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EXECUTION Side Hustle as Customer Research

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by justacar, Nov 6, 2018.

  1. justacar

    justacar Contributor

    Likes Received:
    Oct 27, 2018
    Rep Bank:
    Hi, I'm currently using my side hustle to research the needs of my customers and to figure out how to build a product from there. My question is: how do I test my product ideas without destroying my side hustle or being consumed by it?

    Some background info:
    - I'm 40, a software guy, worked as consultant & project manager for the past 10 years
    - my side hustle is 1 day of consulting / week. the other 6 days, I'm working on my fastlane
    - currently, I have 2 clients. they bring in enough to pay the bills. around 1.5-2.5K / month
    - I have around 80K in savings, my wife is contributing with 2.5K / month
    - so total house income 4-5K / month.
    - we're doing "good" but actually, we're between the sidewalk and the slowlane

    The problem space / needs:
    - 90% of internal trainings and workshops in companies is total BS
    - over 70% of companies hire external "coaches" to train their people
    - HR need: a scalable mix of self-education and offline events
    - employee need: a way to learn what they need while still doing their work

    The current product in development:
    - workshop & training material including a series of step-by-step guides to teach employees at a company to become coaches to teach their colleagues.
    - think of it as the "game master's guide" and the "player handbook" in roleplaying games. but for business. so it's an information product with training content & an app / website as distribution medium.
    - current dev costs: content 0€, software dev 0€, marketing 0€ (all me). design will be 1-2K / month (freelancers) once I validate the need & have an initial version that I can sell.
    - current tests: I'm appearing as a speaker at 2 conferences & an hr recruiting company to run through the product for them & train them for free in return for their feedback

    My problem:
    - I'm consulting my 2 current clients on how to build a training space & processes in their corporate academies. I'd love to test the product with them, BUT:
    -- worried that they'll see it as part of the consulting gig & try to own the product
    -- worried that they'll see it as a way to push stuff on them & dissolve the consulting contract (so I'd lose my side hustle to keep the lights on)

    Currently, my sense is to keep my mouth shut and just keep working with them for research purposes. I'd just launch & try getting customers elsewhere, to avoid mixing side hustle and product. What do you think? Also, is there a good thread on b2b lead generation here / a book you could recommend?

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