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lofi

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...your financial future and I'm the proof of that, spent too long hopping from one project to another, analyzing too long. I'm a long time lurker and by nature a private person. Don't like being in the public or spotlight much, but I realized that has to change in order to grow ( thanks @MJ DeMarco ). So I'm here to introduce myself. Have always known deep down I'm an entrepreneur but struggled in execution. I'm an engineer by trade and excel in building products. Over the years I've accumulated skills that I thought would be relevant to my eventual entrepreneurship journey, from web development to PCB Layout and CAD design.

Recently what I was pursuing was a SaaS idea in the construction industry. Heard a friend complaining about how inefficiently, and convoluted things are done at the moment and saying there should be a software that does this. That was a lightbulb moment, I knew 100% I could build something like this if given the chance. I tried to validate by reaching out to everyone in my network. What I found was that while it would improve the process somewhat, people in this field are resistant to change. I also failed to get in front of any decision makers.

After exhausting my network, I sent 20 cold email but failed to get any response. Also read @eliquid s posts on SaaS, it seems the best way to build a SaaS is scratch your own itch or create one in your domain of expertise. Which this was not. So I abandoned the project, Did I give up too early(Let me know)? Perhaps but after reading many accounts from people at The Foundation, this seems like a low probability of success. Unsure of what to do next I tried to fill in the gaps in my skills, and copywriting seems to be a highly recommended one. What I believe I lack is the marketing and sales perspective, so I've decided to do the Gary Halbert 30 Day copywriting challenge. Grateful to have found this place, hope to get some feedback from all of you.
Cheers,
 

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kleine2

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...your financial future and I'm the proof of that, spent too long hopping from one project to another, analyzing too long. I'm a long time lurker and by nature a private person. Don't like being in the public or spotlight much, but I realized that has to change in order to grow ( thanks @MJ DeMarco ). So I'm here to introduce myself. Have always known deep down I'm an entrepreneur but struggled in execution. I'm an engineer by trade and excel in building products. Over the years I've accumulated skills that I thought would be relevant to my eventual entrepreneurship journey, from web development to PCB Layout and CAD design.

Recently what I was pursuing was a SaaS idea in the construction industry. Heard a friend complaining about how inefficiently, and convoluted things are done at the moment and saying there should be a software that does this. That was a lightbulb moment, I knew 100% I could build something like this if given the chance. I tried to validate by reaching out to everyone in my network. What I found was that while it would improve the process somewhat, people in this field are resistant to change. I also failed to get in front of any decision makers.

After exhausting my network, I sent 20 cold email but failed to get any response. Also read @eliquid s posts on SaaS, it seems the best way to build a SaaS is scratch your own itch or create one in your domain of expertise. Which this was not. So I abandoned the project, Did I give up too early(Let me know)? Perhaps but after reading many accounts from people at The Foundation, this seems like a low probability of success. Unsure of what to do next I tried to fill in the gaps in my skills, and copywriting seems to be a highly recommended one. What I believe I lack is the marketing and sales perspective, so I've decided to do the Gary Halbert 30 Day copywriting challenge. Grateful to have found this place, hope to get some feedback from all of you.
Cheers,
I recommend that you look at validating an idea as an experiment.
You are checking to see if there if the problem that you are solving is important enough for people to pay for a solution.
You are checking to see whether the solution that you have in mind would be a good fit for people in the industry. Whether they would be willing to pay for this solution, how much and under what conditions.
If you are doing these things then you have not failed. You have succeeded in validating.
Then you can adapt. If one solution is not a fit then maybe another will be.
If one email didn't get any response then maybe a different outreach approach could work.
Not seeing it as a test where you can succeed or fail, do it wrong or do it right.
But rather as a process where you are learning and finding the right way to reach your goal.
 
