I spent awhile thinking that I needed to play to very specific business traits for my side projects to succeed.
Here’s the list I put together, based on my strengths:
That alone would have resulted in a profitable project. Here’s how it worked for the couple months I tried it. PR as a service. Made $2K in 2 months. Closed 2/5 sales calls. Content writing as a service. Outsourced it, maybe $1200/month in 2 months. Closed 3/7 calls. Total I racked up 5,000 email subscribers by growth hacking with projects like this calendar.presskite.com
The problem was I built a productized service that generated a fraction of my contracting rate and doubled the amount of work I had to do since I had to be constantly closing new clients while also executing on the product vision.
That sucked. And it also made for a terrible side project. It took up way too much time (sales calls happen during business hours, not great for a side project) and B2B with large orders had a long funnel with multiple touch points. That’s a lot of effort with know promise of revenue which is rough if you don’t have product market fit. A recurring charge means you have to provide value on a recurring basis and a service based product means tons of HR overhead.
I abandoned those profitable projects and now I’m moving on to a new set of parameters a side project should fall into based on my learnings:
Why nonprofits? The sector is underserved. I’ve recently spent some time working on it and have made massive fundraising gains for charities in need by applying basic marketing and acquisition principles while aligning them to new donor acquisition. Marketing for good, not evil.
The one time payment allows me to create a source of value and sell it multiple times to multiple people, without crippling an org with a recurring payment or signing myself up to a tight deadline to produce new content while I’m traveling or busy with the main gig.
And I care. I can’t stop thinking about it. And really, that’s what matters most. If you really push, care deeply and create a good product, it doesn’t matter what the outcome is. You know it needs to exist in the world and you’re going to fucking sculpt it into existence with late nights and bouts of inspiration.
That’s what I’m building at nonprofithq.org
Something I care about.