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Has Every Business Idea Already Been Done?

Wandering Aimfully Through Our Podcast: What is it all for?

Has Every Business Idea Already Been Done?

When was the last time you thought to yourself, "oh, I can’t do XYZ thing in business because too many people are already doing it"?
Jason ZookJason Zook Jason ZookJason Zook

Written by

Jason Zook

Listen to our full episode on Has Every Business Idea Already Been Done? below (with full transcript) or find our podcast by searching What is it all for? in your favorite podcast player.



Five Key Takeaways for Has Every Business Idea Already Been Done?

1. Accept that most business ideas have already been done

It starts by accepting that, YES, basically every business idea has already been done. But… when you accept that reality, it empowers you to then say, What can I do now that I know all ideas have already been done? It’s not about having to come up with some crazy new idea that’s never been done, it’s about realizing what you want to focus on and how you can add your unique twist to it.

This advice can be a little bit cliché, but we think it bears repeating, if you’re someone who is stuck and currently thinking why even pursue a business idea that’s already been done?, remember that business idea hasn’t been done by YOU. Your experiences, your personality, the way that you would do it a little bit differently, those are the things that can take an existing business idea and make them compelling!

2. Choose a beach that already has good waves

We love this metaphor that Justin Jackson talks about when it comes to finding your product-market fit, which is if you’re a surfer, go where the waves ALREADY are. You don’t go to a lagoon where there is no wind and there are no waves. The idea is that you pick a market where people are already surfing because that’s where people are already spending money.

For example, you can either see all of the Squarespace designers out there as people who are doing it, so why even jump into that space? Or you can see the plethora of Squarespace websites that need custom design work as the waves that are already existing. So when you get out there and surf, there’s going to be plenty of opportunities waiting for you.

3. Look at what’s working and then do it differently

Acknowledge the competition and actually use that as a signal that there are people in that market willing to pay for services or products. We can relate to this because we’re one of those people who love original ideas. We love a thing that’s never been done before. But the truth is, we’ve chased those wild/crazy business ideas in our career and it actually has led us to some not-so-great outcomes.

We definitely don’t want you to stifle your creativity, we just want you to recognize that there’s a reason why something hasn’t been done in a particular way. And actually, you can kind of stick closer to some of the ideas that have been done and use those as a guiding light in order to do something that has a market for it.

4. What ideas are worth “wasting” time on

A lot of times, people will not pursue an idea because they don’t want to “waste” a lot of time doing something that no one’s going to pay for. The belief is, if I spend a year working on this and I don’t make a good living from it, then I’ve wasted a year of my life.

But we think the other way of looking at that is, how much time have you spent **not** trying anything and basically saying to yourself, well, it’s already been done, so I’m not going to try that thing, and how many years of that have happened for you in the past?

We believe that’s where so much of online business is about taking a risk and is about taking a chance. Again, you’re going to chase an idea where there are a bunch of people already willing to pay for something, and you’re just trying to figure out a twist that you’re going to put on it.

5. Don’t let the idea of originality stop you from pursuing online business

We know a lot of you listening/reading can relate to this, of creating those limitations for yourself before someone even comes along to do it for you. And it takes practice to have that self-awareness to go, Oh, I’m doing it again. I’m counting myself out before I even try something. What potential are you counting yourself out of by making the assumption that a business idea or space is too crowded?

We don’t want people to let this idea, this dogma of originality, prevent you from getting started and developing an existing idea into an online business that can radically change your life circumstances just because you decided other people have already done it. Other people may have done it already and are you going to choose to look at that as a reason not to move forward, or are you going to look at that as evidence of the fact that if they can do it, you can do it, too, and so it’s evidence to move forward?


Show Notes for Episode 142: Has Every Business Idea Already Been Done?

In online business, there’s this idea that if you don’t have an original idea you can’t succeed. We’d argue that ALL ideas are unoriginal at this point and that choosing to follow a well-worn idea is actually a GOOD THING.

You should 100% put your own twist and uniqueness into everything you do, but you may very well want to pick a crowded space, an “overdone” topic/idea, or create a product/service that lots of folks are already creating. The reason you want to go in this direction is there’s already a demand (aka paying customers) for what you’re building and that’s hugely important to achieving the goal of owning a profitable business.

Listen this week as we explore why original ideas aren’t that important, and we’d posit, are actually harder to pull off and take too much effort.

✈️ Our pramvel takes you through our week in Puglia, Italy! This week was truly a highlight week of our entire year of travels this year. We were absolutely surprised by how much we loved the bigger city of Bari and then made our way to the countryside to stay at a super unique hotel. After an amazing destination wedding with all the bells, whistles, and marching bands, we stayed at an Airbnb that truly knocked our socks off and was way more than we originally expected when booking.

🏨 Check out the DILMAN Hotel in Bari, Italy – g.page/dilmanbari

🍣 The suuuuper funky sushi place we ate at in Bari – g.page/hagakurenohsamba

🏨 Enjoy browsing the Vinilia Resort Hotel we stayed at – g.page/ViniliaWineResort


Full Transcript of Episode 142: Has Every Business Idea Already Been Done?

⬇️ You can also download the .TXT file of the transcript

Jason: Hello there and welcome to the portion of our podcast where we talk to you about WAIM Unlimited and the fact that it is coming out very soon. By coming out, I mean we’re opening the doors for you to join if you’re interested.

Caroline: What did you mean by coming out?

Jason: Coming soon to a theater near you is this.

Caroline: If you’re a new listener, WAIM Unlimited is our unboring monthly coaching program where we give you basically one thing to focus on your business every month. It’s an amazing community of fellow business owners where we chat about all of the inevitable challenges that come along. We teach you the skills that we have picked up on how to grow your online business and have a good and balanced life along the way.

