Freelancing Series - 6 - Zero To One
Services aren't really that hard.
The vast majority of businesses out there, the majority of people in this world make their living off services.
Doctors, Lawyers, Accountants, Agencies, Researchers, ANY hourly work, it's just services. Trading skilled labor for money.
My dad is a psychologist, and a really good one. But he can only see so many patients in a day. And like him, our Shopify business will only ever build so many sites in a month. There's a ceiling there. Right now, my stack is all about skilled labor into $$. That's step 1 of the journey.
My evolution as an entrepreneur will next be creating consumer products that scale non-linearly with labor inputs. I could do B2B products but I find them intensely boring.
Thing is, I haven't gone "Zero To One" before. I learned of the phrase from Peter Thiel's book about creating disruptive startups, link here. There's such depth to creating a product - finding a unique painful problem, identifying a possible solution, validating the solution, building the solution, achieving distribution...it's a lot. Plus everyone wants to solve problems with software these days, and if you can't build software yourself, that's a recipe for hitting brick walls out of the gates. I'm just good enough to get myself in trouble at this stage.
What are the emotional hurdles to building a product? Something about it still daunts me. Is it being vulnerable in a new way, and saying here's something that I created, world - what do you think? Ehh...maybe. Services don't really bring that into the equation because the audience is so much smaller. The problems are also well defined by both sides - "I need a website", "I have a cough". Products both bring a problem and define a solution.
Perhaps it's the separation of the self and the model of the world I'll built that the product serves. In services, I sell myself. Me, Will McLellarn, I will bust my ass so you get what you want. In a product-based company, it's all down to the product. My audience won't care if I'm a nice guy or smart, they will judge it based on their experience alone. Am I afraid that the product won't deliver an amazing experience?
Or is it facing the end-game? The final boss, if you will. I've wanted to build consumer companies for as long as I can remember. If I built one, and it failed, would that stop me from trying again? No! Would it embarrass me? Maybe a little. I think that's it - the swing for the fences that whiffs is the true fear. Writing it down, I can already feel a twinge of anxiety at the idea of announcing on social that I've built XYZ product, and getting feedback. The invisible critic, that SOB, he's back.
As I write this, I'm working it out. Fear of failing, a constant theme for me. Blogging was once pretty scary but here I am, tapping away and I'll hit send as soon as I run out of things to say. Perhaps I can coin a new phrase for entrepreneurs to keep moving forward - one finger in front of the other! Haha, that's good.
Good news is, I'm excited to face that fear. I have an idea for a product, and I'm socializing it with close friends. I'm getting good responses. I'm looking for potential partners. I'll keep making progress. And sometime soon, we'll see what the world thinks.
Team Health & Team Wealth - signing off.