"If you don’t build your dream, someone will hire you to help build theirs." ~Tony Gaskin
And what exactly is wrong with that? What if your dream is to help someone else fulful their dream? What if it's a common dream? If everyone was to follow their own unique version then nobody would get anywhere. The fact is that most dreams need both leaders and followers.
For a long time now my dream has been to be financially independent, running a company which allows me the freedom to work whenever and wherever I please. After about 10 years of working towards this goal, I'm yet to achieve it.
I regularly have ideas for products. These are usually websites but sometimes physical things. Every time inspiration strikes I write down the idea and set it aside to reevaluate at a future date. Every few months I pick a new idea to develop. Here are a few ideas I've had (these names are not usually what I call the finished product):
- Admoji - an emoji/emoticon chat plugin featuring sponsored emojis. Advertisers offer their own emojis (think a smiling face holding a Cocacola can) and pay out based on impressions (eyeballs). You can earn money for yourself or your favourite charity based on the number of times your emoji is viewed.
- Revisit - Reddit meets Google Analytics - a site owner installs a tag on their site which logs how many times a specific user visits. Sites are then ranked on a central site showing content (articles, pages, images etc) ranked on metrics such as length of visit or return visits.
- Tea/coffee alarm - a clip on thermometer which you attach to your tea/coffee mug which alerts you when the liquid drops to your perfect temperature (this can be changed to suit each person).
- Clipjoin - crowdsourced Youtube compilations. Users upvote short (<5 sec) Youtube clips or vine videos in a similar style to Reddit. The top 10/20 are automatically combined into 'compilations' and featured on the homepage.
- LocalPlaylist - a personalised concert recommendation engine. A Spotify app which matches your favourite tracks against playlists submitted by local DJs/clubs. It then recommends events to you based on what is likely to be played on the night.
I'm not sure which (if any) of these projects I'll choose to work on next but I'd appreciate any feedback/ideas. If you're interested in things I've worked on before then you can Google 'freeblogging me' and 'Rapipad notepad'. I'd also appreciate feedback on these projects too. Feel free to incorperate any of the above in your own ideas.
Here are some things I've learned:
The idea is the easiest part. The implementation and the marketing are the hardest.
"Build it and they will come" is a fallacy. Marketing is just as important as implementation if not more so (at least at the beginning).
You can have a relatively successful site which gets thousands of visits per day and make very little money - nowhere near enough to live on. In most cases, 'Banner ads' is not necessarily a very good business model.
I now find myself working for an international conglomerate. Strangely it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. I actually quite enjoy my job. I can now understand why so many other people have a regular 9-5. Nowadays I have less time now to work on my side projects. I find myself wondering how many other people have settled favour of a secure job, eventually running out of time and energy to chase their real dream.