Instagram is big. But Upwork and YouTube are bigger. Twitter is big. But Uber and Airbnb are bigger. Your startup idea is big. But your startup idea that pays people is bigger. What do YouTube, Airbnb, Uber and Upwork have in common? You can get paid using them. And thousands of people are getting an income from them right now.
Take whatever startup you’re working on now. Is it possible to get your users to work and provide value to your other users, so much so that you could pay them?
That’s the difference between the startups that grow to provide a useful service to a lot of users, and the startups that go huge and grow very rapidly to quickly change the way an important part of how the world works.
The difference is humans helping humans, directly. Replacing the old accepted norm of companies being the ones that provide services is what is happening with this new breed of startups.
The company now just provides the trusted brand shell, the distribution network, the easy click-here-to-upload-your-picture marketing platform, some basic just-be-nice training. Then it sits back, is barely aware that you as a provider on the platform exist and takes a small cut. You’re now working for yourself. Be the Hip Hop Lyft guy if you want. Or don’t. It’s your business.
For the first time in history, there are now a lot of these effective marketing platforms ready to roll for you and your chosen skill. If you drive, clean houses, walk dogs or build websites, you can reach as many people who need that skill globally and locally as you’d like, every day.
There’s no need to do your own posters, ads, hustling and marketing to be an entrepreneur; the conduits and brand facades now exist for direct person to person services. It’s not an economy of sharing or on-demand; it’s more like a P2P economy.
Ask not what you can do for your users, ask what your users can do for your users.
So, what useful thing could the users of your startup have to offer your other users? Driving, housing, entertaining or coding? They‘re already mostly branded up. The people providing those skills now have options there. How about visual designing, computer assistance, business advising, managing people, organizing events, cheering spirits, calling leads, promoting businesses, planning trips or teaching skills?
To twist a quote horrendously: Ask not what you can do for your users, ask what your users can do for your users, so that you can just get the hell out of the way and they can go and do it. And how can you enable them to not have to worry about the time-consuming part of being an entrepreneur and making a living from a skill: the constant hustling and promoting of their skill.
There’s not much more of a stronger force than people wanting to improve their own condition, and nothing fuels startup growth more than aligning with the inherent natural daily forces and wants of people. And getting paid for doing work is the number one way people generally think of as the way to improve their life. Because everyone knows, payday is sweet.