and then move on after having learned the lessons.

  20. Robert Plank says:


    It’s ok, even Lance makes this mistake sometimes… I was showing him how to setup the autoresponder I use, and we were creating a new sublist, and he starts typing “Test List” … and I said why would you do that, why not name it the name of the first list you’re going to setup with this autoresponder. Even if you’re not ready to move that autoresponder list over yet, at least you know where it’s going to go.

  21. Joe Gilder says:

    I’m out of the sandbox, with the occasional longing glance back into it. 🙂

    What probably helps me the most is putting dates on things. If I say, “I’m launching that this month,” it probably doesn’t happen.

    If I say, “The doors are opening on January 16th,” THAT gets my butt in gear.

  22. Robert Plank says:


    Yep, definitely putting it on my calendar helps. If I have a product opening on the 16th, then I can say I need to do this now because the webinar needs to take place on the 9th, and the webinar powerpoint needs to be finished by the 7th, and the sales letter by the 5th… and so on. That way I have everything shippable and finished WAY before it needs to be.

    Something that has also really helped me is setting a time on the deadline as well… that way I don’t put stuff off until midnight on the 16th, but I’m done by 2PM on the 16th so I have the rest of the day free.

  23. B T Heath says:

    Great article…as always you have no-bull, get to the point content. I appreciate you making me get straight to business and DOING it instead of learning and practicing for “when” I’m going to actually DO IT! No fluff in your stuff Robert! I’ve been following your blog and reading your newsletters for a few months now and I’ve yet to see you pull a punch. Sometimes you even get downright harsh and although that style may not be appealing to everyone (or even tolerable by some!) it keeps me motivated, holds me accountable and forces productivity. I have never actually built a “test” site or blog but I have slacked off after building something, like my blog (see link) and I am building a membership site right now that I am totally guilty of taking too long to complete. I know I am trying to make it “too good” and I will move it along and send you the link soon! Thanks for another great motivational post!

  24. I never really understood the “test site” thing. I always put up real sites, unless there really was some sort of technological test being performed (e.g. “are the Markov chains properly formed?” or something like that). But test pages are uploaded, tested, then DELETED. I guess you could complain about a “coming soon” site, and I’ve got a couple of those, but at least it’s better than having a domain that doesn’t even resolve. 😉

  25. John says:

    You’re right Robert and it takes super enthusiasm and ‘go getter’ characteristics to actually get off you’re arse and do something different!
    I live in Thailand now but I visited the Uk recently and although I enjoyed every minute of visiting the family and friends for Christmas and New Years Celebrations I couldn’t help thinking.. What A Strange World To Live In Full Time? I am not dismissing my native home in any way shape or form beacsue I am truly British however, I couldn’t help noticing that everything was planned, routine and ‘the norm’ for society to conform to the ‘ideal world’. It goes something like this >> wake up, go to work, get home, have tea, sleep and REPEAT! I realize this is comfortable for some but for god’s sake we only live once on this earth so why not take it by the horns! I actually completed a product and launched the site during my 20 day visit to the UK during which I also renovated a house I let and attended all the essential family celebrations – meanwhile it was snowing heavily. OK, so I launched the product and now I have another one. Its fulfilling to release a new product and it has converted a little. The next steps Robert I think is to optimize the funnel, email list structure and test. I must admit I was thankful to receive a couple of sales from my small list started just last month however that is a good conversion rate right? What are good coversion rates for new, and optimized products from different advertising media I wonder…?


  26. Connie Ragen Green says:

    Life is not an audition. We must be ready to step up and play full out.

  27. Christina says:

    Hey Robert,

    I guess I’d say “I’m better now” although I gotta say – I never knew a test site or test blog was an option.

    My site is online right now and functioning – it’s not a test blog, although it’s always being improved. It’s the real thing – but the only way I’m making money on it right now is Google Adsense, I’m still working on my PDF. I’m writing the final version of it before I release it. I never thought of a test version as an option – how would you even make money off a test product?

    Thank you for yet another great post. I enjoy that your post are straight to the point and quick reads. I also like that you send emails telling me when to read posts and comment – I’d forget otherwise.

    Well, I’m off to work on my real blog and real PDF… Maybe I’ll release the real first chapter to make life easier.


  28. Derrick says:

    This is so true and your posts timing is pretty uncanny!
    I realised the other day that I always read through eBooks, instructions, lessons etc at least once and then go back later and “apply” the lessons, except I often don’t apply them at all.

    I don’t know where this tendency comes from, but from what I read from others, its actually pretty common.

    It puts me in mind of the quote “Life is not a dress rehearsal”, I need to apply that logic to Internet Marketing and your post, with its perfect timing, is spot on!
    Thanks for such a motivating post!

  29. Ok, Robert. I can’t say that I set up “test” sites, but I have been guilty of making the creation process longer than it needed to be.

    Since you asked, my wake-up call came at the recent Armand Live event in Orlando, where I decided to emulate some marketers I know and become a content machine. 🙂

  30. OK Robert, I bite.

    The product, a webinar, called (tentatively) “If you are not doing well, there is something that you don’t know…” will be ready to go public later this week. I am writing a blogpost promoting it, then I need to write a sales letter. And you are right, the first “product” I created for Product University is a perfect lead-generator for this webinar.

    Thank you for tightening the screws. 🙂

  31. Kevin Baker says:


    You are known as a Doer rather than a thinker and where marketing is concerned thats key.

    Over thinking things or fear of looking stupid held me back for a while. However following several of your courses early last year with Jason Fladlein I felt compelled to take action and complete a project start to finish. It was liberating and profitable.

    So action ANY action is preferable to frozen inaction.

    I get things wrong, we all do and those who don’t are not telling the truth. We learn from our mistakes and we prosper because of that.

    I got out of the sand box by listening to you. Passion for what you do and passion to succeed like you provided the impetus that resulted in the thaw. I now have around 15 or so sites up online and money is beginning to flow.

    Its not easy, its not without some work but eventually its worth the effort.

  32. Justin says:

    This is my first visit to your blog I think, and I didn’t reply to your email saying I would respond so huge apologies to whoevers spot I took.

    Absolutely spot on.

    I never do demo sites, even for clients. I just put them online immediately and then start tweaking.

    I figure the sooner the domain actually has some kind of valid content the better.

    I am not really in the process of content creation at the moment, concentrating more on affiliate sales and autoblogging but the same thing applies here. I was talking to someone who wrote a product over 8 months ago and only recently did they decide to advertise it in forums for fear of the product not being good enough.

    Just get out there, get feedback if need be but most important of all get it done.

    My problem I guess is that I have too many half finished projects. Anyway tis my goal for 2010 to be much more efficient so I may just have to buy your Time Management on Crack. Am certainly impressed by the content of your emails.

    Happy New Year to all reading and apologies to whoevers space I took!

  33. Still in the sandbox. And here’s why. There ARE times when we need to test something. Maybe it’s a combination of plugins. Maybe it a sequence of content. Maybe it’s various production settings on videos. Personally, my business image (and maybe it’s just vanity) doesn’t let me test things in public. Yours does.

    You’ve built your persona to be a brash young marketer, so testing in public, having things break, not being polished all the time is part of who you are. You are totally transparent.