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lofi

lofi

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Good to keep in mind, What I heard is that there are other companies trying to do something similar but many are satisfied with the status quo. Perhaps the need isn't urgent enough.
 

eliquid

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Good to keep in mind, What I heard is that there are other companies trying to do something similar but many are satisfied with the status quo. Perhaps the need isn't urgent enough.
You can still scratch out a living even when the need isn't urgent enough.

Ask yourself, are you trying to be Elon Musk rich.. or just leave your day job ( just an example ) and maybe have enough to live good.

If we were to be real with ourselves, we more than likely won't reach Elon Musk level money. Especially not with a SaaS product. Could it happen? Maybe, but not likely.

But this is why I also push scratching your own itch or domain of expertise. You won't know how urgent the need is unless you are involved in it.

People don't know what they want. They will tell you hundreds of things and they either end up not using them once built or are just trying to give you ideas even though it's not a need for them. Both do nothing but waste your time.

And any advice about build what people will pay you for, well there is a major issue with that... You have to have something built for people to pay you for it. If you have nothing right now and ask 20 people if they pay for something, almost all 20 of them will say YES. Then you build it and no one gives you the money.

No one is going to say YES, give you money for a non-product and then wait 6-12 months while you build it. See where the problem is? This is why you need to be your own customer a lot of times or build within domain of expertise.

Then people love to say you can adapt or pivot when things don't work. Why? Why would you do that? Why would you sink more time and money into something changing it all.

Sure a little change is good maybe, but not getting it right because you listened to what people told you to build for them, then you not getting money for it, then you having to pivot, is nothing but a huge circle jerk that still might not work out for you because you are listening to other people who don't know what they really want to begin with and haven't given you a dime yet.. and maybe never will after you pivot and adapt 4 more times.

You are expert in something already. Build to that.
 

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lofi

lofi

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You can still scratch out a living even when the need isn't urgent enough.

Ask yourself, are you trying to be Elon Musk rich.. or just leave your day job ( just an example ) and maybe have enough to live good.

If we were to be real with ourselves, we more than likely won't reach Elon Musk level money. Especially not with a SaaS product. Could it happen? Maybe, but not likely.

But this is why I also push scratching your own itch or domain of expertise. You won't know how urgent the need is unless you are involved in it.

People don't know what they want. They will tell you hundreds of things and they either end up not using them once built or are just trying to give you ideas even though it's not a need for them. Both do nothing but waste your time.

And any advice about build what people will pay you for, well there is a major issue with that... You have to have something built for people to pay you for it. If you have nothing right now and ask 20 people if they pay for something, almost all 20 of them will say YES. Then you build it and no one gives you the money.

No one is going to say YES, give you money for a non-product and then wait 6-12 months while you build it. See where the problem is? This is why you need to be your own customer a lot of times or build within domain of expertise.

Then people love to say you can adapt or pivot when things don't work. Why? Why would you do that? Why would you sink more time and money into something changing it all.

Sure a little change is good maybe, but not getting it right because you listened to what people told you to build for them, then you not getting money for it, then you having to pivot, is nothing but a huge circle jerk that still might not work out for you because you are listening to other people who don't know what they really want to begin with and haven't given you a dime yet.. and maybe never will after you pivot and adapt 4 more times.

You are expert in something already. Build to that.
If I could replicate what I'm making from my day job, with a product that I developed I would be extremely happy. What I think we're all after here is more control over our lives and at a 9-5 that's not there.

As for expert, I'm not so sure. I'm new in my career and as a software developer, your not exposed to much outside your domain. Virtually all the problems I discover are outside my work.. and then I find someone else has done it better.
 

eliquid

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If I could replicate what I'm making from my day job, with a product that I developed I would be extremely happy. What I think we're all after here is more control over our lives and at a 9-5 that's not there.

As for expert, I'm not so sure. I'm new in my career and as a software developer, your not exposed to much outside your domain. Virtually all the problems I discover are outside my work.. and then I find someone else has done it better.
Being an expert or "domain authority" does not mean you are the best at something, the top dog, the most famous, or the most degreed person in that topic.

