A Texan Web Developer

Picking the Right Idea

I’ve had several conversations this week with product people about new ideas.  It’s something that I love to talk about.  I’m an extrovert and talking to people gives me energy, but talking to product people takes that energy to another level.  There’s really no need for NDAs or pretense when talking about this because ideas are cheap – execution is what is valuable.

Along with talking about products I took a few days and cleaned up my personal ‘ideas’ Trello list. I shipped two plugins last year [totally and utterly deplorable] and the list had gotten run over with weeds.  I removed anything that had already been done, didn’t make sense, or didn’t look interesting anymore. I also added a few more ideas that had come up in the past few weeks.

After the cleanup the list has 78 ideas.  I’m realistic and know that I won’t be able to build 78 ideas this year.  The ideal number of plugins for me is around 20 with each selling an average of $500 / month.  Some will earn more, some less, but that average gives the plugin shop a $10,000 / month revenue. (I’m going to blog more about this goal soon).

Goals of a plugin shop

Why limit plugins?  The goal of selling products instead of services is to free up time, but the dirty secret of that mantra is that products don’t keep selling without great support.  And support takes time.  Static documentation helps reduce support load, but you’ll always have people opening a ticket before searching for themselves.  After seeing what it was like to support 250+ premium plugins I have no desire to keep the code of 250 plugins in my head.  Since I’m a soloprenuer I’d like to run the shop on my own or with one other person. Keeping support overhead low is paramount.

Picking the right idea

So armed with ideas and a limited amount of time, how do you pick which idea will get worked first?  I’ve read several blog posts talking about validating ideas for startups and SaaS apps, but plugins are a different beast.  The time to develop is smaller, and you could possibly crank out a few plugins per month and measure the results.

I’m afraid I don’t have any answers here.  But, this is something I aim to focus on for the next few months to see what works, what doesn’t and how to get better at idea validation in the plugin space specifically.

If you’ve got any suggestions or personal experiences I’m all ears!