    I’ve built my reputation on being a polished professional. Many of my corporate and speaking clients aren’t real tolerant of public testing and mistakes. It’s not done in their world and they don’t tolerate it in the people they work with. So my choice is to continue to use test sites and demo blogs, rather than let it all hang out.

    BTW – I’m looking forward to having you talk me out of it!

  34. Robert Plank says:


    I have a test blog to test out new versions of my plugins but that’s about it. Even though half the time, if I’m only making a small change to a plugin, I put it on my live blog… what better way to test it?

    I know you have had things lots of things break in public… like your blog today. Armand’s latest membership site broke yesterday. My girlfriend’s iPhone crashed every day.

    I don’t test things in public, not on purpose anyway… something always ends up breaking.

    How many of these test sites and demo blogs do you have, anyway?

  35. Justin says:


    I wrote a long response here and it disappeared into the ether somehow somewhere.. Very frustrating. Time is too short for me to write another long post so I will write this one.

    I never do demo sites and always put them straight online. Often I neglect them for a while after uploading them but I feel the sooner a site is up the better.

    Interestingly I did a website for a church and uploaded it. The church is still waiting to finalise the content and transfer the old domain to my site and yet my site for them is now getting loads of church enquiries!

    Anyway one of my steps for this year is to get your time manangement on crack course. Im nowhere near as good at it as I should be!

  36. Ernie Hodge says:


    I have to agree with Michael Cannon on his comment. I also use a high end theme for WordPress and it’s a good idea to have a domain that is just used for ‘testing’. That way you know what will and what won’t work.

    I’ve never built a test site since I started building sites in 1997. It just didn’t make any sense like you said to do something that wasn’t bringing in traffic and making sales or giving information.

    I use WordPress for niche sites and since I found you and Lance and your PHP Copywriting I am using that now as well. I had looked for your information for a looooong time and just never found what I was looking for. I’m glad that wait is over.

    Thanks for the great course (PHP Copywriting),


  37. Robert Plank says:

    Ernie, that’s a good point… if you’re building a site that’s not launched yet, experiment on that “not yet launched” site instead of some extra demo site. I’m glad you liked PHP Copywriting.

  38. Stan says:

    I just got out of the sandbox.

    I used the 60 second rule from your other course and decided to just go for it. The good thing about the sandbox is that it’s safe. The bad thing about the sandbox is that it makes you zero money.

    I’ve always heard the maxim – Fortune Favors the Bold and It’s proven itself to be true. I jumped out of the box and started posting, writing articles, and leaving forum posts and BAM – 3 great leads – one that will become a client – in just 24 hours.

    More money and excitement than I’ve had for days sitting on the sidelines – talking about making things happen.

    Your post reminded me of that scene in Collateral where Tom Cruise beats up Jamie Foxx’s character for talking about starting his Limo company and never starting. I always shook my head knowingly as if I agreed with Cruise’s character. But when I look at my own endeavours – I realize I’ve fallen into the same trap!

    Thanks for the wake-up call buddy


  39. Robert Plank says:


    Awesome reply! This is my favorite: “The good thing about the sandbox is that it’s safe. The bad thing about the sandbox is that it makes you zero money.”

    The last few months, the 60 second rule has become too slow for me… I’m down to the 6 second rule now.

  40. Jeanette,

    I was thinking the same thing. When Robert decides to sell me a new php script, does this mean he didn’t test it?

    I hope not. I have two test sites. For testing. Usually quick. But that’s because part of what I do is software. When working, the plugin/theme/ or whatever gets moved right over to an active or new “real” site.

    During the test process, the site goes blank. Delivers error messages. And just plain does things wrong. But that’s what it takes to get software running.


    The point here is that for “most folks” doing a test is just plain wasting time.

    It makes far more sense to start that WordPress site straight out… because WordPress, after all, is already tested. Tweak it and pretty it up as you go.

    And… please… never put up a page that says “Under Construction.” I’ve got news for anyone who does that: Amazon.com is under construction. They change it constantly. But they don’t say “Under Construction.”

  41. Devon Artis says:

    Thanks… I have suffered from that awful disease for quite a while until one day I had to say it is good enough.

    I would like to Thank You for reminding me of the problem of the test disease.

    There was a time I would create wordpress in a subdomain because I considered to be a test.

    Now I only create real blogs, install real scripts everything now happens in real time.

    There is not time for test…. the test for me is live…

    Thanks for the post

  42. Jeff Bode says:

    Hey Robert

    I haven’t ever created a ‘test’ anything (that I can remember), all I do is try it and see if it works if it doesn’t I think I’m guilty of spending too long trying to figure it out. I have been procrastinating on a few things… which is probably just as bad, since ‘tomorrow’ usually never comes

  43. Angel says:

    I see this type of customers all the time. What put me in gear is something very simple you said to me.

    Just do it…

  44. Robert Plank says:

    Angel, I’m glad you have “just done it” … has your coaching class sold out yet?

  45. Hey, super post and I definitely needed to hear it. Not that I put up ‘test sites’ per se but I often leave things in a rather half-baked state for a lot longer than I intended to; part of working on too many things at once. That is not intended as an excuse, more of an observation – that’s certainly one of the big things I have to change…

    Being more of an artist than an entrepreneur I will probably cling to a certain amount of perfectionism, but I’ll definitely take it as a challenge to use the few hours I have per night to work on this stuff in a more focused, less ‘demo/test’ manner.

    I do think you have a tendency to underestimate the power that people’s psychological wiring has over them, how hard it is to change deeply ingrained habits. A lot of people live their WHOLE LIVES in ‘demo mode’!

    Clearly this is one of the things you want to try to help people with, slap them out of it. Obviously if someone wants to get anywhere in the marketplace they will have to get over this stuff, and the sooner the better.

    However, it’s one thing to say, why are you still doing this? why haven’t you changed it yet?… and quite another to face what are often very real fears and limitations.

    I’m not sure if I’m saying you should be more gentle; probably it’s best that you continue to call it like you see it – sometimes strong medicine is called for! So, thanks again…

  46. You are absolutely right, Robert. Demo blogs cry out with the message that the owner is a perfectionist or a procrastinator and is unlikely to get anything finished to their satisfaction.

    The old adage, “Ready, FIRE, Aim” is almost always the best policy. You can tweak later– after the site is up and collecting traffic.

    Liz Nichols

  47. William says:

    This is excellent advice. Practicing and demos give you a way out to say things like “it really doesn’t matter if you dont’ finish.” It’s not real. It’s play.

    Here’s an example. I did a “play” product and launch and sold nothing, nor did I put my b__t on the line.

    I did a real one and before I finished it put up a blog post or sent an email (can’t remember which) and sold one.

    Not much but that’s more that the demo got.

    It proves you’re right. Was the product perfect? No, but it forced me to make it as best as I could and get it up ready to go.

    I will take that product to a live event and I know I will sell it. Now that it’s done, I can offer it on and offline.

  48. I don’t recall every having a built a test site, although I have built sites to the bare minimum just to see how they do. If they do well, I invest more time in them.

    One of my programmer friends has a beta site for testing new plugins he writes. He then rolls them out on his real site once the bugs are fixed. I think having a beta site makes a lot of sense for programmers.


  49. Robert Plank says:

    I think it makes sense for programmers, but not for users… why do the work twice?

  50. Rob says:


    Ro to have never invested the time to create a test sight. Seems a little piontless. Just put it up and let it go if it does not workout dump it and move on.


