It’s no surprise to anyone who’s been reading this blog or listening to my podcasts lately that I’m a huge fan of side projects. As much as anything they help keep my mental sanity among the sometimes drawn out roller coaster of business.
An exciting, new, and challenging venture gives you that little bit of extra vigor when you sit down for work for the day, and gives you the break sometimes needed in business. Especially on the emotional side of things.
However, the haters have always said that your side projects are taking away from your focus on your main business. As someone who’s started several side projects that are radically different than my main brand I can absolutely agree.
Side projects are great, as long as there is some overlap with your main business or target audience. This shouldn’t be tough to do, right? Who do you normally write blog posts for and try to serve? What are the pain points of all of your existing customers? Can you somehow find a new way to serve that audience or a new product within your current industry?
I’ve definitely been on the wrong side of this a few times in my entrepreneurial career. As someone who’s fallen victim to the dreaded Shiny Object it’s always tempting for me to look at the proverbial next best thing. And through that I’ve started new projects that are radically different than what I have going with PodcastMotor, my main business.
Needless to say the vast majority of them have been a slow moving disaster. Time wasted, money spend, and precious time away from my main business (you know, the one that feeds my family).
Keep Doing What You’re Good At
To this point serving podcasters has been really successful for our business, and we’ve kind of found our niche in the market. This is not a simple thing to do (for me at least) and finding Product/Market fit is a really cool thing to see. When you do that customers come to you naturally because you’re solving the problem they have, and your solution exactly solves that very problem. A win-win for everyone.
The simplest thing for me to do to ‘reinvent’ our current business would just be to explore new ways to grow and evolve our current main business. And that may be just what I do.
For arguement’s sake let’s consider a small, complimentary move.
Looking at what the next generation of my business will be I’m definitely looking to be additive towards my existing audience, whether that be podcasters or entrepreneurs and small business owners. The latter definitely is a bigger market, with more real problems to solve and dollars to spend.
Every one of our customers is either an entrepreneur or small business. Podcasting, for all of it’s wonderful characteristics, is not the most money laden industry out there. Lots of hobbiest podcasters, many of whom don’t make any money from their show.
Stacking the Bricks
So I’m off to look for a way to build on top of the success we’ve seen with PodcastMotor and the ways I’ve been able to connect and help out fellow podcasters, entrepreneurs, and business owners.
The framework I’m using for keeping focus within this search includes the following checklist:
- Am I already engaged with my potential customers?
- Can I start this business very simply, without any major time or financial investment (MVP)?
- Is this additive to my current business industry or customers?
If each of those boxes are checked then I have a pretty good chance of making a strong initial impact. That’s nothing to scoff at either. Far too many of my entrepreneurial friends (myself included) have had a terrible time making that initial dent in a market…something I’m quite keen on avoiding.