Why you Should Develop a Product you Know Little About

By Katie Corbett

Sometimes, it can be easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of your job that you forget your purpose. I found this to be true at my first job out of college. I went to work and did the same thing day after day. Part of the reason I hated that job was because I was there to make a paycheck and knew it wouldn’t be a long-term gig. The other reason I hated it was because making a paycheck wasn’t a compelling reason for me to work the job in the first place.

I was so focused on the “how” of my job that I couldn’t keep close to mind the “why” for my being there. Author Simon Sinek points this out as a pitfall and potential reason for failure. When companies—and people—forget their purpose, they start throwing things against the wall and seeing what sticks. Often, he says, this leads to disaster. Sinek’s book, “Start with Why,” gave me a great idea for defeating that possibility: Be the “why” person; hire the “how” people to work for you. I decided to apply this in my own life by jumping into activities, even when I didn’t know exactly how I would do them.

About a year-and-a-half ago, I thought of an idea for an apparel product. It’s still under development, so I won’t give away too many specifics, but I’ll say that my knowledge of the apparel industry was limited when I started. I knew this product was in line with my “why,” because it would help people overcome a specific challenge and that they could be happier and more fulfilled. I wanted it to be created. I just needed to find the people who had the tools and knowledge to make it happen.

Through networking, recommendations from others, and by accident, I found the people I needed. I’ve brought on board a textiles consultant who is helping me plan and strategize, a seamstress who is assisting me with the design and will create prototypes, a web developer who will be working on my web presence and e-commerce store, and a branding expert who will support me as I market my product.

All the while, I’m able to keep a clear vision of my “why.” I’m excited to learn and to see something that started as an idea in my mind turning into a real product. I’m eager for the journey. And even if this venture doesn’t succeed beyond my wildest dreams, I’ll know why I undertook it and will have learned a lot in the process. To me, that’s worth the risk. Why not think of a way you could try this for yourself?

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