So you think you have one of those million dollar ideas and ALL YOU NEED is someone to fund it for you?
Well, that sounds like 1998. Those days are long gone.
In the late 90s, “ideas” were being funded by all the venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. All you needed was a clever Powerpoint deck and a “.com” domain name. Voila! Instant funding. You didn’t need pesky things like customers or working products or patents back in those days.
We all know how that ended.
The big money flows in and out of various sectors over time and it seems to go in waves. I live in San Francisco, which is ground zero for technological innovation in the US.
A few years ago, all the money was flowing into iPhone app development. Then there was a flood of interest in “the sharing economy.” Then came chat bots. Artificial intelligence (AI) has been getting some interest for a few years now, along with virtual reality. Recently, we have started adding cryptocurrencies and blockchain to everything. All those ICOs! How exciting!
However, there is a hard truth hidden in here. It’s something you need to hear.
Million dollar ideas are a dime a dozen. It’s the execution that matters.
Did the Winklevoss twins get credit for inventing Facebook because they came up with the idea? No. Mark Zuckerberg got the credit because he built the damn thing.
Your ideas aren’t worth anything without execution. There’s no financial reward for being great at thinking up ideas. You need to DO SOMETHING with your business ideas in order for them to have any value to the rest of the world.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was an idea store where you could sell your ideas for cash?
That’s a million dollar idea. Set up a website where people can buy and sell ideas and you take a small commission on each deal.
You can have that idea for free. I don’t need it. I’m busy with my own stuff and I don’t have the time to chase every idea I think up.
Go ahead. Take it. I’m serious.
(It would be nice if you’d send me a cookie after you make your first million dollars with the idea store.)
Million Dollar Idea Examples
Let’s look at a few folks who got lucky with their million dollar ideas.
- The guy who invented the Pet Rock.*
- Sara Blakely, who invented Spanx.
- George Foreman and his grills.
*For the younger folks in the audience, Pet Rocks were all the rage back in the 70s. There was a guy who started selling smooth rocks he found on a beach in Mexico. He put them in boxes that looked like pet-shipping boxes. Then, he sold them as pets (more like gag gifts, but you get the idea). He sold 1.5 million of them at $4 each.
Let’s begin with some simple math. Million dollar ideas can take different forms.
You want to reach a million dollars in revenue in the shortest period of time with the smallest number of hurdles and headaches. Building a “traditional” business is full of hurdles and headaches and takes time. We’ll revisit that at a later date. Our focus here is on building things that won’t take more than a team of 1-3 people and minimal investment of capital.
An iPhone app you create that costs $2.99 could get you to a million dollars in a year. Apple keeps 30%, so you’ll need to find 500,000 iPhone users to buy your app in order to hit one million dollars. (Considering that Apple makes many billions of dollars from their App Store every year, it’s not outrageous to think your quality app can get 500,000 purchases in a year).
Writing a book and selling a million copies in a year would do it. If your royalty payments are $1 per book, that’s a million dollars in a year.
A coaching company that charges clients $1000 a month for your services is another route. At $1000 a month, you’ll only need 84 paying customers to hit one million dollars in a year.
You could create a niche product that caters to the ultra-wealthy and charge $50,000 for it. You’ll only need 20 customers to hit one million dollars.
It is also possible that one of your side hustles could become a million dollar business for you. Maybe it will take a few side hustles to hit a million dollars, but that’s okay too. There are no rules here. It’s your life. Get to work.