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How Do You Come Up With Your Business (or Product) Ideas?

by Taewoo Kim on May 29, 2013 · 27 comments

Sawadee Khrab!

Yes, I am in the sunny country of Thailand still.

Insanely hot weather, even hotter (spicy) foods, and even sexier women:

Something about being in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language and pretty much have no idea what’s going on 90% of the time makes you… clear minded.

In fact, I think I got burned out from my entrepreneurial activities the past couple of years.

At times, I felt like my insanely active mind and constant non-stop thoughts was driving me literally insane.

In a sense, I came to Thailand to do my own “eat, pray, love” thing.

My first experience as a foreigner at a 7 day intensive meditation training at a Thai buddhist temple (Wat Mahahtat near Grand Palace) was quite an experience.

Here’s the schedule

4:00 AM – Get up
4:30 AM – Dharma talk
5:30 AM – Vipasana (walking meditation)
6:15 AM – Samatha (concentration meditation)
7:00 AM – Breakfast & personal break
9:00 AM – Dharma talk
10:00 AM – Vipasana
10:45 AM – Samatha
11:30 AM – Lunch & personal break
1:00 PM – Dharma talk
2:30 PM – Vipasana
3:15 PM – Samatha
4:00 PM – Personal / Beverage break (NO DINNER)
5:30 PM – Dharma talk
7:00 PM – Vipasana
7:45 PM – Samatha
8:30 PM – Samatha continues / personal guidance time with a monk
9:30 PM – Bed time

Sound rigorous? I forgot to mention

1. NO cell phone, no internet, no TV, no radio… AND NO talking to anyone during the ENTIRE week
2. No (or at least minimize) looking at others as visual is the most distracting of all 5 senses. (They recommend that you look down when you walk.)
3. You have to meditate while you walk – even if it’s to the bathroom (i.e. walk insanely slow as in taking 1 step every 10-12 seconds) and yes, meditate while you POOP
4. You get only TWO meals, and they’re vegetarian meals. Rice, veggies, and tofu.
5. You share a hostel/dorm like sleeping quarter with 20-30 other people.

6. There’s NO freakin’ toilet paper! (yes, your imagination on how you clean your butt after you poop)

Yes, it’s hard. VERY hard.

As entrepreneurs, we are constantly thinking and our minds are constantly firing with thoughts, ideas, and of course, judgments. But of course, that’s where we also learn to criticize and be negative, especially towards ourselves. (And that’s what meditation is for.. to learn to control your mind instead of your mind controlling you.)

Here’s a condensed version of what happened:

Day 1: “Ok, hard but i can take it. Day 1 complete. YES!”
Day 2: “Oh shit, wtf is this… why are people chanting? did i voluntarily check myself into a nut hospital? Ok, this is not for me.”

I’m no quitter, but come on.. people dressed in white, chanting in one voice, walking slightly faster than a turtle.. this is some cultic shit. I don’t even speak their LANGUAGE!

So i packed my stuff, headed down to the door, and was ready to leave.

That’s when a Thai volunteer named Manit (he’s actually a Thai American, retired professor from Ohio, who happened to be visiting Thailand for vacation) persuaded me that I should stay.

His argument? “You spend thousands on a plane ticket to fly half way around the world to come to a country where you don’t speak the language…… just to quit on day 3 on meditation. Think about it. Your attitude here is a reflection of your attitude in life.”

I thought.. ‘well, he does have a point.’ So I said.. screw it, let’s give it another go.

Result?

Day 3: “FOCK!!!! I hate this mother f’ing place. Why did I let him convince that I should stay? I f’ing hate that guy. I f’ing hate Ohio!”

(NO offense to Ohio-ans).

I seriously was in a murderous rampage (mentally) for a good 10-15 minutes.

Then this dharma / nirvana thing hit me when I meditated.

That night, i felt this insane sense of peace.

Like my mind was this undisturbed lake in the middle of a nowhere forest.

