Hi, I'm Ramit Sethi, the New York Times best-selling author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich and the founder of IWT and GrowthLab.
Let me tell you a story about one of the hardest periods of growing my business…
It’s hard for people to understand how uncertain an entrepreneur feels.
It’s one thing to work at a place where there are standard policies and procedures to follow. You walk into work and you have an employee badge. Your work computer is there. You have a boss and you know what to work on today.
But when you’re starting your own business, the path isn’t so clear. Early on, I remember struggling with even knowing what to do next.
I had just published my book and I was on book tour.
Every day, I’d wake up at 4am, talk about my book all day, then fly to a different city that night. When I met my readers — my favorite part of book tour — I’d always ask them one question:
What should I write more about?
Invariably, the answers would come back to something about “earning more.” Honestly, it was baffling. What do you mean, earn more? How would you want to earn more? They had no idea.
For me, it was confusing and nerve-wracking. I’d spent the last few years talking about personal finance. What did earning more have to do with that?
I wondered if I could just ignore the people who were asking about earning more. Maybe they were outliers. Then, in the next city, I’d hear the same thing.
OK, so earning more. What does that really mean? Should I talk about negotiating your salary? Selling stuff on eBay? Side hustles? It was like opening a can of worms — only there were 50 cans, and I didn’t know which one was the right one.
And now it wasn’t just a personal blog that I wrote in my free time. My business was at stake. If I got this wrong, my readers would leave.
Worst of all, I didn’t know what my next step was. Should I blog about a few different topics? Or ask random people? What then?
I didn’t know it at the time, but I had stumbled onto the need for "customer research.” Get it right and you can grow a profitable business. Get it wrong and you launch a product nobody wants and hear crickets (and potentially lose your business).
Well, we decided to do it. So my (small) team and I jumped in to create something on “earning more.” Little did we know at the time that we'd spend the next 14 months figuring it out. This included:
It was an exhausting, confusing, 14-month sprint that I never wanted to do again.
For most of that time, we had no idea if we were on the right track. Or if anybody would care about what we were spending our time creating.
Along the way, we ran into a lot of obstacles. Some of them were tactical ("what questions should we ask our customers?"). Some were psychological ("isn't it weird asking a stranger for an interview?"). We had to figure all of these hurdles out.
Let me show you some of the biggest obstacles — and the biggest customer research insights — we discovered along the way…
"I'm stuck. How do I decide what to do next?"
It's normal to get stuck in your business journey. Maybe you're stuck on your business idea or what your next product should be. That's OK — even successful entrepreneurs get stuck.
What's bad is to stay stuck. Or to use "guessing and praying" as your way out.
As one of my heroes, Jeff Bezos, says:
"The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Our goal is to be
earth’s most customer-centric company.”
— Jeff Bezos
If you're stuck, the solution isn’t to think it away or agonize endlessly over all the different things you should do. The solution is to ask your customer what they truly want.
Your customers will give you the answers … if you just know which questions to ask.
"Customer research takes a ton of work. Too much work."
Customer research can be a ton of work — if you're doing it the wrong way. I know because I used to do it that way.
But there is a better way, and there are simple, powerful customer research tools you can use to make customer research fast, easy, and crystal clear. (Keep reading to learn more about these tools…)
The big danger with this invisible script is that it's not that big of a leap from "Customer research is too much work…" to "…so I'm just going to follow my passion."
What happens when you make that leap? You follow your passion and wonder why no one is paying any attention to your oddball business idea. There's a better way.
"If I fail to validate my idea, then I have to start over."
This common belief is doubly false.
First, you don't "fail" at customer research. If you discover your business or product idea isn't going to be profitable — that's great news! Much better to find that out now, upfront, than after you've spent months (or years) and thousands of dollars on it.
Plus, even if your idea falls apart during your research, that's not a dead end. Our customer research process opens up many other, related doors you can step through.
A good customer research process keeps you always moving closer to your winning idea.
"It's weird to ask people for an interview."
Only if you ask in a pushy or weird way.
We've created a word-for-word script to ask for an interview that's not pushy or weird. Trust me, people will want to help you.
"I already interviewed a few friends. And I lurked on FB groups,
subreddits, and Amazon reviews.
None of that helped."
You can learn a lot from forums and Amazon reviews, but it's not the whole picture. How do you put the pieces together? How do you know when an idea is actually good enough?
Your friends love you but they’ll lie to you. They don’t want to tell you the truth, so they’ll say things like, “Yeah, that would probably be really helpful to people” (code for: “…but not for me”).
That's why we created "Greenlight Benchmarks,” which give you a clear YES or NO on if your idea is ready to act on.
Bottom line: Customer research can get you unstuck.
It will show you where to take your business next.
It doesn't need to be a ton of work. It doesn't need to be full of dead ends or awkward interviews. Best of all, it doesn't need to be ambiguous.
The goal, after all, is a clear GREENLIGHT forward. When you do it right, customer research can be fun, fast, and even enjoyable.
Today, instead of taking over a year to "greenlight" a single idea, like we did the first time, we can research and validate 7+ ideas in a year.
That doesn't include all of the ideas that naturally fall by the wayside during the research process.
