How do you get to version 1 of your business, product, service or project?  How do you take an idea and turn it into something real?

I have had several failed attempts at writing a book including one that lost me a job!  It has always been in my mind as a way to reach and help more people and to be able to share my message with a wider audience.

I failed for many reasons, lack of focus, lack of time, not enjoying the editing process and more.  In the past I never pushed through to actually get version 1 of my book out into the world!

Alan Donegan pretending to read a blank note book to get a good picture for the blog

Alan looking surprised at a blank page in a Captain America Note Book
Recently an opportunity came my way that I could not pass up and I want to share it with you as well as some ideas about mini-experiments. 


The Rebel definition of a mini-experiment is a low risk (preferably zero $$/££) test of an idea to see if it is viable.  Simon (my business partner at Rebel) and I have developed the idea over the last decade of running courses and it has become a bigger and bigger part of what we teach.
If you want to hear Simon and I discussing mini-experiments and how they work you can listen on the Rebel Entrepreneur podcast here.  We have been putting out a lot of content to help people experiment more as we believe this is one of the keys to unlocking progress. 

​I started asking people at Rebel workshops  “What is the only way to know if your business idea is viable or not?”.  They would answer with things like built it and see, market research or ask people if they might be interested.  

For me the only way to know if a business idea will work or not is to sell it.  If someone buys then you have a customer and you can build the product or service and along with it your new business. If everyone says no to your idea then you know categorically that the market isn’t interested in that combination of price, product or location.

The key to a good mini-experiment is to reduce the risk.  Lots of people run maxi-experiments, taking a huge loan, going into debt and building a restaurant from scratch even though they have never run one before!  This is a HUGE risk and if it all goes wrong you are left heavily in debt.

Our idea is to run a small experiment that doesn’t cost you anything and in fact preferably uses the customers money to build the business.  For example you could pre-sell tickets to a popup restaurant night as a mini-experiment to see if you like running a restaurant.

If you sell lots of tickets you can run the event at a borrowed location and see if you and the customers like it!  If it goes well and you make money then start to build it.   If no one buys tickets then all you have risked is time and energy!

The mini-experiment is key to making progress, discovering your passions and having fun.  I have run so many over the years including a pretty big mini-experiment writing a movie script.  For the launch of the movie script mini-experiment you can read all about it here. 

​Mini-experiments are an incredible way to test you ideas, plans or philosophies out in the real world and to get real results whilst minimising the risk to you or your finances!

The opportunity

For Season 3 of the Rebel Entrepreneur Podcast, Patrick the podcast manager and I did a takeover season where the listeners applied to take over the show and grill me or discuss anything they wanted to!

One of the episodes was with a book coach, J. Thorn (release date 20/06/2022).  We had a fascinating hour long conversation about his business and how financial independence and entrepreneurship fit together.  At the end of the episode we were just chatting and J told me he had really enjoyed the coaching series on the podcast with Christina and Jaymie.

For those of you who haven’t heard the coaching series on Rebel Entrepreneur; I work with an entrepreneur over 6 months to a year to help them build their business.   We record our conversations and then I publish them as a series that supports the listeners with weekly ideas, coaching and actions to build their business.  I have had so much fun!

J offered to take over the coaching series for a season and coach someone to write a book.  What a brilliant idea I thought and I found my self asking immediately  “How about it was me you coached to write a book?  Feel free to say no, you would prefer someone else!”

J seemed to love the idea and in that moment the idea of me writing a book became real.  One of my key philosophies I live by is that you should never leave the site of a decision without setting the next meeting or taking the first action.

So J and I set the date for our first recording, where he would coach me to write a book. It was done, I ended the call super excited.

It wasn’t until the next day it dawned on me that I had just committed to writing a book and I know how much that can take!  My friends Kristy and Bryce wrote an amazing book, Quit like a Millionaire and I know that took the two of them, together, a whole year!  I had a 3.5 minute panic attack about how much I already had going on and then decide this was too good an opportunity to pass up on!

My Coach

My book coach is J Thorn and you can find him at The Author Life.  This is what his website says about him:

“J. Thorn has published two million words and has sold more than 185,000 books worldwide. He is an official member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Horror Writers Association, and the Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers.  J. co-hosts the Writers, Ink podcast with J.D. Barker”

I can’t believe my luck and I am so excited to see what we produce together.  Or rather I produce under his expert guidance. 

The progress so far on the mini-experiment

So far I have recorded 7 episodes with J working on my new book together.  You may have seen a recent post I did asking for yourfeedback on chapter titles for the book and then a recent experiment I did teaching a chapter of the course on zoom for 200 people! 

We have made a huge amount of progress and we have now come to a point that I am going to start to write some of the chapters as individual blog posts here and ask for your thoughts!  What do you get out of this?  You get early access to all my latest material, thoughts and basically early access to the book.

So here we are at the beginning of another mini-experiment that I think is going produce some interesting results.  I have been blown away by J’s insight and energy, as well as his calm focus on my progress.  It has been a pleasure working with him so far.

Coming up next on the blog

It is mid-march 2022 as I write this post and here is what you can expect coming up on the blog from Katie  and I:

  1. The first three chapters of my new book for you to explore and pick to pieces! 
  2. The long promised ESG article has been finished and will be released
  3. The launch of Rebel Finance School v4 
  4. Other fun finance and life articles we have been working on for you. 

Thanks for reading.  Thanks for being on this crazy journey with me and I am so excited to share what comes next with you all.


My parting question to you is what are you experimenting with?

Mini-experiments are an incredible way to make progress and unlock energy but sometimes they get caught up and stuck.  See which situation below fits you and answer the questions in the comment below or just go start experimenting!


  1. You are half way through an experiment and not finished it. If this is the case and you have started a mini-experiment and not finished it then it is decision time.  Is it time to push through and make it happen?  Is it time to ditch it and try something else?  Only you can know so start asking questions and find your energy again!
  2. You don’t have an experiments running currently.  If this is you then it is time to find some energy and try things.  What have you always wanted to try but never found the time to?  What could you test out?  Do you have a business idea?  A new hobby? a new event to go to?  Something to learn?  What can you experiment with?
  3. Too many ideas!  Some of you have SO MANY ideas and have started so many of them that you never finish any of them!  If this is you which is the one you want to pick to actually push over the line in the next month? What is the one thing that you want to truly make happen.  Time to chose, commit and make shit happen!

Mini-experiments are a phenomenal tool to make things happen.  Have fun experimenting as you build the life of your dreams. 

Sending you happiness.

Let me know where you are in the comments below.


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