How you get your first 10 customers depends almost completely on which niche you pick.
And that niche should depend almost completely on the answer to one question: What niche do you personally have easy access to?
The biggest mistake you can make is trying to build something for a customer you have no easy pathway to reach.
talks about why it’s so important to start with the audience and solve their problem, rather than starting with the idea and finding an audience for it, in his book Zero to Sold
. So before doing anything, you should go talk to some people in your life about their problems. Don’t even mention a solution! If their problem can’t be solved by this idea, then this idea isn’t right to pursue.
Disclaimers aside, how do you get those first 10 customers? I’m going to stick to childcare centers because I have a close family member who runs one. Here’s what I would do:
Step 1: Call the person you know who works in childcare. Ask them about the vibes in the team, and how engaged people are. See if there’s a problem there to be solved.
Yes? Ask them what online groups they’re a part of, where they get their news or discover new content, or where they interact with other people in childcare. Find the places where you’ll be able to reach people like them online.
Step 2: Find the first 10+ strangers to talk to. Now I happen to know that to find 10 other people who run childcare centers, I would head over to Google and search “childcare [city]” near where I live. Most childcare centers have a phone number and an email listed.
I’d collect the emails and phone numbers of about 30-40 centers in a spreadsheet. (You can use a service like D7
, but Google works too.)
Step 3: Email them.
Follow a similar formula
to the one Jason Cohen
used when he started WP Engine. Introduce yourself and say you’re the founder of a new solution to keeping employees engaged and performing well especially for childcare centers. Say you’d like to talk to them, and that you’d be happy to compensate them for their time at whatever rate they think is fair. Why use this formula? To quote Marketing Examples
Jason sent 40 of these emails. 100% agreed to talk to him on the phone. Not one asked for any money. And after talking to him 30 verbally agreed to pay $50 / mo once the product was ready.