Self Care January 15, 2020

No idea seems good enough, and it's driving me crazy 😬💩

Andy Rose @thatandyrose

I'm really "stuck" on the idea phase. Either I can't clearly define the problem in my mind for some, for others I can't quite figure out the audience or how I'd reach them. Or, I think the idea is too simple, or there's too much competition.

Meanwhile I see others succeed with technically simple solutions, or in crowded markets with a slight differentiators, and I wonder, am I over thinking it?

Anyone ever feel like that, and what strategies did you find helped?

  1. 7

    Just start with something is a pretty good hack I found.

    Why don't you make a promise to the community? That next idea you have? Or that idea you have been hanging on for a while but never built (preferably in the "too simple" category), just build it. Give yourself two weeks and push it out. That'll do a few things to you:

    (1) You're getting out of the "idea phase", because that's the last place you'll find an idea in.
    (2) You're getting confronted with all these struggles building something, which will birth new ideas
    (3) You might appreciate these "too simple" ideas more, because everything is hard to build, and too simple sounds quite okay.
    (4) There are no strings attached. Shut the thing down if it doesn't work, sell it if it's okay, grow it if it's fun.

    1. 3

      Totally agree with this.
      I find just starting something is the best way to go, at least for me. When you're building something it will spark the creativity inside you and new ideas will start flowing in.
      Then, you have to eventually pick one and stick with it otherwise you will keep jumping from one idea to another with bunch of unfinished product in hand. But, I guess this is better than no ideas.

    2. 1

      thanks so much @dqmonn, this really helped. Its continuously surprising somehow that so much of what one does isn't about what you do, but you're state of mind when doing it. It's crazy. So much of it is in ones head!

      I also like the no strings attached. That's quite a powerful mindset if you can really engage with it.

      Good news... I've started with an idea and currently building the landing page/messaging. Thanks!

  2. 6

    Some things that have helped me:

    1. Stop thinking about things in phases. There is no "idea phase". There are just problems and solutions. Questions and answers. You won't know all the problems up front and you definitely won't know all the solutions.

    2. Most ideas suck. Even the best ideas didn't start out that way. You have to massage them into good ideas over time.

    3. Pick any problem / idea that gives you even the slightest bit of excitement and spend a day on it. Even just focusing on something for one day will help you decide if you want to pursue it further, and worst case, you learn something.

    4. My guess is that you think about an idea and get overwhelmed by how many things need to be done to complete it. The solution that works for me is to break it down into much smaller tasks and just work on one of them.

    For example, many tasks apply to many projects

    • make a landing page
    • make a pricing page
    • make an about page
    • make an email subscribe form
    • make a login page, password reset, etc.

    Doing any of these tasks will make it easier to prototype your next idea because you'll develop the skills and build up a template of code that you can reuse or copy and paste.

    1. 2

      I like this suggestion best!

    2. 1

      Great advice. I love the bit about not thinking about phases... so true. And yes, making things into bite sized chunks. Good shout.

  3. 6

    A simple method for finding good ideas is solving your problems.
    Look around you, observe things people are doing that could be done in a much more efficient/cost-effective way.

    Ultimately, don't stress yourself over this.

    1. 1

      "Ultimately, don't stress yourself over this" - so true, great advice.

  4. 4

    Did you try the lean startup boards?

    Go for easy ideas that have competition anyway.
    Try one of these X businesses in Y days challenges.
    30 business validations in 30 days, get every crappy idea in and see what sticks

    It better than believing you know enough about the rest of the people of the world and module them perfectly in your mind.

    Overthinking to the perfect idea only fits a scratch your own itch ideation module, where your the user and you really would have paid for it if it existed..

    1. 1

      Love this plan

    2. 1

      What are the "lean startup boards"?

      1. 1

        The Lean Startup / Eric Ries - book
        the lean startup board / Validation Board - is like a micro business plan, they describe the core parts to think about, it's good to do for ideas, and if your just trying to get your mindset can do on exisiting business, there are some youtube videos that do that as examples..