Jason: One of the very cool things that you also get with WAIM Unlimited is access to Teachery, which is our online course software, where you can make as many courses as your heart desires. We charge zero transaction fees, unlike all the other course platforms out there, and it is the most customizable course platform you will find. You can add your colors, you can add your images, you can add your fonts. You can do all kinds of fun things to make it look exactly…

Caroline: So many fun things.

Jason: Like you want. You never get charged for any additional features. We’re always adding new stuff, including…

Caroline: That’s right.

Jason: Coming soon, themes.

Caroline: That’s right.

Jason: Which is very fun.

Caroline: And actually, when you join WAIM Unlimited in Fall, coming out very soon before the end of the year, you will also get what we’re calling the Teachery Theme Pack, which is pre-made themes for courses, where you just basically have to click one button and then boom, you have an entire designed course.

Jason: Fully designed.

Caroline: Ready made, designed by yours truly, and into your Teachery account.

Jason: And by yours truly, they mean you.

Caroline: Yes, that’s me.

Jason: You’re the one who designed it, Caroline.

Caroline: Truly.

Jason: Zook, one of the two people who are working on these projects has designed them for you. Those will be coming out December, but you’ll get access to Teachery right away. And then eventually, when you finish paying off WAIM, that means you pay off Teachery as well, and you never end up paying for it and you use it forever with no cost to you.

Caroline: You can make as many courses or digital products as you want to infinity and beyond.

Jason: Nice. Okay.

Caroline: And you don’t pay us.

Jason: Please don’t, Disney. All right, check everything out at wanderingaimfully.com/join and get ready to become a part of the Wandering Aimfully family starting October 3.

Caroline: Welcome to What Is It All for? A podcast designed to help you grow your online business and pursue a spacious, satisfying life at the same time. We are your hosts, Jason and Caroline Zook, and we run Wandering Aimfully, an unboring business coaching program. Every week, we bring you advice and conversations to return you to your most intentional self and to help you examine every aspect of your life and business by asking, What is it all for? Thanks for listening. And now let’s get into the show.

Jason: And I’m here too.

Jason: And now the episode 142.

Caroline: Just a little rusty.

Jason: Rusty and dusty to kick things off. That’s kind of how you would describe this place we’re in. It’s like a little rusty and dusty. But we’re not going to talk about that until next week.

Caroline: I don’t think rusty.

Jason: I think it’s like engineered rust, you know?

Caroline: Ooh, okay.

Jason: Okay. Thank you. Hello and welcome to our podcast. Welcome back. Hello. Hi. How are things?

Caroline: This is our Pod-Cast.

Jason: Okay, nice. Yeah. Wow.

Caroline: Capital P, hyphen, capital C.

Jason: We are going to chat with you in the pramvel section here about, I think, one of the best weeks we’ve had this year.

Caroline: It was an incredible week, and I would wholeheartedly agree with you.

Jason: Yeah. We did a lot in one week.

Caroline: We did a lot and tell them where we were in.

Jason: So before we get into, obviously, the business part of the podcast, we’re going to talk about our full time travel life, which is…

Caroline: Coming to a close.

Jason: There’s not a lot left to it, really. Granted, there are a couple of months left in the year, but as you’ll start to hear as we go on, there’s some pretty exciting things happening. We’re going to be stationary for a while. Whoa. Anyway, let’s get to this awesome week. We were in the grand and wonderful country of Italy.

Caroline: Italy.

Jason: And we last visited Italy in 2017. We went with two other friends, and we went to Rome, we went to Florence, we went to Milan, we went to Sicily, and we went to one of our favorite places we’ve ever been to in the world, which is a tiny little island off of Sicily called…

Caroline: Ortigia.

Jason: Ortigia Island.

Caroline: If you want to explore Sicily, definitely make it to Ortigia. I believe, what’s the city closest to Ortigia?

Jason: Siracus–? Siracusa?

Caroline: Siracusa?

Jason: Siracusa?

Caroline: Maybe.

Jason: But anyway, that’s not where we went. Just telling you where we went before. This time, we went to the region that is the back heel… It’s the heel. It’s not the back heel. It’s the heel of Italy when you look at the shape of the country. And the region is called Puglia. And we went to specifically, we started in Bari, and then we went to Manduria, I believe, and then Mottola. Everything had an “ah” at the end, obviously. This is Italy. But I will say let’s start with our time in Bari because it was very surprising.

Caroline: Yes. And I think, again, this is a good pattern for our travels. Whenever you go into a leg of the trip with zero expectations…

Jason: It’s easy to exceed them.

Caroline: It’s easy to exceed them, I think, because really this week was the beginning of a little bit of a rapid travel few weeks, because as you’ll get to hear, it was like we were going to Italy for a friend’s wedding. Then we’re in a country right now with family, then there’s going to be more family coming. And so in my mind, there was sort of all of these travel logistics in my head, and I didn’t really have time to just sit and think, We’re going to Italy. So I went into it very much just focused on like…

Jason: We’re going to get this week done and we’re going to move on.

Caroline: Exactly. Which is not the right mindset to have, but you kind of have to when you’re traveling this way. And so from the second that we touched down, I was like, oh, my gosh, we’re in Italy.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t look up anything about Puglia, I didn’t look up anything about Bari, which is the city that we flew into. And we stayed in Bari proper, which is like the actual city.

Jason: Downtown, yeah.

Caroline: The downtown. We stayed there for three–?

Jason: Two nights.

Caroline: Two nights.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: And so we had just enough good meals to have and just the town of Bari just totally surprised me.

Jason: Yeah. I…

Caroline: Town? City?

Jason: Yeah, city. I think we went into it with kind of the idea of, oh, we’re going to move out to the countryside where we’re going to go to this wedding and we’ll get to that in a moment, but Bari is just going to be like a quick stop. We’re not even going to pay attention to it.

