What is your problem?

What is your problem?

Do you remember the last time you did a repetitive task? Maybe you copy-pasted some text. Or maybe you pressed the reload button repeatedly on your favorite real estate website waiting for new offers.

You probably thought to yourself: Why isn't there an app for me to do this? And maybe you left it at that. But maybe, the entrepreneur in you ended up sketching an app. You talked with friends and family and you came up with an app that has Instagram stories and Tinder swiping features.

You set out to build it. It will take a couple of months — but, it's worth it. After working on it for a few months, you're so close to launch. Actually, it's attempt number 3 to launch since you delayed it twice due to must-have features that were not thought of originally. You're almost there. Time moves fast and slow at the same time. You launch. And... Nothing happens.

What did you expect? Did you expect to have flocks of users storming on your website? Did you think that one subreddit you're barely active on was going to up-vote you all the way to the top because of your months of hard work?

Did you feel like you were late to the party? — Entrepreneurs often have the feeling of coming late. This might be true. But then why didn't you release yesterday? Remember you're not trying to come up with the perfect product.

What was your problem? — Come back to the roots. How did it feel like when you first had that idea? What problem were you facing, or what problem did you hear about that wasn’t solved?

So next time maybe:

Don't fall in love with your idea — I know how it feels, I fell in love with my own terrible solution. A solution that solves my imaginary issues and that is still waiting for imaginary users. It doesn't mean you should not work on it. Ideas are often rooted in a problem you once experienced or heard about.

Focus on the problem — Many successful startup founders share a common trait: they are deeply familiar with the problem, rather than being in love with solutions. You first have to validate the problem: create a web page, ask people around you, and don't get fooled by your friends and family.

Don't spend too much time on making it perfect — Except if you're building rockets or engineering the vaccine for COVID-19, there's very little chance that your product requires any more than three months of development.

Coming back to the problem, just like coming back to your breath in meditation, must be practiced. And while it doesn't guarantee success by any means. It does help you focus on what matters. Focusing on the solution might help you get funding in some cases. But is this the path you want to follow?

In the end, it all comes down to how you want to spend your time.