  51. Well, I must admit, I have a ‘Rubber Room’ site. I hardly ever use it though – and only for testing programming / WordPress related things. I do this because I don’t want to indavertently break a money site.

    However, I completely 100% agree with you that testing marketing or products in the manner you’ve described isn’t worth it.

    I’ve released half-baked products (well, in my mind they are – there’s always room for improvement for a perfectionist) however, turns out my customers don’t mind so much. In fact, I’d be willing to bet they don’t notice the things that I consider ‘half-baked’.

    So, I keep on bombing out more products. Over time I’m getting better, and each product looks a bit nicer than the last, hopefully.

    But at least I’m not wasting time on testing.


  52. Joyce Jagger says:

    Creating test sites take the fear out of the real thing. It really does not matter if you get traffic or not or if you have made mistakes, it is not a real site!! That was my old way of thinking until one day I woke up!

    I agree, it is a total waste of time. If you are not going to create the real thing, do not even bother. I found myself caught in this trap a couple of times because i was not sure of what I was doing, but after a couple of my students told me that i was so “smart” I decided that it was time to turn this idea around and create the real thing.

    No more demo or test sites for me, I do not have time for them!
    Joyce Jagger
    The Embroidery Coach

  53. You got me banged to rights man.

    Thanks for providing another kick in the pants man.

    I’m getting out of the sand box and am going to bang out some sales letters. I have 4 products that are all ready to go and a list of about 5000 to mail out to.

    I commit here to get them all done this week.

    no matter how good they are


  54. Robert…

    This reminds me of those ‘golden times’ back when I was a student (not THE best role model to others, to be honest…) and we had a saying:

    “The only exam you’re not going to pass for sure, is the one you won’t attend to!”

    That being said.. you’re right!

    I suffered for a long time of the perfectionist way of looking at things. I fight hardly my inner impulses even now. It is hard for me to just put something out there, before I’m really satisfied with my work.

    But the cruel reality gives credit to this approach. I found it better, in the end, myself.

    So that I started to be less shy with my knowledge of the English Language and maybe my strange accent…
    or less cautious about what people may think about the colors on my pages.

    In the end, as Ron Barrett says up there, too – better put it up online and start split testing when you already have traffic to it.

    I have very good and interesting (un-common even) results to share about common (sic!) ‘know how’ that was contradicted by split tests.

    As such, I am becoming now a big fan of this way of doing business online.

    Put it up first, start testing, perfect it in time IF it proves to be a winner.

    Thanks for a great post again!

    Steve Lorenzo SEOVirtuoso

  55. Dan Stanley says:

    I am a recovering “sandboxer”… It’s a great way to learn skills but a terrible way to make money.

    I have a dozen half-baked and half-implemented ideas. Either I start doubting that the idea will work or I get seduced by a “better” idea.

    I say “recovering” because I realize that these ideas could very easily have been completed and launched as “actual” sites, and I probably would have learned a lot more from the experience.

    That said, I’m taking a new approach with my current site. I’ve decided to turn my “test” phase into an interactive process by sharing my idea early in the game so I can start getting feedback.

    Sure beats working your butt off for months only to discover that no one likes your product as much as you think they will.


  56. I launched a product that while it had a twist was not complete to my standards as a result I broke my sales records by 5x yet had 2 refunds saying it was lacking.

    Now I am adding content to membership and so far the results are better but I think you can have a test site in your mind long as it functions right?

    Thanks for your insights as usual

  57. Hey Robert

    Can’t say I ever really set up a test site. But, I’am pretty good at putting things off that should be done like yesterday.

    Realize that I am only hurting myself when I do this.

    Heck Iam launching my first product of 2010 in a couple weeks. Have tons of stuff to do on it yet and here I am trying to win one of your autographed books.

    Go figure.

    I think it’s cool the things you and Lance do to help people. Very important business building key right there.

    Well I had better get back to work
    “another important business building key”


  58. David Thomas says:

    I created Keyword Transformer (linked to from here). I thought it was a product that had some value, so I decided to sell it online.

    I purchased an e-commerce system and set it up. I wrote a sales page and got that up. I set up a page on which you can either sign up for a feature-limited version or buy the full product. I know that’s an approach you aren’t keen on, Robert, but there is a reason it’s done that way.

    I set up an affiliate programme. I tested it all, and then went live.

    … And I took it down after a week or so. The e-commerce system that I had installed was riddled with bugs. It supported split payments with PayPal so that affiliates would get paid instantly, but I got many problems where people could complete one payment but not the other; some people completed both payments and didn’t get their order fulfilled; and otherwise.

    Also, one of my affiliates wasn’t happy with being paid directly. His point was that the customer wasn’t purchasing the product from him, so he shouldn’t be paying him.

    So I bit the bullet and purchased JV Manager for about $250 I think. I set it up again and got selling again.

    People got to know about the product mainly through Web Profit School if I remember correctly.

    It was a lot of work, but I’m really glad I did all that.

  59. Yep, guilty of the concept. I do test “strategies.” Like I’ll try an upsell on a product and when it works great I’ll go GREAT and promptly NOT put it on my other products.

    Or do a killer webinar for one product and sit back and go, “That was awesome!” and promptly NOT do one for any other products.

    I have no idea why I do it. But I think that to eliminate it, I have to make a process to implement across the board when something works – even if it is just a “test” because even if that upsell sucks on one product, it could crush it on another.

  60. Charl says:

    Hi Robert,

    Good post and very wise words indeed.

    Problem is people are striving for perfection without realizing it’s actually more of a curse than a blessing.

    The sales letter, product, site etc will never be perfect so just get something up there and MAKE A SALE…

    Build momentum and learn from your mistakes.

    I like your approach of getting something up there and not to try and “demo” this and “test” that.

    All the best for 2010!


  61. Awesome points, Robert! I wish I’d read this 3 years ago when I first dipped my toes into online marketing.

    Excuse #2 has been my nemesis and it’s only in the last few months that I’ve conquered it (or nearly!). Actually, reading your posts, buying a couple of your products and attending some of your live classes really helped. Your focus on production rather than perfection helped me get unstuck.

    I finally realized that if I kept letting that excuse get in my way, I’d NEVER get out of the starting gate. A couple of weeks ago I finally finished my 1st infoproduct, version 1.0 and will be launching it this week, with an imperfect but live sales letter! Woot! Not as fast as your example of “make it today, sell it tomorrow”, but heaps better than “plan endlessly, execute a little and procrastinate forever” strategy I had in place before! LOL!

    I’m now producing more, planning more, implementing more and getting more DONE because I’m not waiting for perfection, an eternally elusive goal anyhow!

  62. AMJ says:

    Too true!

    As a matter of fact, I’m almost finished writing an ebook called:
    “Your Guide To World Class Procrastination:
    For Newbie to Advanced!”

    Beta-Testers are finding great success with the Procrastination MindMaps.
    Testimonials include:
    “Now its easier than ever to do nothing!. Bless you and yours.”

    Now its just a matter of rounding up JV interest –
    as soon as I finish reading my emails.


  63. I’ve definitely been in the sandbox for about 5 years. As a video editor, I get lost in the aesthetics or packaging of the site for days at a time. I also suffer from fear that what I am putting out isn’t “good enough”. That’s funny, ’cause I clearly understand that everything I’ve learned and experienced has given me more knowledge than 90% of those involved 🙂

    My current site will be fully functional and open for business by Friday.

