Examples of Product/Service Ideas
We are going to be walking through a couple of examples, because I know not everyone has a business idea of their own. So I wanted to create these two examples for people so you can kind of have a frame of reference as we're going through the rest of the class and see a lot of the methods and examples play out in a really, really obvious way for you, and if you do have an example business idea of your own, then feel free to, you know, ignore some of these examples and really dig into the workbooks and things and be trying to apply this to whatever you are doing. And I would also say, you know, a lot of times, we are not the only person in the business. Maybe you're doing this with a spouse or with a friend or something like this. So, it would be great to maybe go through this together as well, because I think it'll bring a lot of clarity. But I find, if you can see the example and kind of reverse engineer it, it helps you come up with that landing page or that survey or some of these o...
ther deliverables we're going to do. It helps you do that a lot easier. So, there's really two types of businesses that we want to focus on. First of all, we have physical products like the woman with the travel box, and then we have the service-based business, so maybe cake decorating, photography, public speaking coaching. I don't know what it is. So, two types of businesses. So maybe for yourself, you have an idea if you have a physical product or a service-based product. I'm curious if anyone has physical product, raise their hand. You have an idea. Okay, one physical product. And service products? Okay, awesome. So we have people with ideas for each of these. So, we're gonna walk through a couple of people that I want you to meet who I completely made up. But we're gonna meet Mike and Julie, and these two people are going to be our little entrepreneurs we're gonna take through this journey with us in this class. So, we have Mike, and we have Julie. And Mike is this startup guy, and he maybe has a nine-to-five already, but his dream is that he wants to get out of it, own his own business, and we're gonna learn a little bit more about him. But his business is related to making a lawn mowing app. So, he wants to create an app so he's in the service-based, but also product, 'cause the app is a product, kind of like your typical startup guy, if you will. And Julie is a planning freak. Like, you know these people in your life that, you open their closets or anything, and it's all organized. Their email is perfect. Everything is just in its place in their life. So, Julie loves to plan, and she has this idea that she wants to make a planner, like, a physical planner, because she sees a lot of other planners out there in the world, bullet journals, all these things you see in the bookstores, Barnes and Noble, things like that. So Julie's decided she wants to make a physical product, a planner. So let's learn a little bit more about these people. So, Mike, he wants to make this app, and he wants to connect people with an on-demand lawn moving service and snow removal. and I've heard this idea from a few people who've come to me, and it always goes like this. We'll make Uber for lawn mowing. And it's this giant thing, and they want to have this app. It needs to do everything that Uber does. There needs to be ratings, all these things, and when they start talking about it, it is as though we are three years into the product, like we said in the beginning. And how does this happen? Because they've been thinking about it in isolation for months, probably, with their friends, and they're already looking at tractors, and like, all these things that are so premature to be thinking about. But he has it in his head. He wants to make this app to connect with people, connect people with this on-demand lawn mowing and snow removal. But he's also smart, thank goodness, and he realized that he has a few problems with his skillset, for example. He's not a developer. He doesn't know how to code. So he isn't sure where to start, and he also doesn't know how to hire a developer. Maybe he's had phone calls. I've had people come to me and say, I have these three quotes, and the first one is for $10,000, the second one is for 50, maybe the third one's for like 175 or something crazy like that. And his problem is he doesn't know which tech company to hire, the criteria on which to grade them, things like that. He's also worried someones going to steal his idea, and he just doesn't know where to start. He has the end idea, but he doesn't know the steps he needs to take to get there. So, Mike really has two options. He can, as many people normally want to do, he wants to find a partner, a tech company, to go build this thing so he can have the app in his hand and start mowing lawns, you know, next summer, something like that, or maybe this summer. So, option A is to go build this giant app, and it's probably gonna be very expensive, very time consuming. I guarantee, if they say it will take four months, it will probably take eight, because the definition of that product will probably not be firm enough. Or he can start small, and he could maybe validate the idea first, rather than spending $50,000, and start small, validate that idea, and know that he has people on a waiting list who are excited for this thing and also, we'll see how maybe he doesn't need to build an actual product. Maybe he can use existing stuff out there on the internet that might be for free to piece together this experience of having your lawn mowed without needing someone to get some beautiful app that took eight months and lots of pain and frustration, I'm sure, and a ton of money. So, he has these two options. Now, this woman Julia, Julie, I forgot her name. So Julie, she's the creative one, and she, like I said, very organized, can't wait to help everyone in their life achieve the same level of organization, and she sees all these other entrepreneurs in maybe her Facebook groups or in little clubs she's in for entrepreneurs. She sees all these other people making products, whether it's a planner or who knows what. Maybe they have little Shopify stores and things like this. And she thinks, well, I'm gonna make a planner, because I want my method out there for everyone