For reasons I won’t get deep into right now, I’ve decided that my latest business attempt, Angular on Rails doesn’t have enough potential and I want to start a new endeavor. Angular on Rails was my 7th product business attempt over the course of 9 years, so I’ve been at this for a while.
I’m having trouble thinking of an idea for my next product business. The common advice I hear is to “talk to business owners and find their problems”. That’s probably good advice except which business owners do I talk to? Business owners are hard to meet. And if I can go meet a business owner, it’s kinda weird to start asking them about their businesses problems. They’ll probably wonder what I’m trying to sell them.
It seems to me that what really works in most cases is that a) a person is lucky enough to have a client with a need that can be replicated for many businesses or b) a person has developed an audience over time that trusts them and so they can sell them a product relevant to the reason they’re being followed (e.g. Joel Spolsky with Fogbugz or 37signals with Basecamp).
As far as “A” above goes, I can’t force that to happen. None of the client engagements I’ve had in the past have lent themselves to a repeatable solution.
As far as “B” goes, I actually have developed a small audience around my book, and audience-building seems like a good way to go. But what I don’t want to do is just come up with some random audience-building topic and then spend months or years of effort building that audience without knowing how I’m ultimately going to monetize that audience.
Or maybe a “C” option works sometimes where somebody just brainstorms up a product idea and then it works. I don’t think I’ve really seen this happen, though.
Can anybody offer any advice?