A Product Offer in Thirty Days

By Najaf Ali

For as long as I can remember, I've wanted to create an income with a product delivered over the internet.

I've filled countless notebooks with ideas, read tons of material on software marketing and generally learned everything I'm ever going to about the business of creating software online without actually doing it.

My problem at the moment? The lack of an idea. No product offer to base my efforts around. I've been toying with a few ideas, but there's nothing at the moment that I feel really passionate about creating.

I came accross the following quote recently:

If you have yet to choose a product, set a deadline for 1 month from today. Spend at least 20 hours between now and then researching possibilities...

... If you don't set this deadline you can think about this problem forever without ever making a commitment.

-Rob Walling, sample materials from the Micropreneur Academy

Which puts my problem in very simple terms. Spend twenty hours thinking about the idea, weigh up the pros and cons of each, filter them, sort them and then just fucking pick one.

This is hour one, the deadline today is 6th September 2012. I want to spend an hour every weekday between now and then figuring out what my idea is going to be. Let's start by taking an inventory of the ideas floating around in my head right now.

The Process

For this to work I'm going to need to have some sort of process for selecting an idea rather than just spending twenty hours idly typing into a terminal window. Probably something like:

  1. Brainstorm a bunch of ideas
  2. Filter them based on some criteria
  3. Sort what's left based on how much I like them
  4. idea = head remaining-ideas


For the first week or so then, I'm just going to brainstorm a as many ideas as I can think of without censoring them too much. As long as the idea is within my technical capabilities and has an outside chance of getting some traction, anything goes at this stage.

Filtering on criteria

What criteria exactly? I'm not sure yet, and I'm comfortable with deferring the details until later, but it's going to be something like:

1. Does the product soothe a business pain-point?

It's much more likely to make money if it does.

2. Does the niche have sufficient search traffic?

It will be much easier to market the product if it does.

3. Do I give a shit about the product?

It will be much easier to motivate myself to complete it if I do.

Going Forward

One hour a day for twenty days. I've already enumerated a few ideas here but I should probably punch out thirty or forty more before I start filtering, that's going to be the focus of this week. I'll write this up as a separate page on the HBS site so I can come back to it if I run out of ideas again.