Check out a free preview of the full Guide for Launching Your Next Big Idea course

The "Introduction" Lesson is part of the full, Guide for Launching Your Next Big Idea course featured in this preview video. Here's what you'd learn in this lesson:

Paul Boag begins the course by describing his experience helping small, medium, and large clients with conversion optimization and marketing. He also explains the common reasons why Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps fail.


Transcript from the "Introduction" Lesson

>> Hello and welcome to this course on creating your big idea and ensuring it has its best chance of success. You've had a big idea for a digital service or maybe an e-commerce site or an app you wanna build. How do you give it the best chance of getting successful and achieving what you want, and that's what we're going to be looking at.

But before we get into that, I just want to very briefly introduce myself, so my name is Paul Boag, I've been working in the industry for 30 years, I know I don't look that old, but just trust me, I have been and I've been mainly focusing, On user experience design.

But I do a lot of work at that kind of crossroads between user experience design and marketing as well, which is gonna be very relevant as we get into this more today. I've got extensive experience in conversion optimization and the kind of marketing adjacent skills that go along Beside that, and I've helped dozens or dozens, hundreds of clients in dozens of sectors.

But I've worked with a lot of SaSS applications in both B2C and B2B, and my clients kind of range from the big, impressive ones that you're always supposed to say things like this. The Pumas of this world, the Shopifys, the UK Government, all that kind of stuff, all the way down to smaller startups as well, and to be honest, I enjoy them just as much.

But there is one thing above all else that you need to know about me today. This is crucial for the rest of this, I'm a grumpy old man, I am a cynic. The longer I've done this, the more grumpy I've got over the years, and you've also got to remember that I lived through the dot com bubble.

So I'm completely cynical about any kind of start up idea or any kind of what we're going to get Venture capital and we're gonna take over the world and anything like that, I am just grumpy. And one of the areas that I'm most grumpy about is the idea of passive income, right?

I'm media. Do you notice how positive this workshop is gonna be today? So I'm really grumpy about the whole idea of passive income, that there is some magic solution where you can build an app or a digital service or drop shipping or any of that kind of stuff.

And suddenly money's just gonna spontaneously appear. Now I don't wanna speak on behalf of Mark that founded Front end masters but I'm pretty confident from what I've seen that he's not sitting on a beach the whole time with money just pouring in and he's kind of slowly sinking under this pile of money.

He actually does do stuff. I don't know whether his employees would agree, but he's sitting here, so that's gotta be something.
>> I'm not on a beach, unfortunately.
>> You're not on a beach. Definitely not on a beach. And so the truth is, that this idea of passive income is a little bit misleading.

Now, it's not to say there are benefits to building your own app and your own SaaS service or whatever. But the truth is it's a lot more complicated than money's just gonna flow in while I'm being grumpy, right? I will get more positive in a minute, I promise.

While I'm being grumpy, it's worth saying that 90% of startups fail, right? And that's just the ones that we know about. Let alone all of the thousands and thousands of ideas that a freelancer has or a small agency has about how to launch an app or an idea.

So there's an incredibly high failure rate. Can you tell that before now I've tried to build something and it's failed horribly? And I think I'm not alone in that and oftentimes with these courses, it's like we're gonna get somebody who's been wildly successful to talk about this kind of thing.

But if you think about it, they've got lucky. Yeah, sure, they might have done some things right. But you learn so much from failures as well, and the mistakes that you've made. So actually, as I've worked with clients and some clients I've helped to really succeed. Others, I've tried to help and we failed.

Sometimes I've built something myself that's failed. Sometimes I've built something myself that's succeeded. And there's so much to learn through those experiences. And over the years I've kind of began to build up a bit of a picture of why people's startups, why their big ideas, fail to be successful.

And I would say, I mean there's obviously lots of different reasons, but there are kind of three that really stand out to me. That were gonna be explaining Exploring in a lot more detail today. One, is they don't really solve a real problem, okay? Many SaaS startups struggle because they fail to solve a meaningful problem for a big enough audience, right?

It may make sense to you, it may solve a problem that you have. But it doesn't mean it solves a meaningful problem for big enough group of people. So that's one aspect of it. The second reason that most SaaS apps fail is poor marketing, that having a robust strategy for acquiring and retaining customers It is essential, right?

You can have the best idea in the world, but it doesn't mean that you're gonna be successful. This whole idea of, what is it, the cream rises to the top is BS, right? Who is the world's most famous Scientist? You'll probably think of Einstein, you'll probably think of Stephen Hawkins, people like that.

But there are many other scientists who have achieved, maybe not as much as Einstein, that's probably a bad example, but have certainly achieved as much as Stephen Hawkins, you've never heard of. So the reason you've heard of those two over others isn't just because they're the best in the field, although they are.

It's not just because they're incredibly bright, although they are. It's because they're out there. And it's the same with a product. Just because you create a great product doesn't mean anybody's gonna care or buy it. And then the third reason is there's no real differentiation, okay? So one of the reasons that the big ideas often come about Is because we see another product and we go, it doesn't work quite the way I want it to, right?

