Cultivating a Mindset to Get You to Product Launch

The dream is to come up with an idea, build it, and sell it. Would that it were so simple. It’s so easy to get lost in all the madness that comes between. There are many guides out there about how to take your product from nascent idea to marketable material. But the first, foundational element that you need to get in place right away is a mindset where it all doesn’t seem so impossible.

Building a product is an inherently daunting process. You have to quite literally create something from nothing. When you look at the sheer amount of work that’s needed to bridge that gap, it’s no wonder that so many get overwhelmed by the prospect.

There’s no situation where the “journey of a thousand miles” adage applies better than this one. You’re just not going to get anywhere if you think only in the broadest of terms. Every step has to matter. More than that, every step has to mean something to you.

If you want to be a writer, you can’t just enjoy the prospect of publishing a book. You have to enjoy writing sentences. This concept can be universally applied to any creative or constructive pursuit. You need to be just as passionate about the micro tasks as the big stuff. You’ll just hit a brick wall if you can’t look down at your feet and appreciate every small step.

It’s important to reward yourself for those steps. It’s important to remember that they really do mean something. Every little bit of progress should feel good for its own sake.

Defining a framework for progress will make all that so much easier. Many find that a cyclical prototyping process is the best way to feel like you’re getting somewhere.

Ben Tossell of ProductHunt lays out the steps of his process as follows:

  1. Idea

  2. Plan

  3. Talk to people

  4. Mockups

  5. Decide the best

  6. Build

  7. Launch

Every iteration of this cycle should ideally be accomplished in 1-2 week intervals. It’s a very simple way to make the big process of development way more bite-sized and manageable.

Now those last two words (build and launch) may seem impossible to achieve in that time frame, but Ben is careful to point out that “launch” doesn’t have to mean throwing your creation out in the world in the traditional and final kind of way. It’s just a general opportunity to get what you’re working on out to people, to gauge if there’s any interest, and learn how you can improve it in the future.

Go through the cycle with a committed effort to build something. Don’t feel like it has to be the final product. Don’t feel like it has to be polished and perfect. If at some point things fall apart, it’s okay to go back to the drawing board and start over. The important part is that you are always engaged in some kind of process toward some kind of end result.

Maybe that end result is just feedback and the perspective needed to go back and revise. Eventually, bit by bit that’s going to lead to something you’re truly proud of and something that people are really excited to get their hands on.

Nothing worthwhile gets made in the first draft. Revision is truly where the magic happens. It can get ugly and uncomfortable, but as long as the right mindset is in place, it should never be unmanageable.

Maybe it takes 10 cycles. Maybe it takes 100. One day you are going to look back and realize you’ve made the product that you’ve always wanted to. And if you really put the work in—if you truly poured all your care and passion into every single step—people will reward you for your accomplishment.   

— ZK

Ed Lynes13p5Comment