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Hi forum,

Nice to meet you all!

I just finished TFL and am reading Unscripted right now.
Those two books had such massive impact on me, my mindset and my upcoming actions.

I always had itches to build stuff. For myself I never made it over the finish-line in terms of success. Paying customers would be success for me. My struggles and lack of confidence led me to move to Silicon Valley and join a startup as a Product Manager (for zero salary at first but luckily they paid me after a few months). I came willing to learn until I feel more confident to go my own way again.

...7 years later...

I learned a LOT, built confidence and enjoyed the journey. This first company got bought by a bigger company in the Valley, where I learned more. I joined another startup (AI/ML related), pretty advanced stuff and I am liking the work, learning again. However, I totally dropped the ball to become independent, my primary goal. Silicon Valley companies make you feel really comfortable, you know. Little side projects never led anywhere...it's enough... time to take action towards my good old goal of independence.

Here I am, making changes that need to be made. Shifting mindset, using free-time to evaluate my options where I could apply my skills. I don't need to start from zero (in terms of having money to invest) so I don't need to flip stuff on craigslist or ebay but at least it would be action.

I actually thought about setting up a profile on Upwork. Again, don't need the capital but I could also just wait until I come up with something, then I will see you again in 7 years... :)


To end with a question, I would like to get some opinions. If you were in my situation and had some capital to invest, what would be a starting point to think about? My expertise is in web/mobile applications. (UX/UI, Web Applications, Mobile Applications, Analytics, Product Management, Web development) I've launched and grew a bunch of apps for these companies (B2B and B2C). Some got featured in the app store and made the companies good money. But they also had teams, brands, marketing experts and sales people to help grow.

I need to do it all for myself now, end-to-end. I am hesitant buying something on flippa etc. Rather evaluate some ideas and then build it myself. I have an app idea in mind, which I am planning to build and launch but it will take some time.

I am hesitant to spend money on other developers to build it because I want to learn it myself, which again, takes more time. Maybe I don't believe in the idea enough... See what I am doing there... action faking, hesitation? I don't know, not willing to take risk by investing money?

Maybe I start by making and Upwork profile and see how I could apply my current skills to make money on that platform... at least that would be action, wouldn't it? Is that something you have struggled with before?

Well, I am thankful that I found this gem of a book and very excited to meet all of you.

Lastly, I added my background so people get to know me and my skills a little bit. If these might be in any way helpful to anyone here, please reach out. I got so much value from this forum, time to give back.
 

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MHP368

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Welcome!

So you did project management, is that something you could sell as a service? like "1000 dollars product consult, 500 a month ongoing management"

What actual skillsets does that entail? , is it something you could narrow down (ie industrial product management, consumer product management) and then teach to others ?
 
OP
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Scalr

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Apr 3, 2019
25
32
29
Palo Alto, CA
Welcome!

So you did project management, is that something you could sell as a service? like "1000 dollars product consult, 500 a month ongoing management"

What actual skillsets does that entail? , is it something you could narrow down (ie industrial product management, consumer product management) and then teach to others ?
Thanks for your reply and for making me think more about it.

Product Managers own the Product and need to make sure the roadmap sets the product up for success. And we build the right features. I gather information by talking to customers and looking at the market and competitors. I did mostly consumer products. So I had to find out what users need, where they have trouble using the product and work on executing the roadmap and the vision we had for these products.

I built lots of prototypes (wireframes, interactive prototypes) to test with users before building. That is something I can help others with.

Going from idea to prototype that will help evaluating if an idea makes sense. Making sure the user flow works and is the minimum that’s needed for a successful idea evaluation. Also defining what needs to be built next.

I agree that as a PM you stay on a product for a longer time, so the ongoing management could make sense as well.
 

MHP368

Gold Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Speedway Pass
Aug 17, 2016
744
1,141
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Sahuarita AZ
find out what users need, where they have trouble using the product
So this seems like the "research" part of things if you broke it down, and then the roadmap would be tying it all together right? (for the consult)

are both of those pieces something you could teach to a virtual assistant and outsource?
 
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So this seems like the "research" part of things if you broke it down, and then the roadmap would be tying it all together right? (for the consult)

are both of those pieces something you could teach to a virtual assistant and outsource?
Yes, there are two options: new product / existing product. For both it is interviewing users and find out how they use it OR how a new product could help them with their work. This can be outsourced.
For existing product I would need to do data analysis of the currently collected data. That could probably be "outsourcable" but a bit harder and more expensive. But maybe something to do later on.

I really like the way you are asking questions. It really makes me thing about this! Thank you for that!
 
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This is NOT going to be a drive-by account. Time to give an update.

Key points:
- Struggle to decide and commit
- Taking action, better than continuing the pondering

I am sitting here at my desk, staring at an empty wall. A white wall. You know why it is empty? Because the spot is reserved for a dollar bill that will go there once I made my first profit. Profit from creating value for someone. You know what, it looks ugly so empty and I am going to fill it up. Maybe some more dollars but lets start with one.

It has been two weeks of action and research. The research part is still my struggle... I just like doing research way too much. I know why... it is way more comfortable. BUT, thanks to some phenomenal threads in this forum, my mindset switch is happening. I can feel it. It is like fuel injected into an old dusty car that hasn't run in 20 years. Slowly starting to inject and starting up once in a while. Now it is time to get it to consistently run. It is a V8 you know, what a waste! :D

Aside from my Unscripted audio book that I am still listening to, when I have dedicated reading time I spend it on the Boron Letters. I got to them after reading the thread from @IceCreamKid
After I finish the letters I can go back to that inspiring thread.