Caroline: Exactly. Just like a stopover.

Jason: And so we booked this hotel and usually we do a lot of research for things. We click through a lot of photos and check a lot of stuff out. We didn’t really do that. We just found a hotel that was a boutique hotel. It looked good, the price was definitely fair.

Caroline: Seemed totally easy to get to from the airport.

Jason: Yeah. And so we were just like, we’re going to book it. And we knew it was a boutique hotel, but we didn’t know how much of a boutique hotel it was. I think there were only ten rooms in the hotel. We booked what was the, quote unquote, suite, which actually ended up being what you would think of as the penthouse suite of a hotel. It’s like the top room, but the whole thing is very small. So it’s not like we had this grand 2,000 square foot penthouse overlooking the entire city. It’s still a relatively small room. It just happened to be the only suite in the ten, of the ten rooms. Which is funny. But my favorite part, we arrive and there’s no one there to check you in. There’s just a woman who’s working at the bar, which isn’t even open, and I think she’s just waiting for…

Caroline: Right, so the bottom floor of the boutique hotel is basically just like a little cafe and bar.

Jason: Yeah. Which was really just used for breakfast.

Caroline: Exactly. And so we walk up.

Jason: We walk up. She doesn’t speak any English, which is totally fine. Again, we’re in her country. We say we’re checking in. She shows us two envelopes and we point to the one that’s ours.

Caroline: The one that has our name on it.

Jason: Yep. Does not check our ID, doesn’t ask for our credit card. And then says something in Italian and then Prosecco is in that. And she’s putting glasses on the counter, so we’re inferring that, oh, she’s offering us prosecco. Obviously, we will have some welcome Prosecco. And we just proceed to stand there.

Caroline: We just stand there.

Jason: For 15 to 20 minutes.

Caroline: Enjoying our prosecco.

Jason: Enjoying prosecco. Not really talking to her much.

Caroline: Conversing ever so slightly in Italian and trying to kind of like, discern what she’s saying. And it was just delightful. It just felt so quintessential Italian and very quaint and just not like the experience that you’re used to when you check into a hotel. And it’s sort of like the same going through the motions. It just felt like, oh, welcome. You’re staying with us.

Jason: Yeah. You’ve already taken care of all the logistics. Let’s just enjoy that you’re here.

Caroline: It was so delightful, and it really did force our American ways of like, okay, now we need to get up to our room. And we just sat there.

Jason: Yeah, it was…

Caroline: Stood there.

Jason: Yeah. It was very different than any check-in experience we’ve ever had. And then when we were done, she basically led us over to the next door, which is where the elevator was. And we actually found, like, that’s where there’s like a little reception area, but I think it’s only open for 2 hours a day. And she kind of, like, pushed us into the elevator because it’s very small and only the two of us were going to fit. We put all of our bags and handed us the key and just was like, Arrivederci. We were like, okay, arrivederci.

Caroline: Arrivederci.

Jason: Arrivederci. And so we went up to our room and just were completely surprised by how lovely it was. And we’ll link to the hotel’s website. It’s called the Dilman Luxury Hotel in Bari, so you can check it out for yourself. But there was an exercise bike in the room.

Caroline: Okay. This is my favorite thing. With the suite, you get just an exercise bike in the room, which really was honestly a great feature.

Jason: Sure.

Caroline: Because I just got a nice bike in.

Jason: Yep. And then it had two separate seating areas, an indoor dining or an indoor living room and then an outside living room area, which was great. It was very nice. We had this nice little balcony we took in the sunset.

Caroline: Yeah. And my favorite thing about staying in Bari for that weekend was you had access to more restaurants.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: So we got…

Jason: Were those rust-aurants or restaurants?

Caroline: Restaurants.

Jason: Okay.

Caroline: Resty and rusty.

Jason: They sounded like rust-aurants.

Caroline: They could have been rust-aurants.

JasonL Okay, cool.

Caroline: But…

Jason: We’ve definitely walked by a couple of rust-aurants in different towns.

Caroline: Yes.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: I just love being able to go out that first night and we just got to walk to this little restaurant. And we didn’t make reservations. And so they were basically booked up. But we had gotten there early enough and they were like, we’ll make space for you, but we have a table coming at 9:30, which is like a normal dinner time in Italy. We were like there at 7:30, and it was so lovely. And my favorite thing, just about Bari is that it’s right on the water, so you can kind of stroll down this little half promenade down by the water, which is so pretty.

Jason: I want to mention before we leave Bari, one of the things that we’ve definitely learned this year, which you just never see, especially in the US in restaurants, is as a restaurant diner, you book a table. So let’s say you book a table for 8:00 pm. No one else is going to sit at that table the entire night. That’s your table for the night, and the restaurant is not expecting to have any turnover of your table.

Caroline: Exactly.

Jason: It’s so interesting. It’s so different. And I think, again, it’s the difference between a capitalist and a non-capitalist country where they’re not trying to just turn tables and get as many people in and out of the restaurant as possible.

Caroline: I don’t know if you consider it non-capitalist, but I know what you’re saying.

Jason: Well, yeah, not as hypercapitalist. Let’s say that. I’m not trying to make any political statement. I’m just saying it’s such an interesting different restaurant experience when you know that like, oh, this table, with exception of people like us who come up and like, oh, can you squeeze this in for 2 hours? It’s your table for the whole night. So if those people who booked our table for 9:30 didn’t come, no one was really going to sit there until 9:30, which is just wild.

Caroline: It’s very wild.

Jason: It’s such a different experience.

Caroline: It was so lovely. And then the only other restaurant experience that I’ll talk about is, one night, because we had a couple of meals of pasta, which is obvious.

