Episode 4: Re-Evaluating Product-Market Fit

Welcome back to The Nights & Weekends Podcast, where we’re working hard to bootstrap real, viable businesses.

This Week

Craig gives an update on PodcastMotor. He received a lot of really positive but non-committal feedback from potential customers for the core of the product offering. It’s just a matter of solving the right problem for the right group of customers, and PodcastMotor doesn’t yet compel customers to part with dollars.

In Ken’s update, he’s pretty convinced he needs to leave the HIPAA Guide concept in the rearview mirror and get working on the next thing — whatever that might be. Ken’s customers are less DIY than expected, and don’t often seek out online sources for this kind of knowledge, preferring instead to trust in high priced consultants.

It’s really looking like both businesses will get scrapped. Hey, let’s scrap two reasonable-sounding, but dead-on-arrival business ideas and start from scratch. Yay! Fun!

Craig’s next steps will be to pursue publishing Amazon Kindle books, while Ken’s next steps are less clear. Ken is going to give his HIPAA business another week of customer development before leaving it in the bin.

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4 thoughts on “Episode 4: Re-Evaluating Product-Market Fit

  1. Thanks for the mention of the Dark Art of Validation episode :)

    Good work on the podcast so far, look forward to hearing more.

    Also, get on Stitcher!

  2. Hi, I’m catching up with the podcast having heard about it through the Micropreneur Academy and things might have moved on in the weeks since this episode went live.

    You might find my comments a bit negative, I don’t mean them that way and I don’t mean to kick a pair of men when they’re down (as you both sounded in this episode), but please see it as constructive, that’s the way it’s meant. And sorry if I get your names mixed up, you don’t use them much in the episodes so I find it difficult to peg who is doing what:

    Ken – why do you think you’ve investigated the market and no one wants a HIPAA guide? Given you’re in a tight niche, but ones where people should have some money for such a guide, I would really see investigating it as writing 2-3 strong, in-depth blog posts on different parts of developing to HIPAA standards , putting a mailing list sign up on the page, and promoting the blog posts via social media and in answers to people’s questions about HIPAA compliant development. Then if you get no sign ups and no page views, then you know no one is interested.

    Not a huge number of people are going to want it, but they’re going to be willing to pay money, surely? (OK, that’s what you’re trying to find out.) I think talking to a few people who got past the blocks a while ago isn’t as useful as finding some people who are hitting the blocks _now_ and would like a guide _now_.

    I’ve bought ebooks on specific topics like Scaling PHP apps, even though I could have Googled all the information. I think you should investigate the market more deeply before you give up on the idea.

    Craig – why are you looking to move incumbents on to Podcast Motor? Inherently, they have a working process. OK, you might find some who hate their process enough to move, but you’re going to need to approach a lot of podcast owners to find them.

    Surely your market is people who want to start podcasting, but don’t have the time for or are scared off by the technical aspects? They’re a harder market to find, but a better fit for your product.

    On the ebook about buying and selling websites – as far as I remember from one of the earlier podcasts, you’ve never actually bought a website, just almost and it didn’t work out? That’s a serious barrier to you being able to sell me a book. I’d say the minimum level of bought and sold sites I’d want to see is five before I’m going to trust someone who says they know enough about buying websites to write a book on it. You don’t have to be Empire Flippers level of buying and selling, but you need to have done _some_.

    And on the idea of getting freelancers on Odesk to write books for you – please be aware that there has been plenty of that going on for the last 3-4 (at least) and there’s two things to think about:

    1. You need to back up a book release with some marketing, just publishing a book to the Kindle store doesn’t mean you’re going to make back your investment, unless you’re writing erotica, or you’ve done a lot of digging and found an underserved niche.

    2. Be careful when buying in writing. There have been cases of writers reselling the same content to multiple buyers, and Amazon stops the books being sold when their automated checks realise you’ve published a work that is mainly/all the same content as someone else.

    It’s not impossible for this approach to work, but you need to put work in to finding underserved niches and making sure the writing is solid, then work in to the cover, sales copy on the book page, keywords used to niche down the book within the Kindle store (you don’t see these on the Amazon page, it’s behind the scenes meta data you put in when you publish a book), then potentially some off-site marketing as well.

    Really, getting some content written around podcasting and using that as content marketing for Podcast Motor will probably be a better use of your money.

    Thanks to you both for the show, I’m enjoying it and I wish you all the best. Working properly on building up side income to replace your main income is damned hard work, especially when you’re a parent.

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