Do you like the idea of selling products, but have no idea what?

Maybe you were inspired by our last episode (check it out if you haven’t already). (I have 10 reasons why it’s great, right here!)

If you’re stuck for inspiration, no problem! Here are 5 simple ways to help you find brilliant new product ideas.

Read the transcript

1.Think about the things you already use and how you could improve them

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

Perhaps there’s a really obvious problem, just a tiny little fix needed to make it perfect. You could be the person do that!

A very simple example of this is my Tiny Chipmunk bamboo hooded towels. They were my second product and I created them because I was fed up of buying baby towels that only lasted a few months at best.

It was such a simple solution, but people tell me all the time how long they’ve lasted and I love that! It was entire point! Not only that, but it gives me a selling feature, or USP. If someone asks why buy my towel over another, I can give good reasons.

Another real-life example is that my youngest will only sleep if the room’s pitch black. We had a black-out blind on her window that attached with suckers, but it took so long to get it on and off that we ended up keeping it on permanently and having the room in constant darkness…

I was busy Googling for solutions to this and realised that some (very clever!) companies sell black-out blinds that attach via velcro pads you stick to the window frames, rather than suckers that stick to the glass,

Such a simple solution, and a tiny modification, but it’s made a huge difference to us and, I imagine, thousands of other people too.

Think about where you could do the same…

TIP: Next time you’re getting frustrated with an item you’re using, take a minute to write down the problem and potential solutions. That’s an idea, right there!

2.What do you wish existed?

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

Last year I worked with Silke Thistlewood, Nourish To Thrive, who created Care Cards for New Mums – a product she wished she’d had when her children were tiny. She already shared tips and tool to enable Mums to care for themselves in her free Facebook community. Creating the cards enables Mums to have something tangible to hand (they make great new-Mum gifts!), plus created an additional income stream for Silke.  

Another example is an inspiring podcast interview I heard recently with Nicole DeBoom. She’s a female athlete who created Skirt Sports – a women’s athletic apparel brand that combined all the things she wanted that didn’t exist – performance, comfort and cute-factor.

I’ve worked with clients who’ve created all kinds of unique products, because they’d love it and nobody else has made it yet! This is a good enough reason! Chances are, if you’d love it, then others would too.

So why wait, when you create it yourself?!

TIP: Next time you think “I wish I had an…” write it down! And keep it – that note could be the start of something very special…

3.What’s a problem you have? (Or someone else has.) How could it be solved?

I remember, a few years back, it was our first winter in our new home and our bedroom didn’t get any natural light until quite late in the morning. I was so used to being woken by the sunlight creeping round the curtains that I found it hard to adjust to the (relatively) dark mornings.

I looked online for a solution and came across a light alarm clock (that wakes you up by simulating a sunrise). This is by no means new (yet it was to me!), yet it solved a problem I was having and I was delighted.

I just love it when you find a product that you love. One that solves a problem you’ve had for ages. You know that bittersweet feeling you get when you just wish you’d found it sooner? The blackout blind example I gave above also falls into this category.

Next time you’re looking for that special thing, that solves a very specific problem, if you can’t find it, why not create it yourself?

TIP: Take a look at what phrases you’re looking for when you search for a product or solution you need and see if you can formulate that into a draft product specification.

4.What do you love? What are you passionate about?

Another way to approach this is to think about what you’d love to sell. 

Maybe you’re a keen runner, a hiker, or you love to knit. Whatever your passion is, could you sell items related to that?

The benefits here are that if you truly feel passionate about the products and the niche into which they fit, you’ll be able to talk about them, and sell them, in a really natural way.

Plus, if this is based on a hobby you have, you may well know others who enjoy the same things, who would make the ideal first customers.

One word of caution here is that you’ll need to do your research to ensure that the market isn’t already too saturated and that you can make a profit.

You can always combine this idea with those above and put your own spin on an existing product.

5.How could you take a product you already love and make it even better?

Another way to approach this is to think about what you’d love to sell. 

Maybe you’re a keen runner, a hiker, or you love to knit. Whatever your passion is, could you sell items related to that?

The benefits here are that if you truly feel passionate about the products and the niche into which they fit, you’ll be able to talk about them, and sell them, in a really natural way.

Plus, if this is based on a hobby you have, you may well know others who enjoy the same things, who would make the ideal first customers.

One word of caution here is that you’ll need to do your research to ensure that the market isn’t already too saturated and that you can make a profit.

You can always combine this idea with those above and put your own spin on an existing product.

TIP: Think about something you’d love to sell. Write down all the things you could sell, where you could sell them and who to. Get really excited and creative and see where it leads you!

BONUS IDEA – What do people other people love to buy?

The final way you can think up new product ideas (and my least favourite, if I’m honest) is to look at products that are already selling well and sell those – ideally with your own take on them.

