How to find side plan selling ideas

62 percent.

That’s a commission of Crew’s income driven by a side projects final week alone following a launch of one of a latest tools.

Every time we see such high ROI on a side plan offered efforts, we feel this obligatory need to remonstrate each singular one of my startup friends to stop wasting their income on ads or letter those unhappy listicles to squeeze some-more eyeballs.

Side projects assistance your business bond with customarily those that matter by formulating durability value instead of renting their short-term courtesy regulating assertive shortcuts.

In a prior essay, we attempted to explain why side plan offered is holding over a world and finished a serve research in a initial doctrine of Make This Year.

In this post, we wish to share a unsentimental proceed to how to come adult with side plan ideas.

Before we start, concede me to fast summation 3 things about side plan marketing:

  • Taking time and bid divided from building your business to work on a side plan is a large choice and one that isn’t for everyone. It’s a choice that we and your group will have to make on your own.
  • But once we get in a sequence origination mood, you’ll fast notice that side projects can be approach reduction distracting than other offered methods we use to emanate value for your business. Some side projects take reduction time and bid to launch than it takes to write a blog post, and they pierce aloft ROI.
  • Today, there is a giveaway apparatus for roughly all and we don’t indispensably have to sinecure a engineer or developer to launch your side project. You can always start tiny and confirm after either to sinecure some help.

One of a many distinguished things about side plan offered is to comprehend how strongly it’s associated to formulating value for your audience. The answer to ‘How do we come adult with side plan ideas?’ is roughly a same as to ‘How do we emanate value for my customers?’.

If we review ‘Side Project Marketing is The New King’, we substantially remember we used Brian Clark’s golden sequence of offered to explain a attribute between value origination and sales:

Give something profitable divided in sequence to sell something related.

Remember that a goal here is not to find a disreputable by-pass to make a sale though to emanate value for others by tools, apps, websites, or software — value that is associated to a core business, though built ‘on a side’ though losing a categorical focus.

Let’s demeanour during some absolute ways to come adult with side plan ideas. And while there are other options, we attempted to cover a processes that’ve helped us boat during slightest one plan a month.

1. Catch pivotal preference breakpoints — (X vs Y)

One of a many profitable side projects we can build is a apparatus that helps your intensity business confirm between opposite options they face when shopping your product or service.

Let me explain with 4 examples:

1.1. Decision breakpoints: Core product variations

Most products and services customarily come with opposite models or variations that your clients need to select from, such as determining either to buy an iPhone 5 or 6. So ask yourself, can we build a apparatus that helps them select a best choice for their needs?

Here’s one apparatus we built that became one of a many successful side projects:


At Crew, we compare a clients with a high-quality designers and developers in a network so they can build things like apps, websites, and branding assets. But many intensity business aren’t even certain either to build a website or an app. So we built — a discerning apparatus that will assistance we know that height your product belongs on customarily by responding a few elementary questions.

The result? The series of people who use such collection competence leave we speechless. They also pierce considerable volume of hunt traffic.


Think about how we could request this to your possess business. Are we offered bikes? What opposite forms of bikes do we offer? Mountain bikes? Road bikes? Hybrid, cruiser, folding bikes? What about formulating a apparatus that will assistance your intensity business select that choice is best for them?

1.2. Decision breakpoints: Core product substitutes

Sometimes it’s not customarily opposite models your intensity clients are choosing, though rather similar, nonetheless substitutable, products.

For instance, if intensity businessman clients confirm not to sinecure a engineer or developer by Crew, how else can they build their app?

Well, for one, they can learn to pattern and formula themselves instead of employing people. So, how about a apparatus that compares employing coders vs training to code? Or a march on how to take a digital product thought from thought to execution?

Let’s consider about a bike tradesman instance again. What other travel options do people have? Walking? Bus? Subway? Buy a car? How about origination a apparatus comparing all of a alternatives?

1.3. Decision breakpoints: Your competitors

If people don’t buy from you, who else is offered a identical product out there?

Type ‘Buffer’ in Google and initial thing you’ll see is an ad from their aspirant Hootsuite:


The engaging thing is when we click on it, Hootsuite’s tool is indeed useful to know a disproportion between a dual companies.

While some competence disagree a ethics of a pierce like this (all is satisfactory in adore and advertising!), when finished in a pure and honest approach it can not customarily assistance to take business divided from your competitors, though also assistance filter intensity users before we spend any time on them during all.

1.4. Decision breakpoints: Related benefits

Your intensity business bargain with many other problems that are associated to a core problem your product solves. And there’s no improved approach to keep a happy, returning patron than give them some-more value than they ever approaching (or asked for!)

