June 22, 2012

Still working on that shift from services to products

June 22, 2012 - Categories: business

I’ve been in business for four months, hooray! Consulting is going well. I want to learn how to build products, though – maybe short e-books or small apps. That’s going to be significantly different from the consulting that I did as as an employee and as a freelancer, and it’ll be a terrific learning experience.

The idea of about building products is intimidating, though. What can I do to create value? How can I get that into people’s hands, and will people buy? There’s some resistance in my brain even in terms of brainstorming ideas, but if I keep pushing, I’ll break through. AFter all, I’m surrounded by products. People have figured out how to create value for other people. I can do this too.

I have a hard time thinking of ideas when I try to use big questions like: “What kind of difference do I want to make in the world?” “What problem do I want to solve?” “When I look back at this five-year experiment, what do I want to have accomplished?” I’m going to try sneaking up on ideas like this: “What’s the smallest problem I can solve for other people, and can I get people to pay me a dollar for it?” Something like that.

It’s a tough shift for me to make, going from an employee or consultant to a proper entrepreneur. People tell me what they want and they reward me when I make things happen. Coming up with something and seeing if it sticks… there’s a lot of uncertainty in there. I’m getting better at making mistakes and not beating myself up about them, though, and once I can break through that fear or messing up, I’ll do even better.

I don’t have to come up with something new. I don’t have to come up with an innovative business model. I can start by picking something and making it better. The worst thing would be to be overwhelmed by ideas and never get started. I don’t have to hit a homerun on my first time on the plate. What’s important is that I get out there and I learn how to swing.

I am going to write. I want to summarize those ten years of blog highlights. I don’t know if it solves a problem in the world, much less be something that people will pay me for, but it will teach me about editing and formatting, and maybe people will buy it for a small sum considering that people spend on all sorts of other reading. Then I want to start compiling and writing time-saving tips, nifty ideas, and other things I learn. People have figured this out. I can too.

Making good progress! I spent some time editing my draft while sitting outside in the Adirondack chair I built myself, enjoying the summer breeze. Life is good.