(Insert some Karate Kid / “Daniel-San” / ‘wax on – wax off’ joke here.)

For the next 3 days, I felt like my mind (for the first time in my life) was actually not talking to me.

So I stayed.

Result? Pure awesomeness.

Can’t quite explain. It’s kinda like when you orgasm and you feel that sense of peace for 2-3 seconds when nothing seems to matter… except it lasts quite longer.

 

Now, part of why I did this was because I felt like I was lacking inspiration and bit of a drive. I do sales lead generation for solar companies, but that’s more of a job kind of thing since it’s really a service business.

So I felt I needed to scale my entrepreneurial endeavours by creating a product or at least more scaleable service.

And that’s when some business / product ideas hit me… and I’d like you guys to give me a feedback on what you think

 

1) Portable A/C room for southeast asia

Problem: There are lots of countries near the equator where temperatures are routinely 35 degree celsius (95 degree Fahrenheit) with 80% humidity on daily basis. It is HOT AS HELL here in Thailand. There are people working and standing outside who would love to be cooled and would be willing to pay a couple of dollars for that pleasure.

Solution: Portable A/C

My first idea was to create a spacesuit kinda thing where you JACK the A/C air into the suit

Let whoever’s feeling hot step inside it. Make money by the minute. Great idea, no?

But this seemed unrealistic. Where would i get power? Would people get in a suit worn by other sweaty people? (Seriously would you mind if you saw some someone else’s sweaty crotch grease in the suit?

Then another, more plausible variation.. portable A/C room… but apparently someone else came up with it and it seems like commercial viability has already been tested but yet we don’t see much of this. So maybe not the greatest idea.

 

Idea viability: ?
Idea scaleability: High (sell the units, rent the units, franchise, etc.)
Idea capital investment: Medium
Market size: Huge. I think.
Idea passion: So-so.
Idea craziness: High.

2) MarketPlace for international student care providers and host families needing home care

Problem: Home care in more developed countries like US, UK, Canada, Japan is HIGH.. as in thousands of dollars a month. AND… there are hundreds of thousands international students in these countries who need temporary jobs and accomodations that are willing to work as home care providers (i.e. “au pairs).

Solution: Create a web marketplace that connects international student home care providers to host families. (Like eLance/oDesk, but for home care.)

I got this idea from my friend who runs AuPairThailand.com, an aupair agency in Thailand. Her company alone (and there are lots in Thailand alone) sends hundreds to sometimes thousands a year.

For each “match” between an au pair and a host family, the host family pays about $5k to $7k USD, which does not include weekly stipends, regular “upkeep”, etc.

Right now, there is no way for host families to really search themselves.. or for international care providers to look for what’s right for them. Everything is done through agencies. (Like dating in the 80′s and 90′s w/o the internet – through dating agencies.)

So a few friends of mine and I came up with HomeCareSpot.com. It’s in proof of concept phase as we are preparing for our beta release.

Idea viability: High.
Idea scaleability: High.
Idea capital investment: Low (mostly intellectual)
Market size: Insane. $300B. (according to PRweb) It will probably grow as rich countries’ population gets older and older.
Idea passion: Me: so so. My partners are ecstatic.
Idea craziness: Not so crazy. Hardest part is the legal stuff.

3) Turn wordpress, drupal, joomla, or any other CMS into a lead generation / nurturing system.

Problem: For most traditional businesses, lead generation is hard. Most people don’t even get it. People in certain industries are willing to pay for it, like dating leads, finance leads, insurance leads, solar leads, etc. Even then, most people would rather do it themselves.

Solution: Create a software as service product that turns an every day CMS into lead generation & nurturing tool.

I came up with this idea when I offered to do free lead generation consulting for a few friends.. and basically the overwhelming response was that they wanted to everything themselves.. they didn’t want to pay for leads.

Ok no problem, but there are so many aspects to lead generation / direct response marketing that most people don’t understand – a/b testing, copywriting, squeeze pages, autoresponders, analytics.. on TOP of the traditional graphic design, programming, etc etc.

