This is part two of my From Zero to $5000/month in 5 months web app challenge, see part one here.
A lot of advice out there talks about validating ideas before you build. The truth is, you can run around collecting emails on a landing page like crazy, and you can talk to thousands of people, but you will never know if an idea is ‘validated’ until people pay for a product.
I could spend hours, weeks, days, months thinking about a solution to a problem; too afraid to build something in case I waste time building on something not “validated”. This is why solving your own problems is a good idea, if something solves a painful problem you have, you can almost guarantee other people out there will have the same problem and be interested in your solution.
Rather than waste hours, weeks days, and months thinking, I choose to waste time building the smallest product I can. The best ideas are ones you can build a working solution within a few days and get this in front of your target audience with a way of taking payment. Then you can validate this quickly. Worst case scenario you have lost a few days building something you will use yourself.
Every time you build something new, you learn new ways to build, and you learn new things about startups. So stop overthinking everything, get out there and build. You never know, something might take off. You learn by doing, not by thinking.
Build your intuition and then take a calculated bet. Startups are simply calculated bets, nothing more.
What to bet on?
There are 107 ideas in my new project ideas note. I’ve added to this list over the last 10 or so years, it’s been through four different note taking apps.
They are usually problems I experience and potential solutions to them. It’s much easier to solve your own problems and a lot less work than finding problems.
How do I choose which to build?
The smaller the better, if I can build a working version in a week or less, I can then try to validate the product with a live version that can accept payment.
Audience > problem > solution
Since the ideas are normally solutions to problems I have, this means it is likely other people out there have the same problem. It’s important to not go blindly here however, you need to define the audience that has this problem. This can be challenging as you have to separate your sense of self.
The main problem with solving your own problems is you can’t use yourself as an example to validate whether another person would pay for the product.
So what am I currently betting on?
For my $5000 in five months web app challenge I am building an app called AutoUnsubscribe.me
Here is the current audience > problem > solution:
Audience: People who live and make money out of their inboxes (freelancers, small business owners etc)
Problem: Inboxes are overwhelmed with marketing subscriptions and spam. They are too busy to keep on top of them, or they hesitate from unsubscribing in case they actually do want the subscription.
Solution: Automatically unsubscribe them from emails they don’t read.
This week I spent most of my time getting the beta of AutoUnsubscribe.me ready for public release, so I can start truly validating it and whether I should keep pursuing the idea. I also spent a lot of term working on my approach to security and how I keep private data safe. You can read the current version of my security page here https://autounsubscribe.me/security
The biggest challenge is going to be building enough trust with users, they basically have to trust my service as much as they trust their mail provider.
The next goal is to get my first beta user to sign up and then set up pricing and try and get my first sale.
The beta is now live and you can hit the sign-up link by going to https://autounsubscribe.me 🙂
I’m going to be transparent about every step of the journey, follow along on my blog or on my Twitter, to see how things are going, what I am learning and the mistakes you shouldn’t make. The deadline is 15th April to have $5000 a month worth of paying customers.