Market research on the street

Did some market research on the street asking strangers about their needs. I haven’t done anything like this in ages, and I get the same strong desire to procrastinate like when I have to cold call – ugh! I didn’t get a good enough answer to support my product idea from this process, but I’m still convinced that the need exists – just perhaps not with the random people I surveyed. I need to figure out a better way to do this market research.

From an useful perspective, I did get an idea for another product need in the same category – Product #2 which is likely easier to make

Do I learn a new skill like CAD?

Prepared some market research questions so that I can survey people.

Also did some more research on 3D printing and CAD. I wish I had these skills. It would make my product design process so much easier. There doesn’t seem to be any classes locally unless I want to enter an actual degree program. It’s probably for the best that I don’t waste my time in learning this skill when I can hire experts that will always be better than me.

Visiting the local recycle plant

Took a tour of the local recycling plant. It’s a big operation with a lot of manual labour requirements to sort our waste. It also appears that sorted bails of plastic are starting to accumulate. It’s common industry knowledge that there aren’t enough local buyers of recycled material now that most of the Asian countries are no longer taking our rubbish. The price per ton of bailed plastic (pre-processed) has dropped because of this. This only confirms my view that more manufacturing must be done with Australian recycled plastic to avoid it going to the landfills.

Procrastinating because I’m not sure that I have a good idea

Read the ACT Government Discussion Paper about a proposed single-use plastic ban. A similar proposal is being considered around the world right now. Single-use plastic, particularly soft plastics are the hardest to recycle and now there’s less demand for even the recycled harder plastics since the Asian plastic export bans. Something must change to avoid bigger environmental problems in Australia. It’s good that this government is looking at proactive measures.

Met with the business accelerator. They invited me to apply for their program. They also asked me some good questions like – why haven’t I already started prototyping my product idea? I guess, I’m not 100% convinced it’s a good idea yet.

Learning via Google searches

Product/market research continues. I feel like the majority of my time is spent on Google these days. It feels wasteful, but I don’t know a faster way to learn about this industry and potential business opportunities.

Job opp in the circular economy

Did a phone interview for the first and only job I’ve applied for in the circular economy. It went well, and they said that they would recommend me for a 2nd interview. The problem – it would be a huge pay cut from any job I’ve had for the last 15 years, and a step backwards in terms of role. However, it’s a way in to learn more about the industry. So, I told them that I’m still interested because of the learning opportunity.

In fact, in my head I was thinking that less responsibility means that I will still have the brain power to do this business as a side-hustle.

Minimum viable manufacturing

Spoke to a former colleague who is a manufacturing expert. I asked him – what’s the minimum, viable manufacturing capability he would recommend? He said, one machine that’s flexible and able to do small batches because Australia does not have the demand to keep a bigger machine at capacity. He also warned me about the price of moulds. I had no idea that they could be in the 6 figures for some.

He just reiterated my view that I should outsource my manufacturing (at least for now). I still have way too much to learn which makes the risk intolerable for me personally and to any potential investor

Learning about manufacturing moulds

Learning about manufacturing moulds today. If I understood it correctly, a mould is used to produce a product that needs to be hollow in the middle. A die is used to make solid pieces – often with materials such as steel. I’m not sure which one I need right now for my product idea. They seem to be mentioned interchangeably in my research and conversations so far.

There are always bad days too as an entrepreneur

Tough head space day. I’m so sick of doing research! I just wish the universe would give me some confirmation that I’m heading in the right direction – that my next “purpose” is right around the corner.

Start a business and/or get a job?

I attended an event to hear a local panel of successful entrepreneurs talk about their businesses and how they got started. It’s motivating to know that it’s possible to grow something big and meaningful locally.

I saw a job ad for a middle manager role in the circular economy industry – first one that I’ve seen. I think I can provide them with real value too. I’ll go ahead and apply since it could help me learn about this industry faster if I get it.