Making a Side Project, Part 2: Idea Validation

Mubashar Iqbal
Make Side Project
Published in
6 min readNov 7, 2017

Is this a good idea?

Have you read Part 1 of the Making a Side Project series?

I took a slightly different approach to idea validation, than I normally take. Letting users help you decide is often the best approach, even though not it’s not always possible.

139 votes later, and the Twitter poll declared the winner to be “Track Startup Expenses”, don’t worry we won’t be calling it that for long. The poll was idea validation all by itself, not something I normally do. Fortunately this was the idea I was leaning towards doing, so how would I normally validate my ideas.

I have a couple of different ways to assess if I should build a project, which is determined by my reason for building the project, below you’ll find my criteria when I’m building something not just for fun, or to learn a new tool or technique.

Would I use this?

An unusual criteria for most people, but something that I think is vital for side projects. By their very nature the time you have to work on an side projects is limited at best. Building something that you would use give you a leg up on understanding the users needs, and desires for the project. You’ll spend far less time talking to people to extract requirements, and more time building a project that matches the users needs.

Do I know people that would use this?

You can’t be the only person to use the project. Do you know other people that would use it? It’s great to have a few trusted people that you can reach out too, for early feedback and testing. You can be a little too close to the project to identify problems, so getting early feedback can be key to keeping the project on track.

Do I know places where people who would use this hangout?

If you plan on building out the user base and grow your project, you need to be able to reach large numbers of users…

Mubashar Iqbal
Make Side Project

2016 @ProductHunt Maker of the Year. Making side projects for fun and profit.