Sent by Jonathan Stark on May 3rd, 2019
Longtime reader Daniel J. Summers wrote in with an anecdote that supports my advice about what to do when entering a new market and/or launching a new offering (shared with permission, bold mine):
Howdy Jonathan! I’m a bit behind on Ditching Hourly, but I listened today to the Q&A about using old testimonials in a new niche. Your advice about not doing “free” work, but doing it for market research, is spot-on. Not only for the reasons you cited, but also because without it, you may spend a lot of time developing something that nobody wants, or the people who want it can’t afford it. Ask me how I know... or, I’ll just tell you :) I parlayed a community service endeavor into work that a national network of non-profits liked, and was interested in funding at their level. It would have been great - until someone showed them that they can drag-and-drop forms and workflows to do similar things in Salesforce, who also gives free accounts to non-profits. My idea went from post-retirement “home run” money to nothing in 0.0 seconds. Anyway, I appreciate your list and podcast; it’s always thought-provoking, even when the specific topic may not be where I currently am. Thanks! —DJS
Yep. Landing a few beta clients can save you months (or years!) of time potentially wasted on building out a product or service that is simply not compelling.
Sure, it’s way more fun to jump straight into “build it and they will come” mode... at first. But it’s not so fun when you’ve got zero dollars to show for a thousand hours of work.
Not sure if your ideal buyers are interested in your idea? ASK THEM!