Jason: Very obvious.

Caroline: But one night you were like, I think I could be in the mood for sushi. And so we went to this sushi restaurant, which this restaurant was just out of left field. It was unlike anything I’ve ever had before. They had all kinds of different culinary, adventurous treats.

Jason: Yeah. They really just kind of went for like we’re going to experiment with a lot of different stuff, a lot of different bites, and a lot of different things.

Caroline: Yes. And so there was this extensive menu, this very quirky interior decor, and you could choose from all kinds of little bites, but they were just that they were just sort of bites, including some sushi rolls and things like that. And so we just got to play all over the menu, and they just came out. One of the things was this carbonara bite that was in like, a fried ball that came in a mold of the Coliseum.

Jason: Yeah. It was basically like tapas meets sushi with some rolls as well.

Caroline: Right. It was so…

Jason: But it was very interesting. We just ordered a bunch of weird stuff. Do you remember what the name of it was? If not, I’ll put it in the description.

Caroline: No, it was very hard to…

Jason: It was very hard to remember. I’ll put in the description just so you can see the photos alone of this place. It was so unique. So from there we packed up from the hotel. We actually went back to the airport, we grabbed our rental car, and then we made our way to the little resort hotel that was basically the overflow of wedding party folks because they had their own hotel where the wedding venue was going to be. But this is the separate one where people like us, we’re not…

Caroline: Friends.

Jason: We’re not like family, we’re friends.

Caroline: Not like the wedding party.

Jason: Exactly. So we’re driving to this place. It’s about 2 hours. We did make a little stop.

Caroline: We did.

Jason: At a little beach club that I just found on Google Maps.

Caroline: I will never forget that day. It was just off the side of the road, this beach club, and we show up and they’re just playing like quintessential summer Italian music and you just see the most gorgeous turquoise water and everyone is so friendly and they sat us on the same side of this booth. So we’re just like looking out over the water.

Jason: Also very…

Caroline: There was a couple next to us that I kid you not, cheers-ed…

Jason: 20 times?

Caroline: 20 times.

Jason: 20 times.

Caroline: During the meal. Everytime they cheers-ed, it was like a cue to me to just like… It was like a meditation chime. It was like, cheers. Enjoy this moment. I loved it so much, I need to cheers more in my life.

Jason: That was a really spontaneous just looked on Google Maps for a place that was halfway between the hotel that we were going to from Bari where we picked up the car. I was like, oh, this just looks good. I don’t even care if the food is that good. This is going to be a great experience. Like we could order whatever and it would be fine. Like just a bowl of pasta and it would be great. But it just was a very magical little moment. Like a perfect Puglia moment, I believe, in Italy. So yeah, then we finished that drive get into the resort, and we had this situation of driving up to the resort where it’s dirt roads, there’s a little bit of just like trash piles randomly. You can’t see the resort at all.

Caroline: I’m like, where are we going?

Jason: And we didn’t look up a ton about what the resort looked like because we just like we knew we had to go here, we’re not going to go anywhere else. And then we finally find the gate and you have to press a button and you’re like, hey, I’m here to check in. And then this gate opens and you’re in this just like oasis.

Caroline: And you see this castle in the middle of this sort of field with this wall around it. And the gate opens and you can’t see the castle until the gate opens.

Jason: Exactly.

Caroline: And I was like, what?

Jason: Where are we?

Caroline: Wha–What happened? How did we get here? And so, yeah, like you said, this little oasis, and it’s such a quirky, interesting little hotel.

Jason: I loved it. Honestly, looking back, it’s going to be one of my favorite hotels I’ve ever been to.

Caroline: Absolutely.

Jason: The only thing that could have made it better, I think, is a little bit bigger room with just like, maybe a couch or something to sit on. Yeah. I don’t love to just sit on a hotel bed for two days.

Caroline: Me, I just live…

Jason: You live in a bed.

Caroline: In a hotel bed.

Jason: You could live in a bed. Pool area was really great. We got to spend tons of time there. We have the largest focaccia sandwich anyone has ever had in their life. Just this giant chunk of focaccia with burrata and some prosciutto on top, which you then cut in half and into a sandwich. It was great. And then the other thing I wanted to mention about the hotel before we get to the wedding was the restaurant that was there. There’s one restaurant on site for the hotel. You had breakfast, which is just, like, a little buffet.

Caroline: Well, there’s technically two. There’s one that’s like the pool restaurant where you ordered lunch.

Jason: Oh, right, right. Yeah, I don’t really count that one.

Caroline: Well, that’s where you had the bar…

Jason: I know, but it’s not like a rest… It’s not a restaurant. You know what I mean?

Caroline: It’s not a restaurant.

Jason: We’re talking about restaurants.

Caroline: It’s more of like a pool club.

Jason: Anyway, the restaurant ends up being a Michelin star restaurant, which we had no idea.

Caroline: No idea.

Jason: Which, if you’ve been following along, one of my goals this year was to eat at a Michelin star restaurant in every country that we visit. I know that it’s a very just, like, fancy thing to do, but it’s just like a bucket list life thing for me, and it’s been wonderful and I’ve loved it so much. Food is our love language.

Caroline: That’s true.

Jason: And so we go to this restaurant and come to find out it also has something I’ve never heard of before, which is a green Michelin star, which basically means the majority of their food comes from less than a kilometer away. Basically 0 km really what it’s supposed to be. It means that it’s grown on site, it’s done on site. And that was just really interesting. I’d never heard of that before.

Caroline: Incredible.

Jason: So it was fun to be able to experience that, the food. We actually went with the vegetarian tasting menu.

Caroline: Yeah, for that exact reason. It was…

Jason: Because we were like, let’s go for it.

Caroline: Remember that zucchini?