It just means you know more than the next person, which could be a lay person.

What is your age and your hobbies?

Your profile pic looks like you are a skater, could you build something to teach to new skaters?

Also:
I'm an engineer by trade and excel in building products. Over the years I've accumulated skills that I thought would be relevant to my eventual entrepreneurship journey, from web development to PCB Layout and CAD design.
What could you build for new engineers?

What could you build for new web developers?

What could you build for PCB layout or CAD designers new to the topic?

In just scratching the surface barely, I've picked out potentially 5 things you could dive into where you would have some domain authority over a new person in that field ( skating, engineering, web dev, PCB, CAD ).

Surely you can think of 10 more, if not 30 more examples on your own of things you have not shared with us.

Don't get expert mixed up with having to the be the best.

Do you think everyone out here building products and making millions ( or just a living ) are the best at what they do?

Nope.

Am I the best expert on digital marketing? No one knows me, I've never won an award, and I don't have legions of followers.

But I have built 7 SaaS products in the digital marketing space, building even more atm too.

I'm not a top end expert with 7 degrees and followers who quote me all the time. I can barely spell and I hate dealing with people ( customers).

HOWEVER, I know more about my topic than the common person, and I probably know more than some other digital marketers.

More importantly, I know what the market needs because Im scratching my own itch since Im a customer of my own products.

.
 
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astr0

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No one is going to say YES, give you money for a non-product and then wait 6-12 months while you build it.
Very rarely they do. And even that doesn't mean that someone else would pay for your product. That might just be a very specific problem someone has and no one else has built a solution yet just because it's that rare.

I would also suggest going for a mix of industries within your domain expertise. A web product for skaters might be more valuable than a web product for web developers or some kind of device for engineers. This is simply due to the fact that fewer people in the world know both domains well, or have other means to combine expertise, so the solution is less common.
 
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lofi

lofi

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Being an expert or "domain authority" does not mean you are the best at something, the top dog, the most famous, or the most degreed person in that topic.

It just means you know more than the next person, which could be a lay person.

What is your age and your hobbies?

Your profile pic looks like you are a skater, could you build something to teach to new skaters?
.
I see what your saying. I only graduated a year ago, and have been used to looking to credentialed people or books for answers. Never thought I could offer some useful knowledge when so much is out there for free, which is how I learned in the first place.

When I hear my neighbor complaining that the weed killer is hurting their dog max's feet , that seems like a real problem. Then you look on amazon and there's a dozen pet friendly solutions. But I definitely understand the point of view your coming from. I'm going to be systemic about this and drill down my list of hobbies and experiences and try to find pain points. Much appreciated.
 

eliquid

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When I hear my neighbor complaining that the weed killer is hurting their dog max's feet , that seems like a real problem. Then you look on amazon and there's a dozen pet friendly solutions. But I definitely understand the point of view your coming from. I'm going to be systemic about this and drill down my list of hobbies and experiences and try to find pain points. Much appreciated.
Np!

I see what your saying. I only graduated a year ago, and have been used to looking to credentialed people or books for answers. Never thought I could offer some useful knowledge when so much is out there for free, which is how I learned in the first place.
The problem I see is that many people such as yourself ( and myself years ago ) think that other people think just like us.

"lets google it", "lets read a free book at the library", "I can just listen to this degreed person and learn what I want" - all seem like valid stumbling blocks to builders like us when there is so much info already out there, much of it for free.

But each of us is different.

There are many different learning styles, comprehension levels, education, personality types, free time for people, cultures, and levels of understanding. This is where you can create value.

There is a lot of free info out there to how to create a SaaS:
  • Google queries​
  • Blogs​
  • Forums ( and threads like mine )​
  • email courses​
  • ebooks ( amazon credits )​
  • webinars​
  • free tickets to conferences​
  • library books​
  • podcasts​
  • Youtube videos​
  • Udemy ( free credits )​
  • etc​
Why on earth would anyone create a paid "how to create a SaaS" product based on all that possible free info?

