Side Projects

How to start a Side Project. 5. Play to your strengths.

It may look as if a new project is a great time to try something new and exciting like a new programming language. Why not seize the opportunity to have fun while you work? After all this is your project. So why use the same boring stuff you do at your day work?

However, that’s not the case. Starting a business is a very hard thing to do. Even more when you start a side hustle. You have even less time and resources. If you spend time learning new things you further limit your available time.

On the search for customers and profitability you will be competing with others who have similar offerings on the market. Even if you start with a unique idea, others will try to steal it and copy your product. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about it. That’s one more reason to play to your strengths.

You may have heard the “principle of least effort” or the similar term “path of least resistance”. It is a theory that covers diverse fields from evolutionary biology to web page design. It maintains that humans and animals naturally choose the easiest way to achieve a goal. In our case the “path of least resistance” is sticking to what you already know.

Sometimes you are forced to use something new. For example when you want to create an online store but you don’t know anything about websites. Even at that time you should do it in the simplest way possible without getting into the trap of adding more work to your plate.

Besides, let’s not forget that other than you, nobody will ever care what tech you use to provide a product or service. Nobody ever used Google because it was based on the X or Y tech stack. People use it because it delivers results.

The new skills you should be learning is talking to customers and giving solutions to their problems. What is the point of a fancy tech stack product if no people are using it? Like Arvid Kahl says in his article “How to kill your business”: “Entrepreneurship is about empowering people, not trying out new tech.”