Aug 172014

Please don’t feel like someone was being down on your idea. It’s a fair idea. An idea is the first step in taking something to market. You think you have spotted a gap in the market and you’re understandably excited (happens to me too). Exploring the idea then takes some thinking, looking, talking.

What real need can you fill or solve or improve or do differently? If a solution doesn’t sufficiently motive people to use a product for free then you can rarely profit from it. Although they might need to see and use it before they can value it.

It’s a bit of an urban myth that you can “cut someone in” on an idea. Everyone can and does have ideas, they are free, you can’t patent them. It’s the implementation that may be patented. For example if you achieve the same thing a different way then you may be able to patent that. (Without even getting into the discussion about whether patents are good for anyone or even worth the writing it takes to describe one.) But mostly you are either sufficiently involved in bringing a product to market or you are not.

My biggest project consumed 2 years of my life at up to 16hrs per day. To date, I am yet to earn a single cent from that one. I can’t say I didn’t profit though because I learnt a lot. I have released several products over the years and going through the process is solid practise and hopefully you get better at it each time. You get further mostly because you get more precise, more targeted. But that still doesn’t guarantee that you will profit financially.

A typical project may take 6 months from first investigations to launching the first public release. Provided it’s a primary project and at least 10 hours per week is invested in it. This means by definition that you can only try two or three projects per year. While others have to sit on the back burner. There are of course smaller and bigger projects but this is the time scale I have found often in my projects. Less and you may be thinking too small, greater and you may never get anything out of the door. Development time is grossly underestimated by almost anyone that hasn’t done a fair bit of it.

My current project primarily solves a need I have. Which is good because it’s something I’m interested and involved in. Often others will have the same need but they may not always see it the same way. You better really like something about the project or you will definitely give up early. Further it’s very unlikely to succeed in a market that you know nothing about and are not interested in learning about.

Finally I pretty much wrote this article in between vacuuming my house, because that’s how entrepreneurs have to work.

Gavin Kromhout:

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