Side Projects

How to start a Side Project. 2. Ask other people about their opinions.

Our brain sometimes plays tricks on us. It’s very common for somebody to be overly optimistic and overlook important details of a project idea. Don’t get caught in a dream state where you go from zero to billionaire in your head.

Other people’s opinions can be a reality check for your imagination. Reach out to friends, coworkers and family and ask their honest opinions about your business ideas. Do they think it’ll work? Most importantly, would they buy your product or service?

At this point I suggest that you read an excellent book by Rob Fitzpatrick called “The mom test”. It takes you through the process of gathering feedback and avoiding biased opinions. Written by an introvert who is bad at meetings, this book will give you the tools to talk to customers and learn what they really want.

More opinions mean more information. More information means more validation and more informed decisions. Just make sure to extract the right information from raw data (which in our case is people’s opinions).

Be careful not to get caught in an “analysis paralysis” state. This is a state when overthinking and overanalyzing can cause decision making to halt. When you find yourself paralyzed, take a break, move away from the data for a bit and try to see the bigger picture.

Ignore the naysayers. People who reject an idea without arguments simply have a negative opinion. Don’t make them doubt yourself and your ideas. You should be able to filter out negativity (for the sake of negativity) and keep only the opinions that bring you actionable data.

If possible, engage in conversations. Every person has a different logic and follows a different pattern in his head when it comes to validating an idea. A conversation gives you a wider perspective since it lights up many data points.

Don’t try to project your opinions on people. Ask open ended questions where people are free to express themselves without having an opinion “extracted” from them. It’s up to you to extract information from other persons’ opinions. Remember you are the one who benefits from this process even when you don’t like what you hear.