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Help a struggling Wantraprenuer.

Discussion in 'Ideas, Needs, Concept Feedback' started by NeatStranger, Dec 28, 2018.

  1. NeatStranger
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    NeatStranger Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Hello! Thank you for taking the time to read this post!

    I have been a "Wantraprenuer" for a long time now, pretty much since high school, leaving college and going back several times. I have been stuck in this intrepid cycle of wantrapreneurship.
    1. Think of "Great" business idea, devote hours and hours perfecting it.
    2. Spend days/weeks/months building the business platform(I am a programmer, so most of the time this means coding a website/app/program)
    3. Get small feedback loop, nothing near what I had built up in my head the whole time I was building this, maybe one or two sales or comments.
    4. Sometimes, get some harsh criticism about the app and give up there on the spot, and then feel defeated for a couple days/weeks/months until a new "Better" idea hits me(Back to step 1)
    5. More often, while working to the idea a "Better" idea will hit me and I will abandon ship and start over, damned Shiny Object Syndrome.
    Well, now I want to break out of this cycle and I am bound and determined to do so. I have built a preliminary product that I would like a brutally honest review for:
    themailerlist.com

    Essentially this idea was born out of the family business of Wireless internet service providers.

    Almost everyone in my immediate family is involved in this business. One of the more menial tasks related to advertising is selecting houses one by one from within our service area to build a physical mailing list. You can use sites like USPS every door direct mail, but with this you end up mailing hundreds and even possibly thousands of houses that are not in our coverage area. I built the tool mostly for us to use, so we could make marketing easier. It solves an immediate problem for us. We can now just drag a box over the houses we want to send marketing to, and download a list of all the houses in the area formatted for our online mailing provider.


    This may be a small idea, and I have gotten "Better" ideas since I started working on it, but I am determined to see this through. How could I make this better? Is there any other possible use cases for a service like this? Don't be nice or sugarcoat this for me. I want your honest feedback.
    Thank you for reading!
     
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  2. Thomas Baptiste
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    Thomas Baptiste Third of His Name Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Motivation dies easily. Don't think that motivation is a prerequisite for business. Action is going to get you all the results, not motivation. If anything action aka execution is going to get you motivated quicker than waiting for the 'better' idea to hit.

    Business wise, I'm still unsure of what the service actually provides/accomplishes.
    Who is your target market?
    What are you providing to your target market?
    What can you do better than those that are providing the same value?
     
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  3. NeatStranger
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    NeatStranger Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Target market: Businesses who use direct mail marketing.
    What are you providing: Geographic based mailing lists for those businesses
    What can you do better? I haven't really found anyone doing this yet. End game would be to allow users to drag a box over an area and send mailers to the entire area.
     
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  4. RazorCut
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    RazorCut Platinum Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Well first off well done on avoiding the Shiny Object Syndrome and getting this far.

    I like it. It's a neat idea. I'm in the UK so don't know how you would normally purchase address lists.

    It would be great if you could compartmentalise it down further (I don't know what data you store) but say addresses of houses over a certain value or addresses where the main occupier is male or female. Age ranges etc.. The sort of detail that is carried within census data.

    Who do you see yourself marketing this product to? In other words who would benefit the most? Certainly not Pizza delivery companies.
     
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  5. Bekit
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    Positive feedback:
    This is a cool concept, and I'm not sure, but it seems like it could disrupt the list brokers for direct mail, depending on the price.

    I'd bring this to the attention of some of the top direct mail guys like Craig Simpson and Brian Kurtz and see what they say about it. If they are enthusiastic, you've got it made. If they have critical feedback, take every word they say and build it into your app.


    Negative feedback:
    I drew a small rectangle over an area in the United States that has a population of approximately 600,000 people.

    I waited, counting up to 80 at the pace of my heartbeats.

