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Stuck deciding between multiple business ideas

DustinG

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I've struggled with this for years, and haven't really gotten anywhere with my own business because of it.

I start working on something, and then don't quickly get any traction, and move onto something else. The cycle repeats.

I know a lot of other people struggle with this 'shiny object syndrome' as well, but am curious on how those of you that got around it accomplished that.

The main things I seem to struggle with around business ideas are:

1. I'd prefer to do something I'm passionate in (guitar, for example), but struggle to find
concepts I'd think people will pay for, and that is different enough from the rest of the
market.

2. A majority of ideas I come up with are things that would be tough to monetize for a long
time, as I'd be doing it on a very small scale. For example, things like a royalty free audio
store or marketplace. Things like this wouldn't have a lot of value until a large library is built
up (and I'd be competing with established companies that have hundreds of thousands of
offerings). Other ideas rely on things like advertising, which wouldn't make much income
until I had an audience of many thousands of people.

3. Trying to find a 'perfect' business model. I find myself discarding business ideas if they don't
meet a long list of criteria (ie. subscription/recurring revenue, passion for it, profit margin,
scalability, it solves a problem, etc.). I admit that this type of perfectionism holds me back.

Curious on people's thoughts on deciding between multiple business ideas (I know trying to start multiple businesses at the same time is not a good idea), and balancing passion-based ideas with less-passionate (but potentially more profitable), ideas.
 

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mikey3times

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I don’t have anything to offer, other than to let you know you aren’t alone. I have the same problem.
 

MTEE1985

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You need to layout on paper in more definition what you want.

From your post above I can’t figure out if you’re coming or going, if you have any potentially profitable ideas or if they are all just the “tough to monetize” variety.

Write down your top 5, write down what steps you could take today, this week and this month to make them happen. What is best case scenario, worst case scenario. Which will cost the most to start? The least?

While you’re doing that you should find 1-2 that will really excite you as you’re brainstorming, focus on those to start.
 

Danny Sullivan

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Hey @DustinG

i don't know if you've ever considered looking into youtube, creating a channel and play guitar over some known songs and "spice them" up. If you're really passionate about this, i think you would find a way to gain audience and monetize this with ads.

Maybe you could even build a website or blog to show people how you're doing it and maybe even advice them so they can do this too. Or let them pick the next song to cover.

This will also connect you to other artists - and who knows where this leads too?

Example that came to my mind is Ryan Leslie on youtube:

God, i really wish i could play like him *.*
 

Fastlane Liam

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Hey @DustinG

i don't know if you've ever considered looking into youtube, creating a channel and play guitar over some known songs and "spice them" up. If you're really passionate about this, i think you would find a way to gain audience and monetize this with ads.

Maybe you could even build a website or blog to show people how you're doing it and maybe even advice them so they can do this too. Or let them pick the next song to cover.

This will also connect you to other artists - and who knows where this leads too?

Example that came to my mind is Ryan Leslie on youtube:

God, i really wish i could play like him *.*
Further to this, whenever I search for a cover I always search for band covers. I always just find small random channels. If you create a channel based on band covers that would be amazing
 

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Here in Greece, I know a guy who's an online guitar coach. He's getting clients through youtube and facebook. Then, he has prepared some videos that teach the basics and also gives individualized advice to his monthly clients.

Perhaps you can do something like this?

For me, no matter your idea, the steps are easy:

1) Research the market. What are buyers are already buying and what are 3-5 things you can do better

2) Find a way to reach a segment of your market. youtube, facebook, twitter, etc

3) Decide on what you will offer. Coaching is the simplest thing you can do, since it takes almost no time to create. (like a product for example)

4) Either invest in some ads (that save time and cost money) or produce a ton of content

From there, you see how the market responds and make your decision
 

MTF

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@DustinG, what are the ideas you're working on now? Perhaps we can comment on them and help you pick the best one.
 
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DustinG

DustinG

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@DustinG, what are the ideas you're working on now? Perhaps we can comment on them and help you pick the best one.
That would be awesome. Some ideas I've either worked a bit on or have as possibilities:

- Guitar practice website featuring backing tracks (rhythm tracks/audio that people can practice playing over) with info such as the chord shapes, scales, and arpeggios to use to practice over them. This idea has sort of been my main 'gut feeling' idea for a while. It's something I'd personally find real useful but not sure it's something people would be willing to pay for. It's potentially something I could charge a monthly subscription for, but would be tough to charge for until I've created a good amount of content.

- A daily or 2-3 time a week email newsletter for guitarists. Idea would be to include a short lesson, a gear/product showcase, and guitar news. This idea could potentially be combined with the one above.

- Royalty-free audio/music site or marketplace. My thought is to target a specific niche, such as podcasters, and focus on short instrumental audio clips. Could either charge per download, or a monthly fee, but would be competing with sites that already have thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) audio clips already.

- Guitar audio loop store. I'd sell loop packs (basically zip files) with a bunch of guitar samples that other musicians can use in their songs. I'm not sure how big of a market there is for this. There is a good-sized market for audio loops and samples, but drums are typically the ones that sell the most.

- A daily email newsletter for entrepreneurs, featuring interviews with successful entrepreneurs and business tool reviews. Could monetize it with ads and affiliate links. It would take time to be able to monetize it, as you generally needs thousands of subscribers to generate any decent advertising revenue. An alternative would be for it to be a paid email newsletter, but not sure if it's something people would pay for).

- A marketplace for online business tools. These exist out there already, but I have ideas on how to improve on them. Could either be monetized through affiliate links, or possibly a monthly or annual subscription fee, with the promise to not use any affiliate links, so people know they're getting honest recommendations.

- An outdoor gear company/brand, starting with t-shirts and other apparel. This would have low margins, and would have to deal with things like shipping and returns.

I'd love any feedback.
 
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GoGetter24

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- Guitar practice website featuring backing tracks (rhythm tracks/audio that people can practice playing over) with info such as the chord shapes, scales, and arpeggios to use to practice over them. This idea has sort of been my main 'gut feeling' idea for a while. It's something I'd personally find real useful but not sure it's something people would be willing to pay for. It's potentially something I could charge a monthly subscription for, but would be tough to charge for until I've created a good amount of content.
This idea sounds good. You could test if people will pay by making a stub website funnel with mockup images of the service, and seeing if anyone clicks to go further, then say "not ready yet", get email etc.

- A daily or 2-3 time a week email newsletter for guitarists. Idea would be to include a short lesson, a gear/product showcase, and guitar news. This idea could potentially be combined with the one above.
Requires authority. Steve Vai can do this, but for you to do it you'd need to build up solid authority first, e.g. YouTube channel with lots of subscribers. And even then, people don't pay for newsletters unless it's some special industry insider knowledge stuff.

- Royalty-free audio/music site or marketplace. My thought is to target a specific niche, such as podcasters, and focus on short instrumental audio clips. Could either charge per download, or a monthly fee, but would be competing with sites that already have thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) audio clips already.
Excessive competition, like you said. Think of how many online marketplaces you know? A few, all are massive, because it's an economy of scale thing.

- Guitar audio loop store. I'd sell loop packs (basically zip files) with a bunch of guitar samples that other musicians can use in their songs. I'm not sure how big of a market there is for this. There is a good-sized market for audio loops and samples, but drums are typically the ones that sell the most.
Same as above.

- A daily email newsletter for entrepreneurs, featuring interviews with successful entrepreneurs and business tool reviews. Could monetize it with ads and affiliate links. It would take time to be able to monetize it, as you generally needs thousands of subscribers to generate any decent advertising revenue. An alternative would be for it to be a paid email newsletter, but not sure if it's something people would pay for).
As above. They wouldn't pay for your news unless you have built authority.

