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Same old patterns?

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Read Unscripted!
Jan 18, 2018
North Carolina
I have been trying to start businesses for a long time.

Since I am a developer it has been mostly around software. I made a few websites as consultant. Worked with one of those people to make a website that generates proposals for a specific niche. He didn't want to work together as partners so the software languished. I contacted hundreds of people on LinkedIn in his niche but got no responses. (His company uses the software weekly though and they find it valuable/it saves them time and they bill at a high hourly rate) I am back to working on that software now as he said he is open to introducing me to some people. They find it valuable and I think others will. Though I have 0 knowledge or credibility in their industry so I am not sure the best way to sell it.

Something that has been in my mind for a while is: I can do the software but I am not sure what to make. Should I pick an industry to learn to understand their problems and solve those?

Some other attempts:

1. Cold called accountants, hundreds. Did The Foundation process of trying to extract a pain point. Most of them weren't interested in talking and it died.

2. Made a unique social site for martial arts(brazilian jiu jitsu). Lets people add their lineage of their belt rank, gyms can add their location and who teaches/trains there, etc. Got over 50k views. Wasn't sure how to monetize the site. It still exists today but traffic is relatively low since I don't advertise it. I only did a couple posts in the bjj subreddit that were well received. This is still viable, all the coding work is done. I could sell other peoples products or info products through the site.

3. Worked with a tech recruiter who wanted custom software to make his life easier. Spent 3 months building it and he never uses it.

4. Built a site for developer productivity. All the software out there today focuses on the team, I want something for the individual to organize your work. I thought others might find it useful. I use it daily, gave it to about 5 people but none of them thought it was valuable enough to use daily.

5. Working on simple business process management software with a friend who helps startups with making and following repeatable processes. This seems like it could do well but is still in early stages.

Some mistakes I have been making:
- Reading too much as an excuse to hide from action. I was so happy that I was reading 2 hours a day and thought it was awesome. While there is some value to it, I think it's more ideal for me to focus on running in to new problems that force me to learn new things at that time.
- Not learning sales/marketing due to fixed mindset and thinking sales is "dirty" and that developing software was enough (recently changed that and have been working to learn them)
- Wanting to write the software since that is where I'm comfortable
- Not validating ideas before building them

I have been working on these things for years without any progress. Clearly my methods are not effective! I get into my own head being unsure of my processes. As far as SAAS, I don't know if I should keep focusing on software for developers since I know that, or if I should try to learn a new industry, or try to partner with someone else. I have tried all of these options a few times and none have worked out yet. If I simply need to keep trying these until something works that is fine with me, I don't mind the hard work. But if there is a logic flaw in what I am doing I would like to fix that.

The point where I get confused: am I on a path that will eventually be fruitful? Is my process total shit? Sometimes I am working on 4 different sites at a time because I figure that a portfolio has better odds of one succeeding. The part I always get stuck is the domain(the industry I am trying to solve problems for) and finding people who either: a) want to tell me about their industry and the problems or b) want to partner and be domain experts while I do the development.

I am 35% of the way through Unscripted and learning a lot. Through continued hard work, shifting my mindsets, and building sales and marketing skills, I aim to make some progress and provide real value to people.

Thanks for reading! Any advice or glaring issues with my process are welcome :)
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