to be able to use. And she's excited about having an actual, tangible, physical product, so that she can like, be making money as this thing is selling, and she doesn't have to be in someone's closet organizing it. She's making money because people are buying this product that's done. So she's really excited, but she also realized quickly there's some problems when it comes to creating a physical product. So, first of all, she realized to create a print or to create this printed planner, she's gonna need a lot of money, because printers are going to want to just not print 20 of these things. They probably want to print 200 or 2,000 or 20,000. So, that's a problem that she hasn't thought about yet. Next is pricing. So, pricing is really tricky, and I know this from experience, where I, at one point, started creating these little porcelain trays that I was kind of covering in handmade papers when I was in a creative time in my life. And I realized, wow, the cost to ship these things is so much. So, she's also realizing this, and pricing is really tricky, because you would think it's not, you know, gonna be an issue, but especially international shipping and things like that, so pricing is a big issue for her. Also, the design process. She thought that she could just connect with a graphic designer and have this printer ready to go or planner ready to go in like three weeks or something like that, and she could open a Shopify store and start making money off this planner. And the reality is that when she started talking to graphic designers and things, she realized, oh, I need a brand. I need to decide what size this is, what types of pages, can you tear them, what is the binding on this planner, all of these details. Is it being printed in black and white? Will it be regular? We don't know. So, she has this huge vision. Now she's encountering all these problems, and she really has two options here. She can continue down this path of trying to find this designer to help her create this planner, find the printer that will maybe cut her a deal, and go about this lengthy process, which probably, I would guess, would take like six or eight months, or, she has the option to ditch the physical product. So this is a key point. If you're thinking of creating a physical product, I think a great alternative is to think to yourself, okay, creating physical products is hard, but how could I do something similar as a service and test it out first. So this is what it could look like for her. Instead of making a planner, she's gonna ditch that idea, and she's going to offer people these one-on-one organizational sessions where people can hire her to come in and, two bonuses here. She's making money almost immediately, but, this is awesome research for her, because if she can go in and start, let's say she wants to focus on, well, actually, let's say she doesn't know exactly who she wants to help with organization. She could help with home organization. She could help with like, business systems, classrooms, anything that, restaurants, I don't know what people organize. Everything, I guess. But she isn't sure what she's going to organize, so to kind of cast like a wide net, she's just going to offer blanket organizational services. And then C, maybe she's working with a home owner with their closet or a businessperson or a, a restaurant owner or something like that. She can test the waters with all these people, gathering all this knowledge, all this information, and then decide A, I don't wanna make a planner, 'cause I like interacting with people, or B, she'll know, wow, these specific groups of people, these business owners or business owners who focus on X, I could rake a really, really niche product, niche planner, just for these people. So, that's what we're going to do. We are gonna walk through Mike taking the I think smarter approach of not building the giant thing and validating his idea, putting up a landing page, understanding, well, doing research, then doing our landing page, coming up with how we go about launching our lawn mowing business, and with Julie, we are going to do the same thing, walking her through. We'll focus a little bit more on Mike, but I wanted to include Julie 'cause I know a lot of ideas for physical products, and I think that if you can initially start that physical product business as a service business, you're basically getting paid to do a ton of research. So, like we said, business is about money. If you can start making that money sooner, then it's gonna be better for everyone. Plus, you're also able to help people faster and get outcomes from them and maybe even get testimonials and things which are great social proof so that when you do go out and tell more people about it, you have the evidence that you've done this, people liked it, and they paid you for it. So, you need to be thinking about, you know, what idea do you have? Do you have a physical product idea? Do you have more of a service idea? And try and figure out who you kind of identify with here, but also, like I said, if you have that physical product idea, be thinking about what service you might be able to kind of spin this around and test that idea first. We'll able be talking about a lot more examples, some from my business, some from my friends. I think we'll get to talk about my Shark Tank friends and some other people, but it's all happened. When I think of the successful entrepreneurs in my life, and that I've worked with, it's because they've taken these steps to validate the idea through researching who their customers are, understanding their problems, not just acting on assumptions, even if they are the user, but doing that research to then figure out, what's that solution? What is that bridge that they need to build? And then, from there, figuring out, what is this first version look like, so that we're not building the giant, giant thing, like we saw in that circle diagram. We're building the smaller, first thing so that we're not wasting time, wasting money, you know, removing ourselves from our normal life because as entrepreneurs, it's easy to kind of get all in and neglect other parts of your life. So we don't wanna do that. So, which idea do you have, that physical product or that service-based product? And Kenna is gonna jump in.
