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INTRO German physicist ready for the fastlane

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ManuelK

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Feb 23, 2019
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Hey!
I recently read the book "Unscripted" which led me to this forum.
I read many books to different topics like entrepreneurship, self-development, etc. but I never agreed so much with a person as I did with @MJ DeMarco.
Let me introduce myself briefly:
Right now, I'm 23 years old, live in Germany and study physics. Back in 2017, I realized that the scripted way of living (get good grades, apply for a job in a big company and do some work for others) is not what I want to pursue. Since then I continued studying only because of my own interest in the topics, what is still there.
The problem is that until now I didn't really take action, besides many action-fakes (shame on me). But Unscripted was an eye-opener what will wait for me if I don't change anything - a F*ck This Event.
My goal is: At the end of 2019 I want to earn money on my own so I can pay my bills and rent without trading time for money (using CENTS commandments)
I have many ideas but how can I know what customers would buy? To use MJ's metaphor: Deposit coins in the gumball machine otherwise you will never have the chance of a golden ball. So yesterday I started programming a SaaS that solves a problem I had on my job in the small business I work right now.
I look forward to having some inspiring conversations as there are already thousands in this forum.
Greetings.
Manuel
 

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Last edited:

NMdad

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Welcome to the tribe? How can we help you?
 
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ManuelK

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Feb 23, 2019
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Hey @NMdad!
Just now, I have two questions in my mind:
1. Is my goal realistic? I am quite confident in the technical part since this is what I did for my studies and as a hobby the whole time. But I have no experience with the business part like sales, marketing, etc.
2. If I manage to come up with a prototype, how can I test if customers will pay for it? One approach could be to just speak to/e-mail some business owners and basically ask "Hey do you need this?" but is this really effective?
Greetings,
Manuel
 

NMdad

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To answer your questions
  1. Hard to say if your goal is realistic--it'll depend how much money you need to replace your income (while generating enough revenue to first keep the businesses running & growing). It'll also depend on how much you can charge for the SAAS, how big the market is, how many customers you can acquire, & how fast you can acquire customers.
  2. To validate your idea (i.e., get paying customers), the best way is to talk to them directly--in-person is best, or by phone 2nd best. You'll get great qualitative info when you talk to potential customers--what pain they have, if your SAAS could solve the pain, how much they're willing to pay, and whether they'll actually give you money. The more specific you are about who exactly your customers are, the easier it is to find them, and the easier it is to identify pains they have & benefits they want.
 

lowtek

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Welcome aboard friend, from another physicist. Are you getting your PhD?

I'm biased, but I believe that the first principles approach to problem solving we learned is a powerful weapon to solve nearly any problem.
 

MJ DeMarco

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Welcome my friend, great to have another quantum-entangler on the board!
 
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ManuelK

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Feb 23, 2019
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Hey guys!
Thanks for your answers.
@NMdad : Ok, then I think I will build a prototype and ask as many people as I can if they have the problem I could solve.
@lowtek : Oh yes, I think all of those exercises and physical problems led to a way of thinking that you can immediately come up with a solution and additionally you were taught to understand complex systems.
Right now I'm doing my master thesis in the field of robotics and machine learning and maybe I will do my Ph.D. after that (Some friends said that it's a lot of work and time you have to invest - maybe some time I'd better invest in a business?) Do you have your PhD? What is your subject?
@MJ DeMarco : Your book disentangled my mind from so much bullshit :D - thank you!
(Or to say it in a physicists way: By observing all the false beliefs, the status of my mind is clearly determined and now disentangled)

P.S. I really like to have this forum/community here with like-minded people, this is really motivating.
 

NMdad

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I think I will build a prototype and ask as many people as I can if they have the problem I could solve.
What about talking to people who you think might be your ideal customer--before you have a prototype--and asking them about the problem & what might solve it / make it better for them?
 