So what other associated problems do they have? And what are a dilemmas they face when perplexing to solve those problems?

At Crew, a issues a business have don’t finish when they finish building their app or conceptualizing their site during Crew. In fact, that’s customarily customarily a commencement for a startup or tiny business. And while their ‘business transaction’ technically ends when a final product ships, we’ve found that providing value in a duration right after a product is prepared is a good approach to keep people happy.

For example, many of a people we work with are startups or tiny businesses who work remotely and mostly asynchronously.

So a outrageous emanate many of them face is gripping adult with their communication. To assistance them confirm that app they should use to conduct their teams, we built


Don’t constrain yourself to meditative that a side plan has to be a apparatus or website. SlackvsHipchat is roughly like a long-form blog post, customarily displayed in a approach that creates it some-more appealing and sparkling for intensity customers.

2. Help your business get improved during what they do

Alright. So we’ve seen a opportunities to emanate side projects formed around your customer’s preference breakpoints. But there’s another good good of side plan ideas we can lift from: Education.

Creating value starts with putting yourselves in your customer’s boots and bargain how their problems don’t finish when they buy your product.

Instead, they customarily have a many bigger problem to solve, and wish to get improved during elucidate it. Here’s a integrate examples of how we can give them that power.

Frontapp builds a apparatus that helps companies yield patron support, though a outrageous partial of good support is good communication. So they built — a side plan site that offers best-in-class duplicate examples from good companies to enthuse and teach their intensity customers.

Similarly, during Crew, a intensity clients don’t customarily wish to build an app or a site, they wish to build a business. That’s because one of a many successful projects offers them a beginner’s beam to building an online business, while another helps them boost their revenue.

Take a step behind and consider about all of a ways your patron measures success, not customarily a one we are directly perplexing to provide. Creating that turn of large design value creates lifelong customers.

3. Do a legwork

Let’s stay in a customer’s shoes. Every chairman and business has singular resources, that is because they conclude it when we make things easier for them.

One of a best ways to do that is to do a legwork for them. Find ways to assistance them work smarter and mangle by a constraints they’re now facing, either they’re time, financial, physical, or emotional.

Bonsai knows a freelance business have singular time so, one of their many successful side projects does a legwork of bringing hundreds of useful freelancing tools together into one place.

While a folks during InVision knew their assembly of designers would conclude a giveaway hulk package of UI kit.

At Crew, we do a legwork for a business and artistic village with collection like Coffee Power, that brings together a collection of coffee shops with that unicorn multiple of good coffee, good Wi-Fi, and copiousness of energy plugs. We also know how tough it is for anyone, from designers to writers to founders, to find good photos, so Unsplash brings together tens of thousands of royalty-free photos that don’t siphon by a best photographers out there.

What about you? Where can we use your imagination to do a legwork for your community?

4. Free collection for lead generation

While a collection we’ve talked about so distant don’t directly concentration on attracting prospects, giveaway lead era collection assistance we pinpoint high-quality leads by charity something useful to your intensity customers.

Here’s a few good examples:

4.1. Offer one or few facilities of your core product as a standalone product and give it divided for free.

Some good examples embody Open Site Explorer by Moz or Notifier by Content Marketer.

4.2. Build a apparatus that solves ‘microproblems’.

For instance, Hubspot sells inbound offered program though to be successful during inbound offered (core problem):

  • People need to know who their ideal patron is (micro problem). So Hubspot offers a side plan called Make my Persona, discerning and easy customer persona growth for your inbound offered strategy.
  • People need to know how their website performs (micro problem). So Hubspot offers a side plan called Website Grader, a giveaway online apparatus that grades your site opposite pivotal metrics like performance, mobile readiness, SEO, and security.

4.3. Build a apparatus around things that stop your business from shopping your product.

For instance, during Crew, one of a things that gets in a approach of people employing a artistic to build a website or an app is cost. So we offer collection that guess how many a website, an app, or a logo costs. These collection expostulate many of a income we beget from side plan marketing.


It’s not complicated

Of march there are many other ways we can emanate value regulating side plan marketing. You can build something totally out of a box, inspire your customers, or create romantic connections.

But a problem isn’t unequivocally entrance adult with side plan ideas. It’s a plea of being means to pierce divided from a egotistic ‘me me me’ offered trap and concentration on building things that are useful to your audience. Nobody cares about your business, they caring about how they demeanour in front of their customers. They caring about how they can get improved during what they do. They caring about how to stir their possess clients.

And side plan offered helps we to do accurately that — to pierce divided from ‘me-focused’ offered and start saying how we can indeed help, be useful, and emanate impassioned value for your customers.

This post creatively seemed on Medium.

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