Making a Side Project, Part 1: Ideas

Published on Nov 6, 2017

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Idea’s are everywhere you look, or even listen. Not all of them are good ideas, but you should keep an open mind and consider them all to find the good ones. A small change in perspective or approach, can turn a bad idea in to a great one.

My favorite source of idea is my inbox. Every email I receive with a spreadsheet attached, I start thinking about how the information in the spreadsheet was collected, organized and then made it’s way to me. Could that process be improved, with an app of some kind. This applies to business and my personal life, yes I have friends that send me emails with spreadsheets!

Another source of ideas is reducing repetition. If I find I’m doing the same thing on a regular basis, that can be boring and a waste of time. If I can build a tool to automate the process, that can save me lots of time in the long run. If that tool that can be used by other people that saves even more time. Saving time, saves money and increases productivity.

Idea’s really are everywhere. People like to complain, they complain on television, on the radio on social media. People complain about things they don’t like to do, build something that allows them to not have to do it, or make it easy and quick to do. Or build something that lets them complain more :)

I’ve come up with four idea’s that I’ve detailed below that I was considering making …

Channel Sites

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When I first thought about my next app, I first thought of Channel Sites. I’ve had this idea sitting on the shelf for a while, and I keep coming back to it, I even created a Product Hunt Upcoming page for it.

Since I started running Critics, I’ve noticed that a lot of YouTuber’s don’t have websites. Especially those just getting started, focus on publishing videos to their YouTube channel, or just don’t have knowledge of how to create and update a website with their videos.

The idea for Channel Sites, is to allow for people with no web design or development skills to easily create and update a website with their videos. Using the YouTube API Channel Sites would automatically update, and come with a selection of themes for users to use.

Track your Startup Expenses

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Although I’m a bit of an extreme example, I have lots and lots of Side Projects, most people have one or two, tracking expense for them is a problem for everyone.

Since these are side projects, nobody wants, or has the time to use a fully fledged accounting system to track the income (probably won’t be any) or the expenses.

We should however be tracking the expenses, we can deduct them from our taxes at the end of the year, or if the side project turns into something real we can be reimbursed the expenses we incur, but only if do a good job of tracking them!

Share your Mentions within a Team

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I’ve worked for big companies (Fortune 500 big) as well as small companies (2 people small), we tried get press mentions at all of them. From small blogs, to magazines, newspapers or television shows, people have talked about the things that I’ve worked on. There are lots of tools that help you monitor the Internet for mentions of your brand, but sharing those mentions with the rest of your team is ignored. These usually end up in an weekly email.

A web app that categories and makes these mentions easily viewable, would make for a great moral building tool, as well as provide great material for the next website design when we like to include the best mentions.

Journalist Finder

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Every week I seem to find another list of journalists, the perfect list to pitch your startup. The top journalists, at the top publications. However these lists lead to just cold emailing journalists that work at some great publications, but might not be interested in your startup. There must be a better way.

Yeah we could go all machine learning, AI and try and analyze the words written by every journalist and then see what matches best to what your startup is doing, but that sounds like a long and risky proposition. What if we could go a little simpler. Most publications tag and categorize their content. What if we could leverage the work the journalists and editors are doing, use their tags and categories to produce a list of journalists that would be most interested in writing about your project.

I have a lot of other ideas, but these seem pretty good. Which one to build?

I have a pretty good idea of which app I’m going to build, but I’d love to know what you think, so I’ve created a poll on Twitter. I’d love to know which you think I should build. Leave a response below, with other ideas!



Next: Making a Side Project, Part 2: Idea Validation