I'll give you some:
  • Some people might be visual learners, so reading articles and podcasts are out the door, now their choices are limited to Youtube and UDemy. The smaller market now you can play in.
  • Some people didn't get all of their questions answered in the free material. Maybe a small % of the other resources ever talked about competitors.. now they still have questions and someone has to answer them, right?
  • Some people do not have time. They aren't going to go to the library or watch a course on Udemy, or Google tons of queries to read 50 articles. They need a shortcut that is comprehensive or fits their time.
  • Some people want proof of knowledge. Personally, I don't trust people who are degree'd and never got their hands dirty. Many people are like me. Then you have tons of people that can smell the fake from lots of the "gurus" who write articles but have never done it either. Some of us want to be led by someone that has actually been there and done that. That's a % of the market to be grabbed too.
That is a SMALL slice of potential markets where you can create value even though there are a ton of free resources out there.

Based on the above, we have Robert... A busy professional from NY who takes the metro daily and also has a family and home to take care of. He has very little time, maybe an hour tops on his metro ride, lunch break, and maybe an hour tops at night. Maybe. Many days he doesn't have this. Robert doesn't have a lot of time to get from A to B, he doesn't have time to read all those articles and attend webinars and join forums.

Robert wants to start a SaaS but everything he reads he questions because none of the authors or podcasters ever talk about their prior experience running a SaaS, it just sounds like mediocre articles regurgitated all over the internet with no real depth. He wants to make sure he is learning from people that actually do this, before he believes a guru and makes a mistake.

On top of that, Robert has a hard time reading. Maybe he is dyslectic or he just can not visually make the mental picture in his head, what he is reading. He does better visually and comprehends things better that way, but very few people are putting up complex SaaS issues on Youtube or Udemy. He wishes someone had a video only way of learning what he needs to understand, in short bits with real-world examples.

All of the material Robert can find about SaaS, no one has really answered how he should handle competitors. This worries Robert alot and it might hold him back from building his SaaS. He doesn't feel he can move forward and sink his little time and money into something without knowing these answers.

Robert lays in his bed at night, thinking it would be worth it to give $99 a month to someone to show him everything he is missing from all the free resources out there, so he can fast-track his learning and feel comfortable and hand-held.

See what I did? I showed you someone you could potentially win over, even though there are lots of free resources online.

What I did was create an avatar, an image of my potential customer. Most people generically build avatars and just say, "Robert is a white heterosexual male who works in accounting with a bachelors degree that is looking to build a SaaS on his own. He dreams of getting out the rat race and is willing to pay for that info".

Yes. That is what most people write about their customers. I have seen it at countless agencies over and over again. It's worthless. It doesn't dig into the real issues Robert faces and how those can be addressed.

And in order to know what Robert really needs, you got to have some domain authority or scratch your own itch to know what Robert really battles with. It doesn't take an expert to know what Robert really needs, just more info than the next common layperson potentially.

If you have even a little more info/background/experience than Robert, you can be a domain authority to Robert. Of note, I didn't say to fraud Robert. Domain authority comes with some genuine guidance and help and background too. If I took care of dogs and cats in my home and Robert didn't, I wouldn't say I was a Vet. Know what I mean?

This is creating value for someone like Robert that would have a hard time otherwise with other products, services, and free resources.

We haven't even gotten to creating value within your product yet ( itself ), but just on how someone consumes your product.

And yes, I know what I am leaning on sounds more like a "information" product than your SaaS, but it was just an example I could highlight easily. You can do this with a SaaS, just like you could with information.

You just got to start looking at your market, who you serve, and where the gaps are.

People don't care about free, if free is troublesome and takes up a lot of time.

People pay for what can make their lives ( or jobs ) better, easier, faster, more convenient, etc

.
 
