Starting a Business with no Money PART 3


Let’s continue building our no money required business.

We’re now focusing on working out what exactly out customers want.

Most business owners totally ignore this. Which is ultimately why most businesses eat the dust.

Instead we’re going to start learning about our market whilst getting paid to do so.

Let’s get started:

Earn immediately whilst validating


Earning While Validating

  • Engage in continuous small launches to generate immediate revenue and, more importantly, invaluable customer insights.
  • Utilize lean platforms like Gumroad for initial sales, avoiding distractions from non-essential infrastructure.
  • Reward early adopters with attractive pricing and free upgrades, continuously increasing prices with each iteration.

Once you have your basic idea locked in place go ahead and start.

You will never have the perfect idea when you start. Because a starting idea exists purely in your head – there’s no reference to the people who actually matter: your customers.

Like a tree falling in the woods where no one is there to hear your idea itself has no value without reference to your customers.

Only your market and the customers therein can actually judge whether your idea is good or not.

This means there’s no print polishing your beautiful business idea. There’s no additional value in more planning. That’s just procrastination.

Instead we need to get out into the market ASAP so that the market can tell us whether our idea is good or not.

This means launching before we are “ready”.

Thankfully it also means launching before we have the ability to spend lots of money! A fast launch means limited time and resources which helps saves us from our worse excesses of overspending.

The name of the game is instead to have lots of small mini launches.

Using each launch to both earn AND learn.

Launch before “ready”

The basic play is to build something called a minimum viability product MVP. Or in this case a service.

Let’s imagine your expertise is helping doctors reenter the workforce after maternity leave.

The general way people start a business is backwards.

They’ll think I need to help these people. Oh I know I’ll write and publish a book to get the word out. Or I’ll rent a space to provide coaching and counselling services. Or I’ll build an app that will help these doctors.

Too much. Too soon.

And too expensive.

We need to first confirm that there’s actually a market demand. And that requires getting into the market and helping people first.

A minimum viability version of the same value would be something like offering low cost one to one coaching to a local doctors’ WhatsApp group.

The cost to you is spending some time providing the sessions. And maybe some time prepping a one pager on what the sessions include.

That’s it. No additional cost. No additional time sunk.

And this is sufficient to see whether people actually want what you have to sell. Early on this information is more important than anything else.

That information validates the idea. Or, equally important, invalidates it. If no one is interested then maybe there’s no market. It’s much better to find this out before spending lots of money building an app or renting a space.

Let’s use a prompt to help work out our basic service offer. Use this below your work from the previous Part.

Act as a business strategist and service designer

Review my basic business plan

Structure a 30 minute to 1 hour session that encapsulates the value I provide, one on one for a client

Provide an example session breakdown

Provide a one pager description of the service

ChatGPT will create two assets for you.

The first is an example of what your service will look like:

The second is a one pager to help you get the word out. Here’s the beginning of my example one pager:

Get your first customers manually

Publicise your session details to any existing channels you have. Or even email prospective customers individually. You don’t need many to start.

Use a basic tool like Topmate or Calendly to take bookings. Keep it super simple and lean rather than investing time in building out an infrastructure.

Don’t worry about build complex lead generation systems or anything like that yet. All that comes later when we scale. Right now keep it manual.

The purpose of these sessions is not necessarily to make bank. It’s to learn.

But don’t do the sessions for free!

You can and should charge because that’s the only way you’ll get proper feedback. Free changes the dynamic and the information not get isn’t as valuable.

Getting paid is also important if it’s the first time you (as a new business owner) have made cash. That first dollar/pound is important psychologically – it makes it feel real.

Learning what our customers want

From your sessions what you are looking for is to start to pull together the common questions and challenges your customers have.

Guess what? There aren’t very many.

For the doctors returning to work for example you might discover it’s imposter syndrome, confidence and worries about falling behind on training.

For AI entrepreneurship I find it’s confidence, lack of an idea, believing money is needed and not knowing first steps.

Whatever your area of expertise as soon as you have talked to 10, 20, 30 customers you will see the same challenges appearing again and again.

This is the most vital part of the process. You need to note those challenges down as they’ll become the key to your digital products.

And you can do this whilst I) not spending money and ii) earning some cash from providing your basic service.

In the next Part we’ll take all these challenges and construct your full funnel.

Right now just get out there and collect information!

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