Jason: Oh, my gosh, the baked zucchini. I don’t know how long it took them.

Caroline: I don’t even know what it’s called.

Jason: We had the most canapés we’ve ever had.

Caroline: Oh, yeah. They really… You know we love canapés. We didn’t know this before this trip this year, but we love a canapé.

Jason: Also, there was like a bread course that came out with four different types of bread and we looked over, we were the only people that finished our bread. And we’re like…

Caroline: Well, one of them was an interesting, you know, in Italy, breadsticks. But it’s like if you watch Great British baking, it’s not the American breadsticks. It’s like the long, skinny, crunchy kind.

Jason: Yeah.

Caroline: But they brought it out in this cast, like this bust kind of where it was, this queen and the two breadsticks are like her…

Jason: Antenna.

Caroline: Antenna, basically, popping out out of her. It was a very interesting presentation, but it was really obviously not like an easy thing to eat.

Jason: Not very elegant.

Caroline: And so I look down and there’s all these very proper women who are like, clearly not going to broach the queen antenna breadsticks. And I’m like…

Jason: I kind of wish in hindsight, we would have just walked by all their tables and gone, Boop.

Caroline: Boop. Hey, you going to eat that antenna?

Jason: Boop. We’ll take this. These are delicious.

Caroline: We don’t care what we look like when we eat something.

Jason: No, we really don’t. So anyway, that resort was fantastic. The restaurant was absolutely amazing. It really grew on us. The decor was really cool. And I’ll link to this as well, so you can kind of check it out. Very interesting. But let’s talk about the wedding itself, because for me, this is the best wedding I’ve ever been to. It’s got to be top three.

Jason: Two? Top two. It’s got to be top two.

Caroline: To be honest, it’s been a while, so we’ll just go with my favorite because I honestly can’t think of a lot of other ones right now.

Jason: So this was at a place that was about 15 minutes away. We took a shuttle, which ended up being like a full on tour bus that only six of us needed, which was hilarious. It was really fun because we got to talk to other… We didn’t know a single except for the bride and groom, we did not know a single person at the wedding.

Jason: Yeah. And this was a wedding that was supposed to happen in 2020. That got derailed, for obvious reasons. And then it got rescheduled again. Then rescheduled again. I think this was like the fourth time it got rescheduled. But anyway, this was our friends, Matt and Nat. So they actually live in Australia. Her family is from Australia. Matt’s family is from the east coast in the US. So Italy kind of came this place where they could both meet in the middle because it was going to be a destination wedding for somebody in their family. So they ended up picking this place. And it was just I remember walking in. It’s this big open courtyard, it’s all gravel, and I’m like, this is going to feel magical and wonderful. And then you just have all these little moments.

Caroline: So many touches.

Jason: There’s these two long tables where everybody sat for the dinner, which had tambourines with everybody’s name hand lettered on them.

Caroline: And then, like, dangling in the breeze.

Jason: Just jangling in the Italian breeze.

Caroline: So cute.

Jason: There was a little old truck that was used for carrying produce and things that was set up. There was, like, this little blue with wood. We took a photo in front of it and it was amazing.

Caroline: Yes, they had this little kind of, like, pergola area where they had the ceremony set up, which was just perfect.

Jason: It was a little hot for us, but it’s okay.

Caroline: It’s okay. We run hot. And thankfully, the sun went down pretty quickly. I’ll spare you the highlights of the ceremony, really, were that Nat decided to do her vows in a rap format. Which, wow.

Jason: For those two, it really fits. It’s just one of them went over the top.

Caroline: Exactly. And, like yeah, there were just so many beautiful ones.

Jason: How about the brass band that came in.

Caroline: The brass band that played after the ceremony, in between, like, kind of the cocktail hour, there’s just this amazing brass band playing and everyone had their tambourines and that was sort of their welcome into the reception. And they drove, like, a little old Fiat into the reception. Matt didn’t know how to drive standards or stick and just, like, made it through.

Caroline: The sun is setting as we sit down to dinner and this cotton candy sky emerges.

Jason: Beautiful.

Caroline: And it’s all just lit and there’s wine.

Jason: If you’re on our Wandering Aimfully email list, you will see these photos in one of our Monday emails. If you’re not, then you’re missing out because we’re not posting anything on social, so it’s the only place you can see stuff from us. But, yeah, it was just so magical.

Caroline: Yeah, and this was one of those perfect scenarios. You all know on this podcast, we talk a lot about doing things differently and just questioning societal norms. And a wedding wasn’t right for us as a couple, but this is one of those experiences where you go to someone else’s wedding and this is exactly what they wanted and what was right for them. And you just have to appreciate the beauty and the thought that went into it for them. But I think that’s a beautiful thing about living life on your own terms and also just like, respecting other people’s choices is you can love something for someone else and not want it for yourself.

Jason: Yeah, it was a great reminder of when we eloped in 2017, and it was just the two of us. Well, with our videographer/ photographers. So the five of us on a cliff, just us together, sharing some tequila and donuts to end it out with our vows. It was fantastic. I could see how this is a wonderful version of that, that’s bigger, but looking back, I’m like, I’m so glad we did it our way.

Caroline: Yes, exactly.

Jason: All the logistics they had to go through.

Caroline: And that’s the thing about life is that you get your own choices, and that’s why you don’t judge somebody else’s choices against your own values.

Jason: Yeah. Okay, so the wedding was fantastic. We made it home safe and sound on the bus. We had a kind of a short day to recover afterwards, which in hindsight, not sure we picked the best schedule, but then we moved over to an Airbnb that was basically in the middle of Puglia, just like smack dab in the middle of nowhere. And this place, we’re not actually going to link to it, we’re going to save you like, a long bit of commentary about it. But I just wanted to share. We made the right decision, previous us, to book a place that had a pool that had enough space to just relax. We had questionable WiFi again.

