Hey makers and side project enthousiast !
You want to start a side project to increase your income, to start a new challenge, to free yourself of your current job or because you enjoy starting new projects. It's nice you have done the first step: have the mindset to move forward. Now what is the next step? Found an idea for you side project.
Here we are going to see together what make a good side project project whether you are a maker or someone with a fulltime job. Once we know what is a good idea, we have to find it. So we are going to discuss about how to find it. Finally to be sure it is the idea that will make you reach your goals, I give you a checklist to prevalidate it.
Let's go in the first step of living of your own projects 🚀
What is a good idea?
Since the beginning I speak about idea. In fact you don't want an idea. What you really want is a need.
People won't pay you because of your idea, they will pay you because you fulfill one of their need. For example, if someone offer you to pay a service which will compute the 100nth decimal of π, would you pay for it? Except if you are a mathematician or a phycisit who need an extremely precision, you won't pay for that. Why? Because you don't have the need for it. It's surely a great idea to define π the more precisely, but do you need it?
Now you know that you have to find a need. More it solves a pain for the user more he will be willing to pay for it. For instance, for someone receiving hundreds of emails every day, having a system which can automate the filtering and processing of its email will make him save a lot of time.
So now you have a need which solve a big pain. Nice first steps 😀 Are there a lot of competitors? Having some competitors is not bad. It means that there is a market for your project. But having to much competitors means that it will be hard to separate yourself from the crowd.
In case where they are some competitors, you have to differentiate your product/service from them. You can do it by looking from another perspective, by focusing on a specific niche. For example you want to do a CRM (Customer Relationship Manager), there are a lot of competitors. Though you can focus for example on photographers. They have specific needs that a generalist CRM won't fulfill.
Last but not least, how quick is it to implement? Can you fake it until you make it? You validate all the previous points. But you have to work for one year before having your first client. You will probably loose motivation. And as a 2nd point you have to confront your idea with real clients ASAP. Because what you think your client wants, it is maybe not exactly what he wants.
If you ship your product/service when it is perfect you ship it too late
You may ask me, how to I find need? It 's perfect as it's what we are going to see next!
Where to find a need
Look in your life
One place to start looking for a need is in your own life. Take a look at your job, your hobbies, and your personal experiences. What problems do you encounter on a regular basis? What do you wish you had access to that you don't currently have? These could be potential starting points for a side project.
You can also talk to your acquaintances and friends about their problems and needs. Maybe there is something that they have been wanting but have not been able to find.
For example, looking in my own life, I have a big pain about following the expense in my couple. With my wife we have each one our own bank account and we also have a common one. But sometimes me or my wife, we pay with our own account for the family. And it is hard to follow who has paid what and if we one have paid more than the others. We found some app liken Bankin but it does not meet our requirements, because we don't want to link with our bank accounts, we want to sync between our phones and to categorize and subcategorize each exepense.
This need is a real one, but it is not a good need for me for a side project because it necessitate to much work to reach the MVP (Minimal Viable Product).
Look over the internet
You didn't find something which could be a good side project need in your life. You can also search over internet.
In the case you want to create a SAAS (Software as a Service), you can go to site like Captera. Check the field in which you are interested. Look at the comments, and see what the users whant which are not fulfilled with current solutions.
I won't hide you that looking this way has never worked for me. I want to tell you about this option because during my research I saw that it has worked for other people. It is not because it didn't work for me that it won't for you 😉
Checklist of a good idea
To summarize, I create for you a checklist to know if your idea is a good one for a side project.
- Do some people have a need for it?
- Does it solves a pain?
- Are there people who are searching a solution for this pain?
- Is it a large enough pain to have people paying for solving it?
- Does the the solution is quick to implement?
- Is it possible to fake it until you make it?
- Is it quick to create a MVP?
- Are there competitors but not too much?
If you have check every checkbox, then you must pursue the validation of your idea. The next step before investing time in developing your solution would be to find some clients.
If you thing about other ways to find a good idea or you think about other point important to validate your idea, please share it with us 😀
Alone, I go faster; together, we go further.