And so we create our own version of it or start thinking about our own version of it. But that might not be enough to clearly differentiate it in the marketplace. That might not be a benefit that somebody else can clearly understand in the same way. So there you go, that's me done.

Thanks very much for coming, I hope that left you with a clearer idea that you're wasting your time working on your big idea. No, of course not. It is absolutely worth it. There are a lot of reasons why you might be having this going around in your head this app or this digital service or whatever that you you think you want to go.

Create, and there are benefits that can come from it. Many people want to create a digital service or a SAS app because they want to escape the nine to five, you know, they want to leave their corporate job. And this is one way you could do that and that's a perfectly valid reason for wanting to build your own digital service.

Second is you might just be sick of your boss or sick of working with clients. I know a lot of agencies or freelancers are just sick of dealing with other people's problems and ideas, and they wanna shape their own thing. And you can absolutely do that Creating your own digital service, although don't get into your head that you're not going to have a boss or that you're not going to have clients, because every one of your customers becomes the equivalent of that.

And so you swap basically one boss or a small number of clients with particular, potentially hundreds of customers that have all got their opinions and all got different things they want to build. Now that said, it's still very different experience to having a boss or having a client's and it is a valid reason for escaping that kind of cycle.

Another reason that a lot of people want to create a SaaS app is to escape that hourly ceiling, right? They feel that their income is capped by the number of hours they can work. And a SaaS business changes that dynamic and allows you to earn more for the time that you put in.

And that, again, is absolutely true, it can do that and that is hugely liberating you know I'm most of the work that I do is capped by how much I can charge an hour because I'm primarily a consultant. That's my primary income stream and talking of that a SaaS app can be In an alternative revenue stream, it's an opportunity to maybe supplement your existing income, whether that be your nine to five job or whether it be your as a contractor or a freelancer or an agency owner.

It can be really useful and helpful to have additional regular income that comes in. So it is absolutely worth doing and success is absolutely possible. And I've seen people with no venture capital behind them and lots of experience behind them, make a very good go of this. And so, there is no reason why you can't follow this and pursue it, but you have to go into it with your eyes open and aware of what's involved.

So success is possible, but only with careful planning and avoiding being impulsive in it and just going, I'm gonna start building something, right? Now that said, there are exceptions, right? Because there can be many reasons for wanting to build a your own app, for example, or your own SaaS service, okay?

And some of those reasons, you don't need to be all grown up about it, right? Some of those reasons, you don't need to treat it like a business. You might be doing it just for fun, right? Secondly, it might be you just wanna learn something. When you do some of these courses on Friend and Masters, there's amazing things that you can learn.

And you wanna apply that to something tangible and practical and so you decide to build your own thing, and that's great. And you don't need some strategy or marketing plan for that either. You might be doing it just to help out to help some local community organization or a person or something else.

But beyond that, if you want to turn it into a business, if you want it to become a real thing, then we need to treat it like a business from the start. And that is what we're exploring in this session today. So let's run through the agenda of what we're going to look at.

We are gonna look at four things today. First of all, we're gonna look at reviewing the market. So all of this is gonna happen before we start coding anything, okay? Because I know that a lot of the people watching this are gonna be developers and your skill lies in development, okay?

The building the app is the easy bit to you, it would be very hard to me, [LAUGH] and it would crash and burn horribly. But in your case that is gonna be the easiest bet. But nevertheless, it's time consuming, you could pump in hundreds of hours into building something and then it to fail horribly.

All that we're gonna be talking about in this is kind of validating the idea before we start investing a lot of our time and energy into it unless of course, you're just doing it for fun in which case knock yourself out. Number one, we're gonna review the market.

We're gonna see what else is going on, see what other people are doing and be really honest with ourselves about whether there is a legitimate gap in that market for us and what we wanna do. Number two, we're gonna understand our audience who we think this app is gonna appeal to, and what they're really needing and wanting.

I know that a lot of people build their first app to meet their own needs or needs they have, okay. And we're encouraged to do that. So build for what you know, build for your own problems, and that's great. But is there enough people just like you with exactly your problems?

And do you actually know that or are you just guessing about it? So we need to understand our audience a little bit. We also need to define what we're gonna build first, what's our starting point? And how are we going to kind of imagine that before we just throw ourselves headlong into code and then finally, and probably most importantly of everything we're gonna look at today, we're gonna run a test marketing campaign to find out whether people really will buy this thing.

Because if you go to your friends and family at least, unless you have really horrible friends and family. And you say to them, I've had this idea for an app. I want an app that does x, what do you think? And they're gonna go, yeah, that's brilliant, you go for it.

And then you go, would you pay for that? Yeah, of course, I would. They're lying to you, right? They're lying to you because they love you and they like you. And even if you run a bit of a survey, right, if I said to you, do you want a nice new fancy shiny thing?

You go, yeah, I do want a nice new shiny fancy thing. But when I say, will you pay for that? Yeah, I'll probably pay for that. And then I say, can you give give me the money now, No, I won't do that now, right? So there is a big difference between what people say and what they'll actually do and we need to get to the heart of that, all right?

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