One thing that becomes so apparent when trying to make your way to some kind of living on your own steam is just how testing and hard it really can be.
The Internet is full of success stories of people making an overnight success and very few reveal just how difficult it is. For me and I suppose for many others, the biggest challenge is developing patience. It is far too easy to run before walking and this is largely fuelled by the panic state that can set in if you don’t manage to make any marked progress in what you feel is a reasonable period of time. This only gets worse with deviations in direction due to hitting a dead end with the current path.
I think the lack of patience is only made worse because of our expectations being distorted by technology. Basically we are becoming accustomed to instant gratification in so many things we do that significant time investment to achieve or reach the reward seems intolerable. There are times when just because an impending task can’t be completed in a matter of minutes or an hour at most. It is all to easy to shy away from prospect and look for something else which is seemingly achievable in a shorter timescale.
I know Rome wasn’t built in a day and I do believe this basically means the key here is persistence and patience. The problem with this is we just need some validity that the current course of action is not a total waste of time.
The modern answer to short-circuiting the validity period is the minimum viable product (MVP). The basic concept of an MVP is to develop a product and deploy it with the minimum functionality to deem the product viable. Once word gets around and it is hopefully utilised or shared by early adopters, then subsequent functionality is often driven by the pioneering users and so the offering can grow in an organic, streamline fashion.
Sometimes an MVP approach can be used to simply host a ‘squeeze’ page. This is normally an attractive single page website which gathers emails of people interested in the potential service you are planning to launch. This list gathering can provide the numbers you need to verify there is a need for the product before proceeding with any development.
The beauty of the MVP approach is that time and effort is greatly reduced and comes close to satisfying our default state of instant gratification rather than months of effort before any results. The hard part is that MVP contradicts everything we have learnt about the conventional path of development and launching a product.
I know from the limited time and resource I have to achieve success the MVP approach is worth a try. It proved valuable in my first project when I embarked on this journey of entrepreneurship.
The trick with MVP is getting the balance right of showing enough glitter to gain interest but not having to put flesh on the bones too early.