Have but don't want (vs want but don't have)

~ 2 min read | Category: Newsletters

I’ve been thinking a lot about problems recently.

Not problems like:

Why does our dog still bark at people he’s known for years?


Who keeps leaving the freezer door very slightly open?

(Although I do ponder these from time to time.)

It’s more like the nature of problems themselves.

(Very philosophical I know!)

You see, one of the most widely accepted ideas about courses (and indeed most products and services) is that they exist to solve a problem.

And while I mostly agree, I’ve always had a niggling little doubt with that model.

After all, what if you don’t have a problem per se, you just want something?

Like maybe you want to speak Italian. Or you want to learn copywriting?

Those are more like desires than problems, right?

But here’s where it fell into place for me…

If you have a desire you’re struggling to fulfil, then it becomes a problem.

The want is the desire. Not getting what you want is the problem.

And maybe it’s a problem you can create a course to help people cure.

Also, I’ve noticed that problems come in two basic flavours:

  1. You want something something you don’t have (ability to speak Italian, dream job, enviously beautiful garden, etc.)

I call this “Want But Don’t Have” (WBDH)

  1. You have something you don’t want (sugar addiction, stress at work, cluttered home, etc.)

I call this “Have But Don’t Want” (HBDW)

So, if you haven’t worked out what problem your course helps people to solve, think about your target crowd and ask:

  • What do they want but don’t have?
  • What do they have but don’t want?

By the way, many times, you can see a problem from both perspectives. (For example: beach abs vs belly fat.)

And both perspectives will be useful when marketing your course.

But the most important thing is to pin down the main problem your course will tackle.

Get that right and the rest will follow.

See you soon,



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