Caroline: Bad WiFi. We had to use an Ethernet cable, if that gives you an idea.

Jason: So I packed an Ethernet cable on this trip at the very beginning because I knew at some point it might come in use.

Caroline: And it did.

Jason: And here it is. Month nine of our travels had to bust out… It’s actually the second time I’ve had to use it, but yeah, even a WiFi tech came and it was working, but it wasn’t working with our devices. Anyway, it was a big mess. But I will say the highlight of that was just the pool and getting this pool. And it ended up being this almost like MTV Cribs backyard situation, which for those of you who watch MTV Cribs growing up, you can just picture like an extravagant backyard with lawn sculptures and a huge pool and an outdoor kitchen and all this other stuff, and you’re just like, Where am I? Like, what is happening? And it was a very cool week. The whole week was just very fun and enjoyable.

Caroline: Yeah. And my favorite part was that Matt and Natt were able to come and meet up with us at the house, which is just incredible because they had so many friends and family that they were trying to see. And I don’t even know how they have the stamina to do all of this, but we’ve done calls with them, but we haven’t seen them in person for a few years. And the fact that they took their time out of their wedding week and literally on the way to their airport came by…

Jason: Our house.

Caroline: Our MTV Cribs and got to be in the pool and stuff, that was the highlight of the whole thing. It was worth going to Italy just to spend the day with them. In general, it was just like a magical week in Puglia, Italy. I will say, despite Italy being like one of my favorite countries, the driving in Italy…

Jason: It’s interesting.

Caroline: I couldn’t live there just for the driving, y’all. We dubbed the new term called the Italian slide, which is we don’t use blinkers. And what we do is it’s not just that we’re changing lanes without blinkers, it’s that we’re riding the entire middle line on a two-lane road. And on top of that, if you’re on a one lane both ways road and the semi-truck is in front of you, people are passing and they’re passing with just like inches in between the oncoming traffic.

Jason: They’re not even passing within inches. They’re passing at the same time.

Caroline: It’s really too stressful.

Jason: Like, the car on your side moves over to the right and the car on the oncoming side moves over to left, and the car passes in the middle between the two lanes. It’s ridiculous.

Caroline: It was so stressful. But if given the option, choose the toll roads.

Jason: Yeah. So, yeah, I think we’ll just wrap up the pramvel there and just say, this was definitely, to me, one of our highlight weeks of the year.

Caroline: It really was.

Jason: I mean, it just was amazing. Okay, let’s get into the topic to discuss here, which is talking about some ideas and if they’re all already done.

Caroline: Yeah. So this is, I think, a feeling. I know it’s a feeling I’ve had before. When it comes to online business, I think, especially if you’re someone who spends a lot of time following other businesses or on social media a lot, you can start to have this feeling like, what is even the point of me doing this? Everyone’s already said what has been said. Everyone’s already had every idea that there is to have. Everyone’s already started every kind of business. And you sort of go like, Where’s my place in all of this? And you can sometimes use that to discourage yourself, to not even want to move forward because you feel like there’s nothing left that’s original.

Jason: Yeah. And my thought on this as we started to talk about this episode is that it just starts with a little bit of acceptance that, yes, basically all ideas have already been done.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: So if you can accept that and then understand, okay, but what do I do now that I know that all ideas have already been done? It’s that you start to realize what really makes things stand out is your unique twist or your unique story or your unique way of doing something. And it’s not about having to come up with some crazy new idea that’s never been done, because we’ll talk more about that and why that can really also be very difficult. It’s about realizing, oh, okay, all ideas have been done. But I want to focus on this. And whatever this is, I’m going to add my own twist to it.

Caroline: Yeah. I know the advice can be a little bit cliché, but I think it bears repeating if you’re someone who is kind of locked in this thought right now of what is it all for if it’s all been done, is that it hasn’t been done by you. Right. And again, I know it’s cliché, but you are the uniqueness your unique lens, your experiences, your personality, the way that you would do it a little bit differently. Like, you are the unique element in doing an idea that has already been done, which is reason enough to put it out there.

Jason: Yeah. I love this metaphor that Justin Jackson talks about when it comes to finding your product-market fit, which is if you’re a surfer, you go where the waves are. Like, you don’t go to a lagoon where there is no wind and there’s no waves because you’re not going to be able to surf.

Caroline: Or like make up your own…

Jason: Yeah, body of water and pour some water into it. You’re not going to be able to surf there. And the idea is that you pick a market where people are already surfing because that’s where people are already spending money. So to kind of use this metaphor in what we’re talking about here, let’s just say, for example, you want to be a Squarespace website designer. Well, guess what? There are a lot of waves out there for that. There are a lot of clients looking to pay people to upgrade their Squarespace websites.

Caroline: Right. It’s like you can either see all of the Squarespace designers out there as people who are doing it, so why even do it? Or you can see each of them as the waves that are already existing. And so when you get out there and surf, there’s going to be plenty of waves. That’s the way to change the frame up, right?

Jason: Yeah. And I just think the whole part of this that’s so important is you start to do this acceptance and then you start to do this reframe of, oh, but wait, people are paying for Squarespace website design, so that’s awesome, I should go and do that as opposed to this other business idea that I was doing, which was like designing Microsoft Zune interfaces. No one’s asking for that anymore, or ever was, unfortunately for Microsoft. But the point is that you go where these markets are already existing, you go where people are already spending money and you find your own unique twist to put on things.