SO why not create a plugin / addon to your CMS that does all this for you.

Kinda like HubSpot / InfusionSoft / Marketo / Eloqua for SMB market.

Idea viability: High.
Idea scaleability: High.
Idea capital investment: Low (mostly intellectual)
Market size: Huge (just look at size of CRM software makers.. or marketing automation software makers)
Idea passion: High (lead gen/nurturing is my thing)
Idea craziness: Low (people need & want sales / marketing automation)

So what do you think? Which ideas are yay and which are nay?

PS: I’m offering this a few more spots for free lead generation consultation for ShoeMoney readers and fans. I can only take a handful as I’m too busy enjoying my travels in Thailand. *Muahaha*

full disclosure

About the author...

– who has written 19 posts on ShoeMoney.com.

TaeWoo is an accomplished online marketer with 10+ years of experience in affiliate marketing, lead generation, SEM, PPC, and media buying. TaeWoo is also the founder of GrowthGenius, a company specializing in growth hacking & online marketing tools. You can follow him on his blog at FreshSuperCool.com or on Twitter @TaeWooKim.


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{ 26 comments }

1 RT Cunningham

The toilet thing isn’t hard. You use the sprayer and wash instead of wiping with toilet paper. The only thing you have to get used to is the “wetness” you feel when you hike up your drawers.

2 faisal

Its quite normal in Asia, not a big deal.

3 Edgar

I say go with number two. homecarespot.com. Its low in cost and once you pass the legal stuff you should be good.

4 Dean Saliba

I’m afraid I’m still thinking way too much about how you wipe your butt after you poop ….. are you meant to stick that shower thing up there? :O

Shoemoney 5 Ron Swanson

I am with you hahah.. that is so weird.

6 Julie

there is no way in hell I would make it in Thailand.

7 Porfirio

#2 for sure! Maybe #1 years from now when we have more tech.

8 Trenton

Sexier women?!? I highly doubt that!

9 Taewoo Kim

That picture was a joke.

Come to Thailand. Thai women are insanely hot. I mean.. blazing hot.

10 Taylor

Great post Taewoo, it was very entertaining.

11 Taewoo Kim

Thanks

12 Luis
13 Itzel

You always have the funniest photos, haha.

14 Taewoo Kim

kap koon khrab

(Thanks in Thai)

15 Ricky

Your posts always crack me up! Funny pictures but full of knowledge and sarcasm just what I need when I reading and learning

16 Robt

Do you still feel balanced? I have a friend that mediates a lot and he has told me that it helps with balancing yourself and thoughts. Does it help with stress?

17 Dustin

The picture at the top cracks me up. Reminds me of the hangover. Is it true some girls there are guys ;)

18 Taewoo Kim

U mean ladyboys? Yes, they exist.

19 Jillian

I always wanted to do meditation but I would be like you and want to quite and try and force myself to stay but hate my life for staying

20 Ursula

If I could not talk for a week I would go insane. I think I would have to many thoughts running through my head and I would be like you thinking of new products and ways to improve their life style

21 Taewoo Kim

Doing the right things vs. doing things right

22 Peggy

Wow, haha this was a very inspiring post. Thanks for sharing your experiences in Thiland. I have always wanted to go I heard it is beautiful there.

23 Taewoo Kim

Don’t start analyzing.. reading blogs.. and doing research.

Just do it. Book the flight and go get lost. That’s the best way to explore.

24 Beatrice

Great ideas. Loved the first one! I am sure it would definitely change their life over their but what you said it is not practical and they cannot afford it

25 Anisha

This wired yet interesting, I liked this post, hahhaah, fun!

26 Dave broad

Home care is the best one. It combines a real brick and mortar/need with the Internet world. Very powerful money maker. Might need to figure a better way to Monitize, maybe be more of intermediary. The meditation thing was awesome Jeremy.

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