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AP 0919: What Are Your Thoughts on Creating a Minimum Viable Product?

AP 0919: What Are Your Thoughts on Creating a Minimum Viable Product?

By Pat Flynn on

AskPat 919 Episode Transcript

Pat Flynn: Hey, what’s up everybody? Pat Flynn here and welcome to Episode 919 of AskPat. Thank you so much for joining me today. As always, I’m here to help you by answering your online business questions five days a week.

We have a great question coming in today from Will, but before we get to that I want to thank today’s sponsor, which is FreshBooks. An awesome company, one of my favorites. Not only because they were one of the first sponsors of AskPat, but also because they’re really helpful. They’ve helped millions of small businesses manage our business finances, including my own. With keeping track of income, with automatically keeping track of expenses, making it easy come tax season. But also with invoicing. With invoicing specifically, you can send a professional looking invoice to a person you’re billing, or a company you’re billing in less than 30 seconds. You can track not only who’s paid you, but also who has even yet to open those invoices, which is really handy actually. It has come in very handy. If you want to check out FreshBooks for thirty days for free, just go to Make sure you enter, “Ask Pat” in the, “How did you hear about us?”section. All right, now here’s today’s question from Will.

Will: Hi, my name is Will Chou. I run a personal development blog at Quick question for you Pat—I’m at the stage where I have a decent sized email list, and I would like to know your thoughts on creating the first minimum viable product. I think this is a phase that I’ve been procrastinating with, and ultimately it’s partially because my audience is so broad. I’ve tried to keep it narrow, but I have failed to do so. What are your thoughts on really creating a minimum viable product? I service the personal development field, but I’ve been getting questions from anything from doing better with a student’s homework, to dealing with making friends when you’re a divorced single mother with children that are really old, and you’re disabled in your home. It’s really kind of all across the board, partially due to me talking about many topics. I appreciate you answering this, and I already have a AskPat teeshirt so feel free to pass it along.

Pat Flynn: Will, thank you so much for the question, I appreciate it and all of your support, and also for offering to give away a teeshirt. What I’m going to do is actually ask the listeners out there to comment in some way shape or form on this pos. Actually, that form would be on Twitter. If you use the hashtag #AskPat919, again that’s #AskPat919 within a couple weeks, I will select somebody at random and you will get the shirt that Will offered. Just leave a comment, and the best comment that you could offer would be your thoughts on creating a minimum viable product based on Will’s question there.

Let me give you my thoughts Will. First of all you have mentioned that you think you’re procrastinating, whereas I’m sure you know that you are, right? There’s a lot of reasons, and it’s not just because you have a broad audience, right? I think you are searching for excuses. I think the main excuse is just, you’re afraid. You’re not exactly sure what to do, therefore you’re not doing anything. Now that that’s aside, and now that I know that you’re going to take action in some way shape or form, I think that action should be, first of all, reaching out to your audience and actually asking them what of those different topics people want to learn more about. What are they more interested in? If you have an email list already, you can utilize that for it. You can run a survey if you’d like, although I’d recommend having conversations, or actually asking for replies from people so you can see what the most important topics are that you get replies from. Those are going to be your people who are likely going to want to take action with you in the future.

Then also, if you have a Facebook group, doing Facebook polls is an amazing way to do it. It doesn’t matter, you need to find out from your audience specifically, now that you’ve built it, what it is they’re interested in. Yes, you’re going to get a lot of stuff back. But what are those type things? Then from there you might want to combine, “Okay, well what is the top requested item, or top hot topic? What is the biggest pain within that topic?” But also, what is your passion? What is something that you feel like would be really, really interesting and exciting for you to actually help people solve? Those two things combined will help you find those things.

Now, I would definitely recommend checking out my book, Will It Fly? if you haven’t already. Will, since you’ve already gotten a teeshirt what I’m going to do is send you Will It Fly? My assistant, when they listen to this hopefully they’ll catch that. If not, reach out back to me if you haven’t heard from us, Will. We do want to send you something as a result of having your question here, and you’re asking a perfect question related to this validation idea. We’re going to send you a signed copy of Will It Fly? for that. We’ll get your address, or try to find it from the last time we sent something to you.

Anyway, the thing that you’re going to do in Will It Fly? is actually have conversations with people and test. You’re going to validate an idea, you’re trying . . . You could even pre-sell it, and create that minimum viable product. Something that you’ll know that isn’t just something people say they want, but it’s actually something they’re taking action, and transacting with you with as a vote of, “Yes, this is what we want.” That’s where I would start.

I’m not going to get into the details of how that’s done. I mean, typically it’s done through first understanding what topics you might want to talk about, selecting one that becomes the solution that you want to offer for those pains that you discover, and then actually seeing if you could pre-sell this thing. To do that you essentially need—if it’s a course, for example, that you’re offering—an outline. That’s all you need. Or maybe even just the first lesson to see if people are even interested in that. If not, or if you can even offer something like a PDF file download that’s sort of a big time overview, a birds-eye perspective on how to solve this particular problem, and then they can get deeper with you with a course if they choose to go deeper with you. If you can’t get people to download that PDF, for example, or that freebie, well then what’s going to make you think you’re going to get people to pay for something? See, this is how you kind of take this big idea and turn it into something small but actionable that’ll give you answers sooner. That’s the process essentially, in a nutshell, and I’m going to send you the book Will It Fly? so you can figure out more into the details of how to do that.

Anyway, thank you Will, I appreciate it. I think you should do it. I think you should have something that you should be working on. The biggest thing I wanted to hit on was this thought that was kind of breezed over a little bit like, “Oh yeah, I’m procrastinating.” You are procrastinating Will, and I don’t want you to do that no more. Hopefully the people who are here listening to this, and who are going to leave a comment using the hashtag #AskPat919, leave some words of encouragement to Will, leave your ideas, and also make sure—hold him accountable and make sure that he’s getting the work done. Will, you can get it done. You have an audience that seems to need you, right? You need to do this in order to serve people even better and even stronger.

You have that cure for that pain that they have, so make it happen. Will, thanks so much. We’ll reach out to you very soon for that book. For those of you who are listening, if you want a question featured here, you can win a shirt like Will did before. We’ll send that to you free of charge for having your question featured here. If you want to ask a question all you have to do is go to, just ask right there on that page. Then you’re all set.

Yeah, thank you guys, appreciate you. Here’s a quote to finish off the day by Alexandra Ripley. That is, “Should-haves solve nothing. It’s the next thing to happen that needs thinking about.” Okay, let me read that one again, “Should-haves” — like, oh, I should have done that — “Should-haves solve nothing. It’s the next thing to happen that needs thinking about.”

Cool. All right guys, take care. I’ll see you next week in the next episode of AskPat. Bye for now.

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