Caroline: Right. It’s seeing the competition and actually using that as a signal that there are people in that market willing to pay for services or pay for products. And as someone who… Listen, I can relate to this because I’m one of those people who loves an original idea. I love a thing that’s never been done before. I love a thing that’s like hard to explain because it’s just so new and innovative. But the truth is, I’ve done that in my career and it actually has led me to some not-so-great outcomes. Like those of you who have been around since the Made Vibrant days will remember a project I did called Color Your Soul. And I had this idea and really it stemmed out of this idea of membership, like a membership model, but I wanted to do it differently than it had ever been done and I didn’t want to do because everyone was doing memberships. And so I thought, oh, everyone’s done it this way. So I thought I’ll create this subscription that’s like a magazine, but it’s also journal prompts. Anyway, it was a bunch of things and it had never been done before, but there was a reason it had never been done before and it’s because people were not… People were confused about what it was. It didn’t work. And so I think just for anyone out there who is like me, who really loves this idea of doing something new and innovative and different, that’s great. I definitely don’t want to stifle that creativity, but also recognize that there’s a reason sometimes why something hasn’t been done in that way. And actually you can kind of stick closer to some of the ideas that have been done and use that as a guiding light in order to do something that has a market for it.

Jason: Yeah. And one of the notes you wrote down here is that you go so far to originality that you lose a bit of functionality.

Caroline: Right.

Jason: And I think that’s such an important thing to remember when it comes to online business. Now, if you are creating a hobby or a side project that doesn’t need to make money and it’s just a creative expression thing, by all means, be as original. Make those Microsoft Zune interfaces.

Caroline: Do something weird.

Jason: Just go wild. But if you’re trying to build a business and you’re trying to be profitable and you’re trying to create some calm in your life through generating revenue, it’s important to understand, I need to do what people get. I need to do what people are already paying for. I need to do the things that someone is going to say, I am going to give you money for this because it is a thing that I need, not something that you just came up that I feel like I should pay for for some reason.

Caroline: Right. And you need to package it in a way that someone can understand, even if it means that you lose a little bit of that, “Oh, this isn’t quite that original.” Believe me. It was hard at first for Jason and I to kind of accept that we were going to be business coaches, right?

Jason: Absolutely.

Caroline: Because if you’re talking about has everything already been done? There’s every type of coach under the sun now. Right. And there’s a little part of like the part of me that leans so much towards originality and loves doing things differently. When I realized that we’re business coaches. Of course that part of me is like. Oh. Well. But if I had let that stop me. If I had let that stop us from… We would have never created WAIM and done it our way and done it in an unboring way and ask ourselves. Okay. Let’s take something that has been done by so many people. Which is coaching. And let’s ask ourselves. How can we do it differently? What would we change about it? About the way that we see other people doing it? And that allowed us to carve out a market that has turned out to be really profitable.

Jason: Yeah. And you could come back to that surfing metaphor where it’s like, there’s a lot of business coaches out there surfing the waves, but we brought our own boards, we brought our own style… We sit on our shoulders when we surf. And it’s very awkward, but we somehow make it happen. And people are like, oh, I’ll buy from the people who are doing the totem pole setup of surfing. Which just looks really awkward, but it’s interesting and I get it. But anyway, I think one of the things we also wanted to talk about was basically like counting yourself out before you even start.

Caroline: Exactly. This is what I remind myself of when I get stuck in this thought pattern of, well, like, there’s so much content out there. And I’m sure someone’s had this thought before or talked about this before, and I just take a step back and I realize, am I really okay with creating this limit for myself that somebody else hasn’t even told me that this thought is unoriginal or someone else hasn’t even told me that this isn’t worth saying, but yet I have told that to myself. And we do that so much in business. And I know a lot of you listening can relate to this, of creating those limitations for yourself before someone even comes along to do it for you. And it takes practice to have that self awareness to go, oh, I’m doing it again. Like, I’m counting myself out before I even try something. It’s like, try something and let somebody come along and say, oh, there are too many people talking about this. You should talk about this because, by the way, no one’s going to say that.

Jason: Yeah, absolutely. And I think if you look at any product that we’ve made over the past, let’s say five years, all of them have already been done in a lot of different ways. But the reason that people buy from us is because we have a specific way that we do things. We have a specific way that we teach things. We have a specific way that we create an experience for someone, and that is the stuff that stands out. And people want to buy from people that they like, they want to buy from people that they resonate with. They want to buy from people that they feel like they can see themselves in. And I think that if anybody listening to this is on the cusp of starting something or maybe pivoting something, you’re just like, I don’t know, it feels like everyone’s already doing that. Let that happen. Let all the people not buy from you and say, the reason I didn’t buy from you is because everybody is already doing this, and this looks exactly like everything I’ve already done, and it’s not going to happen just FYI.

Caroline: Exactly. But I understand what you’re saying, which is like, before you make up these assumptions in your head, test it and let the market tell you that, right? I was watching a video, a YouTube video, the other day about Etsy, and it was this guy who started an Etsy shop of stickers, and he was talking about how a lot of people have been leaving Etsy or not even starting because they just go, oh well, the boat is already… I already missed the boat. The time for Etsy was before and it’s not now, and it’s so saturated and all this stuff. And he brought up an example of this shop who started their shop in 2020 and they just did, I think, like custom portraits or something like that. They’ve sold, I think, 38,000 products or something. He did the math and it was basically like they had made $790,000 in two years since 2020. To me, especially because of the COVID time warp, it feels like 2020 was yesterday. And if you told me that someone can just start a shop, there’s this idea that you have to have started so long ago, otherwise you’ve completely missed the boat. Right. And so it can be very easy to get in that headspace of going, no, well, everyone on Etsy has already done custom portraits. There’s no reason for me to come along and do the same. And that is proof that you’re counting yourself out, because imagine if that person had never started their shop in 2020 because they thought they were too late or there was too many custom portraits, but they clearly had something unique to bring to the table and they just thought, why not me?