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ManuelK

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Feb 23, 2019
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What about talking to people who you think might be your ideal customer--before you have a prototype--and asking them about the problem & what might solve it / make it better for them?
I think you are right. It would better not to invest too much time in a project that is not wanted at all.
But it feels a little bit odd to ask potential customers without anything like a product. Ok, tbh it scares me to talk to people I don't know - really need to work on that.
(While writing this post I tried to come up with some worst-case-scenarios, but ... None of them are near to realistic)
 

NMdad

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But it feels a little bit odd to ask potential customers without anything like a product. Ok, tbh it scares me to talk to people I don't know - really need to work on that.
(While writing this post I tried to come up with some worst-case-scenarios, but ... None of them are near to realistic)
Exactly--our worst fears are almost always highly improbable.

Here's how to work on the (overblown) fear of talking to people: Talk to people. :) Just be genuine, curious, respectful of their time, and always looking to provide value. At this point, you're simply gathering data to determine whether there's enough interest to keep moving forward with your idea. Any & all data you gather is useful.

I've also found the following things helpful:
  • Make a list of 50+ people to talk to (who are potentially ideal customers). Having lots of people you can call means that you're not relying on 1, 3, or 5 people for info. There's an abundance of prospects.
  • Make a script for yourself for when you call--1 sentence intro, and 5-6 open-ended questions to ask them. Something like:
Hey, [name], is this a bad time?
Great, so, I'm an entrepreneur, and I'm talking with other [their position] at [their company type & industry] about [the problem your idea relates to]. Would it be OK if I asked you a couple questions around that?
Great! So, can you tell me a bit about how you currently deal with [problem]?
Etc.
The more you practice, the easier it gets. Make at least 1 call per day. You can make a game of it, to see how many calls & conversations you can do in a week.
 

srazaq

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Oct 10, 2018
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Welcome Manuel, from another German.

If you need any help with the SAAS feel free to ping me. I have 10+ years experience in software development.
 

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AlexFS

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Dec 20, 2018
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You study robotics and machine learning?? That's is super cool, don't know about you but if I could do that, I'd probably not worry about it, that is a very interesting field and seems you're passionate about it. Lot of interesting work in that, and fulfilling jobs I'd imagine. You're young, you could give business a go as well, but I wouldn't discount working for someone in this field because you will learn a ton. Can't just throw everything in the same pile, a career in robotics and AI.. c'mon. I recently read a post here about someone lost even though they have a 6 figure business and sell online classes, but not really happy with it. Business isn't the answer to everything. Knowing what you really want from life is. But to know that you gotta try lots of different things. Give the saas a go. You will learn a ton. As long as you keep learning and growing, the rest will come.
 
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ManuelK

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Feb 23, 2019
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Oh wow guys, thank you for all these answers!

Talk to people.
I've seen that coming :D. So from now on I really want to speak to as many people as I can, even if it is just small talk - every kind of practice is important. Thank you for this script, it will hopefully reduce my nervousness.

@AlexFS : Oh yes I am totally passionate about physics, machine learning, and AI - that is the one single reason why I study it.
The thing is: When I was in the third semester I started thinking about my career and life in general and it felt like something is wrong. I basically realized what was ahead of me. All those people I saw every day, walking into an office building in the morning, doing some stuff that their boss told them and then leave in the evening to have some digitized numbers on the bank account... The imagination that this could be me in a few years was awful (btw MJs book was the first one I read which had similar thoughts in it). Now to my current situation. I have this part-time job at a robotics company and we do some really great stuff, I don't have fixed working hours and all my colleagues (including the boss) are really nice. I would never complain about my current situation (in fact, I think nobody with a warm place to sleep, enough food and a healthy family should ever complain). Obviously, I won't quit this job or my studies to go gullibly into a business which maybe isn't even profitable. But there is still this feeling. This restlessness. This "I-need-to-do-something-on-my-own"-feeling.
Maybe I am just a young guy with some crazy thoughts. But maybe I will regret some time in the future that I didn't take these crazy thoughts seriously.

As long as you keep learning and growing, the rest will come.
This is what I really hope! Thanks for your input.

Ok, now I wrote way more than planned :D
I wish you all a nice day or evening or morning! (dependent on which time zone you are)
 

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