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Portfolio, side project or full time?


#1

I have just started to read ‘The Profitable Side Project Handbook’ by @rachelandrew (great read so far BTW).

The following sentence from the book got me wondering: “This book is about launching a product that will make enough money to pay its way as part of your portfolio of revenue generating activities as an individual or business.”

What are most people on this board doing? Do you have a portfolio of things and that is your goal, is it just a fun side project for you and less about money, are you trying to go full time on one product?

Just curious on the mix in here ;0)

I guess I should say what I am doing… currently, my main source of income is my agency, have two products and do occasional events and classes. All bootstrapped. So portfolio is my answer.


#2

Currently I’m consulting and trying to get my first SAAS to a point where it can provide at least a healthy portion of my family’s income. I love the idea of diversifying income, especially for a solo contractor so you’re not so tied to the ups and downs of contracting/consulting.


#3

I’m with @dgrigg - I like the idea of diversifying income as well. But if it’s easy enough a problem for someone else come and solve, then they may intrude on your niche. If you characterize your niche accurately and defend it from other players, then you’ve probably got to constantly think about it and update it. If that’s the case, how many of these can you have around?

I feel it’d be easier to try to milk as much out of one product as possible (to the point of hitting diminishing returns), either through marketing or product. If it doesn’t work, move on. But if it hits a reasonable reception, why not keep going with this particular one?


#4

Absolutely and it’s what we ultimately have done with Perch. However the point is that if you decide success is only found in replacing your main income - that’s quite a big deal. It’s a sticking point I see with a lot of people I’ve spoken to. They are so busy trying to figure out whether their idea is capable of replacing their consultancy income or their day job that it never gets launched.

Quite often you don’t know if something will really take off, but you can mitigate the risk if you know that success could be just a decent bit of recurring income. It took nearly 4 years for us to get Perch to a point where we could say “no more client projects”, but it was contributing a fair chunk of our turnover before that.


#5

At any given point I’m working on a.) client projects, b.) my main project or c.) a portfolio of passive income sites.

The original goal was to get the passive stuff to the point where I could stop taking on client work and work exclusively on my main project. At one point I reached that goal and was developing for myself full-time. Unfortunately that didn’t hold up long enough to get to a launch. Turns out “passive income” and “long-term” don’t usually go together.

Anyway, now I try to take on only a small number of high paying client projects and use that for runway. Although I will say that has its pitfalls too as I’ve run out of runway more times than I care to admit.

Nonetheless, ever forward. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.


#6

@rachelandrew - when I read that line in your book, I genuinely thought “perfect, this is for me”. I like this approach. It is starting to sound like I am your book agent or on commission or something though, so I’ll go away now! ;0)


#7

I’m also in the side project that may lead to main income in the future crowd. It’s a good way to avoid analysis paralysis. If your idea isn’t good enough, that’s fine. You make whatever little money you can, with the chance to grow later on.

What I like about it is, there is really no excuse not to start now.


#8

Spotted a relevant post yesterday - Joel Gascoigne has published a post about how the constraints of starting up as a side project can actually be helpful: https://medium.com/buffer-posts/a2b85636aa63