Use This Tool To Validate Your Idea


In our jobs as federal employees, knowing how to do our jobs and do them well is essential to our success. Our success is predicated on the training we receive and the attitude we take regarding that training and how we build upon it thereafter.

But, how do you know if you are successful at your job? For that matter, how do you measure any success you have in life?

One way most people measure is by the results they get in life. Some even measure it by the amount of money they make. Regardless of how you measure it, would you not agree that before you embark on any endeavor it would be beneficial to weigh the pros and cons. In effect, you validate the idea the idea before you forward. That validation is what I want to cover in this post.

I recently interviewed Nick Walter who made over $60,000 in 30 days without a full-time job. Yes, that is not a typo.

One way he did this was by preselling his class on a site called

Many of you may have heard about Kickstarter, but for those who don’t know what it is, it’s one of world’s largest crowdfunding platforms for creative projects. When most people think of Kickstarter, they think in very linear terms. Such as, if you have a tangible product you go onto this platform and raise the capital you need. But Nick Walter used it a very non-linear way. He used it as a market validation tool.

By creating a Kickstarter campaign for his course, How to Make a Freaking iPhone App, not only did he boost sales by preselling his $199 course for $29, but he also got remarkable market validation. He learned that he had a huge demand for a product that he was still in the process of creating.

How can you apply this strategy to your new online courses you will be creating?

Well, what did Nick do?

Nick came up with a great idea for a class he could teach. Most people have dreams of making their own app, or at least have a great idea for one. Nick wanted to create a course that could not only teach people how to do just that, but do it in a way in which beginners with no programming experience would also feel comfortable.

He set up the Kickstarter course and presold it for $29, $39 and $49 depending on the pledge you made.

In your upcoming online teaching course, could you also presell your courses and classes?

What is the “problem” can you solve or teach  your audience? What areas in your career can you pull from to create a class online?

What are some things you can presell?

Remember Nick was not raising money for a tangible product like iPhone cases or cameras, he sold his intellectual property, he sold his upcoming class.

  • What products can you sell to your audience?
  • What classes or courses can you create?
  • What is your audience’s pain point?
  • How can you be the solution to what that pain is?

The key is to leverage Kickstarter to see if there is an interest for your upcoming course before you even dive into making it. If you get a lot of sign-ups on Kickstarter, then you’ll have validated online course ideas.  A successful campaign demonstrates proof of demand. With that proof, you can move full steam ahead.

You can copy Nick by:

  • Acting fast on opportunities. Nick saw there was need for his class on making iPhone Apps with Apple’s new Swift programming language, so he jumped on it. How fast are you willing to act?
  • Not waiting for perfection but just diving in. Many people wait and wait until everything is just perfect before they send it out into the world, if they ever send it out at all. Nick did not wait, he learned something and promptly put out his offering to the world. Will you wait or create?
  • Believing in your vision. All of us have doubts about our abilities, it’s human nature, but Nick did not let doubts stop him. He forged ahead and look at where he is today. You can be next. As Oprah says, “You become what you believe.”
  • Focusing on solving a problem your audience is facing rather than creating something you think they want. In the course you will teach, ask yourself what is the problem they are having and then teach the solution.

If you’re still feeling a little hesitant, I’ll be sharing my insights about this very topic in an upcoming course I’ve titled “Teach Online: How to Create Side Hustle Income Leveraging Your Existing Skills.”

Meiko Patton is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.

Leave a Comment

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Corinne Stubbs

This was really useful. I liked the point on perfectionism and how we should learn to just dive in. Easier said than done, but it’s an important obstacle to overcome. Great post!