Since starting up Blueline I have had multiple people tell me “This is such a brilliant idea for a business.”
I always laugh because I have to tell them, “I didn’t think up any of this. I literally stole the concepts from others.”
No joke, almost everything about Blueline is stolen.
But the truth is, that is why this business has succeeded while almost every business I have had before has failed.
In this article, I am going to share what I mean by the “stolen ideas” and give you a framework on how you can steal effectively and ethically.
How the BlueLine concept came to be
In June of 2017, I decided that I was ready to launch a new business. I was sick of solo consulting and I was ready to launch something bigger and grow again.
So I started brainstorming and consuming content focused on launching a scalable business again.
At the time, there were two useful resources I was consuming.
ForeverJobless Podcast / Blog
Billy Murphy has a podcast that was helpful to me at the start. He has a good framework for conceptualizing business ideas, doing due diligence, and then launching and test quickly. His framework and listening to those podcasts helped me think through my concept as I was starting.
The 7 Day Startup by Dan Norris
Dan’s entire concept in this book is to launch fast and get feedback from the market. I agree with this concept and implemented most of it although I do like the “due diligence” piece of the process that Billy from Forever Jobless was sharing.
I’ve used the 7 Day Startup approach many times to launch a new concept fast, but the problem I had in the past was I didn’t fully research and think through the idea before I actually put it into action.
As a result of not doing due dilligence, my past 7 Day Startup attempts all failed.
I’m not saying you should wait months, but 7 days is a bit too fast in my opinion. I spent about 2-3 weeks researching and planning for Blueline and considering that against other business models. Then I launched and kicked it off in about 7 days.
One simple concept that rocked my world: steal from others
While I was brainstorming my business concepts, I came across one article from ForeverJobless that rocked my world. Literally, I am pretty sure I read this the week before Blueline was launched.
You can see the full post on his article but this visual below hits the concept home.
When I saw that image, it clicked for me.
What started as a concept of “Jewellery retailer” suddenly became much more concrete.
The Due Diligence phase for Blueline
At this point, I decided to go out and research every possible company that was offering any sort of Jewellery Service. I found people polishing rings, reselling pre-owned pieces, offering training n how to maintain jewellery, sending outbound connection requests, managing company pages, etc.
I also decided to research every single tactic that people were using on Instagram to generate leads. If there was a blog post on the internet about generating leads, I read it.
Over time I compiled a massive list of two things:
- Competitors and other companies in the social media marketing space
- Tactics people were using to generate leads
Eventually, I saw that a handful of tactics kept appearing in blog post after blog post.
Diving deeper and uncovering a hole in the market
As I did more research into the competitors, here is what I found.
The largest competitor in the space appeared to make most of their money through selling pre-owned products. They had an “agency service” but it was actually a rather small part of their business.
The other done-for-you jewellery services out there looked terrible and didn’t seem to be run by experienced entrepreneurs.
I even scheduled sales calls with several of the smaller competitors out there to learn more about their business and grasp what their pricing was.
Eventually I realized, there is an opportunity here to be the best done-for-you jewellery prospecting service in the market. The big players are focused on pre-owned products, and the small players are less experienced entrepreneurs.
I can build something here that is the best of it’s kind and own this market.
So that is what I set out to do.
Another example of stealing tactfully
Currently, I am in a mastermind with Ian Horley of HubSnacks.com. On a previous call, Ian shared how he also consumed much of the content from Dan Norris through The 7 Day Startup.
At one point when listening to an interview with Dan he heard Dan say something along the lines of “Some people build companies around a specific skill or trade like Design Pickle. Others build it around a specific technology or platform like BeanNinjas and Xero.”
That was the AHA moment for Ian.
Ian had a Hubspot agency that was already performing as one of the top agencies in the UK, but he was struggling to manage the operational demand. What he found is that he was strong at operations, but the custom nature of an agency service made it hard to scale.
In that AHA moment, Ian went out and launched HubSnacks.
All HubSnacks is is WPCurve for Hubspot.
Unlimited Hubspot tasks and fixes for a set monthly fee.
The model is literally stolen directly from WPCurve.
The parallel was taken from how BeanNinjas built around Xero.
He simply took those concepts and applied the same thing to Hubspot.
There’s nothing amazingly original about what he is doing, but that’s ok. His business is on fire and pushing past $35k MRR within the first year of business.
Steal like an artist and use “modeling” to achieve your goals faster
Stop trying to be the next Elon Musk or Steve Jobs.
Instead, simply Steal Like an Artist. Austin Kleon wrote a great book on this concept. He explains that every single artist out there is just creating a combination of all of the influences that came before them. Every musician, artist, or writer is simply building on top of the foundation of influences.
The truth is, you can Steal Like an Artist when it comes to business ideas as well.
Not everything has to be a blue sky concept out of thin air.
Even Tony Robbins hits on this concept. In his books he talks about the idea of “Modeling”.
The idea is simple. Instead of trying to figure everything out on your own, go find someone who has done what you want to do and learn from them.
Learn as much as you can from this person who has succeeded before you and let that lay 60% of the groundwork for you. Then you can build that last 40% with your own original ideas.
Instead of building from zero, you are now building from 60% of the way to success.
These concepts are game-changing if you can implement them well.
Your framework for stealing a business idea
- Brainstorm some rough concepts for businesses that you would enjoy to run.
- Take those through a due diligence process. Research how they would work and what other competitors are doing in the market
- Steal concepts from multiple sources and apply those to your new business
- Once you decide on a direction, launch fast and validate your value proposition [LINK]
- Once validated, scale grow and innovate on top of your original concept