Step 1: The idea
Ideas are easy. Executing on an idea and turning into reality is much harder. I have been trying to come up with a side project that will allow me to create a side business for many years. In this series of posts I am going to try and document the process I am going through in the hope that it will help someone else in the same situation.
The first question I get is why create a side business? Why bother ? Why add on the extra work? You have a good job and like it a lot. This will vary from person to person. Some people will want extra income, others will want to use it as a launch pad to be independent but in my case it is to prove that I can do it. Anything else that comes after that is a bonus.
Everyone assumes creating a business is easy. Generally it is. Todays technology and services allow you to do an amazing amount of things with a laptop that you may not have been able to do 5 years ago. I am starting and creating this business on an 11" MacBook Air. Purely to allow me to be mobile and work on the project where ever I am.
The hard part is the Idea. I come up with lots of ideas. Just because you have an idea does not mean it will work or is good. My typical process is write the idea down and think about it. Research the topic, look at the market, see if anyone else is doing it already (just because someone is already doing it does not mean you can’t make it better) and decide is there is an opportunity. Most of the time I am able to quickly kill the idea or decide that it is not the right one for me. If I had $1 for every idea I killed off I would not need to create a side business, I would be retired ! Sometimes I felt like I was trying to force an idea and I found that frustrating.
I found that many great products have been developed by people who have a problem and then solve it. I have heard it many call it the scratch your own itch syndrome. This is fairly typical in the software development world.
What I started doing is looking at things in my everyday life and started to ask myself questions:
- What could be done better?
- What bothers me about X?
- Could it be improved on?
- Why does this annoy me so much?
After I started asking myself these type of questions I was able to see a wide range of problems right before me that were not being addressed. Look at things in this manor instead of trying to find the force and idea was liberating.
I followed my same process and after a short period of time I had an idea. Next step to see if I could design it. More to come.