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The Chicken-And-Egg Challenge With Surveys

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In prepping launch of my new product called Collabo (more to come on this….), my co-founder and I wrote up and distributed a 10-question survey because, well, why not. But this is more about what I intended to learn, what I actually learned, and what I could have learned.

For a quick frame of reference, Collabo is an invite-only video chat community for freelancers, solopreneurs, small startup founders – basically anyone doing their own thing who might get lonely from time to time and could use some inspiration, accountability, and groupthink. Naturally, we wanted to find out if people would be interested in the product, so we asked the following question:

We are building a product that allows the self-employed (freelancers, entrepreneurs, small business owners, etc.) to connect with like-minded people via video chat. The site will help you discover new connections and expand networks in meaningful ways. Does this sound like something you’d join and participate in?

Seemed good enough at the time. But then we also conducted a bunch of in-person interviews with potential customers and discovered an invaluable lesson: our description of Collabo was all wrong. The reaction we received from asking about “expanding networks, making new connections, chatting with like-minded people” was luke warm at best. But a recurring theme when we actually sat back and listened to customers talk was the emotional side of working alone (or mostly alone). Things like feeling lonely, needing to vent to people who understand, wanting to share wins and losses, getting inspired by others, and increasing levels of accountability all seemed to strike a chord with our target market.

While this discovery was exactly what we needed, it rendered our survey question essentially useless. And that’s OK, we got what we needed. Goes to show sometimes you just need to get out there and figure things out as you go along.

PS – if you are a freelancer, solopreneur, small biz founder or simply looking to be inspired by a hand picked community, shoot me a note. We could use someone like you.


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Growth obsessed startup co-founder (MusicBox) and strategist-for-hire.

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