Going all-in on one’s beloved side-project? Sounds great! But how do you know it is the right project and time to do so? Let’s take a look at a simple concept.
Side projects are increasingly popular. Partly because it has become easier than ever to create and distribute. And partly because the chances of succeeding in times of virality seem just one Tiktok video away.
This is also why I sometimes see the popularity of “side hustles” with caution. It seems as every minute of the day must be economically optimized. Pursuing a hobby without the intention of turning it into a startup becomes increasingly embarrassing.
That said, I am too guilty of quitting my job to become a freelance developer. But it was more about changing professions instead of building yet another income stream.
If you intend to do the same but don’t know if and when you should do it, this simple framework will help you.
Don’t Ask Your Friends For Advice
I only discovered this concept recently on Cal Newport’s podcast, yet I realized I did exactly the same when I switched careers.
The core premise is that we should use money rather our friend’s advice as an indicator of value.
If we face important decisions like “should I quit my job to become a full-time XYZ”, we most always ask the people around us for advice. Though this advice can be misleading.
Usually, people don’t want to discourage you. Nobody likes to destroy other peoples’ dreams. Thus, most people, even your closest friends, will tell you to just try it. Unless you have really risk-averse parent’s as I did back then.
Same with asking friends if they consider buying your product/service — of course they would — until they really have to make the first payment.
Money As An Indicator Of Value
Ultimately, it comes down to finding people who actually buy your goods or services.
Don’t look for friends who tell you you have a great idea. Don’t look for people who seem willing to buy your product. Instead, find a few first customers who actually sent you money for it.