Before we dive in, a recommendation (not an ad).
Now on to today's framework.
💡 The idea
- How do you know even before the launch if people will want your product? Look at products customers already pay for!
- Unless you're a big company or have tons of VC funding, you can't afford to educate the market about your category-defining ingenious solution.
- There should be evidence that people are already spending money on the kind of solution you have in mind.
- Existing solutions are a form of validation, and a great starting point.
- Once you understand the customer group and what they spend money on, you can apply different lenses to find concrete business ideas.
What would a given solution need to look like to justify 10x the current price? Is there room for a cheaper/simpler/privacy-first/open source alternative?
- Productivity (Notion, Readwise, Google Docs, Airtable, Calendly, etc.)
- Email marketing (MailChimp, ConvertKit, etc.)
- Website hosting (WPengine, Ghost, etc.)
- Podcast recording, hosting, editing (Riverside.fm, Descript, Transistor, Anchor, etc.)
- Project hosting (Heroku, Vercel, GitHub, Digital Ocean, Linode, etc.)
- Social media marketing (Buffer, Hypefury, Ilo, etc.)
- Freelancers (Upwork, Fiverr, Onlinejobs.ph, etc.)
- Payments (Gumroad, Stripe, Chargebee, etc.)
- Hardware (laptop, webcam, microphone, etc.)
📺 YouTube Creators
- Payments (Paddle, Stripe, Patreon, PayPal, FastSpring, etc.)
- Accounting (Quaderno, Xero, etc.)
- Hardware (computer, camera, microphone, lightning, etc.)
- Media editing and streaming (Figma, Loom, Adobe Creative Cloud, Ecamm, Descript, Otter.ai, Riverside.fm, Subly, etc.)
- Stock music, photos, and videos (Freepik, Epidemic Sound, Alamy, etc.)
- Productivity (Frame.io, Airtable, Calendly, Google Workspace, etc.)
- Social media marketing (Buffer, Hypefury, etc.)
- Email marketing (MailChimp, ConvertKit, etc.)
- Data (vidIQ, ahrefs, etc.)
- Community software (Podia, Circle, etc.)
- Automations (IFTTT, Geniuslink, Short.io, etc.)
- Freelancers (Upwork, Fiverr, etc.)
💻 SaaS Businesses
For small SaaS businesses:
- Hosting (Digital Ocean, AWS, Heroku, WPengine, Flywheel, etc.)
- Email marketing (MailChimp, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, etc.)
- Social marketing (Hootsuite, Buffer, Transistor, etc.)
- Messaging (Intercom, Gmail, Superhuman, etc.)
- Office tools (Slack, Basecamp, Google Workspace, Excel, Calendar, etc.)
- Finance (WaveApps, Baremetrics, Quickbooks, Bench, etc.)
- Payments and Taxes (Stripe, PayPal, Square, Quaderno, etc.)
Additionally, for bigger SaaS businesses:
- Customer support (Zendesk, Freshdesk, etc.)
- Analytics (Mixpanel, Hotjar, Google Analytics, etc.)
- Sales CRM (Salesforce, Pipedrive, etc.)
- A/B Testing (Google Optimize, Optimizely, etc.)
- User testing / feedback tools (Hotjar, UserTesting.com, etc.)
- PPC Services (Google Adwords, Bing Ads, etc.)
💵 Money Twitter Hustlers
- Payments (Gumroad, etc.)
- Social marketing (Hypefury, etc.)
- Email marketing (Active Campaign, ConvertKit etc.)
- Landing pages (Carrd, etc.)
- Community software (Discord, Circle, etc.)
💼 Ecommerce Businesses
- Hosting (Shopify, etc.)
- Email marketing services (Mailchimp, AWeber, etc.)
- Payments providers (Stripe, PayPal, Square, etc.)
- Marketing automation tools (Hubspot, Marketo, etc.)
- Social media tools (Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.)
- Analytics tools (Google Analytics, KISSmetrics, etc.)
- Content marketing tools (Wordpress, Squarespace, etc.)
- Accounting tools (Quickbooks, etc.)
- Fulfillment tools (Shipwire, Shopify Shipping, Stamps.com etc.)
- Customer service and support software (Zendesk, etc.)
- Design tools (Canva, Unsplash, etc.)
- Data and deal flow (Pitchbook, Crunchbase, AngelList, etc.)
- Productivity (Notion, Superhuman, etc.)
- Leads (Hunter,io, Mattermark, Clearbit, etc.)
- Communication (Slack, Zoom, etc.)
- Collaboration (Dropbox, Google Workspace, etc.)
- Financial (Quickbooks, Xero, etc.)
- Legal (Docsend, Clio, HelloSign, etc.)
- Conferences (SXSW, TechCrunch, etc.)
- Consolidate. Users are increasingly frustrated by the fragmentation in software delivery. Hence there's opportunity for consolidation.
A great example of what this can look like is Gumroad. They currently bundle 1.) payments 2.) accounting 3.) email marketing 4.) landing page hosting. Even though they don't offer a world-class solution in any of these areas, their solutions are good enough and the product is loved by thousands of creators.
- Bundle. Pick a specific customer group, create a list like the ones above, then reach out to the most popular companies to create a tailor-made bundle that you can offer at a discounted price.
For example, a solopreneur bundle that includes, say, Ghost, Descript, Transistor, ConvertKit, and Hypefury at a reasonable price would become a huge hit.
- Build plugins that turns products into features.
One idea mentioned in an earlier report that fits this category is a "DocSend competitor powered by the new Notion API". Another example is Potion which allows users to build websites in Notion and hence allows them to get rid of external services like Ghost. What about podcast hosting straight from Notion?
But it also would be possible to turn things around and integrate additional services into, say, Ghost. For example, what about a Ghost plugin that allows more refined email marketing à la ConvertKit?
You can find lots of opportunities like this by drawing arrows into the lists above.
- Make a list of all services and products you spent money on during the past two months.
- Go through all the paid apps you have on your phone and ask yourself for each one: What would it need to offer so that I'd be willing to pay 10x the current price?
- Apps That I Use To Run My Businesses by Ian Grabill
- Tools and Services I Use to Run My SaaS by Jake Lazaroff
- What do insanely wealthy people buy, that ordinary people know nothing about? - discussion on Reddit
- Running in Production podcast.
- How Much Money I Spend Each Month as a YouTuber by Ali Abdaal