    Only to get an error at the end:
    upload_2018-12-28_16-54-35.png

    Suggestions:
    • Create a normal "shopping cart" experience. Currently, if I click on the "Purchase addresses" button, all I get is a popup that asks for my email address and credit card. This feels unsafe and sketchy. I wouldn't purchase in these circumstances.
    • Describe what you are getting when you purchase the addresses. What's the format? How does it look? Is it a spreadsheet? Can I have a screenshot?
    • Write up an "about" page and include the story that you told above, describing your family business and then detailing the problem you had, the tediousness of solving it, the solution that you came up with, and the amount of time it saves you per week/month/whatever.
    • Write up a "compare and contrast" description of the difference between the USPS lists and other problematic list sources, and how your product works instead.
    • Make it so that you can move the rectangle using a hand tool or pointer. I couldn't find a way to move it except by resizing the handles. This is ok but not ideal (it took me a minute to think of that idea).
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2018
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  6. NeatStranger
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    NeatStranger Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Yes, the way I have it set up right now, it is definitely not optimized for a size of 600,000 addresses. I guess I saw my target market as small business between a couple hundred and a couple thousand homes. I will definitely work on this. Pricing is easy, collecting each of the addresses is not so much.
     
  7. NeatStranger
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    NeatStranger Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I have thought about your compartmentalization idea as well. If I could find a repository of census data, I could attach and sort the data based on that before the user downloads or mails it.
     
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  8. Bekit
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    Maybe advise the user to zoom in to get a smaller sample area if their rectangle is too big. I didn't think this would be exorbitant; it was just two counties, so I wouldn't have thought to go smaller.

    Possible use cases:
    • Realtors who want to target a few neighborhoods with a mailing
    • Dentists, Chiropractors, or other clinics who want to greet their neighbors with ads, coupons, or deals
    • Service businesses (landscapers, plumbers, dry cleaners, etc) who want to target certain neighborhoods
     
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  9. NeatStranger
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    the Mailer List

    This is an example of the page you get taken to after paying for the order. Where you can download the address list as a .csv file and you can see all of the addresses.
     
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  10. NeatStranger
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    I appreciate the feedback. Those are the kinds of things it's hard to know until someone besides you takes a look at your product.
     
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  11. Bekit
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    Interesting.

    There are details here that bring up further thoughts. For instance, you don't have the name of the resident, only "Current resident." My realtor sent out a mailing on our behalf, and her labels had the names of the residents (at least whoever was listed in city records as the owner of the home). So some of your users may expect this data to come with the download, and feel upset when it doesn't. It would be good to set accurate expectations regarding what they will (and won't) receive. Not having the names of the residents makes the list a bit less valuable. Does the price reflect that? I have no clue of the going rate for buying a list mailings of this type.

    Speaking of price, it looks like the sample list of addresses you shared came at a price of $0.50 per address. But when I create a rectangle with approximately 8,000 homes, the cost per address was like $0.13. If the addresses are priced in tiers, it would be helpful to your users to provide what the pricing tiers are so that they don't have to figure out what they are through guesswork and trial and error. "Oh, I'm at 8921 addresses, but if I go up to 10,000 addresses, the price per address will drop? Might as well add a few more and bump up to the next tier."
     
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  12. NeatStranger
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    NeatStranger Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Yes of course, I totally missed adding a page for pricing tiers. Thank you for the feedback. I will have to add this and other pages.
     
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  13. LiveEntrepreneur
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    I understand your position I've been in a similar one with coding. Here's how it went

    * Start working on my app -----> get fustrated in less than 10 seconds because I didn't know what to do, nor how to find out how (seriously) -----> procrastinate the entire day and give up ------> repeat.

    I'm facing a struggle similar to this currently. With you it seems like the biggest problem is taking criticism from what you said here:

    "Sometimes, get some harsh criticism about the app and give up there on the spot, and then feel defeated for a couple days/weeks/months until a new "Better" idea hits me(Back to step 1)"

    But you should embrace the feedback! It great that you are at this stage. It means you have something going you just need to make adjustments. If I were you I'd change my perspective on the feedback part. See it as positive, as a way to improve, that's step one. Step 2 is implementing the feedback.

