My biggest recent breakthrough was the realization that to move forward, I don’t have to read more books, watch more YouTube videos, or spend more time on Twitter. The only thing that leads to real progress is doing more experiments.
One of the main challenges I encountered is coming up with good ideas for what kind of experiments I can do. There are tons of ideas out there, but they are buried under mountains of noise. A good non-fiction book will give you maybe one or two solid ideas for experiments. The rest is filler material like stories and anecdotes. And it’s just so damn easy to get distracted while researching new ideas.
You’re struggling to find customers for your business, you pick up a book on marketing, and BOOM you just wasted 4 hours reading stories about how the author met this or that famous person.
So I started saving interesting experiment ideas whenever I came across one and categorized them around common problems.
Now whenever I decide that it’s time to work on a specific problem, I pull up one of the lists and start experimenting right away. This has truly been a game changer for me. It allows me to focus on taking action and to avoid the usual research trap.
I currently have more than 20 of these lists, ranging from problems like prioritizing tasks, to improving my social skills, finding new business ideas, getting more newsletter subscribers, to improving my SEO.
My goal is to eventually make all of them publicly available but polishing them so that they are usuable by other people obviously is quite a bit of work. So it will take some time before I’ve published all of them. You can find all lists I already made publicly available below.
- 70+ experiments you can try to brainstorm business ideas - Different approaches work for different people. And the good news is that you can just try them all until you find one that works for you.
- 130+ experiments you can run to get new customers - Whenever I discover a new tactic, I add it to the spreadsheet. I’m consulting this spreadsheet all the time, whenever I need fresh ideas.
Note that each of these lists is a perpetual work-in-progress. I’m constantly adding new experiments and update them with additional information.
And of course, I’m always looking for new ideas to add to the lists. I appreciate any ideas or feedback sent to experiments [at] jakobgreenfeld.com.
My Current Experiments
- Grow Business Brainstorms using cross promotions. (h/t Josh Spector)
- Get article published in major publication by reaching out to editors. (h/t James Clear)
- Listen to the recording of a fictious magazine article I wrote that describes where I want to be in 10 years every morning. The idea is that this helps to focus on things that truly matter and keep me motivated. (h/t Sam Ovens)
- Send one message to a peson I want to keep in touch with and one person I would like to know better every day. I wrote about my setup here. (h/t Derek Sivers)
- Write down one win every day for 100 days. (h/t Aziz Gazipura)
My Upcoming Experiments
- Eat exactly the same breakfast and lunch every day for 30 days. (h/t Tynan)
- Test product-market fit by asking customers/subscribers “How dissapointed would you be if you wouldn’t able to access this product/newsletter any longer”? (h/t George Nurijanian)
- Use the RICE prioritization framework for a week to decide what tasks to focus on. (h/t Sam Ovens)
- Track my happiness in hourly intervals to get a more accurate picture of how much I enjoy certain activities without giving in to the peak-end effect. (h/t Nick Winter)
My Past Experiments
- Learn entrpreneurship by designing my own Bootstrap MBA.
- Do a “Writing Week” where I do nothing but writing for a whole week. No reading, no coding, no nothing. (Inspired by Bill Gate’s Think Weeks)
- Write down 10 business ideas every day to exercise my idea muscle.