This opinion post is a response to discussions by panelists at the Open Channel Generation Next Kids conference in Melbourne, Australia, on July 22-23, 2013. Panelists included Daniel Donahoo of Deeper Richer, Anna Komasz of the Australian Children's Television Foundation, and Mark Niems of Pulse Learning. It is based on the eLearning industry, specifically for children, but presents some food-for-thought for most entrepreneurs.
When it comes to money, I've heard many businessmen (and women) want to go with the safe and secure - whether in investments, subcontractors, producers or partnerships. I mean, who doesn't want to make the "right" decisions? However, in my opinion, this is a bit paradoxical because entrepreneurs are risk-takers by nature. We start and grow our businesses, knowing the 9 out of 10 times we fail.
While listening to the final session panelists at #gennextkids, on eLearning, Mark Niems (Pulse Learning) said:
Stop building before you've figured out if your product or service is going to sell or not.
This is certainly sound advice, and runs along the same lines as Noah Kagan of Appsumo, "Test the market before you build anything polished."
You can create "prototypes," but don't waste your time and energy if nobody cares about it.
Something even I have learned the hard way.
Now, there are certainly exceptions, like Youtube stars who posted videos they were passionate about then exploded in millions of views. Increasingly rare these days as more and more videos flood Youtube.
Also, money-wise, we don't know how much they make from the content alone. They may be paid to advertise for other companies, or be paid sponsor fees, but how sustainable is that?
Mark also talks about going to the market and confirming what they want, THEN doing exactly that.
However, is that always the best direction? If Henry Ford listened to what the market wanted, we wouldn't have had the Assembly Line or the revolution of automotives. If he asked the market what they wanted, they would've said faster horses. But, in the context of making money, I can see why Mark would say it's far easier to create something that people want, than taking risks and building something they don't want (immediately). This line of thinking also seems on par with something I read recently:
Make what YOU want your serious hobby. Make what OTHERS want your business. Click to tweet
Now, everybody wants to be able to get paid doing what they love - and it's certainly possible - but is it easier to give what others want before getting what you want? What are your thoughts? How have you followed, or run opposite, this sort of advice?