How to get your side project launched

There are many people who have a lot of interesting ideas in mind but never get around to starting on their side/pet project. Some people start on their side project but never get to completion. These are the three steps which if followed before you start actual work on your project will help you get your pet project launched.

1. Think things through
– This is the most important step. If you do this well, consider your side project well begun and half done!
– Visualize things after completion will it make you happy? Will it make you feel like you accomplished something? Will it make you feel successful?
– Humans operate with pain-pleasure principle.  Will the completion of the project alleviate your pain or others pain? Will it bring some pleasure to the work and lives of others or yourself?
– When the going gets tough with your pet project as it often does, these reasons will help you and give you the strength to complete the project.

2. Set a deadline with detailed plans
– Start by identifying all the steps you need to complete and each stage.
– When can you reasonably finish the project?
– When do you want to launch? When do you want to get your product or service out to the public?
– Make detailed and specific plans, not vague ones.
– Also the most important rule, remember nothing is perfect. You will have to refine after launch and constantly learn from it. Take a look at the first version of Google. Your first launch is the beginning get ready to quickly make changes depending on user feedback.

3. Make commitments
– Tell your friends and your family you are going to launch on the deadline.
– If you had prospective customers enquiring about product, let them know that you are launching the product or service on the launch date.
– Schedule banner ads, ppc ads, book presentations, print leaflets, etc as required to promote your project and get you to focus on the launch.
– Get a mailing list of all people who you know that will be interested in the project.
– The third point in my opinion is the one most often ignored and causes deadlines to slip. If  your family & friends know that we are busy working on something they might understand not to bother you until your launch date!

The first point on thinking things through will energize you or show you that this project should never be done. The third point will commit you to the deadline and hopefully clear out distractions as your family and friends are now aware of what you are working on. Only once all the three steps above are complete you should start working on your project and in accordance with your plan.

If you are working on your pet project please do share your experience!

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  1. Manual said on :

    I understand the importance of the making commitments both financial and personal. But this converts the project from a fun project into something like a routine job (The one I get paid for).

    I wonder if there is a way to keep out deadlines and still launch my website idea. On the other hand, I guess this explains why my work projects get launched eventually but my website idea stays only my head.

  2. kingsley said on :

    I am still planning to build an iphone app 🙂

  3. SlingShopper said on :

    I am not sure about point #3 – if it is a pet project then I would work at it at my own pace and I will be shivering if I committed to deadlines. If a deadline is looming then I am not at my full productivity level. For an enthusiastic project, the best approach is no deadline at all. And until beta tests are completed, I wouldnt commit to prospective customers either.

  4. Robert said on :

    I used to suffer from the idea that I had to accomplish too much in one night. This resulted in overzealous deadlines and a feeling of laziness and under-achievement when I didn’t meet them. When I realized that I didn’t need to take things so seriously and that any amount of productivity is far better than no productivity my outside-of-work-projects improved drastically. I think the best thing to do is have fun with it and be able to step away to recharge when things get a little rough (that’s when your suggestion to plan ahead will really pay off because you will be able to see the big picture). Nice post.

  5. Steven Klotz said on :

    My pet project has finally gotten underway. In a slight variation of step 2 I tried to come up with actual working tools that correspond to each step of my projects. It’s actually a joy to say “but wait, there’s more” and know that the next step will have a bit more functionality.

  6. Tobias Svensson said on :

    In my opinion a side/pet project is a learning/fun project, in the first place. While it is obvious that the ultimate goal should be completion, putting too much weight on your shoulders will move you even further from the finish line. My personal goal for my pet project is to work on it for at least 1 hour on 5 days a week. This way I ensure that I am balanced, though still committed.

  7. anon said on :

    Jon – that .plan is a great suggestion. Thanks.

  8. Jon said on :

    Yeap I know! Been using it for a long time. Glad you liked it

  9. Joel said on :


    This is great advice! A group of four of us are working on . Hopefully launching in July. You can follow our progress on our blog . We work on it our spare time and we’re based in London. It would be great to catch up and compare notes on working on pet projects!


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