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Ask HN: Building a side project that makes money. Where to start?
23 points by throwaway8891 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 8 comments
I want to build a side project. Especially, one that makes money. Even if it brings in $100, I feel that it will provide more satisfaction than my current job.

I can code in python with some help.

Can you provide some ideas on where to start? What are some simple things I can build by myself? Any ideas?

I would recommend finding an existing market. By that find something that already exists and has paying customers. If they have hundreds of reviews or if there is a forum where the product or service is actively discussed go there. Look for one or two common problems that paying customers have that is not being addressed. Try to make a product that is similar but solves those one or two problems.

Then work your way nicely into the forum and be helpful. Only after some time, suggest your product as a solution.

Do you have any hobbies? If so, what is the king you wished you had for that hobby. Make it for yourself, then sell it too.

Mine was making cool gifts for people. Now I have a art-piece that I sell: www.finewordclocks.com

It’s not a lot of revenue but it’s fun, gives me an excuse to buy cool “toys” aka tools, and I get to teach my Kids about making cool things with fancy tools.

The archive[1] of the video content from YC's "Startup School" is freely available. There's some really good content there that would probably help you a lot. I'd suggest go through those, and just skip the ones that obviously aren't relevant to where you're at (like the ones on fundraising, hiring staff, etc.). The ones about "product" issues would likely answer a lot of your questions.

The other thing I'd suggest is to read The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank - or the follow-on / 2nd Edition, which was re-titled as The Startup Owner's Manual. They're the same book in a sense, but they're different enough that I'd actually recommend reading both eventually. But personally I'd still start with TFSTTE.

[1]: http://startupschool.org/library

https://indiehackers.com/products has a list of apps that earns money. If you want to skip through those market research work, you can clone some of the profitable apps there, maybe with your own little twist.

If you are willing to do the market research work, pick an audience (say, python developer, since you are one and understand it most), find out whats their problem (maybe setting ENV? maybe setting up a server to deploy to?) , and start from there.

Start by finding a small group of people that have a problem that you might be able to solve by writing python scripts or a simple web app perhaps built with flask. Joining a few meetups or online forums or looking for problems in your current job may give you an idea of how to connect with these people. Then it is a matter of throwing together the simplest possible app that could address the main issues these people are having and going and talking to them to see if they would pay for it and adjust your product based on their feedback

This doesn't really answer your questions directly, but it's something that I've learned the hard way over the years: start small and fail early.

Don't spend hundreds of hours on ideas before you know if it will work or not. If your intention is to make money, make the smallest MVP you can to start testing if it has real potential. If it clearly doesn't work, move onto the next idea.

I run a side project that earns $500-$800 per month and my intention was to make something useful for myself. Never thought of money. You should not think of money first. Only think of usability. Think about money later.

Link ?

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