    I hate the taste of sand – and it’s so warm and soothing.

    Bye bye sand – hello waves; I’m ready to play!

  64. Deb LaQua says:

    I love it Robert! Just got off a call with Armand, where he was discussing GOYA (Get Off Your Ass!) — and it seems that having a test site is just another way of continuing to sit on my ass.

    I had a test site when I was trying to install amember (I have since moved to WishList Member with a big sigh of relief) – and I put up some of our paid course content since I wanted to ‘really test it.’

    Well, a few weeks later, I wandered back over to the test site to discover that a number of people had found it and were enjoying their free content – even leaving comments!

    I get sweaty palms thinking of no more testing – but for me, it’s just a way of procrastinating. So, GOYA and no more testing are this year’s key phrases.

    Thanks, as always, for your irreverent and ‘spot on’ observations.


    PS – I am grinning imagining you when you were ‘dating multiple women in parallel!’

  65. Robert,

    You hit the nail on the head with this one. I can sense your frustration, so many people want to analyze things to death before they take action.

    They key is to use the Ready, Fire, Aim philosophy that Michael Masterson talks about in his book (of the same title).


    Brian T. Edmondson

  66. John says:

    Each of your tips about getting into action are right on point Robert. In fact, reading the post (and comments) any longer would keep me OFF POINT, so I’ll just give you another BIG UP and get down to recording today’s video for a membership site that’s due today.

    Biggest motivator for me: daily deadlines. Sometimes they have to be small due to outside circumstances. But each day has a deadline.

    Keep preaching productivity,


  67. Robert Plank says:


    You unlocked the secret code. You do one little thing every day, even if it’s a small thing. Years ago when I wasn’t very productive, most of the “lost time” was from not doing anything for months at a time. It wasn’t from not working enough hours, it was taking weeks and weeks off and not wanting to start back up again. So even if you only have 5-15 minutes to put in during the day, it’ll be easy to pick up the pace later.

  68. Todd McGuire says:

    I agree on all points Robert. I am the King of looking silly and doing dumb things, such as forgetting to attach the download to a free giveaway. (This happened yesterday by the way)

    But you know what? I don’t care. It was a learning process, and if anything, I gave my my subscribers something they’ll remember 🙂 After all, you are right, it’s bound to happen to everyone…OH YEAH!

  69. Robin says:

    Hey, Robert!

    I never was tempted to do “test” sites, etc. As a result of “investing” time and effort, and money, into a project, I expect a return on that investment. It is certain that there will be no return on investment if I treat the activity as learning to earn, instead of earning while learning. Besides, nothing and no one is 100% perfect, so we might as well jump in with both feet.

    After all, what is the worst that could happen?!

    You sometimes come off as youthfully brash, but I appreciate that you keep our feet to the fire and don’t dance around when it comes to accountability.

    I am continually so appreciative of your Membership Cube class!

  70. As far as the sandbox is concerned I am a HI-HO sort of like a FI-FO but half in – half out. The quest of perfection is a tough road to travel, or make that an impossible one but one I have followed to many times, for far too long. This is a post I have copied and filed under Dale Likes perhaps I can move it to Dale Done. Great post.
    Thanks Dale

  71. Tim says:

    Robert –

    Great blog as always. Hope you had a great new year.


  72. William Cato says:

    Out of the sandbox: I got out of the sand box after going through your time management on crack product. Fantastic by the way. I have one e-letter that I put out every week. I have two blogs. One on warrior forum, I have been posting almost every day. And then one that I am throwing together right now.

    I have six articles that I am writing or researching right now that I am getting paid $25.00 each. they will be done tomorrow. I work 8 hours a day as a master plumber and have a 45 minute drive each way. Want to know what I do with that time? I talk into a digital voice recorder about blogging writing and internet marketing. I am giving these recordings away as bonuses with an -book that I am writing as well.

    Still in the sand box: I am still in the sand box when it comes to my blog. I have a test blog that I created to test plug ins and designs. i actually learn this from you from another one of your products that is so excellent that i refer back to it again and agin and that is word press on crack.
    So, should I get rid of the test blog?

  73. Robert Plank says:


    I would only use the test blog JUST to test a theme or plugin real fast, so you’d only really need is 5 minutes per month, or less.

    What robs you of the most time? Is it posting on the warrior forum blog? Do you track the traffic that comes from that blog so you can justify the amount of time you spent on it?

    It’s all about keeping your hourly rate up… sandboxing hurts your hourly rate… but it sounds like you have a pretty good handle on monetizing that 90 minute per day drive time.

  74. Hey Robert,

    I’m definitely not in the sandbox, but not necessarily for the reasons you mention. I learned early on that I could create my “real” HTML website and publish on the web as I created it so I could “test” it…knowing that there was little chance of it being found for awhile until I started driving traffic to it with real visitors.

    That is, until I put up my first WordPress blog a couple years ago. I had spent time fiddling with the code a bit (the theme had some glitches and needed tweaking) and published the first “killer” article, with a note to myself to put in an opt-in box. And before I was “ready” for the world to see it…I was surprised to find people had been finding the sight and commenting that they wanted to opt in already! So I guess I kind of got shoved out of the sandbox unintentionally!

    Since then, as a recovering perfectionist, I do make darn sure my products are the highest quality I can get done in a “reasonable” amount of time (read: at least a cut above “good enough” albeit not perfect) because, like Jeanette, I’m not playing in the IM world that doesn’t mind paying for products that aren’t fully tested or complete. The professional business world is not as forgiving and reputation as a true expert / professional matters a great deal, especially in the beginning.

    So there’s a balance there for me. I do need to take enough time to put out quality content, but keep my butt in gear and moving as fast as possible to get it done and get it out there. (Money likes speed.) Such as with the soft launch I’m doing this week to my list for my brand new (guru-critiqued) membership site.

    Work needs to be done to do what you can to make it good and build a true expert reputation, but that needs to be done as fast as possible so the hard work can pay off.

  75. I have to say, nice use of commitment and consistency to get comments!

    You’re emails before asking how many would comment you could figure out how many slots to fill was a nice touch. Now, those who said “ME” felt obligated to comment. Nice job. Of course, this post wasn’t about that but I thought I’d bring that up.

  76. Yeah… “Still in the Sandbox”

    No excuses. I agree with your post. Luv the attitude. It’s amazing how much negative inner dialogue can totally sabotage you — and by you I mean ME.

    So although as of writing this I am still in the sandbox, I’m going to create a post tonight for two sites that have sat in limbo for the last two months, and get over it.

    I won’t go so far as to put “Test Site” everywhere cuz when you have a half dozen different sites that are all half done, it gets a little lame to keep saying test this, test that.

    Anyway, thanks for the kick in the @$$ Robert.


  77. Jenn Rush says:

    I like your questions, Robert!

    “So what’s the deadline for yourself, for putting up the recession buster offers? What’s your reward to yourself if you finish early or on time?”

    My deadline is January 13 for getting the recession buster offers up.

    Hadn’t even thought of a reward. Great idea! I’ve been wanting to go see the museum at the Amerind Foundation (http://www.amerind.org/) since I moved here in May 2008. So, my reward will be going!

    Thanks for the idea of a reward.


