Emotions are powerful, of course. And hunches can be really effective ... They can be a total waste of time too. (Well, not completely. Finding out the harsh reality can be a valuable lesson in itself.)
Here's an example from my own experience: As this site describes I offer online marketing lessons to people in Perth. I also distribute flyers for them. The whole idea came out of my own need for leads for the lessons. I figured I'd be promoting them with flyers because I know it works, so why not get paid to do it for someone else simultaneously?
Anyway, several months ago now I had this hunch that to maximize efficiency I should focus on distributing them in commercial and industrial areas such as Wangara, Malaga, and Bibra Lake. Since almost every address in these areas is for a business, and all businesses have websites (well, they're crazy if they don't!) then it would be a gold mine for people who would be interested in the lessons.
Also, there are a lot of businesses in these areas that are B2B. And they would want to me to distribute flyers in areas like their own. So I was sure I'd win on both counts and make better money as a result.
Turned out that this was half right. I did this for several months -- gave it a red hot go, as they say. There was no lack of people wanting B2B flyer drops. But while I did get a few sales for the lessons, there were far fewer than I expected.
I actually got about the same number of calls per thousand from residential drops. And I can do heaps more of them in the same amount of time because there are many more letterboxes per street.
I'm not sure why this is but I have a theory: It's about time. People in business are usually just too busy to take on new online tasks themselves. Or at least they feel that they are ...
This sentiment did come through from the lessons that I did do. When I explained that a long term, persistent approach was required in social media (and SEO to a lesser extent) they would often roll their eyes.
I explained that you certainly had to do a lot over an extended period, but if you could absorb, say, regular tweeting into your daily schedule then you really wouldn't notice it. In most cases I don't think they were convinced. I got the strong feeling from several of them that they would much prefer to pay someone to do this kind of stuff for them.
In retrospect I think I would have had better results if I simply offered to do this kind of work, rather than showing business owners how to do it themselves. Offering social media management services would have garnered more sales, I'm sure. But that's just not something I'm considering doing, at least not for the time being ...
In any case this realization is useful for any future approaches I might take. I'll give the commercial areas a break for a while. If I do get back into them, I'll promote some service or product that can be bought outright and saves time, as opposed to using it up!
And I'll focus on doing flyers in densely packed suburbs close to the Perth CBD. My ads will still be seen by some business owners with websites -- they don't spend all their time at their workplaces and have to live somewhere! -- and there are other kinds of people who can benefit from my lessons. Social media can be used for many things, after all. Examples include using it to pursue a hobby or interest, promote a cause, or get an ebook you've written known by potential buyers far and wide.