It feels interesting to send side projects out into the wild. First of all, you have to recognize if you’re solving a need or just making something neat. Solving a need means you need to find a market. Making something neat still needs a market, but for a different reason.
At the end of the day, it’s a vulnerable thing that you need to enter with an open mind. Too many people release things that need iteration, and stubbornly refuse to update. Take Filezilla’s inability to hotfix, or Habitica’s mobile app limitations.
Releasing side projects can be rough, so you have to define to yourself why you’re doing it. Maybe even before you begin, because it will affect your outcome.
What’s the only thing better than making a profitable side-business? Making a profitable side-business without doing any work.
First, a little background knowledge. I, like many programmers, enjoy working on the occasional side project. Bringing a program from idea to execution can be extremely satisfying. Although I’ve never made anything that I could monetize, there’s no real reason why I couldn’t. Except, perhaps, for time. Customer service alone is a big task – bigger than I have the bandwidth for when added to my workload.
That’s where outsourcers come in. We live in a world where people who can help with a multitude of bizarre jobs are just a click away. See sites like Fiverr, or Mechanical Turk (AKA MTurk), where these things are quite cheap. Both offer a huge array of services, and Fiverr in particular offers a few that interest me. After all, what do you need for a business?
- A target market – one with some cash to burn
- A problem that that target market needs solved
- An understanding of the organizations trying to solve that problem
- A point of differentiation from the competition
- A product
- Advertising for the product
And… you’re done, right? Of course, in real life, things are a bit more nuanced – but this should be a good starting point. I’m sure that a few of these will break down further – for instance, a product needs a name, branding (colours, icon, design), UI/UX, programming, etcetera. But for most of these points, I’m sure I can find someone on Fiverr who will help.
Starting a profitable side project without doing any work might sound a little far-fetched, but I think that it should be possible. For now, it’s time to break these steps down further. Stay tuned to hear what comes next!
Thanks for reading! I’d love to hear your inspirations and ideas, give me a shout on twitter!