  78. Allen says:

    Have to say I’ve never done a ‘test site’ or page but I have been tempted to create a bit of a playground to experiment with totally new things.

    My real success actually started with I joined a membership site on affiliate marketing and list building. The membership site helped me actually take steps forward through smaller weekly tasks.

    Previous marketing attempts got a sale here and there, I’d be generating traffic but seeing some buy and more leave.

    With list building I see new subscribers daily and sales… if there’s no sales I still see new subscribers which are ‘potential’ money. So there is daily feedback that tells me I’m moving forward.

    Thanks for the post!

  79. Tom says:

    I agree, I have had better luck with just taking the site live and going for the gusto! and the best saying KISS! Love it.

  80. Pamela says:

    My time is much too valuable…to waste time on something that isn’t real!

  81. BarbaraG says:

    Great read, Robert. I am not one who has time to practice doing any of this stuff. If I’m working on something, I want my efforts to be fruitful, so I absolutely agree with your post. Why waste precious time? I love that you are so “tough love”! I just wish I had your energy.

  82. Melanie says:

    Seems to me there’s no reason under the sun to “get ready to get ready.” Your post sings out and rings true with Ready, Set, GO! Just saying the word, test, takes me right back to high school and sleepless nights agonizing over a test.

    T-E-S-T sounds like a four-letter word to me. 🙂

  83. Kimberly says:

    Wow! Yes I have had a few Sand Boxes in my lifetime (smile). I finally made a choice to just finish something. And in spite of my self and all the mistakes I made sales.

    So no test sites for me. Everything is with the intention to profit until it proves otherwise.

  84. Being new and naive, I guess I just inadvertently skipped over the sandbox! I sort of plunged in with an “I’m determined to get onto the internet somehow, someway by the end of 2009” attitude. But though technically I’m just about up and running in a very basic sense, I still have to figure out exactly how to earn an income this way — that’s my goal for 2010. Thanks for a great blog post and all the fascinating and enlightening marketing guidance you provide!

  85. Indra W says:

    Robert, I’m better now! Or, more frankly, I’m getting better now…:-)

    I still need to make full use of some scripts I bought from you in the past, but I’m glad I’m now almost done with some dormant blogs I have, start new ones and getting more money…:-)

    Talking about those TESTs, I think it’s still better that some good stuff burried in the sandbox. However, I agree that once you get them out of it, put them as true shots.

  86. JR Griggs says:

    Yeah the only testing I do now is to set up 2 versions and see which one performs better. Other than that I do the proper research ahead of time and make sure there is money in it and go.

    Great post man!

  87. Donna Maher says:

    Hi Robert,

    It’s extremely difficult for me to be this open with you for many reasons, but here goes…

    Admittedly, I have installed scripts (like a really cool membership script) and then allowed the sheer magnitude of reading the “how to” manual to put an end to progressing to actual development and monetization of that selfsame website… which sadly is still just ‘sitting there doing nothing’ largely because of that reason.

    But, it’s a fact for me and so many other people who are drowning in information overload and the pursuit of success online… that most of us have scattered ourselves so thin that we cannot keep up, and of course, lacking outsourcing resources… we become ‘frozen’ in the purgatory between internet wild success and making a few sales, but not being nearly self-sustaining.

    And, what you are saying makes complete sense…

    STOP trying for perfection, and just get it OUT THERE… you can tweak it later. We need to quit letting demon fear rule the things we want to do online or in our personal lives.

    Thank you for your wisdom on this and so many other subjects… you inspire and encourage your readers to just go for it… and stop striving for perfection. Taking action is so important… and conquering the fear of failure by not creating demo or test sites, but rather just creating SOMETHING real.

    Thanks for being uniquely you, you ARE appreciated!


  88. Kevin Fegan says:

    Hello Robert,

    When I first started out, that’s all I did was put up “Test” sites, and that’s all they ever amounted to.

    Now, I have a web-server installed on my desktop machine and I try to do all my testing there and only put up sites when they are finished or nearly so, but usually well out of the testing stage.

    Occasionally, if I am trying to work out a scripting bug, particularily with PHP, I will put up a “Hello World” page with a form or something just as a test to get something working… but I usually put those in a password protected directory, and I (try to) never leave the test page up beyond the completion of the test.

    Or if I am working on something and I want to show it to one or a few people, I’ll put a copy in a protected directory, again, temporarily.

    I do have a hard time getting over two things (making progress though)…

    1) The tendency to try to make something perfect before calling it ready.

    2) The tendency to think: “I’ll never be able to do this project to completion as I want it to be” … so it never gets started.

    Thanks for a great blog and for sharing your insight about “everything”.


  89. On the dot, master. I have a web development company and I absolutely hate people who test pages with data like ‘asfwdddwd’ instead of writing “John Doe”.

    I know a large number of people who have not put a site out there because they are still trying out the best looking design or the best copy.

    And I know some more people who just went and put a site up with some skeleton stuff and then kept on adding info and adding more products and services. Their initial sales funded them in their future work and they are happy.

    You don’t need to guess – I also belong to the 2nd group of people. What about you, my fellow reader?


  90. Gren Bingham says:

    Yes, getting trapped in the sandbox is a problem. It’s more than just creating “demo” stuff. Its also not finishing stuff to a complete operational level. Getting lost in the doing and losing focus of the job to be done.

    Cheers, Gren.

  91. Dr. Debra says:

    Hi Robert,

    I know this has been in your craw since I’m in MC3 and can definitely understand your point. I think some of us are trained to do “tests” or “demos” first and feel safer that way. BUT, I agree that if it isn’t done live and real it may never become live and real.

    It seems the key to today’s market is not to test, test, test… But to act, act, act…

    I am trying to do what you teach and put it to the real test and see what happens. I’ve just had the overwhelmed, revolving door, spinning my wheels syndrome and not focused enough on one thing and driving forward with it.

    Thank you for the admonishment and the great course. I will have my membership site http://busypersonfitness.com live by the end of this challenge. My sales page re-written based on your suggestions. And be ready to make some money with it.

  92. Paul Klein says:

    Hey Robert,

    Been following you (along with mutual friend Lance) for some time. Enjoy all you provide with information and tips.

    For me, I have one foot stuck in the sandbox, but moving forward. This month I have a few PLR products I have revamped, and altering some copy on the sites, then will launch these to my list.

    To get out of the sandbox completely, I need to grab 1shoppingcart or RAP to help build my affiliate army.

    Looking forward to more of your great tips soon!

    Best regards,
    Paul Klein

  93. Robert Plank says:


    What’s the bottleneck then? Lance sets up 1SC or RAP in about an hour… and what I would do is only launch one of those PLR products at a time. It’s way too easy to have 5 or 10 uncompleted projects, and then what do you have? Nothing. I’d rather have at least one product out there.

  94. Anthony says:

    Hi Robert,

    Excellent post. There’s nothing wrong with testing something IF you have the goal of completing it. I think most of us get caught up in the “…when the time is right” or “when it’s FINALLY ready, I will…”. Like most of the other comments, its the speed of implementation that separates the successful from the not so. I can attest that there is nothing like a feeling of completing a project or seeing a system all the way through. Its a weight of your shoulders….

    Whether it’s a new course, software package, or launching of a new site… its BEST to BUCKLE down and focus UNTIL its done.

