Book Review: Will It Fly?

Do you have an idea for a product, book, course, service, or something else but you are not sure how to sell it? Or more importantly, you are not sure if someone will buy what you have to offer. Pat Flynn’s book, Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money is then the book for you. I am thinking of my Extension friends as I write this. This is definitely a book you should have on your shelf.
Will It Fly? is a wonderful book. I am confident Flynn used every technique he spoke about to put this book together.

Flynn’s purpose for writing the book was to help people take an idea and successfully bring it to market. He shared an example when he built a software application for $15,000 and no one was interested. In this book, he shared how to develop an idea that people would actually want to buy. When thinking about my Extension friends, I saw countless ideas in this book that could be used to develop programming and products and get them into the public’s hands.

Flynn uses the metaphor of flying a plane to organize his book. The book has five sections, 19 chapters, and spans 336 pages. I found it to be a very enjoyable, yet, informative read. I was able to get through it in a couple of sittings.

In the first section, Mission Design, Flynn used a series of exercises to help you better understand yourself and whether or not your idea is a good fit for you. I actually worked through a couple of the exercises such as the Airport Test and Shark Bait Test to better get to know me. I will return to the other tests at a later time.

The second section, Development Lab, focused on trying to describe your idea as well as generating options for your idea. Flynn used techniques like mind mapping, idea reduction, and interviewing to help think through your idea. He provided enough detail that I could replicate what he had done. This is quite unusual for a book. As he explained his processes, he used an example of building a product for fly fishing.

The Flight Planning section helped find your audience and their needs. Flynn provided a very detailed method for using the internet to discover your audience’s pain points, as well as ways to subsequently market to this audience. This section was my favorite. Hard to choose when so much was great. This is a section I believe to be very relevant to my Extension friends. I think it is a piece of the puzzle that is missing from a lot of programming.

I have started to apply what I have learned in this section to a book I am writing, and I am very pleased with what I have been learning. At the end of this section, Flynn pulled together the results of his research method into a spreadsheet called PLANE:

  • Problems
  • Language
  • Anecdotes
  • Needs
  • Elixirs

If you work through this system, the results will be worth their weight in gold.

Before you start building, Flynn recommended getting a financial commitment from those who are interested in your product or service. In the Flight Simulator section, Flynn outlined a process for validating your idea and getting a commitment from buyers. As he explained his position, he also called on Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovations. As you work on presales, you are catering to the innovators and early adopters.

Also within the Flight Simulator section, Flynn shared five case studies showing different businesses executing this validation plan. Lots of great content in these case studies. He certainly made me feel like I could put a successful product on the market.

In the last section, All Systems Go, Flynn provided some final tips to set you on the right path. Finally, he shared a number of resources to help you get started. There are resources for setting up your business, organizing content, setting up courses, optimizing websites, and business books.

This was definitely a page turner with great tips on virtually every page. If you are interesting in putting a product on the market whether to make a profit or inform the public, then this book should be on your shelf.

I first heard about Will It Fly? on Pat Flynn’s podcast, Smart Passive Income, and I immediately purchased it. I was not disappointed, and I am confident that you also will not be disappointed.


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