Yeah. We've got some questions, which is great. First of all Miranda says, I want to become an entrepreneur, but I'm struggling with ideas and narrowing down what I should be doing, and also what I want to do.
But I need to consider what people need, exclamation point. So she's very excited.
To implement the information.
And is saying this class is perfect timing for her.
But Jessica is saying that she has mostly services, and one digital product.
So when you think about digital products, whether that's an ebook, an online class, do you think of that as a product or as a service?
I think it depends on what it is, right? If it's an ebook, an online course, I think ebook is very product, 'cause it's a tangible thing. Course is kind of, it kind of straddles both, right? Because it's a product in that I think there are things that are made that you as the owner don't have to go back and get your hands dirty in. So all the videos are done. It's pretty hands-off. But some online courses have a service component, because you as the instructor open yourself up. I do office hours. So yes, I have my product of the course, but I am providing the service of office hours. People can schedule extra time with me, things like that. So that's kind of that, it's a little bit blurred, but that's how I think of it for digital.
Right. 'Cause it is kind of, you know, hard to wrap your head around.
If it's not a physical product.
How do you think about those things as well?
Yeah, I think, you know, ebook, or let's say you make, lots of designers make templates that they sell on sites like Creative Market or Avanto or things like that, templates for like keynote presentations and things, and so to me, if that's what you do, you're in like a product business, even though it's digital. So, I just wanted to highlight, in the workbook, I know we just went through a lot of action items that you can take, so, in the first workbook, you can go through and do these five things: the self assessment and audit, so think about, what are my skills? What do I like? What do people say I should do as a business? What are people already paying you for? Like I said, you're probably not accepting their money, maybe, but do that self-assessment. Who are you already helping? What is your why? I think if I had to highlight one of these, it's the why, because like I said, it is exciting when it works. Entrepreneurship is great. And when it's not working it's so frustrating, and something breaks and you're on vacation, and you have to fix it, and all these things. But, you can think about what that why is. It will help you so, so much, and it's fine if that why is money. Sometimes, it's just, maybe it's, I lost my second job, and I need to replace that money. That's fine too, so I just wanna emphasize that. And then, inside the workbook too, I have an exercise where you can go and brainstorm your idea list. So your business idea list, as many as you have, it's like we wanna get that idea of all the domain names in your head and get them down, and then I really want you to try and choose two that you could maybe use as you go through this class. If you have one, that's fine, but I think it's interesting to have two, because maybe you realize, oh, wait a minute, when I did research, this idea seems like it's a lot bigger of a problem that people need a solution for. So, by the end of that workbook, you should be ready to go with these two ideas that you can pursue. And then also, I wanna point out, we're gonna get to this later on when we get to building our landing page and starting to collect emails, but I made this extra bonus for you where you can grab a Trello board. I don't know if as you're excited about Trello as I am. But it's like an online task management thing. So, in Trello, you can copy boards. So I made a board that's gonna help you stay organized, and more importantly, do everything in the right order and then, and it's especially great if you're collaborating with someone on this, 'cause you can loop them in. But you can learn Trello on your own. And then we're also gonna have two ConvertKit automations. So, ConvertKit, if you're not familiar, is this email marketing tool, let's call it, where it allows you, it's like a database where you can store all the emails you're collecting, and then you can send our emails, either just one-off emails, or you can create what are called automations, which are kind of like workflows. So if someone signs up for something, then three days later they get this email, and then they take this action and they get this. It sounds complicated. It's not. But to make it even easier, you can actually copy ConvertKit automations. So I made two automations you can copy, which I don't recommend you copy them, 'cause I want you in the class to go through and do the steps so you know how it works, and then you can copy them in. But I wanted to have you or give those to you. And then also I go into more detail about these automations, so there's this like private YouTube video that I made for you that's gonna talk you through kind of more of the thinking behind those automations. So this is a little premature, but you should grab that as well, 'cause it is gonna be helpful, especially the Trello board in the beginning.