- A marketplace for online business tools. These exist out there already, but I have ideas on how to improve on them. Could either be monetized through affiliate links, or possibly a monthly or annual subscription fee, with the promise to not use any affiliate links, so people know they're getting honest recommendations.
Marketplace: as above.

- An outdoor gear company/brand, starting with t-shirts and other apparel. This would have low margins, and would have to deal with things like shipping and returns.
What would be special about your outdoor gear versus all the larger competitors?
 

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Hey @DustinG - I hear ya on not being able to choose one idea or giving up pretty quickly.

My advice would be to start a cash flow business first, and then once you are comfortable financially speaking, you can try out maybe some of the other longer term biz ideas with less risk.

A cash flow business is going to keep you motivated as soon as you hit your first sale. I would discard the notion of it being something you're passionate about unless that matches a need in the marketplace.

Example could be - putting an ad on craigslist / facebook for guitar lessons and getting paid on the spot. You've now provided a service of value and have cash in your hand. Repeat. Try to scale. Turn it into a business, etc.

This way you're not stuck in idea land. You get paid quickly. Sure it might not meet all of CENTS at first, but you could use your clientele to build something bigger using their testimonials as proof of concept.

Example: I've taught X number of people how to play the guitar. I can teach you to. Download my video series etc.etc.
 

Danny Sullivan

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@DustinG

interviewing popular guitar players might be something that brings an audience to your doorstep. I'm not savvy in this area and the only name that comes to my mind is Estas Tonne.

Or interviewing underdogs? Your audience may find itself in a similar position to the interviewed person and could gain some motivation and perspective (which you're currently searching for too).

Best of luck!
 

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- Guitar practice website featuring backing tracks (rhythm tracks/audio that people can practice playing over) with info such as the chord shapes, scales, and arpeggios to use to practice over them. This idea has sort of been my main 'gut feeling' idea for a while. It's something I'd personally find real useful but not sure it's something people would be willing to pay for. It's potentially something I could charge a monthly subscription for, but would be tough to charge for until I've created a good amount of content.
You could test it with an introductory course and a one-time cheap offer. Sounds simple and valuable enough to try.

- A daily or 2-3 time a week email newsletter for guitarists. Idea would be to include a short lesson, a gear/product showcase, and guitar news. This idea could potentially be combined with the one above.
Sounds difficult to monetize unless it's a part of a membership site, but not the primary product.

- Royalty-free audio/music site or marketplace. My thought is to target a specific niche, such as podcasters, and focus on short instrumental audio clips. Could either charge per download, or a monthly fee, but would be competing with sites that already have thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) audio clips already.
Requires a lot of capital and like you said, it won't be very valuable unless it's already a big library.

- Guitar audio loop store. I'd sell loop packs (basically zip files) with a bunch of guitar samples that other musicians can use in their songs. I'm not sure how big of a market there is for this. There is a good-sized market for audio loops and samples, but drums are typically the ones that sell the most.
Sounds like another capital-intensive idea.

- A daily email newsletter for entrepreneurs, featuring interviews with successful entrepreneurs and business tool reviews. Could monetize it with ads and affiliate links. It would take time to be able to monetize it, as you generally needs thousands of subscribers to generate any decent advertising revenue. An alternative would be for it to be a paid email newsletter, but not sure if it's something people would pay for).
Could work if you focus on a specific subniche. A general newsletter probably wouldn't work, or at least wouldn't work as a paid newsletter.

- A marketplace for online business tools. These exist out there already, but I have ideas on how to improve on them. Could either be monetized through affiliate links, or possibly a monthly or annual subscription fee, with the promise to not use any affiliate links, so people know they're getting honest recommendations.
If you did super extensive and unbiased reviews like Wirecutter, it could work.

- An outdoor gear company/brand, starting with t-shirts and other apparel. This would have low margins, and would have to deal with things like shipping and returns.
Too complicated for your first business and very capital-intensive, too.
 

