When To Pursue Your Business Idea

I’ve been collecting ideas for two weeks now.

My most productive brainstorming has been to think about my own problems and how to solve them. You can see my ideas right here. Please steal liberally.

All my current ideas have some sort of imperfection:

– Too much competition
– Too small of a niche
– Too long to get to profit
– Too controversial
– Too boring
– Too complicated
– People in the niche don’t spend $
– Etc

Many of my ideas have MULTIPLE imperfections. That’s frustrating. So frustrating, that two days ago, you could have looked through my kitchen window and seen me allllllmooooost smashing my face on the kitchen table — repeatedly. Again, again, and gain…I kept coming inches away. My internal thoughts were agonizing.

I’m going to embarrass myself. Why is this taking so long? Where is this perfect idea? This is terrible. Gah, why am I publicizing this?

Then I reviewed an online “how to start a business” course I had taken a few years ago to see what the teacher said about my situation (lots of ideas, but not sure when to pursue them). His pre-recorded video advice was helpful and here’s how I interpreted it:

1 – There are no perfect ideas. Many successful businesses are born from copycat ideas. You don’t need to find the 1 unique snowflake business idea that no one else has thought of. You don’t need to wait for perfect market conditions. You don’t need 100% certainty that you’ll make $1,000,000.

2 – Optimize for learning, not profit. Reframe this as an opportunity to learn valuable skills and lessons that can help now and in the future. If the perfect unicorn idea appears, you can apply your learnings from this “test run.”

3 – Pick something and pursue it. You can spin your wheels forever and nitpick the faults of any idea. Get started now and expedite the learning process.

So I’m going to pick an idea and pursue it. Starting today.

When I thought this post was going in a different direction, I had strict criteria for this new business:

  • No food products – Too low margin, too high risk (choking, allergies, diets, etc), and people can be rude when it comes to their food.
  • High margin – Need room for error. Don’t want to have to sell 100,000 units to make income. Want margins that can allow for some deals / discounts.
  • I’m enough – I need to be able to run the business myself with my existing skills, network, and resources.
  • Excites me – I need to find some aspect of the business fun, interesting, or redeeming social / problem solving value.
  • Clear target market / niche – It needs to be easy for me to identify where I’m going to find my first 100 customers.
  • Quick path to profit – I need to income to pay bills and support my family. Ideally in 3 months or less. I won’t be pursuing something that takes a long time to get set up.

Now my criteria are 2 things:

Am I reasonably excited about it? Do I think I can execute it?

There are a few ideas that my fit criteria, but I’m going to start with one:

Giant DIY Kits

These Giant Do-It-Yourself kits would contain all the materials and instructions needed to make giant-sized versions of iconic products at home — like a massive Doritos tortilla chip or a giant Rubber Ducky. Videos showing these giant do-it-yourself projects are popular on Youtube, so I know there is some interest in the topic area.

This was one of the old ideas I had several months ago, but I never pursued it through to validation. I did some very wantrepreneur-y things: bought a $12 domain name, told my wife we’d be RICH, then cold emailed a few Youtube megastars to see if we could cobble together a quick million dollar business. LOL…in hindsight…it’s not surprising I got no replies. I only had a domain name and a dream.

This time I’ll go through a full validation to see if there’s demand.

My hypothesis is that parents of kids and other crafty adults might be into this enough to pay money to have a fun Giant DIY Kit shipped to them once a month.

I’m optimistic that my subscription box experience will help me here. So that’s a big bonus, of course.

My ingoing concern is that the people who watch these Giant DIY videos on Youtube will be too young to purchase themselves (the commenters in the Youtube videos skew young) or not at all interested in actually DIY-ing. I’m also not a crafty person, so this isn’t a fit for me or my personality. I have no prior experience making Giant DIY KIts and have no idea what’ll take to assemble the first kit.

I’m also concerned the Youtube megastars know something that I don’t, which is why they aren’t offering their own Giant DIY Kits.

But, for some reason, I can’t get this idea out of my head. I was even thinking about in last night at 2A when I got up to get some water. I almost need to pursue it just to put the idea to rest. It’s an absurd idea in many respects and it breaks a lot of my original strict criteria…but I’m going to give it a go.