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Andy Black

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The problem I see is that many people such as yourself ( and myself years ago ) think that other people think just like us.

"lets google it", "lets read a free book at the library", "I can just listen to this degreed person and learn what I want" - all seem like valid stumbling blocks to builders like us when there is so much info already out there, much of it for free.

But each of us is different.

There are many different learning styles, comprehension levels, education, personality types, free time for people, cultures, and levels of understanding. This is where you can create value.

There is a lot of free info out there to how to create a SaaS:
  • Google queries​
  • Blogs​
  • Forums ( and threads like mine )​
  • email courses​
  • ebooks ( amazon credits )​
  • webinars​
  • free tickets to conferences​
  • library books​
  • podcasts​
  • Youtube videos​
  • Udemy ( free credits )​
  • etc​
Why on earth would anyone create a paid "how to create a SaaS" product based on all that possible free info?

I'll give you some:
  • Some people might be visual learners, so reading articles and podcasts are out the door, now their choices are limited to Youtube and UDemy. The smaller market now you can play in.
  • Some people didn't get all of their questions answered in the free material. Maybe a small % of the other resources ever talked about competitors.. now they still have questions and someone has to answer them, right?
  • Some people do not have time. They aren't going to go to the library or watch a course on Udemy, or Google tons of queries to read 50 articles. They need a shortcut that is comprehensive or fits their time.
  • Some people want proof of knowledge. Personally, I don't trust people who are degree'd and never got their hands dirty. Many people are like me. Then you have tons of people that can smell the fake from lots of the "gurus" who write articles but have never done it either. Some of us want to be led by someone that has actually been there and done that. That's a % of the market to be grabbed too.
That is a SMALL slice of potential markets where you can create value even though there are a ton of free resources out there.

Based on the above, we have Robert... A busy professional from NY who takes the metro daily and also has a family and home to take care of. He has very little time, maybe an hour tops on his metro ride, lunch break, and maybe an hour tops at night. Maybe. Many days he doesn't have this.

Robert wants to start a SaaS but everything he reads he questions because none of the authors or podcasters ever talk about their prior experience running a SaaS, it just sounds like mediocre articles regurgitated all over the internet with no real depth.

On top of that, Robert has a hard time reading. Maybe he is dyslectic or he just can not visually make the mental picture in his head, what he is reading. He does better visually and comprehends things better that way, but very few people are putting up complex SaaS issues on Youtube or Udemy.

All of the material Robert can find about SaaS, no one has really answered how he should handle competitors. This worries Robert alot and it might hold him back from building his SaaS.

See what I did? I showed you someone you could potentially win over, even though there are lots of free resources online.

This is creating value for someone that would have a hard time otherwise.

We haven't even gotten to creating value within your product yet ( itself ), but just on how someone consumes your product.

And yes, I know what I am leaning on sounds more like a "information" product than your SaaS, but it was just an example I could highlight easily. You can do this with a SaaS, just like you could with information.

You just got to start looking at your market, who you serve, and where the gaps are.

People don't care about free, if free is troublesome and takes up a lot of time.

People pay for what can make their lives ( or jobs ) better, easier, faster, more convenient, etc

.
Amen. Especially on the part that we are massively wrong to assume everyone thinks the same way we do.


Just to add my 2c...

I think we can broadly categorise people into two camps: those who put a value on their time and those who don’t.

Those who don’t value their time would rather spend weeks reading free articles to try and figure something out than spend a little bit of money to save them that time. Why? Because they didn’t put a value on their time.

Wheras other people would spend more money to save more time.

Case in point... I had a course that’s an hour long and sold for $399. You can take a 24 hour course in the same subject area for $10 on Udemy. Some people happily bought my course - BECAUSE it’s shorter.


@eliquid @Kak and many others have said you don’t need to be an expert. I subscribe to that too.
> HOT TOPIC - You don't need to be an expert
 

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