    Having a demo testing site is like having a BIG “UNDER CONSTRUCTION ICON” on your site… hello year 1996. LOL.

    Alot of people, including myself, end up spinning and spinning with TOO many things in our head. Focus on that ONE thing UNTIL its done. Then move on to the next. Information overload IS a disease.


    @Donna Maher

    You said it right! “STOP trying for perfection, and just get it OUT THERE… you can tweak it later. We need to quit letting demon fear rule the things we want to do online or in our personal lives.” … Action KILLS the fear of failure.

  95. I definitely used to have the mindset of wanting to stick my toe in the Internet marketing waters by testing in such a way that only my successes would be known to everyone and my failures would be discovered by nobody.

    Of course that’s impossible and riduculous, but it didn’t stop me from trying…

    But in the IM world, you’re either in or your out, so you might as well skip the toe testing and jump into the deep water head first.

    It wasn’t until I sat through your webinars and taken your Product University course that it became clear that the only way to win is by doing, acting now and making course corrections along the way.

    Failure is Life’s best teacher.

    So although I’ve only launched 3 products in the last 6 months (another one will be finshed this afternoon), I consider myself to be out of the sandbox, since I’d rather at least have the chance to be paid for my efforts and I’m willing to risk that I may get no sales for a given product.

    You’ve put up products yourself that you thought weren’t going to get many sales and they turned out to be big winners, right?

    I know now that the only way to “test” is by putting up a real sales page with a real buy button that leads to a real product.

    If there aren’t any sales, I would consider THAT my test site and move on!

    Great stuff, Robert!

  96. simplest, yet most painful reason I can think why i changed and am better now than before:
    I need much more money than I have to its time to monetize unused or incomplete projects

  97. Robert Plank says:


    Very simple solution then… don’t have so many incomplete projects! Only be working on one project at a time that you can complete in 7 days or less. If you’re doing something that takes longer than 7 days, make it smaller so you can launch version 1.0, then if you want to add to it, you can come out with version 2.0, but at least you have something finished.

    I can’t think of any projects I’ve started in the past 9 months that I’ve never finished… I’ve completed them all.

  98. Juan Boulter says:

    Thanks again Robert for another intuitive gem.
    We all need to just get out there and “Do It!”
    No pussy footing around. No Demo sites!
    Just build a site and get it out there.

    Probably the best way to build a demo or test site is to build one that is a fully functional, living, breathing site so all the “test” data you receive is relevant and useful information

    No excuses….
    Never Give Up!

  99. Angel says:

    @Robert, not the results I was hopping for. I know the next class will do a lot better. Thanks for the training.

  100. Robert Plank says:

    Angel, what did you do to launch it? How big of a list did you mail to? How many clicks? What conversion rate? Did you run a pitch webinar?

  101. P Larson says:

    I’m almost out of the sandbox but still playing at times like a kid.

    When you think about it, the only things that go to a sandbox are cats and kids. I think I’m still in the kid phase because it is fun and no pressure to perform. I can just sit in the box and dig sand and push my cars around without a care in the world.

    Now, cats go in the sandbox for usually a very specific reason. I think we all know what that is for.

    I’m finding the only way to climb out is to completely focus on one site and develop a check list for completing and launching the site. I drive some traffic to the site with PPC and begin testing and monitor sales.

    It sounds simple but as I keep finding out the more sites I build, the more I want to play in the sandbox again. Staying focussed on only one objective is critical.

    So, writing down my short term objectives and taking a red pen to mark them off has helped. I write them on a Steno Tablet, cross them off and when the page is complete I tear it off and throw it out. Gives me a sense of power.

    Thank you Robert for your terrific insight. It truly is appreciated.

  102. I do have one test site, because I am using it to test shopping carts before installing one on a client’s site that is built on the WordPress engine.

    His site is a working business site. I cannot risk crashing it or tying it up, and I do not want to confuse his customers.

    WordPress sites are not like HTML sites: You cannot just build them on your hard drive; you need the server.

    You can build a WordPress site on a dedicated IP address, and just access it via the IP, but since I have the domain, it was easy to use it for testing without having to sacrifice a dedicated IP address.

    The test site is on a domain that I will eventually (if/when I no longer need it as a test site) simply point to my main domain in that niche.

    However, I do have working WP sites that are test sites in the sense that they are not making much/any money because I have not promoted them as I should or not targeted an affiliate program with them. They just have AdSense and Amazon ads.

    On the other hand, some sites that I did that way, just for fun, have taken off and done pretty well. I do need to capitalize on them, but I have had little luck with affiliate programs beyond a few sales in 2007.

    Lack of confidence *is* a problem for me in selling products on line, because you can get into legal problems, and because customers get so mad if you do make mistakes. That makes it a bit scary.

    So I am now selling local search marketing and site design services to local businesses. I have have had some great results for clients with that.

  103. Andy says:

    I’m better now, thanks to you!

  104. Good bloody point, Robert.

    A lot of things I’ve started, intending to fix them later and do them for real, just ended up being the demo site that I accepted eventually as being the real site.

    Better to do it right the first time.

    On the other hand, it doesn’t have to be done perfectly all at once.

    For a blog, that’s great. You start off with zero traffic, so who cares what it looks like? I worry about the template after I’ve got some content and some chance of natural traffic.

    Building a list is another matter.

    If you start building a list but don’t have a plan and a set of emails to follow the plan, it gets harder and harder to launch, because all those people are building up on your list, and you worry about pissing a lot of people off.

    Better to set up something right from the start. If people don’t like it, you can change it early and keep adjusting.

    Start with solid foundations and then you can’t go wrong.

  105. Robert Plank says:

    Hey Drupal,

    With the list building, you can get by with 3-5 e-mails to launch a product… something I’ve also done in the past is worry about getting them on a list, and that’s it… then send out broadcasts manually and store them later as followups.

    Bottom line, if you don’t have a real product for them to buy, what good is the list? That’s a big reason why I create the paid product before the list, actually…

  106. So Robert, you found 150 posts a bit hard to get last time, but this time it’s a 150 post limit again.

    Looks like you’re well on your way to getting all 150.

    Looks like the consistency principle in action – people agreeing to comment, then they have to do it.

    That’s part of the reason I took the time to comment.

    That “email me this report” checkbox on the submit comment is really slick – what plugin does that?

  107. Robert Plank says:

    The “email me this report” is Action Comments.

    Yep, that’s exactly why I had people RSVP before leaving a comment. Commitment and consistency used to work on me all the time when I used to give people testimonials.

  108. Wow Robert, you have put a rocket in my … uh oh… you know where, I am going to come out with a product and I will never go back to the sandbox, promise.

    What report did you promise these guys? Am I going to get it?


  109. Adam Porter says:


    Great information, thank you! Unfortunately, I’m trying to bust out of the sandbox, myself. I know my [very poor] excuse is primarily time-related. I still work a 9-to-5 (more like a 7-to-5), as I’m just getting started. I do have a product out there, though. I have ideas for an upsell to that product and more even larger products, but I fall into the “well I don’t have the time to complete very much of it tonight, so I’ll just do it tomorrow when my evening is less busy.” Of course, the next evening is never ‘less busy,’ so here I am doing hardly more than dripping to my list while they wait for uber-product-X v1.0.

    It’s a strange sensation…knowing I have the talent, knowledge, and skills to produce these products, but I just don’t do it! ‘Just do it’ is gonna have to make a stand!

