If your side hustle is product-focused, knowing how to validate your product idea will save you time and money. Validating your side hustle is a crucial part of your journey. Not only for your time’s sake but for your mental state. You probably feel like you are not sure if it’s going to work, and that could be holding you back.
Many Hobby Hustlers have concerns about wasting their time because they are not sure if they have a good idea or not.
Note: Most of the ideas here can be used to validate your product or service-based business.
Different Ways on How To Validate Your Product Idea
CROWDFUNDING – krawd ~ fuhn ~ duhng
Crowdfunding is when you share your idea with a group of people and you can raise money from people (who do not know you usually), via the internet. Typically, you already have a prototype done, but this is not always the case.
Crowdfunding is typically used for products and not services.
Kickstarter is a great way to crowdsource your product. The benefit of using these platforms over your own website is that they already drive tons of traffic for you.
If you were to make your own sales page on your website, you would be responsible to drive that traffic, which could be very costly.
People like to back ideas that other people support and are already a part of. Kickstarter does a really good job of showing their website visitors who are backing what projects.
Succeed / Fail Fast
One thing I really like about these platforms is that they limit how long you can keep your campaign open. Kickstarter currently allows you to keep your campaign open for 90 days. If you succeed before the 90 days, then that is great. If your last 90 days and you still do not have your money backed, then it may be time to move onto the next idea. Some people waste too much time on a bad idea.
Yes, you do not give up any percentage of ownership to Kickstarter or to the people who back your business idea. Commonly in venture capitalism, you receive money early on in exchange for equity in your company. This can have a good upside depending on the partner you get and should still be investigated if your product suits it.
There are definitely some downsides though.
Kickstarter (and all of these platforms) will take a fee off the sales that you receive. Currently, the fee is at 8% (5% of sales + 3% processing fee). This will cut into your money to get the product developed and if you’re running on narrow margins, it may be tough.
Hundreds of people are posting their product ideas and to get featured on the homepage or getting enough backers to reach your goal can be very tough. When you launch your Kickstarter campaign, you need to have a marketing strategy on how you are going to optimize it and get shown to the most eyes. The extremely successful campaigns will get published across many major news outlets as well as the Kickstarter email newsletter.
Other Crowdfunding Websites: Indiegogo, Causes, Patreon, GoFundMe, LendingClub
KNOCK ON DOORS
When I started my digital marketing agency, the way I got my first clients were knocking on their doors and presenting a pitch. I was desperate to get business at the time, so I took deals that were a lot less profitable than I should’ve taken, nevertheless, I was able to increase the rates of some clients and get rid of the tire kickers down the road.
If you have a working prototype of your product, you can sign up to local farmer’s markets or town events. Many people would be happy to support you and give you their opinion on the product.
If you set up a booth, consider a giveaway that will make people want to come to your booth. For example, if someone pre-orders your product, they get entered into a draw to win a $300 Apple Watch. If you don’t have the prototype yet, maybe just informational slide decks and whatnot, consider doing a similar giveaway in exchange for product feedback.
The competition quadrant is going to help you position yourself for success. If you can accurately fill in the competition quadrant you will understand your competitive advantage compared to your competitors, and you will use this language to convey to your target audience.
How It Works:
- Write your #1 advantage at the top and the opposite at the bottom
- For example, if your product relies on durability, you can put durable at the top and fragile at the bottom
- If your target audience is cost-sensitive, you can put affordable in Benefit #2 and Expensive in Opposite of Benefit #2
- Get 3-6 competitors and place them where you see fit.
- Top right: Durable and Affordable
- Bottom right: Affordable and Fragile
- Bottom left: Expensive and Fragile
- Top left: Durable and Expensive
- Place your company and where you stand
- It is important to be honest with yourself when you are doing this
USING SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media can be an extremely useful tool if you use it properly.
My favorite platform right now is Facebook, specifically the Groups platform on Facebook.
Join communities who are interested in topics of what your product/service is and get chatting with people.
Do not join these communities and then spam or promote your product! Give value first and help other people. Naturally, people will be curious as to what you are doing and you will start conversations!
If you start promoting right away, you are going to get banned!
Pro tip: try to network with the admins of the groups. When you have a personal connection with them, they will let you do more and they may even let you promote. Always ask first!
Create Your Own Facebook Group
If you have the time to invest, create your own group. Creating your own group will make you the admin… say goodbye to asking permission!
Growing a group requires a lot of consistent effort and dedication and is a whole other job in itself.
It took me 2 years to get to 1000 members in our Hobby Hustler Community!
Some of my favorite FB Groups are:
BUILDING YOUR OWN WEBSITE
If you have website design or development knowledge, then this may be easy for you! If you do not have the knowledge, you may want to consider your time versus hiring a freelancer to build it for you.
When you first build your website, all you need to build is a simple sales page featuring all the benefits of the product. Key things to include would be: photos, testimonials, buy button, and urgency (limited time offer, special bonuses).
When you build your website, you will not get any traffic to your website, which obviously is a problem if you are trying to sell on it. How to overcome this? Buy traffic!
Consider using an advertising strategy, whether it be Facebook Advertising, Google AdWords, Bing Ads, or anything in between. If you have never run ads before, consider hiring a freelancer or a digital marketing advertising agency to help with this. They will know how to optimize your campaigns to get lower conversion costs.
If you don’t have the product made, how can someone buy it?
Be brutally honest with your customer!
Make a full website with a functional buy button, but let the customer know you are still developing the product and give them an expected timeline of delivery.
Google Trends and the Google Keyword Planner are some of my favorite and most used tools in my toolkit. I am often using Google Trends to find keywords and topics that are up and coming and then pairing those topics with the keyword planner to see if there is room in the market to rank organically on search.
Google Trends Search Criteria
- Keyword must have above 1000 monthly searches
- Keyword costs low range must be less than $1.50
Feel free to play around with that and make it your own as there is no right or wrong way of doing it.
When you go through this exercise, you may uncover keywords that people may use to find your product that you didn’t even realize people would search.
Overall, you will need to put your hand out several times and hope someone grabs on the other side… with a wad of cash. Everyone has their own way of how to validate a product idea, and you can listen to Alan Donegan on Episode 58 of The Hobby Hustler Show who shares a bit more on validation.
You won’t get it on your first try, or your second try, but you may on your third. Do not get discouraged if you don’t get funding or positive feedback from the first person you talk to.
Remember, there is no science of validating your product. You may get a bunch of no’s and then your product succeeds. On the contrary, everyone may say yes to you, and then it doesn’t succeed.
Just get out there and keep moving the needle forward. Keep focusing on tasks that are going to move your business forward and that actually count towards what your goal is.
One last thing I will leave you with is to measure your risk versus reward. If you are trying to build the next electric car to compete against Tesla, it is probably in your best interest to do TONS of research before you dump millions into it. If you are trying to launch a $100 course, product, or anything of that nature, you don’t have much to lose other than time… so why not try?
Email me with your product ideas and I will give you non-bias feedback!