“Finding Your Flywheel” – My Talk from MicroConf 2012

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10 comments ↓

#1 Marco on 02.27.13 at 4:52 am

FYI your video can not be viewed on Android phones.

Rob Reply:

“Vimeo!” he screams.

#2 Mitesh on 02.27.13 at 1:04 pm

Rob, are you ever going to write any more books on micro-entrepreneurship? I’ve got your first book but finding a niche is pretty difficult. What’s your secret to finding a niche and validating demand for an idea within that niche? I’ve read the book, but maybe I’ve missed it.

Anyhow I also think, that if people are pretty serious about starting up a small side business it doesn’t have to be a SASS product.

We live in incredible times, you could also start and launch a information product like an eBook and sell it on Amazon.com (start small)

Rob Reply:

>>Rob, are you ever going to write any more books on micro-entrepreneurship?

Probably not. I got the gyst of the movement out in my first book, and Micropreneur.com and the podcast are how I’m continuing the thread. I can’t imagine sitting down for 4 months again to crank out another book; one that would be less valuable since the first book captured most of what I wanted to say.

I do plan to release some video training courses this year since I’ve found that format (audio/video) to be more conducive to teaching this kind of material.

>>Anyhow I also think, that if people are pretty serious about starting up a small side business it doesn’t have to be a SASS product.

It doesn’t have to be, but that’s where you will have the best chance at creating a business that will sustain you.

Mitesh Reply:

Rob

Really cool, I did briefly join the microprenuer community, but I felt overwhelmed and it’s not easy to start up a small business. How did you find the painful problems that need to be solved in a niche.

I just can’t believe that using Google Keywords you can somehow find a niche. When I did join the community I even tried hanging around a business forum looking for the threads where business-people were frustrated by so and so. But it yielded no results and maybe I wasn’t trying hard enough.

Don Griffolo Reply:

I agree. The microprenuer community is not the place to find an idea. It’s great if you already have an idea, but there’s very little help to find one.

To be fair I don’t think Rob has found any niche ideas recently. He seems to be focusing on getting more from HitTail and creating expensive video courses.

Where are the new successes? Bidsketch has been mentioned for years. I’ve not seen anyone else show up, not even a certain AuditShark?

Don.

Rob Reply:

@”Don” – classy move posting an anonymous critique. In addition, your assertions are off the mark.

>>To be fair I don’t think Rob has found any niche ideas recently

I was going to build a tool like HitTail (i.e, I did the research and deemed it worthy to enter the niche), and was going to do that whether they sold to me or not. When they decided to sell it was a nice leapfrog so I didn’t have to spend time building.

And then we have getdrip.com, my new project. A brand new app, serving a new niche that I researched before taking the plunge.

So that’s two in the past 18 months.

>>Where are the new successes?

There are 17 successes listed on http://www.micropreneur.com/, and we cover a new one every couple episodes on the podcast – in the past 10 days alone I was emailed by the founders of distressedpro.com and lighpointsecurity.com (both lifetime Micropreneur.com members). With the former he’s now completely supporting himself from the app. The latter has won a couple recent awards and is on track to raise money soon.

I’ve lost count of the number of people who have emailed indicating they have launched an app based on advice from my book or Micropreneur.com and are now supporting themselves from it. Those successes, while perhaps not publicized on Hacker News/TechCrunch/Your startup news venue of choice, are the reason I’m in this.

Whether you’ve heard about them or not is irrelevant…but there are new successes happening on a consistent basis.

Rob Reply:

>>I felt overwhelmed and it’s not easy to start up a small business

Indeed, sir. It is by no means easy.

>>How did you find the painful problems that need to be solved in a niche.

I’ve written and spoken about this a lot. There is no formula for doing it; no step by step system because it’s the creative/art portion of launching a product. Finding a niche idea is more like brainstorming than it is like writing code. There are frameworks for brainstorming but there is not a concrete process that will walk you by the hand to finding the ultimate niche.

Finding a niche is probably the most common issue people run into; check out any startup forum and you’ll find loads of people looking for product ideas or wondering how to choose between them. You are not alone in feeling like it’s hard. It definitely takes work and the willingness to put yourself out there, and fail along the way.

The last 2 niches I’ve entered I found by asking myself the question: “What pain do X have?” where “X” is entrepreneurs.

But there are 100 other approaches to getting started. Even Googling “how to find a niche” should spark a few ideas if you’ve exhausted all of the other ones you’ve heard to date.

>>I just can’t believe that using Google Keywords you can somehow find a niche.

The keyword tool is not a test that should be used on its own; it’s one signal on the way to finding a niche…use it as a first step, then start find people in the niche and start discussing pain points. This is the hard part – starting with an idea and getting over your fear of getting out of the building and talking to prospective customers.

As I said, it’s hard work. I wish you the best of luck!

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