  5. 4

    All ideas are good enough because it really doesn't matter. Execution is everything.

    You can make money from anything as long as your execution is right.

    I'd suggest you pick something that you are passionate about, in a market that you are good at, and that ultimately makes you happy.

    There are many stories of founders leaving their own company because they weren't passionate about what they were doing and they became unhappy.

    1. 2

      I love the long term thinking here of "what makes you happy"... so easy to see other ideas that seem great but...would YOU want to be working on that. It's a great question.

  6. 3

    I have struggled myself with this and "just start something" doesn't do it for me.

    After much thought and brainstorming i clarified what matters to me:

    • I want to build something that has impact.
    • I want to double down on my strengths.

    Based on that i picked an idea that let's me become better at what i already do and enjoy. It's a win win situation really

  7. 3

    I think you're over-thinking it. To me it sounds like you aren't feeling inspired. Here's one way you might find some inspiration...

    Find a niche subreddit that looks interesting to you by repeatedly visiting until something catches your eye. Then learn about the community and think of an app that could serve members in that community.

    1. 1

      LOVE THIS :-)

    2. 1

      wow.. thats what I have been doing since past few days as I believe that its a good way... but no luck yet

  8. 3

    Choosing the wrong idea is better than doing nothing. I'd choose your most promising idea right now and you can always pivot later.

    1. 2

      With a wrong idea it's an opportunity cost. You can invest too much of resources as well. The only way to not loose too much is to make boundaries and to choose problem && technologies you really care about and at the end you can say at least it was fun :)

      1. 1

        There's no opportunity cost since the alternative is doing nothing - hence "Choosing the wrong idea is better than doing nothing."

        1. 3

          You can't really "do nothing". You can spend time with family && friends, have fun, develop some useful skill, make some good connections and so on. Even take or notice new opportunities because your head not occupied with some idea you're working on right now.

  9. 2

    Meanwhile I see others succeed with technically simple solutions, or in crowded markets with a slight differentiators, and I wonder, am I over thinking it?

    Yes. Choose an idea that best fits your circumstances, knowledge, and experience, too. And make sure it has a market. Crowded is better than no market. That's it.

    1. 1

      "crowded is better than no market" - that's a great way to think about it.

  10. 2

    I'm right there too! Thought about building something for people like us to easily test ideas. Anyways, I was just thinking to myself that it is much better to plan more and not build something no one wants than to just start. That's how I've done things in the past and has not worked.

    Things I've been doing to look for ideas:

    1. Went on Shopify's forums and looked for recurring, urgent problems that could be fixed with software
    2. Emailed local businesses and asked them if they had any urgent problems
    1. 1

      great approach! It's funny, since really deciding that I'm gonna start something I see the world differently. I'm constantly chatting to cafe owner, personal trainers, any one I come across and trying to see whether something they're doing needs optimising... it's quite an interesting state of mind!

    2. 1

      Did the local businesses share any urgent problems?

      1. 1

        Not yet; I've only emailed about 15. None responded so far. Want to email 100 and see what happens.

  11. 2

    yup. i usually stopped once i found out there was a competitor.

    I tried:
    1 ) Solve a very specific pain point (provide relief), that you experience or through observations of others.
    2 ) Leverage JTBD framework (jobs to be done) to help clarity the product, benefit, and pain relief magic
    3 ) Engage in forums, discussions with your target market (sites like quora, linked in, twitter, etc)
    4 ) Put something out and get feedback (don't kill the idea too soon)

    1. 2

      Hey John

      I’d suggest the presence of a competitor is a very good sign.

      Perhaps reconsider GTM with some of your existing solutions. Especially the ones you have established contact/relationships with.

      1. 1

        thx, good advice.

  12. 1

    I feel this so much. Best advice I can give you is to launch something, anything, and iterate from there

  13. 1

    I'm in the exact same boat as you, and I've been beating myself up since a week. All my previous ideas did not "take off" and/or I lost interest in them because it felt like I"m doing the same thing others are doing and getting discouraged.