Trying to imagine how your new startup idea will be built, adopted & grown can seem very daunting when you think of all the things that need to happen after the idea stage. One of the main forces in startups that keeps me hopeful and excited is the concept of “side projects”…small projects that people do outside of their regular lives that are more like hobbies than businesses.
These days it’s so easy to reach potential customers and test demand that I believe this type of early scoping is required to help cut through the unprecedented startup noise that exists.
In this podcast/video, the founder of Houzz describes how that company began out of her and her husband’s frustration over re-making their own home. Out of that experience - purely as a side project in 2009 - they decided to sign-up twenty parents from their kid’s school and some local service providers to test whether or not they could make this process better for others.
They did all of this while they had full-time lives and with very little money. Then they ran this side project until 2010 when they decided to make the jump full-time. Fast-forward to today and Houzz now gets over 35 million monthly users.
Think of the differences between these two early paths for Houzz...
1) Adi and her husband have this frustration and then decide to go "all in" on this idea. They quit their jobs and use all of their savings to build their ideal product and then cross their fingers that it will work.
2) Adi and her husband purposely pare down both supply and demand to test - in a very focused way - if there's real product-market fit for their proposed solution to this problem. And (best of all) they do it in their spare time with very little money.
When asked about the true value of her side project, this founder says that it allowed them to cut through the noise and figure-out what was truly useful for their customers.
If you have an idea for a startup, there’s never been a better time for you to validate your idea - with very little time and money - before building a full product.
Get Right to the Lesson
I’d recommend listening to the entire thing, but to get right to the point go to minute 31:12 of this podcast/video.
Thanks to these folks for helping us all learn faster
Adi Tatarko (@aditatarko), co-founder & CEO of Houzz (@houzz)
This Week In Startups (@TWistartups )
Jason Calacanis (@jason)
Jacqui Deegan (@jacqKD)
Jacob Beemer (@jacobbeemer)
Please let me and others know what you think about this topic
Email me privately at firstname.lastname@example.org or let's discuss publicly at @davempayne.