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Please help ! Beginner having trouble generating ideas?

As a beginning Indie Hacker . I'm having troubles with developing ideas that are useful to others as well.

I've tried the solve your own problem route, but the only problem I could solve was google spreedsheet tab duplication on a weekly basis, which does seems to be a problem for a lot of people.

Any ideas on how I can tap into problems worth solving and idea generation with my current skill sets ?

  1. 4

    You can't generate ideas. You need to spend time in the market and observe the pain point and try to solve that.

    Here's an example:

    I came across this post today: https://www.indiehackers.com/post/struggling-to-find-youtube-channels-to-sponsor-dc55de4ac9

    He wants to find Youtube Channels that He can sponsor but getting extremely high quotes. He has specifically asked for a tool that can help him do that.

    You can probably create a marketplace that connects Youtube creators with advertisers and He could be your first customer.

    Now, Don't just start building after seeing one post. He only has 5 upvoted so there are probably 4-5 more people who need something like this.

    I would do further research and see if there is demand for such a marketplace. I would spend time on Indie Hacker, Twitter, and Reddit, etc.

    And once I have verified the demand then I would get these people in a group chat and work with them to build something that would solve their problem and they would buy as soon as I launch them.

    Now if you don't want to build a marketplace because of the chicken and egg problem then I would recommend you to check https://chromeextensionideas.substack.com/ where I do the research and share demand-based chrome extension ideas.

  2. 3

    Start simple you know! Take on client work they literally tell you their problems they need solved. This is manual but if you find similar clients you can create a common solution.

    1. 1

      Thanks for your response

  3. 3

    As you said, you're a software engineer, so you're half way there. Every day write down 5 things which can be better. These can be very primitive, from a door handle to getting caught in the rain without an umbrella. Write them down. Do it consistently for 2-6 weeks. Combine it with brainstorming solutions to the problems/non-ideal things you see around. Inconvenient door handle -> Face ID door opener. Don't want to get wet -> umbrella sharing platform which works across the city. This will switch make your mindset work as problem/fix way. Prioritize quantity. Unrealistic solutions are ok. (*doing 10 a day accelerates progress by 2)

    After you have 150 problem/solution combos I bet there will be 10 feasible things and 2-4 worth tackling. For each of these 4 things talk to 10 (30) people who can have the same problem before building anything. It's even cooler if you make a mockup and sell before building. Yesterday I made a post how to find people for interviews on Reddit. Pick 2-3 problems which seem more relevant to others, release MVP asap and see if it's useful. Proceed with solving a problem which is a bigger pain for people.

    Let me know what you end up with.

    1. 2

      Thanks for your insightful response. I'll sure do so after 2 - 6 weeks. Please , can you share you reddit post with me ?

    2. 2

      That's really great advise

  4. 2

    You could develop stuff that you find fun, useful, for you, while working on that you will soon discover things that could help you improve your workflow, and that's how ideas are born.

    1. 1

      Thanks for the input

  5. 2

    It took me 15 years to come up with my most profitable idea.

    Worry less about hitting a homerun and more about building traction:

    • build skills
    • build experience
    • build reach

    I wrote in detail on IndieHackers about this a moment ago:

    https://www.indiehackers.com/post/how-i-arrived-at-my-perfect-business-idea-ac478d4bda

    1. 1

      Thanks for the response

  6. 2

    Ha! I have the exact opposite problem than you : I can't stop coming up with ideas for projects and startup. They're probably not all good, but they're always there. I keep a running list that I jump between, which is probably why I never launch / finish anything.

    I'd suggest listening to some talks / interviews with @csAllen where he talks about how he came up with the idea for IndieHackers. He says he spent 3-4 days just reading Hacker News to see what sort of startups were being created and successful. 3-4 days just reviewing a community to see what problems were being solved and which were successful. He states in multiple interviews that this was a boring process and he wanted to stop after 8 hours, 2 days, etc. But he stuck at it and over the course of the 3-4 days he says he tossed out dozens (100s ?) of bad ideas on day 1 and 2, but by the 3rd and 4th days he noticed his ideas were fewer but MUCH better.

    Ideas are all around us. They don't need to be unique or ground breaking or life altering. Even the idea you mention about 'google spreadsheet tab duplication', while it might be a 'bad' idea, it's probably better to just start working on that, finish an MVP and get it into the public for them to decide. Worst case, you no longer have that idea nagging the back of your mind. Best case 1: other people actually think it's useful. Best case 2: You find a new idea while working on it, maybe a spin-of that makes more sense.

    As an example of the 'best ase 2' above: I am building a Europe travel app (taking too long, kind of on a low ebb of motivation right now) and in doing so I built a tool to help me create Travel Story Interviews I can generate with random (pre-stored) questions, that will then auto email to potential interviewees I have added to my database. It was a tool i built to solve the problem of contacting and cold emailing people to talk about their travel experiences with me. I'm going to spend some time to spin it off as it's own project this month and see if I can monetize it. Maybe it already exists, maybe it's a crap idea, but maybe not. And I came up with it while working on a different project.

    The point is, spend time in communities to see what is succeeding, don't be think you're idea needs to be 100% unique, and just work on something and you'll probably come up with more ideas as you do.

    Also, if you have not done so already i STRONGLY suggest reading through the Interviews on this site and listening to all of the Indie Hackers podcasts. I can't tell you how many times I have done so and thought of a new start up idea. They are very good at getting your 'startup brain' working for you.

    Links to @csallen's talks / interviews talking about how he started (and came up with the idea) of Indiehackers:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR4nKgDnPHs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18qLauintVM
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHZU4fC7LnA&t=1625s

    1. 1

      Thanks for the informational response.

  7. 2

    Don't be afraid to be VERY granular in how you think about problems.

    Oftentimes, solving a very small problem means solving a lot of other problems, too. In ways you probably don't expect when you're building the solution.

    1. 1

      Thanks for your input.

  8. 2

    Look for problems, preferably problems you have yourself. Your business will have to solve problems that no one has.

    In case you haven't, please go through this link where you'll get some ideas about how to generate ideas for business. http://paulgraham.com/startupideas.html

  9. 2

    Hi, can you give some more info regarding your skill set?

    1. 1

      I’m a software engineer

  10. 1

    What ideas do you need by the way? Please do check out this websitehttps://www.saasjournal.io/ and https://www.nocodejournal.com/

  11. 1

    Can you give me an example of an idea that's useful to you? I might be able to help you generate ideas here.. but I'm really wondering what you mean by "idea"

    Because ideas aren't software, ideas aren't businesses.

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