A self portrait of the author waiting to see if you’ll steal his idea or read this post long enough to learn it’s a guide
Photo by Alex Cox on a camera

Steal my business idea- you won’t

Alex Cox
6 min readAug 16, 2020

Wantrepreneurs are paranoid that someone will steal their fantastic business idea.

Spoiler alert:

They won’t.

No one is stealing ideas because making them real relies on experience, luck, and focused work for a long time.

Don’t believe me?

Look at the idea below. I’ve given you everything you need and the steps to take so you can steal my idea. In spite of laying out all the steps and writing the requirements no one is going to turn it into a product or business.

Here’s the idea

People all over the world are itching to travel, but they don’t know where they can go or how to get there safely. Articles are coming out every day about where you can or can’t go, which countries are paying you to visit them, but actually finding all the places you can go and the rules to get there still requires a lot of research. Basically, it’s a lot of effort to figure out where you can and can’t travel right now both domestically and abroad.

To solve this problem, I could make coronavirus travel app that aggregates all this COVID travel info so users know where they can go and how to safely get there.

Then I could monetize the traffic via affiliate links to travel sites or if there’s enough traffic I could make and monetize an email list selling sponsorship to hotels.

Sounds like a good idea, right? I’ll go three steps further. I’ll literally give you the plan for how to make this web app, hire the freelancers, and market the app so you can steal and launch it even if you never made any type of software before.

A wireframe on a notebook
Photo from Wireframe Stencil

Step 1: Planning

First, you’ll need to figure out who your users are, what features they would need, and what platform is best for them. We’re going with younger people who think they’re immune to COVID. To make it easier for you to steal, let’s choose a web app which just means this info will be on a website. Apps require a lot more setup and time than websites plus web apps are easier to find developers for.

That’s a lot of hard work to define the whole app and write out requirements…Luckily I already wrote it for you.

Next, you’ll need to make the visual plan for the designer. This plan includes an app wireframe, logo, and inspiration. This is a three-view app: browse, search, detailed trip view so you just need to roughly draw out those three screens to help the designer understand what you want. You’ll also need to give him a Pinterest board of web apps you like so he has some idea of what you think looks nice.

Already feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry about the wireframe or Pinterest board. Just send the designer the requirements I wrote, it might take a bit longer but might get you started.

Finally, you’ll need a logo. Let’s call this COVID Travel App. Go to Looka.com and create a logo you like. You can just screenshot the logo give the designer later.

A designer sitting a desk waiting for you to send them the requirements you stole from me so they can get started
Photo by ruben daems on Unsplash

Step 2: Hiring

You probably don’t know how to do everything you’ll need to steal this idea. So you might want to hire some help. You’ll want three main people: virtual assistant to gather the data, designer to make the app usable, and a developer to make the app real.

Virtual assistant

You’ll need to know which countries are open to USA, Canadian, and British citizens what processes each country has in place, what type of travel is permitted, and a bunch of other info I put for you in the specs.

Go on Fiverr and hire a data entry virtual assistant ($10-$20) to fill out a google sheet with all that info you need. Tell them to make three lists:

  1. Each place Americans, Canadians, and British people can travel internationally to as well as any requirements like needing to quarantine for two weeks.
  2. Tell them to make a list of shelter in place phase number of the top 15 most populous U.S. cities and all 50 states
  3. Ask them to rank all airlines that operate in U.S. Canada, and the UK by best COVID safety response as reviewed by bloggers online


While the virtual assistant is working on that, hire the designer. You’re going to want someone that says they are a website or web app designer. Ideally, find someone using Adobe XD or Figma so you don’t need to buy any new software to view the designs. Hire someone with a good aesthetic you like

Tell the designer to design a responsive web with the desktop and mobile designs included. Send them your logo screenshot, picture of your wireframe, link to the Pinterest Board, and the requirements.


Now for the developer. I recommend going on Upwork for this, it will take longer to hire, but the quality is not garbage like Fiverr tends to be. If the developer is bad or unresponsive you’ll end up wasting a lot of time. I recommend developers from East Europe like Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, etc. Include the designs and requirements in the job post on Upwork so the developer who apply can see the exact plan.

Message the developers and ask specific questions about the specs and if they have any worries about the APIs.

Hire them, test the builds, then get the final implementation and put it on your own domain.

Photo by Stephen Dawson on Unsplash

Step 3: Marketing

Now it’s time to get people using your stolen app. To do that start by posting on your own social media accounts with friends and family. Then begin posting on travel subreddits, hacker news, and commenting about it on COVID travel articles. Reach out to a hunter on product hunt to post the web app one day. Reach out to bloggers on Twitter to see if they’re interested in writing about your app. Reach out to travel influencers to see if they’d be interested in using the app and talking about it on their platforms.

Add an email capture to the website so you can send users travel destination suggestions every week. Then start talking to hotels around the area where a lot of your traffic comes from to see if they want to buy ads on the email newsletter.

I’d estimate the total cost for this project to be around $600-$800 depending on how well you can negotiate the developer down from the ~$1200 he’s asking for

If marketed well you could probably turn this into a four-figure a month passive income stream but of course… you won’t. You probably think it’s too much work or protect your ego by telling yourself a thousand other people read this article and are doing this right now…even though we both know no one has lifted a finger.

I can promise you, no one is going to steal this idea. It’ll still be here in six months when the pandemic is still raging on and I’ll still be here shaking my head at those new entrepreneurs too scared to share and get feedback on their super amazing idea.



Alex Cox

Product Manager and designer writing about ideas. Living and working in SF. See more of my projects at www.alexcreates.me