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Side Projects [Entrepreneurship
Posted on April 19, 2022 @ 11:37:00 PM by Paul Meagher

Where do new businesses come from?

In one version of the story, the founders have an idea or a market opportunity, pursue that idea/opportunity with a lean methodology, and eventually, if they were correct and the market responds, they will be on their way to launching a successful company.

In another version of the story, the entrepreneur starts a side project for whatever reason while continuing with her bread-and-butter work, but that side project starts to evolve and appear like a bigger opportunity than she initially imagined. The entrepreneur involved in the side project wants to use it and maybe a few people she feels inclined to share the idea with. The idea is shared and the feedback helps the entrepreneur figure out things to add and remove and the feedback gets better. The entrepreneur sees more possibilities in her side project and decides to launch and make it available to a wider audience. The wider audience responds, the entrepreneur devotes more time to her side project, and a new company is born.

In the first version, the company is more of a planned undertaking while in the second story the company is more of an evolved side project that may adhere to lean principles by necessity rather than through conscious adoption.

From this observation, one could draw the conclusion that learning a startup methodology is not really necessary to creating a successful company. We've been starting companies for a long time now without any Learn Startup theory and principles. One of the ways we have been doing this is by launching side projects that morph into a business. These side projects operate under a different set of constraints than our main projects, they get done when there is time, there is very little to no budget directed at them, if they get shared with a small circle of people then there is the opportunity to collect feedback and better adapt the product or service and perhaps receive encouragement to share your product or service more widely with people they know, and so on.

There is no recipe for choosing what side project to work on, they often arise out of ideas and experiences that you are interested in pursuing for an extended period of time. If the ideas and experiences involved in your side project are intrinsically interesting to you, then monetary rewards do not have to be the motivating aspect of your side project. By working on a set of ideas for an extended period of time, and sharing your ideas with others, you may get to the point of launching your side project for the greater benefit of others. Seeing that others want to use your product or service may be the main goal of our side project. If that is achieved, however, then other possibilities open up. If your side project has some traction in your niche then that is a good foundation for seeking investment to further the evolution of your side project.

So if someone asks you "How do I become an entrepreneur?" you might advise them to take a class in entrepreneurship, learn how to pitch their idea and do all the stuff that startups have to learn how to do. You could also ask them if they have any side projects they are working on or are thinking about working on.

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