Jason: Yeah, exactly.

Caroline: So I think that is just important to remember. What potential are you counting yourself out of by making the assumption that it’s too crowded?

Jason: I think one of the things we didn’t even write down in our notes that just came to me was people, I think, a lot of times will not pursue an idea because it’d be like, oh well, I don’t want to waste a lot of time doing something that no one’s going to pay for. And if I spend a year working on this and I don’t make a good living from it, then I’ve wasted a year of my life. But I think the other way of looking at that is like, but how much time have you spent not trying anything and basically saying to yourself, well, it’s already been done, so I’m not going to try that thing, and how many years of that have happened? And I think that that’s where so much of online business is about taking a risk and is about taking a chance. But again, you’re not digging your own hole in your backyard to try and surf some waves in. You’re going to an idea where there are a bunch of people already willing to pay for something, and you’re just trying to figure out that, okay, I’m going to design Squarespace websites, but I’ve got a little bit of a twist that I’m going to put on this. And what is that twist? What is that thing that you do that you bring to it? And you’re probably not going to know that out of the gate, so you just have to keep trying things. And that goes back to our experimentation episode that we just did as well, which is you just have to keep experimenting. You’ve got to keep doing things. And you look at this time that you’re investing as, oh, well, at least I’m doing something. At least I’m trying. At least I’m putting my ideas out there and I’m not just waiting a whole other year or two or three wishing I had started something and counting myself out before I even had a chance.

Caroline: Exactly. Which is really just kind of wraps up nicely because that’s my big takeaway from this episode is I don’t want people to let this idea, this dogma of originality, prevent them from getting started and just trying things and developing into an online business that can radically change their life circumstances just because they decided other people have already done it. And it’s like, yeah, other people have done it. Are you going to choose to look at that as a reason not to move forward, or are you going to look at that as evidence of the fact that if they can do it, you can do it, too, and so it’s evidence to move forward.

Jason: Yeah. I wish there was, like, a magic wand that we could just spin around and boop people on the nose with and be like, now you have the courage to go out and do a thing that a lot of people have already done. Go for it.

Caroline: Yeah.

Jason: And everyone could see, okay, all right, I’m going to go try that. I’m not going to let the idea that I have to be so original with some type of new thing I want to create be the only way that I can create an online business.

Caroline: Yeah. And that doesn’t mean that it’s not going to be hard. That doesn’t mean that it’s going to all magically work out. See 140 other episodes of this podcast for all of those challenges that are inevitably going to come, but you’re not going to know what can unfold for you unless you try. And I just don’t want anyone to count themselves out before they try.

Jason: Yeah. All right, well, we hope this episode gave you a little bit of inspiration. Maybe you’ve been sitting on an idea that’s maybe a little bit boring, maybe a little bit same-same.

Caroline: Embrace boring.

Jason: As a bunch of other people. Go for it.

Caroline: Do it differently.

Jason: But put your own twist on it. Create a whole bunch of experiments that you can try to make it your own and figure out a different way to do something and give yourself the chance. I think that’s the big thing that we have given ourselves so many chances over the years because we’ve been willing to do something that lots of other people have done. Again, see our business coaching program that have worked out really well because we’ve been willing to say, great, we’re going to do this, but we’re going to make it our own. But we’re going to also do something that people understand so that we don’t set ourselves up for a whole bunch of extra work trying to convince people of an idea like your Color Your Soul example.

Caroline: Exactly.

Jason: That they just don’t really get. And it’s too difficult to understand.

Caroline: Which, by the way, I think just to add one more kind of point on it here, being able to go where the waves are, going back to this whole meta-far… Metaphor. Meta-far.

Jason: It’s a meta-far.

Caroline It’s a meta-fart.

Jason: Oh, wow, okay, that’s all right.

Caroline: Metaphor is going where the waves are can sometimes allow you the freedom to experiment more and do those ideas that people don’t get. Right. Because now you have kind of a profit center that people can understand and there is a market for so that you can then use that to branch out and do things that are a little bit more risky, a little bit more people don’t understand. And I know we’ve done an episode about this in the past, but we talk a lot about longevity projects and legacy projects. And longevity is like you go where the people are so that you can create a predictable profit center for your business, which can create stability. And stability allows you to do these more what we call legacy projects or these things that are closer to your heart, but maybe there’s not a market for them.

Jason: Microsoft Zune templates.

Caroline: They’re your Microsoft Zune templates.

Jason: Yeah. Boy, Microsoft Zune is really getting a lot of love this episode. Also, neither of us ever had one.

Caroline: Also, isn’t Zune like… It’s like an iPod?

Jason: Yes, it was. It was.

Caroline: Okay, cool. But it wasn’t.

Jason: Yeah, but it was. Anyway, I hope that was helpful for you, listening to this. I hope you got a…

Caroline: Just a little encouragement boost.

Jason: A little bit of okay, all right. I’m going to pursue that idea that I’m thinking about that maybe it doesn’t seem that, quote unquote, original, but it’s an idea that people are already paying for and you can make it your own and you can have fun with it.

Caroline: Love it.

Jason: All right, that’s it, everybody. We’ll be back next week with another episode in another country.

Caroline: Another country. Another day, another country.

Jason: And we’ll share it all with you next week. Good bye.

Caroline: Goodbye.

Has Every Business Idea Already Been Done?

(Big Fat Takeaway)

Know that ALL business ideas are unoriginal at this point and choosing to follow a well-worn idea is actually a GOOD THING.

IT IT

This article written by

Jason Zook

(he/him) Co-head-hancho of this WAIM thing. I used to wear t-shirts for a living, now I just wear them because I'm not a nudist. You can usually find me baking things, watching JCVD movies, and dreaming of living on an island.

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