Nicholas Lindley

I have come up with my next 100 days, and you will not be getting regular updates. The next 100 will not be as easy to measure and will be more challenging from an accountability standpoint.

In short, I will be developing a product for a side business. Each day will be a small step closer to a viable product.

I’ve had an itch to start a side project ever since attending 360|iDev, more specifically since attending Charles Perry’s talk, Succeeding Slowly: A Practical Guide to Going Indie. But a project isn’t something that will necessarily be viable commercially. A project is figuring out how to use OpenCL or painting a bedroom. I really want a side business.

The need to pursue a side business instead of a project became apparent after listening to audiobooks for two of Charles’s recommendations, Personal MBA and Start Small, Stay Small.

The tricky part was finding a niche. While not sharing yet which niche that is, I will share one that was ruled out: music education. Actually, make that all of education.

Music education as a market is attractive because it’s a field I know. I know which magazines educators subscribe to, which conferences they attend, and what types of problems I could help solve.

The problem with music education is marketing. With most programs being publicly funded and teachers being paid based on years of experience and not profitability, the value proposition must be much higher to sell to any individual program.

Coming up with a product that is appealing to educators at large is even trickier. Yes, the market is larger, but it’s pretty saturated for products that would be of use across disciplines. The attention of potential customers is also diffused across more magazines, conferences, and Web sites.

The niche I will target is an order of magnitude (or two) smaller than education, but it’s focus is more concentrated. They have real problems I can help solve, and their time is very valuable, so they should be willing to pay for a product that gives back hours each week.