It feels like picking up breadcrumbs and just following the trail to the next gem to be picked up.

So where have I actually taken action...
I created an action plan (lol again, more action faking, i know) based on the "Epic Bootstrapping Guide" that @lowtek recommended above.

Main goal of this is to evaluate your SaaS business idea. I am so glad I am doing this... already spend a bunch of time on design & code. Now going back to the drawing board because my cold outreach to potential users doesn't look promising. But hey, I did take real action. Need to send a lot more emails to potential users.

Aside from that, I really had the need for a "quick fix". I felt like standing still. So here is what I did to get that "adding value high" from something.

I went to Twitch.tv. Looked for a streamer that had only a few viewers but already a bunch of following. So meaning he is probably there for some time. I designed a logo based on the game he played and his name and dropped it into the live channel. I did this twice now because it felt so amazing when the channel and streamer were so surprised. "Nobody ever designed a logo for me"

The best part: One of them immediately added the logo as a channel overlay into the live stream. I don't know where this will lead me. But it felt amazing and I want to do it again.

Third thing I did was to follow the "create an upwork profile thread" by @Lex DeVille I want to do some wireframing & prototyping for others. I am experienced in that field, did it for the companies I work for all the time and I see that this is what will get me that first dollar. My profile is approved and I will start scouting for jobs. This might lead to become the agency path for Product Research, Design & Prototyping.

Next steps:
- Finish Boron Letter
- Apply for Upwork jobs
- Design more logos for Twitch streamers because it is so much fun
- Add more ideas to the Machine Learning Thread in this forum (to give some value back here)

See a pattern though? The struggle is figuring out what I will commit to. But I had the engine running for a second, need more oil now.
 
OP
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Scalr

Scalr

Contributor
Read Millionaire Fastlane
I've Read UNSCRIPTED
Apr 3, 2019
25
32
29
Palo Alto, CA
Welcome my friend, thanks for the intro and the corresponding update!
Thank you, MJ. I just finished Unscripted last night. For me an absolute masterpiece! Amazon review incoming :)

And again, I learned more about myself. I am the described "idea guy". One idea after another. Doing a little bit here and little bit there. Mostly not waiting long enough for feedback or not following through. The next thing is more exciting and seems more promising. I HAD to hear it from you to realize it...

FWIW - I am finding more breadcrumbs... "Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom"

I don't struggle with this at work. I do come up with ideas and execute on them successfully but it is a narrow field and my options are limited. As soon as I come to this forum, the world of opportunity opens up and I get lost.

I am realizing that I have to decide and commit UNTIL I get feedback then go from there.

The nice part about several ideas, I am taking action on idea validation. Lots of work to do here. Thanks to this forum I have frameworks on how to evaluate what could stick in all possible product areas.


As I mentioned above, I did some cold outreach to evaluate a SaaS tool. I made this plan based on the Epic Bootstrapping Article (lowtek posted above). It is a long read, so I extracted the TODOs as an action plan.

I will leave it here, it might be useful for others:

---
1. Getting an idea off the ground

It is just a guess: Your initial idea is just a guess. We don’t know if anyone needs it yet. You are guessing this is something someone needs it.

You have a guess, we need to answer some very important questions


TODOs for this step - Answer the questions below
  1. What do I think people want to do?

  2. Why would they want to do that?

  3. Why would they pay money for that?
Explain your idea, quick and simple (Hypothesis)

I believe that people want to <ability> so they can <outcome>, and they would pay good money for that because <value>.

Rearrange message for people to review

If you <value>, you can <ability> with <Your Business/App Name> so that you can <outcome>.


2. Find your potential customers
Find people that would pay money for the product: This process will help further on. One day you want to market your product and you need to answer these exact questions again.

TODOs for this step

Find people that pay for our product

  • Brainstorm 20 specific places you find people that give you money for you value proposition (very specific places, URLs, Name of Forums, Name of Groups etc) Ideas: People that follow competitors on Twitter/Facebook, people in specific forums/groups on Linkedin with your topic, people who follow guru’s in your niche

  • Find 10 people in each of these places (200 people) and get in touch with them. Don’t tell them about your product but we need to find out if they care about the reason we thing they’s want to give us money… - add them to a list


Get your message in front of these people. Craft a personalized message to EACH of them to get a chance for reply.

Template:

“Hey <Name>! I was just reading <something they posted>. I was curious... <whatever you need to know related to your idea> The reason I ask is <you want to learn something in this field etc>. Anything you could share with me would be huge. Thanks and keep up the awesome work you’re doing!”

How do they respond to our offering?
  1. You will get a handful of responses (don’t be surprised) -- should be some valuable information in there, if not, see if you need to adjust the message and reply.

  2. IF you don’t get responses at all, find more people and more places

  3. IF you do get responses but nothing that confirms your hypothesis, move on to the next idea.

3. Find out if your solution sticks
Put our solution in front of these people

TODOs for this step
Reply to these people, here is another template from the newsletter example:

Thanks for getting back to me! I’ve actually been asking other <people in the field> about <the same thing> they’re basically echoing what you’re saying — <point out the problem again> Out of curiosity, <describe the tool that solves the problem> would that be something you’d be interested in? I only ask because after hearing everyone talking about this, I’m thinking there could be a good opportunity to do something different here.


Options now
  1. No response → Keep following up

  2. Response is “No, not that big of a problem” → Find out under what condition it could become a problem for them

  3. Response is “There is a tool for that but i don’t want to pay” → Find out the price point, and why too expensive. What/when would they pay?

  4. Response is”Hell yes, I want that” → Ask if they are interested in what you can come up with. And stay in touch with them


Get to 20 Yeses and you are on to something.


 

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