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If you want to create a product to sell, the first step is having a product idea.  Some of us have an idea we’ve been sitting on for years and some of us (like me!) want to sell products, but need to find something first.

There are services where you can find ideas of things that are popular to sell (and buy!) right now (to sell on Amazon, for example). Now, there’s nothing wrong with that (although it can mean you’re selling a product you don’t actually care about just to make money) – but I’m going to share some different ideas that will hopefully help you find a product that you’re excited and passionate about.  

I also hope that the product ideas you come up with will appeal to other people too. (Most likely other people similar to yourself.)

Image taking you to podcast image for this blog post

Is there a problem that you (or someone else) has that a product could solve?

If you frequently experience some kind of annoyance, even if it’s just mildly irritating, it’s likely you’re not the only one!

If this sounds familiar, I suggest taking a look to see if there’s a product out there that might solve the problem you’re having.  If there is, perhaps buy one (if possible), try it out and see how you get on.   If it’s a solution then that’s great!  If not, can you come up with a different solution? Or, take a look at my tips below for improving something that already exists.

If what you’re looking for isn’t out there already, have a think about what the ideal product might be.  You’re just brainstorming at this point, so don’t be afraid to make all kinds of notes and scribble down all your ideas.

It might also be good to find out:

  1. If other people have the same challenge as you.
  2. How they think it could be solved.

Assuming you do want to create this product to sell (or even just look into how viable that might be) getting input from potential customers is really valuable.

One of the great things about creating a product to solve a problem is, assuming others experience the same thing, you have a clear benefit and a reason why someone might choose to buy your product – which will really help when positioning and marketing it.

This is the starting point for lots of my podcast guests.

A few recent examples include:

Do you own or use something that you just know could be better?

You’ve probably had the experience of buying, or using something and just knowing it could be better than it is.

Maybe it’s not even better that you’re looking for – just different.

Perhaps there’s a really obvious problem, or just a small thing that would make it loads better. You could be the person to do that!

Some real-life examples from my podcast guests include:

  • Ciara Westhead from Pico was looking for sustainable partywear that wasn’t brown and boring – which was all she could find at the time.
  • Louise Almond, Amelia Anne had her first child and found that nursing clothes were mainly dual-maternity and had lots of material covering up her baby’s face while feeding.
  • Liz Rawlinson, Gus & Beau wanted a playmat for her baby, but could only find them in bright, primary colours. She created her own range of muted baby playmats.

Even if you have a product you love, you may well have thought of a tiny thing that would make it perfect. Take note of these ideas when they come up – that could be your product!

I should also say that this isn’t copying – which I don’t suggest.  It’s using existing products as inspiration to create something new, based on your own experience as a customer.

You can also find lots of information about what other people would change about an existing product (by looking at the reviews), but the idea is this is based on your own experiences, so it’s something you feel passionate about pursuing.

Is there something you need that isn’t available?

Do you ever think, “If I only had an XYZ?”  Some of what we wish for may not be feasible, for many reasons, but some ideas definitely will be!

This is slightly different from creating something that solves a problem you’re having, in that it might be you had a problem a long time ago – and still wish you could do something about it.  Or it might be that you’re searching for something now and finding it just doesn’t exist.

I’ve worked with lots of people who’ve created something simply because nobody else has!

Don’t feel it needs to be a big idea either. Maybe it’s earrings in a specific shape, or a water bottle with particular dimensions. If you’ve looked for it, and it’s not out there already, you might just be onto something!

Here are some examples from recent podcast episodes:

  • Silke Thistlewood, Raise Up Mums created Resilience Cards – a product she wished she’d had when her children were tiny (and has since written a book covering things that expectant parents just aren’t told!)
  • Nancy Howell, Herd Bags wanted to find reusable bags that were both sustainable, practical and stylish. She couldn’t find them, so she designed her own.
  • Cara Sayer, Snooze Shade, was looking for a blackout blind for her baby’s buggy – and noticed everyone was using blankets and muslins to keep the sun out – as a specific shade didn’t exist!

Of course (as with all of these ideas) you do need to verify that there are people out there who’ll buy it.  This post will help with that.

Hopefully this is enough to get you inspired. Your next step is to keep your eyes, ears and mind open to possibilities!