New year, new project1/4/2021
This year I'm going to start a new project. In the last couple of years, I've had plenty of projects that didn't pan out. This time I want it to be different. I'm going to focus more on the process of actually trying to build a business.
Like many others, I have a graveyard of more or less finished side projects. Last year I decided to take my side projects more seriously. I started two projects, both of which I ultimately stopped working on. Both projects were for Laravel developers, but Laravel, the company, released official solutions for the same problem.
A fresh start
There's one thing all my earlier projects had in common. I never followed any process or did any validation. I didn't talk to customers, and I didn't consider the risks. I mostly just started building.
This time around, I want to be more deliberate about my actions. I want to spend more time considering what kinds of projects would be interesting and how they would fit my daily life. I want to spend more time de-risking and making sure I'm working on the biggest problem I'm facing related to the project.
Criteria for the new project
I've spent the last few months thinking about what kind of projects I want to work on. I don't have any specific markets, platforms, etc., in mind. In the past, I've mostly worked on developer tools, but I've found this to be market to be very crowded.
I haven't settled on a business model. The dream would be a recurring revenue model, but this is also a tough model to start with. I'm interested in projects where I sell single items for $50-$1000. It could be anything from courses, themes, templates, one-off automation, etc. Ideally, it would be something where customers would return regularly.
I want it to be a B2B project. The margins are much higher in that space, and I would rather focus on getting 100 high-paying customers than 10.000 consumers.
Since this is a side-project, I have limited time to work on it. I'm currently working full-time at Branch, and I'm about to do my thesis in a few months. A critical criterion for me is that I can automate almost any part of the business. I don't mind doing manual work, to begin with, but in the past, I've made the mistake of doing projects that required me to work every single day.
The last requirement might seem a bit arbitrary, and it's not a hard requirement. But I would prefer a project where I can leverage SEO as a marketing channel. I like the idea that each piece of content created will continue to work for years to come.
To sum up:
- Recurring revenue or single repeatable sales worth at least \$50
- Highly automatable down the road.
- (SEO as a marketing channel)
I usually find creating goals with overly specific numbers a bit arbitrary. Nonetheless, I'm going to do exactly that.
I want this project to make \$3000 per month. That will comfortably cover all my living expenses, and I can spend the salary from my day job on experiences, investments, etc.
I don't have a deadline but preferably within the next couple of years.
$3000 per month is equivalent to 60 people spending $50, 30 people spending $100, 6 people spending $500 or 3 people spending \$1000. When breaking it down to it doesn't feel so daunting to me.
I don't have an idea yet. Part of the process will be to find some interesting markets, talk to people in these industries, and find a problem I can solve.
One of the first steps will be having some customer conversations. This is not something I've done before, so I'm currently reading The Mom Test to prepare. I don't have a plan for finding people to talk to, so there's some work to do as well.
At the same time, I'm going to be looking at some markets I find interesting.