How did we do it? By creating, testing, and perfecting our "customer research toolbox" to take all of the hassle and guesswork out of the process.
When we hear or come up with a business or product idea, we know exactly what to do. We know who to talk to, how to connect with them authentically, and exactly what to say.
We have clear "Greenlight Benchmarks" that take all the guesswork out of knowing if our idea is a winner or should be skipped.
Today, I want to give you access to our toolbox of customer research.
Greenlight Your Idea is our brand-new, online course that gives you our COMPLETE customer research toolbox — everything you need to get unstuck and move your business forward.
The 6 Why Prompts
How to get great answers from people even when their first response isn’t that good
The 5 Greenlight Benchmarks
The exact signs that tell you when to move forward with your idea
The Paid Test Menu
All your options for proving that your idea truly taps into a burning desire of your customers
Three Step Outreach
How to get all the interviews you could possibly need from any market in an authentic and genuine way
The Double Slot Method
The single easiest and fastest way to get any call scheduled
Greenlight Your Idea is taught by one of our GrowthLab alum – former Senior Director of Growth, Lars Lofgren.
Lars personally developed the rapid customer research system we use and that you'll learn in this course.
This program includes six videos, all of which you get immediately once you join. With 80 minutes of training, Greenlight Your Idea is designed to be fast and focused — the quickest way for you to start using our customer research toolbox in your own business.
Each video is direct and tactical. We walk you through each step and challenge in the customer research process, then give you our proven tools, scripts, and recommendations for how to handle it.
Don't reinvent the wheel. Grab our toolbox, use the tools you need, and start growing your business!
What is this course about?
Greenlight Your Idea helps you get unstuck in your business by giving you our complete customer research toolbox — all of the exact scripts, surveys, checklists, tools, and questionnaires we use to determine which ideas and products people want the most.
This course walks you through each item of our toolbox, gives you advice on how to use each tool, and shows you how to quickly get clear answers from your customer research.
How is this different from Zero to Launch? Do I need to do Zero to Launch first?
Zero to Launch is our flagship program that teaches you the entire process for starting a business.
Greenlight Your Idea is our new course focused exclusively on customer research — specifically how to find the right market, ask the right questions, and figure out what to do next with your business.
Greenlight Your Idea and Zero to Launch are both designed as independent products. You can start with either product or use them together.
What if I don't have a business idea yet. Will this help me?
Yes! The tools in Greenlight Your Idea are perfect for finding and validating any business idea.
I have an idea but I'm still at the beginning stages. Will this course help me?
Yes! The Greenlight Your Idea toolbox will help you refine your idea, define your audience, and identify profitable products you can build.
Will this course help me if I already have a business, email list, product, and customers?
Yes! We use this exact toolbox to test every product idea we have — and we strongly recommend you do the same. Anytime we're stuck, this is how we get unstuck.
Does Greenlight Your Idea work for online businesses, freelancers, agencies, consultants, retailers, SaaS, etc.?
Yes! The tools we share in Greenlight Your Idea can be used in any type of business.
I've been trying to find the right idea for a long time and I always hit a brick wall and have to start over. Will this course help me?
Yes! We've been in that situation, too. It's no fun. The Greenlight Your Idea toolbox will help you avoid hitting that brick wall.
How long does this course take?
Greenlight Your Idea includes over 80 minutes of training. This isn't a bloated course stuffed with 84 videos you'll never watch. It's a brisk, focused tour of our customer research toolbox. We kept the course tight and focused on helping you take action quickly.
Do I get access to the entire course at once?
Yes! You get full access to the entire product as soon as you join. Go through the entire course or jump straight to the section you're most interested in — you decide!
If you're ready, I can give you our COMPLETE customer research toolbox so you can get unstuck today, tomorrow, and anytime in the future you run into a big business question.
We've packed a lot into Greenlight Your Idea, and I want to make sure that you not only get all that content before you fully commit to this — I want to give you 60 days to let it digest, integrate it into your business, and make sure this is really working for you.
Try the entire course. If you don't LOVE it, I insist that you get 100% of your money back. I'll even eat the credit card processing fees.
It's simple: Join the program and try it for yourself. If our customer research toolbox doesn't help you within 60 days, I want you to email me. Show me you did the work, and I'll give you all your money back.
This guarantee lasts 60 days, which completely covers the course. That means you can try the ENTIRE course and then decide if it's right for you.
When we took our first swing at customer research, it was a 14+ month slog to get to one promising idea.
The happy ending: That product ended up becoming Earn1K on the Side. We launched it in 2010 and made over $500,000. Against the odds, we had a hit.
After that, we doubled the price and relaunched the course. This time we made over $1,000,000.
During that time, many other businesses rushed out unproven, unvalidated product ideas that flopped. Most of those businesses are no longer around.
Customer research is essential to the success of every business, but it doesn't need to be a 14-month slog.
Today, thanks to our Customer Research Toolbox, we can quickly and confidently validate 7+ product ideas in a year.
Now I want to share that toolbox with you. You can use the scripts, surveys, checklists, tools, and questionnaires included in this toolbox on any business or product idea.
But only if you join Greenlight Your Idea now.