It’s that time again. Time for an update on my self-imposed Create a Business Challenge.
For those of you new to the site — the whole purpose of this site is to document my progress (and lessons learned) in going from wantrepreneur to entrepreneur by creating a business this year.
My last business update was two months ago.
Moving forward, you’ll see business updates at the end of every month. This should help in holding me more accountable. Which I really need, because…
I’m truly disappointed in myself.
The past two months have gone by fast, with not much progress on the business front.
I’m ashamed to say that I’ve probably spent more time playing cell phone games than I have running true validation tests to find a product to create.
It’s ridiculously easy to turn to something you feel you can control (like a game, or watching Netflix) when faced with ambiguity and the unknown.
It hasn’t been all bad though:
- I’ve figured out how to get a visa to Vietnam.
- I’ve found a one-stop-shop for getting great remote jobs.
- I’ve collected 30+ data points, through interviews with people who are in debt.
But I still don’t have solid product ideas.
I still don’t know that people would pay for solutions to the handful of problems I’ve identified.
I’ve spent a lot of time doing less important tasks rather than strictly focusing on those ugly, scary to dos that might really move the needle.
Which is frustrating, stressful, and doesn’t make me feel confident in my ability to achieve my goal this year.
My friend Nick Naraghi (former CEO of Northeastern’s IDEA Venture Accelerator) recently gave me a great kick in the butt. He said:
“Test your riskiest assumptions first. Validate the scary stuff now – don’t save it for last.”
This is a great addition to the list of steps for taking massive action.
It’s easy to take the path of least resistance and to do the simple tasks you already understand.
It’s a lot harder to tackle the scary stuff (like running a validation test to see if a product idea will sell) — but this is what we MUST do to make real progress.
I need to stop being a perfectionist with non-critical work and start taking bigger, bolder steps forward.
Here are my (bigger & bolder) next steps:
- Brainstorm solutions that could address the problems I’ve identified in my primary research
- Bring an MVP solution up in conversation with a price tag to see if people will pay me for it
- Create landing pages representing various product ideas and run cold traffic to the pages to see if anyone bites
If I can leave you with anything to take away to your own business venture it would be this: steer towards the pain.
You’ve got to keep your priorities front and center and correct any deviations from the path as quickly as possible.
One of my interviewees shared an interesting tactic:
“Every week I write my total debt number on a piece of paper and tape it above my bed so I see it first thing when I wake up every morning.”
My takeaway: Do whatever you need to do to stay focused.
For some people (myself included), that means having a visual reminder directly in front of you.
Also — try taking a cold shower and downing some caffeine every morning to conquer any willpower problems you run into. I’ve found the cold shower alone to be super effective for getting rid of brain fog and getting instant mental clarity.
Want an EXTRA kick in the butt to hustle and take action?
Check out this video Andrew Hickson (tech professional + insane limit-pusher) shared with me the other day.
At 3:10 he talks about hitting a wall and what to do.
Time to get moving.