There are various ways you can do this. Checking out the Amazon Best Sellers list is a good place to get started.

You also may have an idea what the ‘hot products’ are, based on current trends. (Think fidget spinners a few years ago!) If you take one of these products and improve it somehow, you could do very well – at least in the short-term.

The reason I don’t recommend my clients take this path is I feel it’s a great short-term option, but may not lead to you being able to build a brand and a business (my ultimate goal). 

However, if your goal is to make some money and learn some new skills while doing so, it could be a great option for you.

Now you have that great idea, be sure to check it’ll make you money!

USEFUL RESOURCES

7 free ways to validate your product idea

My product validation online couse

LET’S CONNECT

Come and find me on Instagram – @vickiweinberg_product_creation

Work with me

Transcript

5 simple ways to come up with product ideas

Intro (:

Welcome to the Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast, practical advice and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products. Here is your host vicki Weinberg.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Do you like the idea of selling your own products but you have absolutely no idea what you would actually sell. So maybe you're inspired by our last episode and do check out if you haven't all ready and you think actually I would really like to sell something Perhaps, you know, on the side or as a new venture, or perhaps you have a service based business and you would like to add a product to it and maybe listen to last week's episode and you thought, you know what? That was all sounds really good, but I just don't have an idea, well I honestly believe everyone has an idea of inside them. And today I'm going to share five simple ways you can find them 'cause I do believe there was always something that you can sell. In fact, sometimes I do it a little bit at public speaking, which isn't my favourite. I'm getting a bit better at it.

Vicki Weinberg (:

And when I talk to a networking group or similar I often we do an exercise where we get people to use the other people in the group to help them come up with product ideas. And what I find is people either get their ideas validated by they come back and they say, Oh, maybe I should write that book or I should launch or whatever it is because everyone is telling me it or they come away with something really new. But most of the time, they come around really excited about something that they could create, even if it might not be the right time for them now they just have that idea. And I really believe that you can all do the same. So lets get started with this episode and five ways you can come up with ideas.

Intro (:

So idea number one is to think about the things you already use and how you can improve them. So I'm sure you've had the experience of buying something or using something and just knowing it can be better than it is. So perhaps that's a really obvious problem or a really small thing that will make it better. And you could be the person to do that. So one example, of this is my Tiny Chipmunk bamboo hooded towels. So I launched these when I had a baby and I found that the towels for her were absolutely tiny and they just only lasted a few months.

Vicki Weinberg (:

This was my second child. And I found out that she had lots of the towels for my first child. I just kind of didn't want to even pass on to her because they were tiny and they just hadn't lasted it very well. So when I launched mine, I decided to make it the biggest and the thickest towel on the market at the time. Now I can say, I want to say it probably isn't the biggest, and thickest on the market now, but you know, a few years ago when I launched it was, and that was my USP and it was such a simple solution, but people tell me all the time, how long the towels have lasted and I really love that. My youngest is four now and hers still fit. And I

think that's great. And I can say it gives me a really good USP if someone says, why would we buy your towel over another one?

Vicki Weinberg (:

Or why is your towel so expensive? I can give some really good reasons. And that all came from me looking at something that I had already and thinking that this could be better. Another real life examples and this isn't something I've created is that my youngest will only sleep if her bedroom is pitch black. So we use the well known brands of blackout blinds on her window that attached with suckers. So it kept the room really dark, but it used to take a really long time to get it off in the morning well not so long to get it so off, but more to put it back on it at bed time. And so we ended up just keeping it on permanently, which meant the room was in constant darkness, which obviously isn't very good solution. You can't open the windows or anything and so I went on Google to look for solutions for this.

Vicki Weinberg (:

And I realized that someone very clever, in my opinion, sells blackout blinds that attach by a velcro pad that you stick to the window frame, sso rather than having suckers that stick to the glass, you have the sticky Velcro pads that you put them into your window frames and then the blackout blinds attaches to that. So it takes maybe five minutes to get set up and then they're there for life. It all comes in a bag of which makes it really good for traveling. And you get loads of spare spares of these sticky Velcro patches. So if you do go on holiday somewhere provided, it's okay to stick to the window frames, you can use them then as well. So it's a really similar idea. I think it looks like it's exactly the same fabric, but just a tiny tweak to how you apply it.

Vicki Weinberg (:

It's made a really big difference and it's a simple solution and it's a tiny modification, but for us, its made a really big difference because now we have a child's bedroom that isn't in constant darkness! And I imagine has been useful for thousands of other people to. So my challenge to you is, think about where you can do the same. So the next time you get really frustrated with something that you are using or you find yourself wishing it could be different or perhaps you'll one of these people who modifies existing items to make them work better for you. Take a minute, write down the problem and write down some potential solutions because that's an idea right there. Even if right now you think, Oh, well I could make this tweak, but how would I do that? You know, how would I possibly do that? Don't worry about that for now.