GoGetter24

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Looks like it's settled, OP. Your first idea is the only interesting one. What you going to do now?
 

maverick

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It's not a business if you have no customers.

It's not a viable business idea if you haven't identified how to access customers.
 
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rybanez

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1) Research the market. What are buyers are already buying and what are 3-5 things you can do better

2) Find a way to reach a segment of your market. youtube, facebook, twitter, etc

3) Decide on what you will offer. Coaching is the simplest thing you can do, since it takes almost no time to create. (like a product for example)

4) Either invest in some ads (that save time and cost money) or produce a ton of content
^^^ This.

For point #4, I would recommend paid ads.

This way you can get actual data on demand and see if people who click your ad actually want what you offer.

I do this often. Ran some Google Ads this past weekend with $50 daily spends each. Made a landing page, set up an offer, and if visitors clicked the buy/join button, it said we were currently out of stock/temporarily closed for membership/etc.

Sometimes it makes sense to create a quick landing page, but if you want to simply see real-time search data, you could send traffic to a smaller competitor's site. This saves time and helps to validate demand. Of course, with your own landing page you can see what visitors do once hitting your landing page (using Hotjar or Crazyegg).

So my advise would be to pick what you think your best idea is, create an offer, test it with real market data using paid ads, and evaluate the data to determine its viability. Then repeat with your 2nd best idea, until you find something that has high demand with relatively low competition.

Good luck!
 

JAVB

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1. I'd prefer to do something I'm passionate in (guitar, for example), but struggle to find
concepts I'd think people will pay for, and that is different enough from the rest of the
market.
Oh man... what can I say... it's really, really hard to focus on monetizing what you're passionate about. Most "gurus" out there tell you to follow your passion and to do what you like/love but, I very rarely see this working.

I'd say focus on buying yourself out of financial slavery, so you can focus on what you like/love. If it happens to also give you money down the road then great, but you'd know you didn't do it for money in the first place.

I'd love to play ping pong every day. I'd also love to write and discuss philosophy, the cosmos, and the meaning of life all day. But I also need to eat and have a daughter and a mortgage. So, I'm working really hard on achieving financial freedom via whatever means possible (as long as they are legal), so I can wake up and do whatever the F*** I want without worrying about money!
 

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A lot of this thread has zeroed in on our passion for guitars/playing music and I think you're steering towards teaching guitar online or something similar.

Think more broadly. As a musician, you're in a good position to identify the pain points of playing guitar. The guitar capo, for example, is a tool that nearly every guitar player uses. It solved a need and is widely adopted.

What do you struggle with as a musician? Instead of trying to find somebody who will pay you to do what you like, maybe you have your own frustration that you can explore solving?
 

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Matias

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Here my 2 cents. As I read above for multiple ideas you have to build authority in order to your prospects get into your funnel. One possible idea is to write an ebook so you build authority and also test the market.
 
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DustinG

DustinG

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A lot of this thread has zeroed in on our passion for guitars/playing music and I think you're steering towards teaching guitar online or something similar.

Think more broadly. As a musician, you're in a good position to identify the pain points of playing guitar. The guitar capo, for example, is a tool that nearly every guitar player uses. It solved a need and is widely adopted.

What do you struggle with as a musician? Instead of trying to find somebody who will pay you to do what you like, maybe you have your own frustration that you can explore solving?
Yeah, although I can't honestly say I love teaching aspect of it (ie.. making instructional videos, etc.). My idea is more of a practice tool, that builds in elements of education/learning, opposed to offering the typical courses everyone else in the field offers.

2 things that stick out that I struggle with as a musician:

- Getting people to pay for music I create/record is hard. This is largely the nature of companies like Spotify significantly devaluing music in the eyes of the consumer).

- Most guitar lesson sites (as well as books) are pretty confusing and overwhelming. There is an enormous amount of material you can learn regarding playing music. A lot of courses out there are like 30 hours of videos, or books that are 200 pages long. My idea is more around focusing on the essentials, and trying to simplify the process of learning and improving at guitar.
 
