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Choosing & Vetting A Business Idea (FS008)

Are you like the thousands we’ve heard from, worried and anxious about choosing a business idea?

Maybe you have analysis paralysis and can’t choose which one is best. Or maybe you don’t think you can come up with a business idea.

It’s a big decision. It typically brings with it a hefty dose of anxiety and worry, two things that hinder any entrepreneur’s ability to do good work.

So we dive into it in this episode, digging in, sharing our stories, giving our best advice.

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Find a subject you care about and which you in your heart feel others should care about. It is this genuine caring, and not your games with language, which will be the most compelling and seductive element in your style.

I am not urging you to write a novel, by the way — although I would not be sorry if you wrote one, provided you genuinely cared about something. A petition to the mayor about a pothole in front of your house or a love letter to the girl next door will do.”

Kurt Vonnegut

Corbett’s Vetting List

  1. Demand — is it something people want?
  2. Competition — who else is doing it? Are they successful?
  3. Care — how much personal interest do you have in this topic?
  4. Expertise — how much do you know about this topic?
  5. Specificity — how broad or narrow will your lens on this topic be?
  6. Differentiation — how will you differentiate yourself from others in this market?
  7. Likability of Customers — do you like them now? Will you like them later?
  8. Can/Will They Pay — do they have moneys and will they share those moneys with you to solve this problem you’re helping them with?
  9. Lifestyle — if this became successful, what would your life look like? Would this be a 200 person company? A single laptop on a beach? Does that fit with your personal goals?

Chase’s Checklist

  1. Care — what do you want to exist in the world?
  2. Serve — it might be the devil, or it might be the lord, but you’re gonna serve someone. (We don’t work for ourselves, we work for our audience. More on this in episode 007, Can You Entrepreneur? What it Takes).
  3. Dig In — stick around and have a long-term view. You’re gonna be a big deal in 15 years.

Show Notes

Ideas are just a multiplier of execution | Derek Sivers

Pocket Changed | From Cubicle Renegade To Thriving Entrepreneur

Father Apprentice – Make the most of fatherhood

“Creating wealth is not a zero-sum game, so you don’t have to stab people in the back to win.” ~ Paul Graham

Seth Godin’s Startup School podcast on Earwolf

tiny ceramic unicornzzz dot biz

Scott’s Bass Lessons – Online Bass Lessons

Green Exam Academy – FREE Online LEED AP Exam Study Guide – this is Pat Flynn’s LEED exam study guide we mention in the conversation.

Rickshaw Bagworks, San Francisco

Decision-matrix method – Wikipedia

Larry Halpern – he’s the Derek David of blogging.

Tiny Ceramic Unicornzzz

Get the free guide to defining your audience
  • Youssef

    Another great episode!

    I think passion about a subject is little overrated. At the end of the day, you want something that makes decent monies that offers the lifestyle you want. Another approach will be, to get unstuck, start something that would provide enough to pursuit that passion of yours i.e unicorns.

  • ric

    Everyone knows the most important thing is action. Whether you are passionate about the niche or just passionate about profiting from it, once the ball starts rolling you will gain momentum. Thanks for the ever thought provoking blogs.


  • Alex

    I want to inspire millions to lead excellent lives. Your format Corbett, is essentially what I follow. I’m experience awesome success as I start my dream.
    Thank you guys for your awesome content. I feel like punching a bear in its mouth after I’m done listening. Luckily, there’s no bears where I live

    • Corbett Barr

      Thanks for listening Alex! Don’t punch any bears though, they don’t take kindly to that.

    • Chase Reeves

      Don’t listen to Corbett, Alex. Find 10 bears and punch them all… that’s how I got my start :)

      Thanks, Man.

    • Alex Barker

      Thanks Chase
      Time to punch bears in the teeth

    • John Corcoran

      We can find a bear for you, Alex, if you’d punch it in the teeth. That would be amusing. : )

  • Ricardo Caicedo

    I should have listened to this podcast a year ago!

    I started a blog about my passion, Japanese green tea, but demand (in terms of visitors that want to read about it, as opposed to people who drink it) is low. I also find that affiliate opportunities with good companies are scarce, and I don’t want to sell out by recommending low quality products, such as weight loss teas.

    However, I enjoy the interactions with people in the industry and I get many free samples, so it’s not a complete failure: )

    • Chase Reeves

      Ha! I know that feeling, Ricardo. Cheers, man.

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  • Lauren H

    Thanks for another great episode, guys! I am *right there* having just recently “settled on a direction”. Can’t wait for next week!

    • Chase Reeves

      Awesome! Thanks, Lauren.

  • Kalen

    Number 1 is absolutely key. I know an entrepreneurs who was brilliant but didn’t focus on products that people actually want. He didn’t find this out until he approached the customers and they said there was no demand for the products he built.

    We all have a number of clever ideas, but we need to be able to filter the ones that are clever from the ones that can actually be profitable. Some input from your customers is essential.

  • John Anderson

    My favorite podcast from you knuckleheads…well done!

    • Chase Reeves

      Merci, John.

  • Sanjeev

    You must have heard the quote “An Idea can change your life”. same is the case here, more than passion or your hardwork, I think its the idea which can make you rich.

  • John Corcoran

    This episode cracked me up. Although I’m sooo bummed someone came up with my tiny ceramic unicorns website idea. I thought I had it made but now it’s taken.

  • Indika De Fonseka

    Hey guys, awesome job with the podcast! It was super helpful to me as I was feeling overwhelmed by the whole ‘what do I write about’ question. I am clearer about what will matter when making my final decision.

    Just as a side-note, passion is super important for me. I am 40 this year. I left a fairly decent career behind. Passion is what matters at this stage of my life (and will also help me stay with this career : )
    Thanks once again and keep up the great work (and the crazy banter)!

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  • Brandon Davis

    Hey guys,

    I’ve only recently discovered y’all and I’ve been listening to some of the F-I-Z-Z-L-E show podcasts and I cannot stop laughing. It’s awesome that I get some knowledge dropped on me along with some good times.

    Love the laid back style…Oh, and I read “Chase’s Checklist” above and noticed you left out “dick-hardness.” You might wanna go back and add that in cause it’s a very, very, very important part of the process?

    And, if I’ve offended anyone with my comment I apologize, but in the same breath #IDoWhatIWant

    Thanks again fellas,

    • Chase Reeves

      HA! Cheers, Brandon :)

  • Richard Garside

    I’ve been trying to vet very seriously my ideas to find the one with the most potential. However I had an idea for a game and I was so excited about it that I couldn’t concentrate on any of my other ideas.

    I know it’s not a serious idea and the boat has sailed on the mobile gaming gold rush, but I was excited about the idea and really cared about it. So it ticks the care box and now I need to dig in and work out how to market it. I’m not sure it really serves anyone.

    Version One of the game is done and can be checked out at

    Now I just need to listen to all your podcasts and see how I can twist your words from helping bloggers to helping indie game makers.

  • Katasha Kalonji

    I can’t believe Tiny Ceramic Unicornzzz is an actual site.

  • Amanda Richardson-Meyer

    Does it pay for the gluten-free crackers? Good question to ask one self!

Up Next:

Q&A: Turning Pro, Making Products, Finding Focus (FS039)

On today’s show we answer a handful of questions from eager listeners, tackling subjects like finding focus, sticking to your voice and making your product before building an audience (and vice versa).

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