    Thanks again!

    Adam Porter

  110. Steve says:

    Never been much of a sandboxer. I’m always too keen to get something released. Now I just have to work out how to make money from it.

  111. Sometimes, you can simply turn the sandbox into a “for real” box.

    I used to say: “I’ll start a list after I type out all the follow-up messages first.”

    Yeah, right.

    After many months, still no list. No sign-up box at all.

    Until one day, we just went out and did it.

    Had only one message in the follow-up sequence. Just the welcome letter.

    But we posted the squeeze page just the same.

    Just did all the tweaks and additional follow-up messages along the way. People didn’t seem to mind. 🙂

  112. Robert Plank says:


    What’s this? You’re going by “Manny” now?

    I had a similar problem years ago before I had a real list… I told myself, I need to have a big-ass follow-up sequence in place before I have an opt-in page of any kind.

    Yeah, right. Only about 10% of my lists have any follow-ups in them… I just broadcast to all lists.

    And you know what, it’s so easy to recycle your articles, your blog posts, PLR articles with giveaway rights, and even chunks of your own sales copy as followups.

    I do all kinds of stuff just like that, making it up as I go along, and no one minds.

  113. Chick j says:

    I think test sites are alot like trial marriages. No real commitment.

  114. Chuck Bartok says:

    I really enjoy your candor.
    Being somewhat challenged putting thought on paper via keyboard I am always transposing (even with Spell check)

    But my business motto for past 50 years …
    Don’t worry about getting it right..
    Get It GOING

    Co I put it out there and Modify as time goes on.
    Had some great suggestion make this Page MORE Dynamic..
    Will edit.
    But still getting nice conversions as Vanilla as it is

    Keep up the good work. With your energy I know you will

  115. Here I am commenting and making myself take action.
    I had this pain in the butt all day yesterday and now I know what it was, it was Robert mentally kicking it to get me to commit to even making a comment.
    (Gee the things you have go to to help other people)

    I know really its just habit forming to participate on someones blog that you like.
    I have just realized if you visit the blog all of the time and dont pass a comment it is just right down right rude of you (me).
    Its like walking into a room of people and not saying HELLO to any one and wondering why you cant build a relationship up with anyone.
    IT took me 2 years to get my website up its been up in some format since July 2009. I have a optin free giveaway of a affiliate marketing resources! in a mind map format (wonder where that idea came from).
    Please take alook

    Thanks Robert
    Addicted To Having Fun Online

  116. Indra W says:


    I’m even getting better now. Allow me to post my second comment here as I need to thank you for this. I slept only 2 hours since my first comment posted as I realized that I’m pretty much still in the sandbox area. I re-read your post twice and still think I need to read it and all the comments once more.

  117. Davies Lim says:

    Good points you have there and also in the comments, Gosh so much to read, especially the comments! haha, I have started IM and doing a bit everyday. I hope one day I’ll join the top guns too!

  118. Robert Plank says:


    Just that puts you ahead of post people. Doing a little bit every day, even if it’s just 5 minutes. The average person goes weeks or months without doing anything.

    I agree, there’s way too many comments, so next time I’m going back to 100 comments instead of 150.

  119. Richard says:

    I’m still in a sandbox. I like it here. And that is the problem. So long as I stay in my little sandbox I don’t really have to do anything. And I don’t have to make any fianl decisions. I get to learn all kinds of new things, test them out, experiment with different combinations. If I ever went ‘live’, hell, people would expect things to actually work the way they’re supposed to work!

    This year is going to be different however. Wanna know why? I’ll tell you anyhow. I’ve found out where to hire people that I can afford to hire. Yep, that’s right. I’m staying in my little sandbox still. But now I can have other people do the work for me. Kinda like ordering in takeout instead of cooking for yourself. The only drawback will be teaching the people how to do things. But think of the productivity gains! Now I’ll be able to produce hundreds of test sites every month!

    Seriously though, your article makes a great point.

    Richard 🙂

  120. Robert Plank says:


    Let me know when you finally get sick of getting nothing done and decide you hate the sandbox enough… to actually do something 🙂

  121. Robert Plank says:


    It sounds like you’re on the right track.

    Easy way to get out of the sandbox… how can you hate it more?? If you love testing things, then you’re too comfortable. You have no reason to actually do something. How bad do you NEED to succeed??

  122. Michael Cole says:


    You’re right, having a demo site makes almost as much sense as buying a dummy laptop, with out the guts, from a Dept. store to work your on-line business.

    At least the laptop looks like the finished product.

    If you’re going to create a blog or anything else just get it out there. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to BE. If you’re not happy with it, work on it as you go.

    Both the search engines and your readeres will like the fresh content

  123. Susan says:


    Thanks, just what I needed. I reside in the sandbox and wish I had found your blog sooner. No more trying to be perfect, I will complete at least one thing TODAY!


  124. Chuck Bartok says:

    I forgot on of the greatest statement made to me 59 years ago by the Founder of American Button Company. This 74 year old man was full of wisdom as he watched me carefully weed his Dichondra lawn…

    People who seek perfection generally for those who DON’T

    I continued to weed his lawn very carefully and pondered the Impact!

  125. Ron says:

    Good post Robert.

    Guilty! I actually have 2 test blogs, one for myself with “test” content and one I use for client designs. I should be doing this locally on my computer, but it’s just easier online <no having to change all the "local" paths).

    Although, lately I have been setting the privacy to private and using the Maintenance Mode plugin and enabling it while I tweak the design.

  126. Robert,

    you and Lance pushed me into the deep water yesterday on a webinar… and now I have a completely ignored offering on WSO… and I did’t die. Go figure. That particular product has been ready since the end of November, collecting digital dust.

    Now I can choose to tweak it or chuck it. My students say they love it, so I think it is my selling method that makes it ignored.

    I can change that!

    Talk about being out in the open, out of the sandbox, having real tweaking to do.

    Thank you so very much for your commitment to no waste of human talent. (my take on what you are committed to… anyway)

    Sophie Benshitta Maven
    PS: did you notice that wso made my name appear Ben****ta? starred out the indecent string in the middle of my name… ha ha ha

  127. Robert Plank says:


    You can’t just put a product “out there” and expect it to get sales on its own.

    Did you add that WSO as a signature to your posts? And you’re posting at least 10 new posts a day on that forum?

    Have you mailed your list about the offer? I know you have a decent sized list since you have a whole course about list building.

    Are you contacting at least 1 person a day for a joint venture? I know you have webinar training, because I trained you. I would contact your warm leads… people who have bought from you, people you’ve JV’ed with in the past, even your coaching students… get them to ask their list what questions you can answer, and create a custom webinar just for that person answering the questions… with a pitch at the end so they get affiliate commissions for your product.

    I used to think I needed to put 80% of my time into product creation and 20% into marketing… I had it backwards. Now I’m doing 20% product creation, 80% marketing.

  128. ok here are the first 2 sales letters that I have committed to doing this week.

    I followed Roberts outline in 5 minute copywriting, I’ve done longer and more involved sales pages before but they’ve been in ‘development for ages’ and I’ve gont onto something else for completing it

    this one is done


    the next one just needs the paypal button on it and linked into the ordering process (my VA is onto it)

    the next 2 will be done over the weekend dont look until monday, putting them here now as the comments will close and an extra incentive to me to get them done.


    and http://www.FatLossChef.com/you-only-need-10-recipes

    Thanks for giving me the kick in the arse Robert, I’ve done all this this week with my son being off in the snow.