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DustinG

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Oh man... what can I say... it's really, really hard to focus on monetizing what you're passionate about. Most "gurus" out there tell you to follow your passion and to do what you like/love but, I very rarely see this working.

I'd say focus on buying yourself out of financial slavery, so you can focus on what you like/love. If it happens to also give you money down the road then great, but you'd know you didn't do it for money in the first place.

I'd love to play ping pong every day. I'd also love to write and discuss philosophy, the cosmos, and the meaning of life all day. But I also need to eat and have a daughter and a mortgage. So, I'm working really hard on achieving financial freedom via whatever means possible (as long as they are legal), so I can wake up and do whatever the F*** I want without worrying about money!
Thanks. Yeah, that's the big question..is it better to build a business in a field you're passionate about (and ideally solving a problem in that field) or build a business with possibly an easier path to revenue, with the goal of that giving you more time/flexibility to spend on things you're passionate about?
 
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Go and talk with your potential customers of all of these ideas and see which one is received best

Problem solved
 

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You're making too many assumptions about how things MIGHT GO once you get started. It's killing you. People are horrible at predicting future states of minds.

If you just went ahead and built your damn music library, you might spend a month making 4 songs. At that point your brain would unlock doors you didn't know were closed.

You'd see more opportunities that involve those 4 songs.
  • This android game can use better music.
  • A friend is producing an Indie Film.
  • What if Elevator Music were guitars instead of piano?
Let's say you walk into a local cafe. No music is playing. you can hear everybody around you chewing. You use your 4 samples as proof of your value and offer to create them a unique CD they can also sell (and you split the profits from.)

With that small success, you can use that cafe as social proof to leverage yourself into similar situations. Now you're selling CDs direct to customers across New York.

Or maybe you find a mumbo jumbo article about how certain tempos of music make people spend more money. Dollar signs in your eyes. Maybe you integrate that into your marketing and that's your new UVP.

But you're not doing any of that. You get started, and then overwhelm yourself. You get discouraged because you THINK you need hundreds of songs to be profitable so you never get started.

I do think anybody CAN make money with their passion if you have the right eyes for opportunity and the will to keep plowing forward.
 

MTF

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@DustinG, what actions did you take based on the feedback you received in this thread?
 
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DustinG

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@DustinG, what actions did you take based on the feedback you received in this thread?
Thanks for asking. I started working on the first idea.

The process has made me realize that I think I could benefit from some sort of mastermind-type group or maybe some sort of coach to just keep me accountable. I am more productive when I have deadlines (beyond deadlines I set for myself). Not sure I have the budget to pay for a coach at the moment, but maybe there are some free small mastermind groups.
 
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Thanks for asking. I started working on the first idea.

The process has made me realize that I think I could benefit from some sort of mastermind-type group or maybe some sort of coach to just keep me accountable. I am more productive when I have deadlines (beyond deadlines I set for myself). Not sure I have the budget to pay for a coach at the moment, but maybe there are some free small mastermind groups.
Upgrade your worth.

How to get recognized for what you’re worth and not what everybody think you’re worth?

You ever wonder why you struggle to succeed and get ahead, while people around you are passing you up like a upgraded fast sports car, against your slow traveling stubborn donkey, eating dust?


Reason being, is because you don’t belong to that crowds purpose or rules of discipline, due to them having a different system of progress that works for them but isn’t effective for you.

Be exclusive about sharing yourself and your work. And be the only one in that area that can do it better than anybody else can and the only one in love with it more, so nobody else can outshine you, but where only the competitor must learn from you. This is called having leverage advantage. Keep excelling in that area and advancing beyond by breaking records. This is where you’re not spreading yourself thin, but only in demand to those among you that value your worth and will support your cause.

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FYI: Backlink signatures are not permitted by new users unless you're an INSIDER.

Please stop posting them, thank you.
 

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