Tiny struggles

Always hacking something 🧑‍🔬.

Sometimes stupid product ideas are the best - motivation behind the secret tuna salad recipe

I created a digital product out of my family’s favorite tuna salad recipe and in this article I will tell you why I thought it was a good idea.

I’m a software engineer by trade and I have spent thousands of hours building software products that don’t really earn me money (yet).

Entrepreneurship is risky, that’s for sure, but often indie businesses fail because founders lack marketing skills and fear to put themselves out there until it’s pretty late. And then it turns out that they have been building a product that no one wants.

My inspiration

During my last vacation I got a bit fixated on a weird idea - making a digital product out of my family’s favorite salad recipe.

What got me excited was that:

  • it’s a great tasting, healthy salad and it’s very easy to make
  • it could be fun to make a big deal out of it and sell the recipe as a digital product on gumroad
  • in a process I could learn: marketing, SEO, ads… and popularize a great salad so what would be there to lose apart from my time?

If something is good, making money from it is just a matter of solid marketing, right?

Are you mad, this can’t be a good business idea, right?

People are used to seeing recipes online for free. It doesn’t make sense to put in a lot of effort if people can access countless good recipes without paying. The recipes are too common.

However, you could say the same about books, there are countless books out there, many of them accessible for free at your local library. But sometimes you want a specific book, maybe because it was marketed to you recently or because others recommended it. It’s not a huge cost and you just buy it. I think in this case it can be similar, as long as it prices accessibly, I think people would be ok to pay for it.

The other argument against this project, is that no one will want it. Who is interested in tuna salad anyway? Well, the basic research shows otherwise:

tuna salad keywords

There are between 100k to 1 Million monthly google searches for the “tuna salad” alone. And there more other keywords that look interesting too. The competition seems low. I smell opportunity!

What makes this idea a good business?

The underlying product is really good and the founder (me) believes in it. There is a good reason why this recipe is so popular among my extended family. Because of that I am happy to put great effort behind it even if it’s a bit silly.

Another great reason is that there are no ongoing costs and no costs of physical goods. Once the recipe is packaged into a product it can be sold at no additional cost! I plan to improve the product by giving location based tips (due to accessibility of the ingredients), but apart from that there is no need to ever change it as the recipe itself is pretty good.

This product is also a great way to learn marketing. There is no better way of learning than by actually doing and this product will provide countless opportunities for marketing and in many ways it’s better for learning marketing than if it was a serious SaaS startup.

Learning business on digital products vs SaaS

Building a successful SaaS is really hard and there is a huge start up cost of building a good product before being able to sell it and it being good enough to be really used by customers.

It’s easy to get bogged down with all the complexity. It’s better to start with something simpler.

Here’s a quote from Rob Walling blog post on stairstep approach:

In my experience, the biggest pitfall that trips up first-time product people is trying to create something too complex. The strategy that seems to give people the best chance of success is creating a simple product, with a simple marketing plan – one that only requires a single traffic channel.

I’m not the only one thinking this way!

Still sounds fishy?

In the end I am doing this because it’s original and fun.

The idea brings a smile to my face, every time I think about it. And I hope other people will appreciate the weirdness of it too :).

So yeah, now I sell a secret tuna salad recipe online! Wanna buy?

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