How to validate your ideas
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"Ideas are simple, execution is hard".
Today we will see how to jump from having an idea to actually executing it. The first step of the process is to validate your idea. That sounds easy but that's not that easy, and it's super important to not waste your time!
1. How to pick the right idea
Idea creation is a muscle. Once trained, you can have new ideas every week. The founders of @PonyExpressss even shipped an MVP every week before launching TweetHunter!
The real deal is how to pick the right idea. Building a new venture takes time. You don't want to waste it on a worthless idea!
Here is my process to choose an idea:
2/ Is the idea worth working on:
There are 4 questions you should ask yourself before starting:
- Is it a pain that people have regularly?
- Is it urgent/painful enough that people will pay for a solution?
- How hard it is to build?
- How hard is it to distribute?
If it's hard to distribute or if you don't know already who you should target and how to get attention from your potential customers.
DON'T BUILD IT.
Same thing for the small pains or not recurring ones (daily or monthly)
If it's hard to build, you think twice about it. You could raise some funding to speed the process, but is it something you want to do?
Here is Daniel's framework, super solo-founder oriented. I love how he focused a lot on his own happiness.
As a business will take you a lot of your time and energy, that sounds very wise.
My idea validation process:
1. Will I enjoy it?
2. Can I do it on my own?
3. Is it likely to work?
4. Is it okay if it doesn't?
In desperate times, compromise on #1. In good times, emphasize on #1.
2. Share your idea
If your idea passed the tests above, now is the time to share it with others!
Don't start to build yet, instead focus on getting people on a call.
Ask them about the pain you want to resolve, don't share your idea first. Listen to their pains, try to analyze how recurrent they face and how they solve them right now.
Talking to customers isn't that easy and deserves his own newsletter issue, but you can read TheMomTest. That's a very good starting point:
The Mom Test - a book by Rob Fitzpatrick
How to talk to customers and learn if your business is a good idea when everyone is lying to you.
If you can find multiple people that are ACTIVELY looking for a solution to an issue they face daily or weekly you may have validation!
Otherwise, you need to go back to square 1.
3. Payment is the only validation
The only real validation is people buying your product. That's why you need to ship something super fast.
You don't need the product yet, not even an MVP. Create a landing page with Carrd and describe the solution you want to make.
If you can add some mockups, screenshots, or make a demo video it's even better.
And ask people to preorder your product.
If the pain you're trying to solve is big enough, they will be super happy to pay upfront - give them a huge discount or lifetime access.
Gumroad stopped the preorders, but you can still do it easily with Flurly
Flurly - Easiest way to sell digital products online — flurly.com
Sell any digital product in under a minute and keep 99% of what you make after payment processing fees. No monthly fees either.
3. Have a framework to fail
If your preorders went super well, and you have 100+ customers then you are good to build. That's the best-case scenario
But if it's not the case you must be prepared.
How many preorders do you consider a validation? 2? 10? 40?
Do you need some money to build it?
Is there a technical issue that could make it fail?
It's totally OK to fail and to cancel your preorders if you think you can't deliver or you don't have any traction.
4. Promote your preorder page!
Now that you know what you need, it's time to get it.
Promote your landing page like you would do with a regular product.
Send 100+ DMs on social media
Send 500+ cold emails
Spend $100+ on Ads (Google, Facebook, Tiktok,…)
If you get enough customers after all these efforts, you're good to go and start building your MVP.
If not, it's OK. You only spend a few efforts on this, and you actually save A LOT of time. That's the faster way to fail!
Just find another idea and restart this process all over again.
Don't be discouraged. Peter Levels built 70+ projects before being successful!
🍰 Only 4 out of 70+ projects I ever did made money and grew
📉 >95% of everything I ever did failed
📈 My hit rate is only about ~5%
🚀 So...ship more
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