Let me give you the moral of the story up front. If you have developed a product or service and you are hesitant about whether or not to bring it to market yet… Bring it to market TODAY. Not tomorrow. Not next week. TODAY. Let me tell you why…
Yesterday, I was catching up on some articles from the NY times that I hadn’t had a chance to read this past week. I came across an article that hit me like a punch in the face (yes, I have been punched in the face). Before I get into the article and what it said, let me give you a bit of the back-story.
Back-Story Part 1
About six years ago, I started working on a project in my spare time, which was basically any time I was not at the office of my clothing company, on the streets filming my documentary on the homeless , spending time on my foundation, or sleeping. My point is, it was very hard to fit into from a time standpoint, but I was so passionate about it that I did it. After nearly a year and a half it was all done. All I had to do was shop it.
I decided, however, to shelf it for a few weeks, as I was a bit busy at the time with some other projects, so I figured I would try to take it to market after I was finished with what I was working on. Then something else came up… then something else… then something else. It didn’t really bother me that much, although it has been in the back of my mind nearly every day since, as it is a project that is very near and dear to my heart… kind of a labor of love. Gary and I talk about it at least once a week.
So, when I read this article, I threw the paper across the room in aggravation, put my feet up on my desk and stood there frozen solid just shaking my head… and I developed a pit in my stomach that I still have this morning…
Back to the article in a minute, as I have to give you a little more back-story…
In all fairness, and to give myself a little credit that I am not a complete screw-up, I must say, that I had a reason that it was not being shopped. Being a literary project, the project is something that I needed my literary agent to handle, and unfortunately, he got sick (cancer) and, now, four years later, very sadly he has since passed. I was actually waiting for him to get better to shop this project as he had gotten better, then worse, then better, then again worse, until he finally reached a point in which I knew he would no longer get better.
So here I was, gearing up to take this project to a new literary agent… Gary and I actually put it on the calendar for May 1 to begin shopping.
Back to the article….
OK, so I read the article and, basically, in a nutshell, the article was about a project coming out in the entertainment industry that, though quite different in many ways, happens to overlap enough with the content of my project that I will most likely have to shelf my project at least a few more years until this project runs its course.
Basically, I am steaming mad… at myself. Beyond aggravated. I screwed up. I am typically fine with screwing up as that is how I learn but, like I said, this was a real labor of love… and I blew it. At least for now.
So what advice can I give YOU?
Whatever you have completed today… put in front of someone TODAY. Not tomorrow, but TODAY. I rarely get so thrown off my game as I am now. I will get over it but it really really really sucks. I make it a point to try to teach people about what I have learned from my business mistakes , so pay attention cause I have learned a really really big one TODAY.
If you have something that you are really passionate about I suggest you act on it. TODAY. Eric Ries wrote a book called The Lean Startup which every nearly every respected entrepreneur that I know of has recommended reading. The principle here is the same. If you can bring a product or service to market that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg to get off the ground and you can bootstrap it to test its viability, then do it. TODAY. Don’t wait… cause if you do you just might find yourself one day an extremely aggravated, frustrated person frozen solid at his or her desk shaking your head with a pit in your stomach that feels like it is the size of a watermelon.
The truth is, I knew I was going to get to it, I just didn’t know when, however when you take money and business away and talk about passion, this project was one of, if not the highest on my list. Sure I had an excuse because my agent was sick. I have to think though, was that really a legitimate reason? To be honest, I am not quite sure. I didn’t want to ever leave my agent and have someone shop my projects while he was sick as I felt that would not be loyal and I like to think of myself as a loyal person. So, like I said, I am not sure. What I am sure of, however is that it did nobody any good just sitting there collecting dust allowing someone else to come out with an idea similar enough to kill it for another four years…
So what about you? Have you been putting something off that you can put out today to test its viability?