This post kicks off lesson 1 of #theprep. It’s simple — in 8 lessons I want to to help you take your idea to launch. Enjoy!#theprep
People are giving “ideas” a bad name. I agree, everyone has ideas. Everyone has what they think is the next big thing. The problem around ideas and why they have such a bad wrap is no one EXECUTES on those ideas. On top of that, the simplest ideas really start to change and mold into something once you actually start working on your idea. The most important thing is to just start.
Now that you’ve got your idea, whether it’s just a sliver of an idea or truly the next big thing, here’s some steps to validate it.
1. Is your idea solving a problem?
For starters, let’s get real with each other for a second. Odds are you’re not building the next unicorn, with millions of dollars in funding. It’s ok. Let’s stay practical here. Practical is actually sexy. It’s sustainable.
Take a gut check with your idea, product or service and ask yourself, does this solve a problem? Even better, does it solve a problem you’re dealing with? If the answer is yes, then you’re most likely onto something.
2. Will anyone actually pay for it?
Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely a path for those going the “freemium” route. Or if you just want to get users on board using your product. With that being said eventually we all need to make money to keep our businesses alive.
Whether you’re selling your product, a service, generating leads or promoting products to your followers, make it something people are willing to pay for. The last thing you want to do is have a few of your family and friends telling you they love the idea but no one’s actually pulling out their wallet.
Again, it’s ok if you want to run with an idea to build your following. Get feedback. Provide mountains of value without charging. But in time, you will need to find a way to make money if you want to see your idea support your dream.
3. It’s all about MVP.
When you’re first thinking about your idea, it’s easy to start thinking about everything it can be. This feature and that feature. It could work for this person and that person. Don’t get ahead of yourself or pretty soon the idea will become so big you won’t know where to start.
KISS – Keep it simple, stupid. This principle was actually started back in the 60’s when the Navy wanted to ensure success of their protocols. It’s no different with anything else you’re trying to execute. Your idea can be as big and wide as you want but in the beginning you need to keep things simple.
4. Does it keep you up at night?
It’s all about passion. If you really want to take something and make it amazing, it has to be something you’re passionate about.
Let me clarify what I mean when I ask “Does it keep you up at night?” When I’m saying that it’s from experience. When you’re working on something you’re truly passionate about you won’t want to sleep. Heck, sometimes you don’t want to eat. You’re just so focused, you get lost in what you’re building.
The other thing is, when you’re first getting your idea off the ground there are zero shortcuts. It takes hard work. Period. You will work day and night on this. Every day. Usually working late into the morning–1am, 2am. Then back up at 6am again to start all over again. The hustle never quits so you better be working on something you enjoy.
5. Are you an expert at it?
It seems obvious but when you’re creating something you can increase your chances of success by doing something you actually know something about. If you don’t know anything about what you’re trying to build it will come out in your work. There’s definitely a motto of “fake it until you make it” but that won’t work when starting a company. Whether directly or indirectly, you need to have the chops with what you’re working on.
You can work as hard as you want and solve the worlds biggest problem but if you’re not talented or great at what you’re doing, your idea will fail. That’s not to say you can’t partner with someone else that may bring that piece of the puzzle. You can absolutely do it, just don’t lie to yourself. Expose your own weaknesses and find people to fill those gaps you find.
Ideas are just ideas when you don’t execute on them. Ideas don’t work when you don’t validate them. Ideas fail when you have no business doing what your doing. Ideas aren’t “shit.” It takes courage and hard work to see an idea through. As you work on your idea, it will change and morph into something much different than when you first started. That’s exactly what you want. You’re validating, pivoting and just like everything else, change is constant.
Don’t let anyone tell you your idea can’t work. If you feel confident your idea passes through some of these of points above, you’re onto something and you should without a doubt run with it. Good luck!