In a previous blog post, I argued the importance of having side projects. That, you should let them live because they have a positive impact on learning and growing new ideas. Today, I want to share my thoughts about killing these projects.
I launched a little something by the end of last year, right before the holidays. It was an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) of an idea I've had on my mind for a pretty long time.
I managed to earn a few subscribers during the first few days, by posting on relevant subreddits and asking influential friends to share the link with their followers.
Now, it's been a little more than a month and I'm not sure what I should do about this project. When I started, I decided that I wouldn't spend more than four hours per week working on it. Within those four hours, two would have been dedicated to growth: writing free content on the blog, posting on relevant websites, managing ads, and so on. The other two hours would have been allocated to writing the premium content (and getting it ready to be sent).
But, now that the time has come for a review, I must face it: this side project is asking too much time per week and is not making enough money to justify the time spent.
I don't even have the time to focus on growth at the moment.
That's why I'm asking myself the following: when should you decide to kill your side projects?
Evaluate the situation
Before taking an almost irreversible decision, take some time to think about the situation. How much time does it really take per week? What's the potential of growth for this project? Could it make (more) money? Can you think about new awesome features that could change the world?
Can I delegate?
Sometimes we just need a break from what's bothering us. So, instead of just shutting down the whole thing, maybe we could try and delegate the task for a while?
I tried that, but I haven't found a serious-enough freelancer just yet.
Am I still in love with the idea?
Not the project, the idea. Remember when you thought it was a great idea? How do you feel about this statement today?
If you are still in love with the idea, then maybe you shouldn't kill the project on an impulse. After all, it probably asked for a lot of work to be released!
Can I change the form?
If the answer to the previous question was "yes", then maybe it's the product itself that you don't like. Try and rethink the way you implemented the original idea. Can you keep the product but make it evolve into something easier, or more fun, to maintain and grow?
Do I see connections with my main business?
Do you need a reason to keep working on this product? Check if it's of any interest regarding your main business. If so, you should reconsider killing it. Working on an idea you love(d) that can serve your main business, can be very efficient.
Can I just "press pause"?
We don't always have to go with the radical solution right away. Analyze if there's any chance that you can just put this project on hold. When you have taken the required time to relax and think about it, you will still be able to resume or stop.
Can I sell it or give it away?
If your side-project is already making money or if you think it has an important purpose, the last option I suggest is to evaluate if you can sell it or give it away. There are websites out there that make it pretty simple to buy and sell projects / products. For example, see flippa.
Don't take any decision too quickly. Reserve it until you've taken the time to ask yourself this series of question.
Remember, it's easier to kill a project than starting it. So, if we've built something, even a small something, we should treat it with respect.