You don’t have to risk everything to startup your project or startup off the ground. Test-Drive it first.
Startup Topics: Test-Driving, Consulting, Crowd-Sourcing. become a Partner, Out-Source Yourself, Work On-Demand.
Having too many Startup ideas can actually stop you from taking action, because you feel you haven’t had sufficient time to research and verify which is the best one to pursue first. It will cost you too much to try to develop too many. You may develop an “analysis paralysis” – which ends up frustrating and pro-crastinating you on what your next steps should really be. This type of paralysis isn’t going to lead to success.
Test Driving. There are some relatively simple & inexpensive ways to Test Drive new startup ideas without wasting too much time. Unlike throwing money at multiple startup ideas, you can actually earn money while Test Driving your new ideas. Get started by determining: 1) which ideas use your talents the best & 2) have the best potential for a healthy financial return. Here are 5 ways you can Test Drive new startup ideas and earn at the same time.
1. Start Consulting. If you already have an existing client base or network, you can side-step starting from scratch on free-lance sites and start consulting instead. Consulting allows you to take a sneak peak into your dream career while validating your idea. For example, if you’re the aspiring startup founder of a new SaaS startup, you can consult for other SaaS companies in an area that needs your expertise. You’ll walk away with new insights, connections, & a realistic look at what it takes to dive in.
Easy-to-Start. Consulting also doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to get started. Don’t let the apparent complexity of starting a business distract you. There’s no need to spend thousands on your Online presence right out of the gate (or ever). Instead, just focus on what you need to deliver on your services today, like a refined offering, solid connections, & a plan of attack of your prospects – target market.
2. Crowd-Source It. Not every Test Drive requires Contracting or Consulting. Crowd-Sourcing is an effective – and potentially lucrative – way to test out your latest ideas in a relatively short period of time.
How? Take your prototype, design, or service idea to a platform like Kickstarter to gauge the market’s reaction. If people are pledging money and pre-ordering your offering, you know you’re onto something with good potential.
What’s the worse that could happen? Yours could be one of the thousands of projects raising anywhere from $1,000 to a $M dollars. And if your plan falls flat, the project doesn’t get funded, everyone gets their money back. Aside from the disappointment and maybe a damaged ego, you’re only out a little of your time. On the other hand, you could have just saved yourself thousands of your own investment dollars.
Loans. There’s another way to use Crowd-Sourcing that not enough people take advantage of. Use it as an investment tool to raise funds for your project through a site like LendingClub and make a return on offering small loans.
Get Real. You can try out an industry like commercial Real Estate investing by joining RealtyMogul. With as little as $5,000, budding investors can Crowd-Source commercial deals and learn more about the industry. Even if your startup idea takes a detour from commercial real estate investing, you’ll leave with an additional income stream that could yield a healthy return on your investment [ROI].
3. Become a Partner. It doesn’t have to take years of blood, sweat, & tears, living on crumbs, to become a Partner in a startup. Many start-ups eagerly recruit Founders by trading equity for their expertise.
Retainer. You can offer your services as a “silent partner” for a retainer [not the kind for your teeth – LoL]. You can make a “stable” Income Stream as a silent partner consulting on topics you love. You get to share ideas while exploring how startups work and come away with new insights & ideas.
Worse Case. If your Test Drive as a startup partner doesn’t pan out, you still walk away with some invaluable assets. You’ve potentially earned some money, broadened your professional network, added some impressive credentials to your resume, & have a new platform to use to pursue your startup dreams.
4. Out-Source Yourself. Anyone can get up and running as a “solo-preneur” by tapping into sites like Upwork or Freelancer. You can sign up and create a detailed profile in about 5 minutes.
Goals: Look for high-end gigs that aren’t competing against low-ball competition. That means charging a premium for your services to attract the right clientele, crafting professional bids, and going above & beyond with outstanding samples that fit the job you’re targeting.
Leveraging. Getting up & running + earning money is just the first step. Once you have a few glowing reviews under your belt, you can also leverage a site like Up Work to validate your startup idea.
5. Work On-Demand. A study from Freelancers Union & Elance-oDesk (now UpWork) found that an estimated 53 million people make up the Independent Contractor “1099 economy” of on-demand workers. Sites like Uber, Zirtual, & TaskRabbit offer an outlet for just about anybody to work when there’s a demand. Driving people to the airport all day may not fulfill your new startup ideas, but the On-demand platform can afford you freedom and another outlet to validate ideas.
Test-Drive opportunities. Entrepreneurs trying to conduct research and test out their ideas for a small startup can sign up for TaskRabbit to determine the demand. Working on-demand and having your hands directly in your dream startup can also tell you how to make important adjustments of your product or service for success or when to shift gears and try something new. Meanwhile, you’ve just put money in your pocket and are one step closer to going from a Test Driver to a Startup Owner.
Comments: What about you? How have you Test Driven new startup ideas while still making a living? Let me know by leaving a comment
from INC Zine 18 Oct 16 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz