Here is a question to ponder: at the end of your life, what would you want people to say about you?

That you were kind? That you were successful in business? That you were a great mother or father? The legacy that you leave behind is important. If you want to be known for something you have to start taking the steps to reach that desired state now.

What is a Life Plan

Today we are going to discuss creating a life plan and how it can lead to the decisions you make for the rest of your life. A life plan is a document that helps you clearly lay out your goals, both big and small. It gives you something to revisit regularly and see the progress you are making.

Not only does it help you focus on your goals and energizes you, but it gives you a passion for how to live your life. Many people settle in a career or even decide to live in a certain city out of convenience. A life plan helps you see where you are today (ex: a job that is not in your desired industry) and points you toward the steps you need to take to reach where you want to be.

Your life plan starts at the end of your life by first determining the legacy you want to leave. Thinking about the end lets you reverse engineer a path that can help you get there. You have the ability to make decisions that will lead to the legacy you desire to leave.

How to Create Your Life Plan

Now that you know exactly what a life plan is, it’s time to create your own.

Step 1: Download the Clear Function Life Plan Template

This is an easy way to organize your goals. You can edit it each year as you shift your priorities and major life changes happen. As your family grows or your career changes, your life plan will mimic it. Don’t be afraid to see changes in your life plan; as long as you are consistently working toward completing goals, you will stay on track.

Step 2: Determine Your Life Goals

Simply put, these are things you would like to accomplish in your life. They are big things for you to work towards and accomplish such as getting married, having a family, or starting your own business.

It can be easier to break up your life goals into smaller categories.

  • Career: What is your end goal in your career? Do you want to retire early or work as long as you can? What position do you want to hold?
  • Personal: This includes your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Examine your goals and where you want to be in each of those areas.
  • Family/Social: Where do you want to ultimately end up in your relationships? This could include your desire to get married, have kids, and build solid friend groups.
  • Financial: Pay off all your debt or have enough money to buy a new house? These are financial goals that you can begin to work toward now.
  • Dreams: This is where you record the dreams you have, no matter how crazy they may seem! Travel the world? Own a luxury car? Your dreams may feel unattainable now, but as you work through the life plan they will become easier.

Step 3: Map Out Your 1, 5, and 10 Year Plan

Now that you have your life goals, it is time to determine how you will accomplish them. You should be working towards them each year, making small or big steps. We will use running or owning your own business and creating a 1 million dollar profit as our life goal example.

  • 1 Year: Your yearly goals will change the most. Each time you review your plan you will want to update your yearly goals.
    • Example: Develop an idea for a product or service to sell, work with a business coach to expand on your idea, purchase a website domain.
  • 5 Years: Bigger goals that take more resources and longer time to accomplish.
    • Example: Find investors for your new business, leave your current job, and begin full-time work as an entrepreneur.
  • 10 Years: Complex goals that consist of a lot of different moving parts. These goals require help and are dependent on completing your yearly goals.
    • Example: Having a storefront with 10 plus employees and making a consistent profit each year.

If you want to continue to map out the rest of your life, feel free to do so! You could do a 20 year, or 30 year plan – it is your life plan so it can be customized!

Step 4: Develop Daily Goals

Daily goals are little steps you take each day that help to accomplish your life goals. By accomplishing daily goals you are always keeping your life plan at the front of your mind. Go through each area of your life and determine daily goals that coordinate. It takes 66 days for a new habit to become automatic meaning that your daily goals will play a big part in shaping the rest of your life!

  • Example: reach out to a new contact each day, spend one hour on marketing your business, mentor an employee.

Who Can Help You?

Surrounding yourself with people who can push you to accomplish your goals is essential. When you feel like you are taking on the world on your own it can feel overwhelming. Pick two or three people to be your accountability partners. Share your life plan with them and ask that they encourage you as you work to accomplish your daily and lifelong goals.

Celebrate Your Wins

If you take away anything from this article it should be to celebrate your wins. Accomplishing your goals is nothing to take lightly and when you do complete them they should be celebrated. This could be something simple like treating yourself to a nice meal or for bigger goals it could be planning a weekend getaway. When you celebrate your wins it renews your passions and makes completing your goals seem easier.

The Power of Creating a Life Plan

Creating a life plan gives you the power to decide what goals you work towards and ignites your passion. It takes courage to listen to your heart and to think about all the possibilities your life has. When you remove the fear and limitations that you have placed on yourself and say, “If I didn’t have to be afraid of what people would think, what would I do with my life?” you hold all the power in your hands!

Get started today creating a life plan! We would love to see your finished page! Share them on social media and make sure to tag Clear Function.

As a mobile entrepreneur, one of the most important things is making sure that your product is properly managed. Knowing if the product is staying on track and within the budget can make or break a new company. We tackle these problems every day and recommend you check out these products to easily manage your workflow and to recommend to your other entrepreneurs.

First, differentiate between product and project

Before beginning the development of an idea, it is important to differentiate the product from the project. When an entrepreneur comes to a developer or agency, they have a product idea. This is what will eventually be a tangible item that has the best ability to make revenue and solve a problem for a group of people. 

When that product begins the development phase, it turns into a project. A project has a start and an end, a time frame, and a budget. When a project is done, the product remains.
A product could have many different projects throughout its digital life and they all need to be expertly managed. 

A lot of times the entrepreneur will act as the product manager. They will decide which features to add, who is the target audience, and what they want the design of the product to be. They can decide to hire someone to serve as the product manager, but because they are investing time and money into the product they will want to make sure the manager has their best interests in mind. A bad product manager can quickly derail development and leave the client with a product that doesn’t match what they want.  

For the project side of things, it is important to hire a project manager to oversee the technical aspects of development. With an offshore development team communication and cultural differences can cause issues. It can be very helpful to leave the communication and management up to someone else and the product will benefit from this. This is a practice we recommend as new entrepreneurs have a lot on their plates and managing how a product is developed can be overwhelming. 

If the product and the project are split into two worlds, different tools must be presented to manage both. In the next section, we will introduce you to tools that we have used to manage our workflow and that help make the development experience easier on you.

3 Tools to Make Product and Project Management More Efficient and Effective
  1. Easily managing version releases with Jira: The first tool that we recommend using to manage the project is Jira. Jira is a software that allows team members to plan, track, and release elements of the development. Users can easily manage version releases and track what still needs to be done. Users can also assign certain aspects of the project to team members and keep track of how they are progressing on tasks.

We typically plan our workflow in two-week sprints. This is essentially what we will accomplish in the next two weeks and is an easier way to manage a long-term development project because you are working toward multiple small goals. After each sprint, the product manager can review the progress that has been made.

  • Why do we suggest letting a project manager handle Jira? Jira can be complex and overwhelming to a product owner who might not be as technically savvy. It has a big learning curve and having an expert manage it can save the owner valuable time and money. A product owner has solid ideas, but the implementation of those ideas can go much farther with a strong project manager leading the development.
  1. Receive real-time feedback and manage features with Productboard: When it comes to managing the overall product, we use Productboard. It is a friendly environment where a product owner can manage their product features and subfeatures. With Productboard the product owner can easily see and understand what users need, prioritize what to work on next, and receive feedback in real-time.

Productboard allows users to gather much-needed user feedback early on. Future customers can rank features and designs by must-have, nice to have, and critical. Knowing this from the beginning can save the product owner time and money in the long run because they are only putting effort into what the customers actually want and need.

Not only can the product owner manage their product, but each of the needs and changes maps over to the project side. Jira and Productboard integrate with one another to make the management of the product easier. A feature (a segment of a product) on Productboard matches an epic (large body of work that can be broken down into a number of smaller tasks)on the Jira side and developers are able to see exactly what the product owner and future customers want and need.

  • Why do we recommend using Productboard? It is important for the product owner to have a safe place where they can manage things without stepping on the developer. Productboard presents what needs to be done and how to do it in an easy and efficient way, perfect for product owners. While small teams can see the benefit in the tool, larger teams may find it more helpful for managing product requirements and user feedback. A small team and product can do product management in Jira without having to have two separate platforms.
  1. Early-stage idea tracking excels in Confluence: Early on in the development process we use Confluence to document details. Once an entrepreneur first meets with us to discuss the product idea we immediately start tracking details, features, and ideas. Once the initial product idea is defined we move it into Productboard for larger products or straight to Jira for solo entrepreneurs.
Why do we use these tools?

We have been using Jira for years and Productboard for several months. Our clients needed a solid platform to be able to take their products with them when they no longer need our services. We are committed to our clients being able to take everything they have with them and these tools allow that to be done.

While Jira is a more expensive option, it does have a high value for its cost. Confluence and Productboard are cheaper options that don’t necessarily have all of the features as Jira but could serve your needs.

Find tools that work for you and your products!

How Project & Product Management tools Can Help Make Your Development Process Seamless It is important to research different management tools that are available for different products and projects. While we see the value in the tools we have mentioned, each product is unique and could benefit from different tools. Do you have other tools that your team has found value in using? Reach out and let us know!

So you have a new idea for a digital product, but who is going to bring that idea to life? This is one of the first hurdles new entrepreneurs run into as they move into the world of development. When a simple Google search can turn up thousands of companies promising to turn your idea into a digital product or MVP, it can be a daunting task to pick the right one for you.

One decision you will have to make at the beginning of your development process is: do I pick a local development team or an offshore team? Your developers could make or break your product and having confidence in who you pick is important. Many developers claim to be qualified and even have the right educational background, but ultimately how many successful projects have they completed?

This is an important decision and each choice comes with its own list of advantages and disadvantages. Throughout this article, we will walk you through each option so that you can make the best decision for your important digital product.

Offshore Development Model

Offshore development is unique in that your development is outsourced to a third-party agency or developer(s). Offshore teams can offer a wide range of services to help meet your needs and are based in a foreign country.

Offshore development can be done in a variety of ways: by an individual developer or agency, only outsourcing certain features/parts, or hiring a team of individual developers that will all work on your project. Which approach would work best for your product? The advantages and disadvantages can help you decide.

Advantages of Offshore Development

Lower cost: The main advantage of offshore development is the huge amount of money that it can save you. Due to the lower cost of living around the world, countries outside of the United States and Western Europe typically charge less in hourly rates. It’s usually easy to find an hourly rate that’s low for you and high for your developer, meaning that everyone wins.

Fast turn around: With offshore you can build your own team and hire them for just as long as you need them. Instead of signing a lengthy contract with a retainer, you can hire based on an individual job. While we definitely suggest signing a contract, ensuring that your money and ideas are protected, they can be far less complicated compared to an onshore contract.

Talent pool: With offshore development, you have a wide range of talent to choose from. You are not limited to the agencies around you or to one cost. Being able to talk with several developers to find the right option for you is definitely a big advantage.

Disadvantages of Offshore Development

It is important to remember when hiring offshore developers that just because they come at a lower cost, it doesn’t necessarily translate to a successful outcome.

Communication issues: With offshore development, you run the risk of having major communication issues. Due to time zone differences and varying working hours, your project could fall behind. If an issue comes up and you are not able to quickly resolve it due to communication issues, that is valuable time and money that could be wasted.

Fear of the unknown: Is your offshore development team properly vetted? “Working hard” could have different meanings for people in one country versus another. Even cultural issues and traditions could lead to unpleasant situations if not discussed beforehand.

High turnover rate: Does your team have a high turnover rate? If you spend time training your developers and introducing them to your product, then you don’t want them to quit halfway through. Research, research, research before committing to a developer so that you don’t have unknown fears.

Lower quality of work: While certainly not true in all cases, offshore development does have a reputation of not meeting the same quality of design and development as onshore. You don’t always get to see a portfolio of work before booking, which can lead to unwelcome surprises with the design and user experience when the product is complete.

Onshore Development Model

Onshore development is working with local developers or an agency to create your digital product. Onshore development typically allows you to meet your developers or project manager in person to talk through the whole process.

Advantages of Onshore Development

Location: One of the key reasons why onshore outsourcing is almost always a better option is location. When your development team is somewhere between a car ride or a quick plane ride away from you, you’re able to meet with them in person as often as you want or need. You don’t always have the resources to take an international flight with offshore and will have to rely on complete digital communication if your project gets off course.

Clear communication: With local development, you will have an easy and open communication channel. You are not restricted by language barriers or time zones.

Quick updates: If you notice something is wrong or needs to be updated on your product, you can easily and quickly express that need to your developer. Broken features or links can be detrimental to new products, but with onshore development, there is a greater guarantee that they will be fixed quickly.

Pick your team: Do you have specific requirements for your development, including that they have a physical office or a large team of developers with a highly targeted skillset? With local development, you can pick your team of developers with those needs in mind and have in-depth interviews to make sure they will be a good fit.

Disadvantages of Onshore Development

Higher cost: The biggest disadvantage when choosing onshore is cost. Clients will continually push for lower hourly prices, but developers’ salaries increase as they learn and grow. With the right onshore team, you really do get what you pay for especially when quality and user experience are considered. A higher price is to be expected.

Smaller talent pool: Although you will be able to choose your developers with your special requirements in mind, you can find the pool of talent smaller depending on your location. If you require a meeting with your developer in person, you could be limited by the number of candidates in your area.

Other Options for Building a Digital Product

Now that you know the difference between offshore and onshore development, let’s go through a few other options you have for your development. The right option is out there for your product, you just have to spend the time researching to find it!


If you are looking for the advantage of offshore development, without some of the major disadvantages, nearshore might be the right option for you. While offshore is typically overseas, nearshore is in the same hemisphere.

If you live in the United States, nearshore for you would be Mexico and Canada. While you will not get the same discounted rate as offshore development, hourly rates do tend to be cheaper when compared to onshore. With nearshore you will also have closer timezones, leading to an increase in collaboration between client and developer.

Offshore with a Local Project Manager

For clients looking for a less expensive option, compared to onshore, we would recommend offshore development with a local project manager. As a new entrepreneur, managing a team and creating your product can be confusing. With a local product manager, you can ensure that your thoughts and ideas will be correctly communicated to the offshore team and that your project will be kept on schedule.

A local project manager can help guide you throughout the entire process and create a less stressful environment. Instead of stressing about the development, you can focus on marketing and brand identity to help your product grow.

Finding the Best Fit Development Partner

Remember to look for a team that takes ownership, uses critical thinking, and objects to your ideas with reasons that make you change your mind. A team that puts on the mindset of “If this was my application…” or “If I were the user…” is far better than a team that sees you only as a source of money. Don’t pick a team who agrees to all of your ideas, but instead tells you the truth because they know your product is important.

In the end, each approach to development could have a successful outcome to develop digital products. Your decision is dependent on your unique product and the resources you have available. If you take the time to map out your goals, research, and talk with developers, you can find an option that will put your product on the path to success.

Do you have an idea for a digital product that you are excited to invest time in to create? Releasing a new product immediately to market can be an intimidating process and lead many people to avoid development altogether. What if there was a way for you to test your product on the market and adjust it according to the feedback of real-time users?

One of the first steps when creating a new digital product is developing an MVP. MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product and is a basic version of your product, with minimal features, that can be tested on the market. MVPs are critical to the success of your product because they test many variables before you invest time and money into the full version. The list of benefits of building an MVP far outweighs the benefits of going straight to the market with a fully developed product.

Knowing that you need to build an MVP is the first step of the process, but how much will it cost? Pricing out your digital product can come with a lot of questions about what is needed, especially in the initial MVP phase. Although each product is different and comes with a unique set of variables, if you follow our step-by-step guide you will have a better understanding of the costs associated with building your MVP.

Step 1: Identify MVP Problem and User Types

The goal of your digital product is to solve a real-world problem for a specified group of people. A good question to ask is: “Why do my customers need this product and how can it help them?” If your product isn’t solving a problem or curing a real-world pain, then you need to go back to the drawing board and identify if your product is needed.

Once you define what problem you’re solving (Ex: connecting bakers to local restaurants where they can sell their goods), your goal is to determine who will use your product according to the problem it is solving. Your user types will guide the decisions you make throughout MVP development. For example, if you are targeting bakers in NYC, you will make decisions based on what problems bakers in NYC face selling their pastries and what problems restaurants face finding bakers. Without a specific user type, your MVP will not have any direction.

Step 2: Analyze the Competition

Is there already a similar product, like yours, on the market? Most likely the answer is yes, but that’s okay! Don’t assume that your product is unique without researching or you could run the risk of going to market with a duplicate product, with no specific differences.

Take time to research your potential competition, analyze feedback from their customers, and identify what features they include. Adopt their good ideas and learn from their mistakes. Ask the question: How can my product serve my customers better? The market will always be big enough for multiple variations of the same idea, but you want your product to be number one, and starting with a solid MVP can help you achieve that.

Step 3: Map Out the Details

There are several details you have to work through before you can receive a cost estimation for your MVP. Each of these details is important and by considering them early on you can save valuable time and money.

Platform: When developing a digital product you have a wide array of platforms for your users to interact on. The most common are web, mobile (iOS/Android), tablet (iOS/Android), smartwatch, and TV. It is important to note that different technologies are used for different purposes, so finding the correct platform for your product is important.

What platform will your product be accessible on? Once you know that, decide which of those platforms your MVP will be developed on and what kind of notifications you want users and administrators to receive. With an MVP you won’t go fully in on every platform, instead, you will wait and see if the initial product is successful and then spend the time/money to invest in alternative platforms.

Types of Data: After you have identified your user, the next step is to determine what types of data your product will deal with. For example, if we are building our app for bakers in NYC, the types of data could include individual bakers, bakeries, and restaurants in NYC. Data types are specific to the problem your product is working to solve.

Integration: Most digital products integrate with other products to improve quality and bring needed features. One major example is Google Calendar, which allows users to easily book appointments and view schedules. For our NYC baker example, Google calendar could be used to schedule tastings and meet with restaurants.

What integrations could you add to your product to make it better? Simple market research can be conducted to find what is already available that could improve your product for minimal costs. Don’t spend time developing a feature of your product when well-made products are already available and can be easily added.

Design: For any digital project, design plays a crucial part. No matter if it’s a fully functional product or an MVP, the design must be a priority. Starting with a solid design from the beginning will save you time in the future because you can focus on putting out updates and new features instead of design.

When building your MVP the general rule of thumb is that design should be kept simple and only focus on the core functionality. In an age that relies heavily on visuals, having a good looking design is a must-have part of the validation process. Without a solid design, in the beginning, users could lose interest and not return to the full version of the product.

Overall Requirements: Certain products have overall requirements that must be implemented into the MVP. These could include compliance regulations (HIPPA requirements for a medical app) or needed collaboration with other teams/products. Make sure that your product if following all requirements before it goes to market.

Necessary Features: One major way to save time and money before you send your product out to a developer is to prioritize your necessary features. Ask the question, “What is the single most important action that you want your users to accomplish?” Highlighting this feature will be the sole purpose of your MVP.

Once you have identified the main feature, plan out other features you want to add when the product is fully developed. Prioritize each feature as must-have, nice to have, and can have later on. Remember that the number of features you want on your MVP will determine how much it will cost.

Step 4: Finding a Product Design & Development Partner

Now that you have identified the problem and user type, analyzed the competition, and mapped out all of the details, it is time to figure out who will build your MVP. For MVP development there are several options to fit your price point. Each comes with its own unique set of pros and cons to help you decide which option is best for your product.

Option 1: Completely Offshore Development

Many startups decide to send MVP development offshore. Offshore development has many benefits, including; lower cost, a larger pool of talent, and getting your product to marketing more quickly. With an offshore team, you can release a high-quality MVP to your customers.

What are the disadvantages of offshore development? Early on in the life of your product, you will constantly be tweaking features to make it more accessible for your users. You will have to submit ideas to your offshore team and make sure they understand what you want, which doesn’t always go as planned. Different time zones can play a big factor in this as your developer may work completely different hours than you – leading to delays in resolving issues. Instead of being able to make changes quickly, your project will be added to the list of tasks your developer is working on.

Offshore developers can also have lower standards of quality assurance, although not true in all cases – finding the right developer is key. While they might be the cheapest option, the quality of work may be lacking and you might not see this until they present you with the finished product. Go for reputation, portfolio, and references instead of trying to outsource to the cheapest agency out there and you will benefit in the long run.

Option 2: Local Product Manager with Offshore Developers

If you are looking for the advantages of offshore development without the confusion of having to manage a team, this option is for you. Hiring a local product manager to work with offshore developers ensures that your thoughts and ideas will be correctly communicated. Instead of having to manage your company and the development of your MVP, this option takes the pressure off of you.

A local product manager can help guide you throughout the entire process and create a less stressful environment. You can run the risk of hiring a manager that doesn’t understand your vision. Make sure that you research the right company for your product and spend time having in-depth conversations about your needs.

Option 3: Freelancer

The main advantage of using a freelancer to build your digital product is that it usually costs less. You can save money because you are only hiring one person as opposed to a full team. Building a strong relationship with a professional freelancer can help with not only building your MVP but other projects down the line.

Hiring a freelancer also comes with a long list of disadvantages and greater risks. If your freelancer decides they don’t have enough time to complete your project or they get sick or go on vacation, your project could be at risk. Your freelancer may decide to abandon the project at any point and you will have wasted valuable time and money with no reward to show.

If you are going to use a freelance developer for the MVP, make sure you have a solid contract that will ensure they will finish the project and that they will be available for further updates once the product gets released. Try to work something out so future updates will not cost you a fortune. You will also need proper documentation for future developers – this will make the process much easier down the line if you decide to part from your freelancer.

Option 4: Local Team of Developers

The number one way to guarantee the success of your MVP is to hire a local team of developers. When hiring a local team, you get the experience of several developers and project managers all in one contract. They can guide you through the whole process of not only development, but your brand identity, marketing, coaching, and other steps to ensure success.

While the price of a local team is more expensive, you are paying for quality content, proven processes, higher standards, and premium design. You will have a dedicated team of collaborators who will support you throughout the process and help you overcome all obstacles. The team will communicate with you at every step when changes are made. They will also be able to develop your MVP into a full product once you decide that it is ready. Hiring a full-fledged development company can give you peace of mind that your product is in the right hands from the beginning.

Step 5: Proposal Process

Once you have completed all of the previous steps, it is time to pick your developer and receive a proposal. Each developer/development team presents a proposal in a unique way. At Clear Function, we will lead you through a Discovery Session where we will discuss all aspects of your brand and MVP. Then we will present you with a detailed proposal that outlines each step of the process.

It is important to be open and honest when going through the proposal process. To ensure that your product meets your standards, don’t shy about letting the developer know what you want your product to achieve, but be receptive to critiques from the experts.

Following these 5 steps will set you up to receive an estimation for your MVP that will be concise and effective. Do the hard work before the proposal and you will save time and money.

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