    Good luck man! I hope you figure it out.
     
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  14. NeatStranger
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    NeatStranger Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Thank you for your feedback. That is exactly why I am posting here first, to get some feedback and tunnel through it. I am going to implement these changes this week and update the forum. Plus I have some ideas for additional product lines. To accompany this.
     
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  15. NeatStranger
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    Well I have been diligently working away at implementing most of your suggestions.

    This took a little bit of struggle on my side, as a developer; I am inclined to try and learn and do everything, but front end development work has never been my strong suit. I have always just enjoyed backend development.

    So I bit the bullet and bought a front end editor so I could drag and drop all of the stuff I struggle with in an afternoon, and focus my time on the backend development that will really craft a great product.

    This makes the sales side of my site look a lot cleaner and more professional as well.

    As far as the backend, I have selected a vendor to purchase name, home price, income level, and other economic data to each address. I will have this as an add on service in the coming weeks.

    I also selected a slightly better name, domain and got a half decent logo done. I will be ready to unveil the new site to anyone looking to toss me their opinion soon. I have great plans for this and I am not getting the shiny object syndrome. I am determined make this business a success.

    If anyone happens to take a look at my website and notices anything that could be made better, please let me know. I am looking for my blind spots here.
     
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  16. NeatStranger
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    Just wanted to do an update today so I stay current with the forum and because today was a good day. Was doing some marketing this morning for one of the internet service companies and used my own product!

    Although it wasn't a paid service, walking through the process of selecting the houses that we wanted to mail, dragging the box over them, and downloading the address list was seamless and really made me feel great about the product.

    Currently I am redesigning the customer experience to be more professional, and I am like 60-70% done with that. After I get this part finished, I will start working on upgrading the back end stuff so that the addresses are collected more efficiently.

    I am so excited to unveil the new site to you guys here on the forum.
     
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  17. PizzaOnTheRoof
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    First off welcome to the forum!

    Here's a good video by Same Ovens about the mind of successful people (in this case billionaires):



    TL;DR: Our minds have many layers. Most of us have very shaky foundations that we try and build on.

    Don't sweat it. Focus on you and where you're going, and take small steps every day to reach it.

    "You should be far more concerned with your current trajectory, than with your current results" ~ James Clear
     
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  18. Roli
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    This ^^^

    is why you have given up on all of your ideas, because they are great ideas to you and so you charge ahead with it. Then when you find out nobody cares, you give up.

    You need to flip it on its head, find out through marketing, social media, Google trends, adwords or whatever, if your idea is viable before you commit to it.

    It is not a problem unique to you by the way, we've all done it.
     
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  20. NeatStranger
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    Thank you for this, I currently am working on small steps in the right direction and I know I can provide a ton of value.

    Well, I since I am mostly scratching my own itch with this product; which is something I got from Noah Kagen. I know there will be at least 1-3 customers. I was more just wondering if anyone else had any use cases that I hadn't thought of.


    Okay when you say "Stop Building Stuff" you don't mean to physically stop building stuff and start doing other things, but rather change my mindset from building, to creating value?

    Also, one of the things I try to work on personally is to Just F**ing ship something. It may be sh*tty, but just ship the dammed product. Make it better and fix those things once you have an actual product.


    Thank you everyone for your help!
     
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  21. JordanK
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    Would it be better to charge customers monthly for this type of service? $50 monthly for xxxxx number of addresses monthly as an example. That would allow you to build customer accounts, they become loyal users of the platform and you can contact them frequently about new offers or deals. Just a suggestion.
     
  22. NeatStranger
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    I thought about that, and although I love the recurring business model. If you start looking into reverse geocoding and finding all the addresses in an area; you find that you pretty much have to pay for each one. So as much as I would like to get a monthly subscription. Someone could download a ton of addresses and break the bank for me.
     
  23. Roli
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    Scratching your own itch is fine, as long as enough people also have the same itch.

    I sound blunt, but don't meant to be. I'm just trying to get across that if you find bigger markets, your enthusiasm will remain high.
     
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