I’m not sure what scares me more…that I might fail or that I might succeed and my life’s work end up being teaching people how to make Giant Gummy Bears. Haha.

What’s next

Ultimately, I have to see if I can pre-sell a few of these things before I make them. I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to do that yet. I will email you next week with my progress.

Would you possibly want to be a part of the pilot and pay to receive a Giant DIY Kit? Email me and let me know what kind of product you’d be interested in Giant DIY-ing and roughly how much you’d spend to have the kit with materials & instructions delivered to your door.

Odds & Ends

I mentioned earlier in a post that I needed more time to pursue this project.

I thought that time was going to come from some brilliant time management techniques that I could share with you…but…in a bitter sweet turn of events, my afternoon Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training partner got a work promotion that meant he can’t train w/ me anymore.

Yay for him, bad for my BJJ, good for this project. I now have an extra hour and a half per day to devote to building this business.

Thanks for reading!


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12 thoughts on “When To Pursue Your Business Idea”

  1. I would stay away from subcription sales. I think they scare people a little. If it’s a good product people will buy again on their own. Also where would people put all these things if they did buy one monthly. Otherwise I could see it working. Think about it for sports and tailgating, birthday parties, Christmas, Halloween, big events like that.

    1. Haha. TK, you’re tha man! Very true, subscriptions are what I know best, but standard one-time sales is also a possibility for this idea. I’m going to send you a Giant Jello Jim Harbaugh Kit.

  2. Hey Ryan,
    I love your business idea…
    I’m a dad (30 years old) with a little children (2.5 years old).
    I already subscribed to a Disney books collection for my son.
    Basically, I wanted to share special moments with my son.
    Check the marketing at : infentorides.com.
    It can fit with your market.
    I hope this will help you to aim the good people.

    I’am also trying to launch my subscription service (Bamboo Toothbrush) in France but i also realize that i need a lot of subscribers to make a living with this.

    About your product :
    It will be a digital product so that you will have higher margin ?
    Will you try to sell directly the subscription box or only one product ?

  3. Hey Ryan,
    Great idea! I think you have the right mix of, “common vs uncommon”. What I have learnt is people tend to find it easier to pay for things that are a fun/strange take on something they know.

    Also, I have decided to start the same journey as you! I thought I was the only one worried about making my idea search public and it placing to much pressure on me…..but I think it’s been great! It’s forcing me to put my head down and work hard!

    Keep the emails and blogs coming


  4. Ryan – couple thoughts for you:

    – If I’m someone interested in DIY, isn’t the whole novelty/idea of DIY just that – doing it yourself. I feel like this would be lost on buying a kit. Maybe this is just a matter of branding this as a Cool project vs. DIY kits.
    – Also what is my motivation to buy a DIY kit – for example why would I want to buy an disassembled bike when I could pop on down to my local bike shop and buy one that was already assembled. How much is my time worth to have to assemble or make something? Or rather what’s my motivation in doing it – pride? Sense of accomplishment? Bragging rights to my friends?
    – How are you going to handle the customer service side of things when people inevitably mess up their DIY project rendering it useless? There is a lot of profit loss to be realized here if you do reship the product out to your customer. And a lot of profit loss losing a customer you worked so hard to get on board.
    – What “pain point” are you trying to solve in selling this DIY kit?

    1. Thanks a ton for the comments and questions Jeff!

      Your motivation? Maybe cool / interesting/ unusual photos for your social media accounts. If you have kids or nephews / nieces — fun activity to pass the time.

      Customer service. Just like my approach w/ SumoJerky. Always refund or do whatever it takes to make them happy (if they aren’t jerks). Looking for lifelong fans not one time profit centers.

      – There isn’t a strong pain point solved by the DIY Kits…that’s one of it’s imperfections I alluded to in my post.

        1. Ryan,

          This might be a bit off topic. But back when I ran my own business I often chased what I thought was the next great idea and now that I look back at my time as a small business owner one of my greater regrets was not just perfecting my first goal – being a specialty tea and coffee vendor. To list a couple of my “great ideas” I had over the days:
          – Bottling my own tea beverages and getting those into convenience stores
          – Selling spices (similar to Penzey Spices)
          – Different flavored kettle chips
          – Hummus

          Long story short – Why not figure out how to get an additional $100K out of the business you already have?

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