Please steal these 4 startup ideas

A few updates.

  • Someone has contacted me and they are actively working on the Chrome extension. I’ll keep this post updated with the progress. 
  • Brennan Dunn released a plugin that looks after idea number 4. 
  • I’ve released a helpful guide on coming up with your own business ideas here

I often tell new entrepreneurs that I won’t give them feedback on their startup ideas until they get a paying customer. Why? Because ideas have little value in the hands of someone who can’t execute them. The only feedback they need is JFDI.

The other thing about ideas is there is no shortage of them. I wondered… if I tell people my best ideas would anything happen? I suspect not.

So, I’m putting my money where my mouth is. Here are my top 4 business ideas. I would love if someone who reads this executes one of these ideas. If you do, please let me know in the comments.

These are all things I need and would happily pay for.

*Note I haven’t researched these ideas, so it’s possible they are already being done. If that’s the case, please tell me in the comments.

1. Optimized unsubscribe pages


There’s a growing obsession to get more and more subscribers on your list. But as email tools get more complicated, it becomes hard for subscribers to manage which type of emails they receive. Auto responder tools like Infusionsoft only give people the ability to subscribe or unsubscribe. With Infusionsoft, you can go through the process of setting up a complicated form that puts the subscriber on a sequence to change their tags. It’s not easy and even when you figure out how to do it, it results in an ugly page that probably isn’t the best way to keep people on your list.

Larger, more established sites have a dedicated email preferences pages that looks like this:


These pages are optimized to keep people on some sort of list – instead of having them completely unsubscribe even if that was their original intention.

How it would work:

You could click a button to connect to the auto responder of your choice. Then you would set up a list of email options (like above) and attach them to simple actions (campaigns or tags or lists) in your tool.

The page would need to look nice and it would need to be designed in a way that encouraged people to stay on your list.

Why I like it:

There are a few things I like about this idea:

  1. It’s targeted at a tight crowd of high value customers. Building an add-on for Infusionsoft is a great idea, because if it’s works, it will spread quickly in the community. The audience are already paying a high price for their subscription each month.
  2. You could easily create analytics for the pages and have data on how many people stay on your list. This would create compelling sales copy and make it a no brainer add-on for potential customers with a decent size list. You could take it even further and A/B test different layouts.
  3. It would fit a recurring revenue model (I’m obsessed with recurring revenue).
  4. It’s a problem I have and if there was an easy solution, I would pay for it.

Think LeadPages for unsubscribing instead of subscribing.

2. Google Chrome Drive folders plugin


We use Google Drive every single day. Our process for opening a client’s development notes is:

  1. Open Chrome
  2. Click the shortcut in Chrome
  3. Click each folder in the structure (sometimes 5 or 6 clicks)
  4. Open the document

The problem is clicking each folder manually. It’s much slower to do via a browser compared to using your Windows Explorer or Finder app. Sure, you could simply use those apps. Call me crazy, but it doesn’t make sense for someone who uses Chrome all day to jump to Finder and then navigate to a document that opens in Chrome. Do this 50 times a day and you’ll lose it (if you’re as impatient as I am).

How it would work:

There would be a handy button in Chrome which allows you to drop down your Drive folder structure quickly. It would need to be cached like the mobile apps or synced like the computer app. If it was cached, it would need the ability to reload in the rare cases where I’m looking for a recently added file. Most of the time, a day or so old will be all most folks would need.

Why I like it:

When I posted the idea on Facebook during the week I got a pretty solid response:


I have the problem and I would pay for a solution. This would probably be a one-off payment only but could lead to other similar tools.

3.  Actionable content marketing analytics


About 6 months ago I launched a product for content marketing analytics. I didn’t have the time to follow through with it, so I scrapped it. While I was working on it, I was able to get a few paid customers and some valuable and interesting feedback. I feel like someone is going to do this well (perhaps Moz) and it could be a winning product.

How it would work:

The product I built did 3 things:

  1. It listed the names, profile pics and social media profiles of who was converting on your website.
  2. It showed all of your blog posts and gave you the key metrics like visits, tweets, likes, conversions and also told you who converted on each post.
  3. It gave you a stats dashboard designed specifically for content marketers.

Note, I did use some elements of the second point above in our free C Metrics WordPress plugin.

This screenshot shows recent posts with views, tweets, likes, backlinks, conversions and who converted.


I put the sales page back up  for you to take a look (it was done quickly).

Other than refining everything I already built, there are 2 improvements that you’d need to make:

  1. Make the data actionable – this is harder than it sounds.
  2. Integrate with other services that track revenue and somehow tie it back to content.

Why I like the idea:

I had a LOT of people tell me they would pay for this, including a number of well-known influencers. I wasn’t able to execute in the time I had and I I didn’t get enough signups. I also struggled to turn the results into actionable data. I suspect that was a reason for the lack of customers, although it was very much a minimum viable product.

Content marketing is exploding and there is definitely a missing piece in analytics. Content marketers want to know what content drives sales and in my opinion, there’s no easy way to know that.

4. Targeted page content


Our New Here widget only shows to new visitors. What if you could display special banners and opt ins for every visitor?

This one also relates to popular email tools like Infusionsoft, which is the CRM we use. Infusionsoft is really smart about how it handles people via email. But it’s not as smart with how to handle people on your site.

WP Curve has an optin box in the sidebar. If someone visits the site via a link from an email sent from Infusionsoft, then there’s not a lot of point in showing the optin box. It also doesn’t make sense to show  the other annoying optin boxes we all use to try to get people to initially opt in.

It makes sense to hide the box for people who are already on your list. But I think you could do a lot more than that…

How it would work:

Create a WordPress plugin that integrates with Infusionsoft. If someone is on your site from an Infusionsoft link, we take a bit of extra time to look at their details in Infusionsoft and display something different based on certain rules.

Here are some more advanced features you could include:

  • If the visitor was already on our list, I’d replace the normal opt in with some banner advertising for our various businesses.
  • If the visitor was already a customer of one of my businesses, like WP Curve then we could show banners for a related or complementary business like Content Club.
  • You could also try to query the Twitter API for their email address, if they aren’t following you then pop-up something asking them to do so.

I’m sure there’s loads more you could do with this.

Why I like it:

I would pay for an easy solution to this problem. I don’t like annoying my visitors with irrelevant calls to action. And I’d like to convert more visitors to customers in my business.

You could get some real data showing which metrics are moving as a result of using this personalization which would make great sales copy.

We have started playing around with this using our ‘New Here’ widget, which only shows to new visitors. This is a very simple example of personalization. But imagine how powerful your site would be if every time you asked a user to take an action, it considered who they were first!

I feel like this could be a huge category soon.

What do you think?

Let me know what you think of these ideas. Is anyone working on these? Do you want to work on one? Please let me know.

For now we don’t intend on pursuing any of these but if we change our mind I’ll reply in the comments too!


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Dan Norris is a co-founder at WP Curve and a passionate entrepreneur with an obsession for content marketing.

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