The best ideas in the world evolve at the white board, but aren’t necessarily born there. Sometimes, the best ideas come to us when we least expect them to; like when we’re in the shower, on the toilet, or even when we get screwed over by something or somebody, and we think to ourselves, “there’s gotta be a better way.”

Eminem thought of his alter ego, Slim Shady, on the toilet.

So to a similar entrepreneurial tune, in the first semester of my freshman year of college, I discovered a day-to-day problem that can be solved with a mobile app. I was determined to make it a reality, but I wasn’t technical, so I reached out to every developer I knew – out of those 10 or so people, none of them were interested. Not that they didn’t believe in the idea; they just simply didn’t have the time or the willingness to work on it for free when they could be getting paid to build other apps or starting their own projects without me.

Mark Zuckerberg, the hacker, didn’t need the Winklevoss twins, the businessmen.

I was also definitely not considering an app development agency – they were all way out of my budget, and after discovering Freelancer.com and Upwork, my due diligence on cheap offshore freelancers had discouraged me. After all, I only had $6K saved up from selling sneakers and I wanted to make every dollar count.

There’s a sub-par level of transparency in the software development industry.

So I waited. Waited for the semester to end so I would have more free time. Waited for a good, affordable developer to magically appear out of nowhere, but of course to no avail. By December, I had spoken to over 100 people that this product would benefit and they were all behind it. But I still couldn’t find a developer. Sound familiar? I decided to put the venture on hold until a dev came my way. Mistake number 1. 

Stop waiting around for a miracle to happen. Act now.

Around spring break, I got a notification on my phone that one of my friends has invited me to download a certain app. Then I got another one. Then I got 15 more. I thought to myself, damn, if all these people are inviting me to join the app, it must be good. 

When I opened it up and explored, I’m not kidding when I say that this app was almost identical to my idea. The difference was, it was on the market and mine wasn’t. That day, I came to terms with the harsh reality that no matter what your parents tell you when you’re growing up, your “brilliance” has the contention of many others.

In fact, there are thousands of people in the world right now that are experiencing the same day-to-day problems as you are and have a resemblant sense of how to fix them. If nobody had or has a similar idea to yours, chances are it’s probably not good enough. So really, the only thing that actually matters is whether you execute on it, and how you do so.

There’s nothing wrong with some healthy competition.

When I saw this app, I immediately thought to myself it was too late, that I had missed the boat. Mistake number 2. Even if you’ve already lost first-mover advantage, you still have a shot at success. Christopher Columbus wasn’t the first one to discover America, but you don’t see us celebrating Amerigo Vespucci Day.

Use the competitor that beat you to it to your advantage. 

Study your competitor and see what users think should be improved/added/changed. Implement a different business model. Hustler harder than your competitor, be more inspiring in your message/mission/vision, be more creative in your design and in your copy, the list goes on and on.

Facebook didn’t come first, but it crushed the competition.

But I didn’t do any of this. I didn’t act on my idea at all because literally all I had was an idea but no clue what to do next. Needless to say, the guys that did act on their idea took off and grew rapidly. The only difference between me and them is that they had the resources to make it happen and I didn’t.

I learned a lot from that experience. So ever since then, I’ve been on a mission to help others avoid making the same mistakes that I did. In fact, I invested the $6K I’d saved up from selling sneakers into a company that gives people the resources they need to have their ideas come to fruition. That company came to be known as TechSuite, and we’re changing the status quo for app development. Click here to watch our free 20 minute training on how to go from idea to product in 3 months or less.

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