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Ask HN: Should I make a umbrella company for my side projects?
7 points by gitgud 4 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments
Hi HN,

Like many developers, I have a lot of side projects (which I would like to profitable one day). So I'm asking in your opinion, what do you think is a better option? Side Projects linking to...

- A company website.

Or

- Your personal website.

The pros of having a company website are that it can look more professional and scale further. But it might be an unnecessary layer, people might assume you're trying to distance yourself from responsibility.

The pros of having your personal website linked could be higher trust. More responsibility, reputation as your names on the line.

Would like to hear other peoples thoughts!




I don't think an umbrella company is needed. Wait to setup an LLC for each side project as they become profitable and show continued growth. That way each project/company is in their own silo.

For side projects give them their own domain/branding don't worry about linking to parent company or your site.

If it's an info product that you are using your personal brand/blog to market, then link back to your personal site.


Thanks, I like the idea of siloing each thing, I guess that would also make it easy to pass off management or sell.

But if you have a collection of related services, surely you want to funnel users from one service to the others. I see this happening when a user reads the about page or app description of a standalone app:

- "Like this? Checkout Service X and Product A"

However sometimes I like to see a company behind the app, which I can associate with other quality apps.

- "This is an Umbrella Company Product"

An example is related products by the same developer on app stores. It can also work against you too though, as a bad quality app will tarnish the chances of the other apps...


y, but you can cross promote without having them attached to an umbrella company.

Just add info/links to related products on the about page and recommend them in your email list, etc.

You could even have an umbrella domain name without making it an LLC etc. That lists all your services/products if you want.

Forming lots of LLCs can get expensive while you're finding product market fit. Typically you'll only have one or two products that really break out anyway and those are the ones that will need an LLC.

y, definitely keep stripe accounts, mailing lists, email services etc you use separate so if you decide to sell one it's easier.


Thanks for the advice! Silos of businesses, with an umbrella domain sheltering them all together. Kind of reminds me of this guys site:

https://apki.io/


The success/popularity/profitability of your projects doesn't depend on that.

It doesn't matter.

What does matter? Find product/market fit. Execute well (build a high quality implementation of your idea). Promote it well. That's 99% of success.

Personally I only created a company when I was making non-trivial amounts of money and even then it was the simplest legal entity there is (DBA).

Creating a company (as in LLC or C-Corp or Inc.) is relatively expensive and requires non-trivial amounts of work just to maintain properly.


In my opinion if you intend to make a project commercial it should be on its own domain.

https://sideproject.com

This is then your landing page which should give visitors and idea what your service does and what problems it solves.

As part of the landing page to build credibility you can have an about section. But be careful some people don't want to use a 'one man band' service.


Yes of course, I agree that a custom domain should exist for each app. And the main focus of that domain is informing users of the service.

And yes the credibility of a one-man show is always something to worry about. This could be mitigated with a company though. I can imagine going to; https://sideproject.com/about and reading:

- "Sideproject is brought to you by The Umbrella Company"

Hopefully that would instil more confidence in the product and the people behind it.

Although it seems some people would prefer a simpler more authentic experience of linking directly to the developer... still not sure which way to go.


Make sure your company name and your product names are different.

People will visit product websites. It has never occurred to me to visit Google's company website if you get me?

I named my business, bank details etc, after my first product as I didn't expect to have any more. I wish now I hadn't as now I do.




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