Vicki Weinberg (:

We are going to get to that, but just take a note because that is an idea. Okay. So the second simple ways to come up with product ideas is to think about what you wish existed. So do you ever think, Oh, if only I had a, whatever it is, and this is some of what we wish for, it might not be feasible for many reasons, but some ideas

will be. So I'm going to give you a real example of this with one of my clients. So Silke Thistlewood who runs a business called raise up mum's greatest and resilience cards, which is a product she wanted when her children were small, so Silke. I hope she won't mind, me sharing a bit of her story. Hopefully she's gonna come on a future episode and talk about this herself.

Vicki Weinberg (:

But she suffered from postnatal, depression and anxiety after the birth of her children. And she was given lots of wellbeing, advice and professionals, but it was all focused on taking time away from her children and what she could do in her own time to relax and recover and look to herself. And those of you listening have children may know that that just isn't always practical. And so she identified that what she needed was some things she could do in the moment that would get her to the end of the day and one piece. So she created some resilience cards, which enables you to look after yourself in small ways, every single day. So the idea is you pick a card out of her deck and she has a huge deck of cards and it will give you a little simple sort of something that you can do to make the best your mood or your energy levels, but something you can do in the moment that we will, you know, won't add to your, to do list and won't take a really long time.

Vicki Weinberg (:

It just helps you to look after yourself, so Silke was already sharing tips and tools along these lines in her free Facebook community and creating the cards, enables mums wherever they are in her community or not to have something tangible at hand. Personally, think they make great gifts for new mums and it's given her an additional income stream. So this is a really good example of someone who created something that they wanted and that they needed and is now being useful to so many other people. And I've worked with clients and I work with clients now who have created all kinds of unique products because they'd love it. And no one else has made it yet. And this is a good enough reason because chances are, if you would love something that someone else will tell you.

Vicki Weinberg (:

So don't wait when you can create it yourself. So my challenge to you is next time you think I wish I had a or something, whatever it is, write it down and keep hold of it. Because that night it could be the start of something really special. So this might mean you were actually creating something yourself. If you have some of the practical skills to do that, you also might not know exactly what the solution is. So in Silke her story, she knew she needed some kind of tools and tips, practical things she could do in the moment, but she didn't know what that looked like. And you know, I'm sure when she talks with more, she will say that the idea for the cards didn't come overnight, it's probably an evolution, but just identifying that there was something that she needed was a really good starting point.

Vicki Weinberg (:

So the first step to come up with a product ideas that along the same lines and its thinking about a problem you have, or a problem, a problem someone else has and thinking about how it could be solved. So I'm going to give another example from my own life. So a few years ago it was our first wind too. And I knew house and the bedroom that we were in, didn't get any natural light until quite late in the morning. And I always used to from my old house is being woken up by the sunlight coming in or around the curtains. And I found it really hard to adjust to these relatively dark mornings. So when I looked online for a solution, I came

across a light alarm clock that wakes you up by simulating the sunrise. This is by no means knew or that it was new to me. And it's over the problem that I was having. And I was absolutely delighted.

Vicki Weinberg (:

And you know, do you love that feeling when you find the product that you love? You know, when you find something and it solves a problem you've had for ages and you get that really bitter sweet feeding when you think, Oh, I really wish I had known about this sooner. And you're so excited that you just tell everyone about it and what you, what happens to me is like excited until everyone about it and find out why I was the last to know, but wherever it is a great new restaurant or a podcast or a product, if you find something great, Chances are you tell people about it? And this kind of buzz is great to have for a product. And I was lucky that what I was looking for existed already or what if it didn't. And so the black out blind an example I gave it also falls into that category. And so does, Silke's story.

Vicki Weinberg (:

They do say necessity is the mother of invention. That's no pun intended there. And I have another example of a client of mine who makes handy little things to keep the baby socks on because when her baby was small, he kept pulling them off. And if you have where you've had had children, you can probably see the need for this. So next time you were looking for something to solve a specific problem. Even if you don't know what the thing is, you need, if you can't find it, then why not create it yourself? Because I know many people get inventive with solutions, for all kinds of things. Say the action for this idea is that next time you were searching for something specific, so you'll have a problem. And do you think, Oh, what can I do about that?

Vicki Weinberg (:

And you say, you go to Google or what would you go to a Facebook group or wherever you go to, to find advice, take a look at what phrase is you're looking for. And if you can follow me like that into the beginnings of an idea. So wherever it's kids, Harry Potter, a print or a treadmill that doesn't take up too much space, whatever it is, if it doesn't exist yet, you could be the one to create it and you can get other people involved in it to say, for my example, I should have asked people, I kept going out and said, I'm really struggling in my bedroom being ready to rock in the mornings or has anyone got any ideas? And it might be that people come up with ideas for things that exist, or perhaps, you know, they can help you come up with an idea for something completely new.

