Captain’s log, stardate 20190218
How do I know?
Sent by Jonathan Stark on February 20th, 2019
It’s pretty common for folks working through one of my programs to ask themselves (and then me) some version of the question “How do I know?”
- How do I know this is the right target market?
- How do I know this training course will sell?
- How do I know this which chapters to include in my book?
The short answer is:
When you’re first starting out with a new idea, it’s a hypothesis. And what do you do with a hypothesis?
You test it.
So if you’re not sure about the viability of a target market or the demand for a training course or the best outline for your book, come up with a test that will validate or invalidate your hypothesis before going all in.
Ideally, the test would be very small - just enough to give you a good reason to move forward with the idea. Here are some examples to get your gears turning:
- Viable target market?—Update your LinkedIn profile to be laser focused on your target market, and then start connecting with folks in it. Do they accept your connection request? Will they engage in conversation via DMs? Are they interested in learning more about what you do?
- Demand for training course?—Create a free 5-day email course that covers the five most important points from your course outline. Promote it in places where your ideal buyers hang out (e.g., Twitter, Reddit, LinkedIn, Hacker News, Facebook groups, Slack groups, etc). Do people subscribe? Do they reply with questions, comments, suggestions, praise? Do they share the free course with their friends?
- Which chapters to include?—Write a brief book proposal and share it with your friends, family, and colleagues. Do they know anyone who might be an ideal reader? Would they mind introducing you to some ideal readers? What do the ideal readers think about the content outline?
None of these are foolproof, but they would likely be close enough to give you a feel for the viability of the idea. For example:
- If you get crickets, it might be time to go back to the drawing board
- If you get people begging you to take their money, you’ve probably got a hit on your hands.
- If you land somewhere in the middle, you might just need to tweak the idea based on their feedback.
Testing is fun. Give it a shot. Follow where it leads you.