  129. Brad says:

    I can’t believe I was stupid enough to be in the sandbox!

    NO MORE!

    Robert you kicked my ass into not testing stuff out…might as well be real and learn on the fly.

    Thanks for the wakeup…btw, your Paper theme kicks ass!



  130. Robert Plank says:

    Thanks Brad, so what is it you’re doing now (thanks to me) that you weren’t doing before?

  131. Kevin Fegan says:

    > …btw, your Paper theme kicks ass!

    Brad (or Robert) which Paper theme are you referring to ?

    I have been looking for a simple Paper WordPress theme.

    Thanks, Kevin

  132. Robert, I appreciate your response, and I also see that it is very valid.

    I have a question though: this particular product, “how to create memorable headlines in 10 minutes or less” the first that I remembered where it was when I had to think fast on the call… is not my best, and ultimately not the product I want to lead with. It will be useful and a great upsell product later in my “funnel”.

    If you were me, would you try to salvage your twenty bucks by throwing good money after bad money and start promoting it, or would you say: “ok, I now know at least some of the steps it takes to get something on wso, I got some great advice from Robert, now, let me work for a couple more days, thoughtfully, launch my REAL product, that is shippable, and really what I want to promote, want to be known by, etc. etc. etc.?” (I still don’t have a sales letter, and I need to re-record the presentation, because I have added a few slides.)

    This is a real question… though it sounds, maybe, like I want to go back to the sandbox, that is not the case.

    But I consider that product a “test” product, the wso posting a “test” posting, because I had to learn to crawl before I can run.

    Hm, hair in the soup?


  133. Great post Robert and you are spot on and I can tell that you are very passionate about what you write.

    I have seen so many students and clients run around in a circle of “fent to” attitude. The “fent to” comes from the south…lol

    People are always in the research, testing mode. The cool thing about online marketing is you can test live but as you say don’t call it a test….simple do it.

    Make adjustments based on marketing feedback.

    Will def. have to add your RSS feed to my favs.

    Take care & happy profitable marketing.

    CashFlow Queen

  134. drew says:

    Great Post,

    But I am still in the sandbox.

    Two years of buying products and taking notes and getting very little sleep.

    But; after I read your post I felt motivated to take action on a small project I was planning.

    Then I ended up taking notes from all the comments.

    Man I need more than a few inspirational words.

    Could you send me a kick in the back end please.

    Thanks ; )

    ps I don’t usually take notes on my first visit to a blog ; )

    pps I don’t build test blogs or test websites.

    I build them then start promoting them then convince myself there not good enough so, I just start ignoring them and move on to the next possible product in my in box and take notes.

  135. Jac says:


    For me, I just had to resign myself to something I’ve known about myself since grade school: I suck at making things look good”

    Dave, I know this is probably not the place but I’ll also probably never read anything of yours again so I got to say this.

    Please listen to yourself! You only suck at everything because you told yourself that so many times in your life. Stop beating up on yourself and just do something without failing first and every time you do something just tell yourself that this is the best I’ve ever done.

    Live life on your own terms and not on what you think other people think. You will never know what other people think so don’t worry about it! Just do it!

    Sorry Robert, I just can not help myself when people beat up on themselves like that. It’s just not right.


  136. Robert Plank says:

    I know Jac, it’s frustrating for me to hear things like that too.

    I think Dave is saying it as good thing… he sucks at making things look good, so he’ll do something else and not focus on the graphics stuff.

  137. John says:

    Hey Rob,

    I like the ‘demo mode’ relate! Whilst ‘demo mode’ could be a good thing for an ipod in a shop window or even a new plasma tv on the shelf of the local store, maybe it really isnt so good for someone with a business or even wanna-be-business that depends on actual ‘real life results’ to figure out what exactly needs to be done in order to acheive better results. So here’s to the ‘demo mode’ (whilst profiting) model.

    Thanks for the ass-kicking info Robert,


  138. helmut H. says:

    hi thank you for the advice, I am struggle with all the advertising and new web pages to get that sorted
    is a flood of information but some how very interesting to find the right Leads..I will carry on and see what’s happen . your comment are very help full.
    helmut P.S. my web site is under construction.

  139. John says:

    Hey Rob, Im back again and with good reason.

    Heres why..

    1. I come and read your blog post
    2. I go away with enthusiasm and get something ticked off my list of things to do, or change somthing that needs changing
    3. After so long I run out of steam or get a mental block
    4. I come back to your blog, and repeat from point 1



  140. Robert Plank says:

    John: sounds good, whatever gives you a swift kick in the ass… keep repeating what works.

  141. Robert,

    I am at a seminar where I experienced the wildest thing: your voice in my head asking the right questions when an offer was presented, or a choice was to be made.

    This saved me from going far and wide from what my plan has been, from trying out stuff that I don’t have time for, that may work for others but not me, from buying stuff that would take me off my path.

    The voice asked the question: “how is that going to make money for you?” “Is that the next logical step?”.

    In the sparseness (is that a word?) of my plan work can get done and it is possible to get from where I am now to where I am heading: having products out there producing revenue.

    Thank you so very much.

  142. Robert Plank says:

    That’s a great attitude Sophie, so how many products of yours out there have pulled in 1 sale or more? Is the copywriting product you put out as a WSO still selling? Are you bumping or reposting it?

  143. Sam Stein says:

    Hi Robert, thanks for more great info. This is my first comment to you, but I’ve been following you for a while, and bought several of your products – highly recommend them.
    I recently got myself out of demo-mode, completed my product, and put it “out there”.
    I read your posts about clickbank vs paydotcom. I listed with paydotcom, mainly because it’s $2000 which, as you know, clickbank won’t accept.
    Now that I’m finally beyond demo-mode, do you have any suggestions for how to spread the word to pdc affiliates?
    Thanks and keep it up,

  144. Robert Plank says:

    Sam, you do it the same way as with regular affiliates. Write a solo ad that affiliates can cut and paste into email. Create a page just for affiliate tools, like this one: http://www.actionpopup.com/affiliates and contact at least one new person a day to get a joint venture going. I definitely recommend trying to get a webinar going for their list instead of an ad swap, that way you don’t have to sell your soul.

  145. I completely agree.

    And it goes beyond just web-sites.

    So many people live their live’s in “dress rehearsal” or “test mode.”

    This is the real thing folks! There really isn’t any such thing as “test mode.” It’s all for real!

  146. Hello Robert,

    This is my first comment on your blog and really I was amazed by the amount of content your provide for *free* where I can pay for these stuff at other places.

    I am really happy that I found your blog and can’t wait to see other post

    Mohamed Hammad

  147. David McKee says:

    All I have to say is: “Gary Halbert”.

    Webpage looked like courier font typewritten page. Not a lot of testing – made millions.

  148. Robert Plank says:

    I totally agree David, you could drive yourself crazy trying to split test everything… not everything is worth split testing… some things like your font are just “good enough.”

  149. I can totally relate to this. Perfectionism is a disease that causes procrastination. Often i would leave some project unfinished and in “demo mode” because now I cannot make it perfect, and guess what, it doesn’t get done for months.

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