Vicki Weinberg (:

And this could be at the beginning of something. Very exciting. Okay. So the fourth way to come up with product ideas is to think about what you love and what you're passionate about. So another way to approach this you know, Perhaps, you don't want to create something completely new is to think about what you would absolutely love to sell. So maybe you're a keen runner or a hiker, or you'd love to knit, or do you cross stitch or anything at all, or whatever your passion is. Could you sell things that are related to that? Say the benefits

here are, are there. If you really feel passionate about the products you'd be selling and the nation to which they fit, and you'll be able to talk about them and sell them in a really natural way, which is really important because you have to have some affinity, but the products you're selling, I believe if you're going to be building a brand around them and you have to believe in them.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Plus I think if this is based on a hobby that you have, you might, well, no others who enjoy the same things, who would make a ideal first customers say, for example, if you are a keen knitter and maybe if you are part of a knitting group and you decide you're going to sell a really high-quality yarns, for example, you might be asked to go to your knitting group and say well first of all, you've got to use them for research, find out what

kinds of things they would be looking for. But also you probably got people that once you've got products, you can go to and say, look at what I'm selling. Is anyone interested? That could be your first few customers right there. So one word of caution here is that you will obviously, you still need to do some research to make sure that the market you are looking to get into isn't already too saturated and that you can still make a profit if your goal, I mean, if you'll go with us to do something for fun, maybe that's not such an issue for you.

Vicki Weinberg (:

But if you are looking to build a business around this, you will need to do a bit of research to see if that's viable. And also remember that you can combine this idea with the one that I've talked about already and put your own spin on some products to make them yours, to make them a bit different. So think about something that you'd love to sell, write down all of the things you could say sell, where you could sell them, who to get really excited and creative. And so you might be legi. So for example, If using the knitting example. Again, I'm, I'm not sure why I'm not on there. So maybe you want it to sound really good, high quality, unique yarn. So things that are really hard to come by and you know, are stocked in a hobby craft and everywhere else.

Vicki Weinberg (:

Or perhaps you want to sell yarns at a source from a specific country, just get creative and think about what appeals to you. And really it could be at the beginning of something because it is important as well. Coming off track is not an easy to do something that you enjoy. So I do think that this can be a good place to start when you're thinking about what you might like to say, okay, say the fifth and find a way to come up with new product ideas is to look at what other people like to buy them, what they are buying. Now, this is actually my least favorite idea. If I'm honest and I feel I need to include it because I know people do this. So what I'm talking about here is to look for products are already selling well and start selling those Perhaps ideally we have your own take on them, but perhaps not.

Vicki Weinberg (:

So you might have an idea of what the current hot products are based on current trends. So you can think about things like a few years ago, the fidget spinners are really good. And I know there are people out there that were taking these products and selling them and doing very well at, at least in the short-term. However,

the caveat here is. So the reason I generally don't recommend taking this path is I think is a really good short term option. And it might not lead to you being able to build a brand and a business, which is my ultimate goal for myself and for you 'cause, it may be that you are selling lots of products that don't really fit together. Well, as I say, though, if your goal is to make some money and land some new skills while doing so it could actually be a really good option for you.

Vicki Weinberg (:

And it could also be a way to test the water before creating something yourself. So I'm not saying it's a bad idea. I'm just saying it out of these five, this is my least favorite. There were different ways you can get started to do this. So I think a good place to start is looking at Amazon and the best sellers list and seeing what kinds of things are selling. And you can buy tools to help me do this, to be honest, I wouldn't recommend at this stage paying for any of these tools because there's a lot of information that you can get out there for free. You can go Google trends. That's another great way of finding out how many people are actually searching for specific products. So, yeah, so you can have a look into this, if you want, and future episodes, I'm going to be talking more about validating your ideas.

Vicki Weinberg (:

And if you are looking to do to take this option particularly, so you are looking to sell products that are already sort of out there and selling really well. I think that would be an idea of what Episode for you. And in fact, for all of these, however, you come up with your product. So the idea, I believe that validating it before you go any further. It's really important that there will be future episodes on this, because I think it's a really big topic, but I also have a freebie out there on this, which is a seven 50 ways to validate your product ideas. You can get a hold of that. Now I'll put the link in the show notes because you have a great idea, which is fantastic, but we do want to make sure that they will make you money and there are people out there that will buy it.

Vicki Weinberg (:

So again, the link to the freebie will be in the show notes so you can get hold of that and take a look now. And the final thing for me is if you've enjoyed this episode, please tell your friends, please subscribe, and please do leave me a review. I really, really appreciate it. Okay. See you soon.