Last week I was reading The Mom Test and came across this doozy: "If they haven't looked for ways of solving it already, they're not going to look for (or buy) yours."
The point of this, in context, is that people will very frequently - while thinking they're being honest - get caught up in the moment and say things like "omg I would definitely pay money for X". But quickly you find out that X already exists and they've not even done so much as a google search to find it. So clearly they wouldn't actually pay money for X.
How many times has the following happened to you:
You come up with an idea that scratches your own itch. OMG it's so perfect. It's going to help you so much, and surely there are other people similar to you so it'll help them, too. You might just have a neat little business on your hands.
So you start building and/or researching your idea, and then you find some competitors doing literally the exact same thing. Maybe you can differentiate yourself. Maybe you can pivot. But regardless, it raises an interesting question:
If solutions to this problem already existed, and you never found them because you never even so much as did a google search to see how you could fix your problem... then are you ACTUALLY scratching your own itch? Or are you just caught up in the excitement of coming up with a clever solution?
This has happened to me more times than I can count. Surely there are other ways of starting businesses than by scratching one's own itch, but it's something that I carry with me now. Am I being real with myself? Or am I just being excited?