Startup 1: Week 1  – Idea Selection

Startup 1: What I’m building in 4 weeks

Name: JFDI Ninja

Quick Pitch: Pay per task virtual assistant, 24hr or less

The problem (marketing-speak)

You are busy. Really busy. And when you’re not busy, it’s not like you want to do chores. They’re a pain and you need a little ‘me’ time. So that doctor’s appointment that you should go to never gets scheduled and that oil change waits another month. I mean, you have to live life, right?

The solution (marketing-speak)

Get rid of all your chores that never seem to leave your to do list! $2/task buys you mental freedom. Mental freedom’s priceless — but it’s $2. Schedule doctors appointments, book reservations, find that perfect date spot or research who’s in your next meeting. Post to your to-do (or entire task) list and get it done within 24 hours. No setup, no subscription, no bullshit.

Market validation

There is already demand for this service. TaskRabbit, Odesk, Fiverr and many different virtual assistant (VA) services. The biggest reason more people don’t use these VA services is that delegation is tough. Even more annoying, you typically have to pre-buy time with virtual assistants. My hypothesis is that by making it super easy to delegate tasks, more people will clean up their to-do lists.

Competition and their flaws

  • Fiverr: Predefined tasks, slow turn times, not good for personal life/VA work
  • Odesk: Hiring is a pain; all hourly
  • VA Services (YourManInIndia etc): Prepay hours, slow setup
  • TaskRabbit: Expensive, primarily in person tasks

Metrics & goals

I’m absolutely floored with the response I’ve gotten. I’ve had almost 3,000 views, 16 people emailing me with questions and 20+ offers from various people to help out. While I planned on doing 4 Weeks to Launch even if no one cared, it’s all the more exciting (and nerve-wracking!) to have so many people watching. I’m humbled. Thank you all for the support. I hope I can provide some insight and motivation in building businesses. To see all my metrics, view my Key Metrics spreadsheet here.

This week’s plan/goals

The goal of week 1 is to get at least 1 paying customer by the end of week. If we can do that we prove that someone is willing to pay for the product.

From: Post #1: Four Weeks to Launch

I’ve gone a little more in-depth to map out what my goals are for this week. You can see my full breakdown in my Monthly, Weekly, Daily Goals spreadsheet here. Feel free to comment with questions. I’ll revise the spreadsheet as I go.

This month’s plan/goals

4 Weeks to Launch’s goal is to have passive income. That means by the end of Week 4 I aim to have $33 / day in revenue, with 0 hours needed to run the business. That’s a pretty ludicrous goal! If I get there I will be absolutely thrilled. If I don’t, screw it — let’s keep going.

Let’s talk idea selection

What’s the value of an idea?

Idea value is a tricky thing. People tend to be extremely guarded about their ideas — gotta protect the next “billion dollar idea”…cough cough…

The problem with guarding ideas is that they are worthless on their own. An idea only creates real value when you execute it — and execute it well.

4 Weeks to Launch aims to put ideas out there

I’m not fixating on any single idea. I love ideas. They’re cheap, malleable, and relatively unimportant on their own. What matters is execution: with work, grit, tears — even seeming failure — they all have the potential to become something epic.

I’m focusing efforts on the system of building startups instead of a single idea.

The first, second, third startups are only a byproduct of a good system.Again, execution is everything! I highly recommend reading ‘multiply’ by Derek Sivers, for more on this (2 min read).

How unique am I? Wrong question.

Execution does. If 50 people have the same exact idea, the one with the best execution wins by a landslide.

Uber vs Lyft vs Sidecar

Slack vs Hipchat

Facebook vs Myspace

They’re all almost identical products. One company executed better. Simple as that.

That being said, good ideas help. Especially further down the road. My idea selection focuses on simplicity, ideally meeting all of the following criteria:

1. Clear user, value, story / simple product

Because I’m building a new startup every month, I want to make sure that I pick products that are simple. This means that my product should serve a single purpose. Not a lot of frills, extras or complex features. User wants X, website does X — and nothing else. This will focus my efforts to build a quality product.

2. Software as a Service (SASS)

Software as a service is just that — sell software (a website, app, desktop app) as a subscription or service. Build it once, sell it to multiple users over and over and over, typically as a subscription. This business model lends it self to passive income since it’s upfront investment for potentially limitless return.

3. Web Based

There are tons of different mediums for building businesses these days: brick n mortar, web, mobile, social platforms, voice (Alexa), VR/AR… Web is still king, however, so that’s where I’ll focus my efforts. Fewest barriers to entry. High traffic.

How can you help?

Is startup #1 is solving a problem for you? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment or ❤️, upvoting somewhere on the interwebs (Hacker News, reddit) or emailing me at elijahmurray@gmail.com.

P.S. Anyone have ideas for a company name?

One response to “Startup 1: Week 1  – Idea Selection”

  1. Ryan Thorpe says:

    Dear Elijah

    Great project you have going on here, as a young budding entrepreneur, I am excited about what there is to learn about your process and if any help is required, I’d love to learn.

    Keep going!
    Ryan