A few days ago I launched a side project I’ve been working on for the past few months - Rewind.
I want to tell you about this experience in hope that more people of you will feel inspired to try this out — a side hustle! What defines a side hustle is a project done with a lean budget, limited time effort and a learning and executing path going one small step at a time.
A few months back I started looking for a new pair of headphones. In my head I knew exactly what I wanted but nothing that was on the market delivered to my design expectations. Instead of settling with what was offered I decided to set up a new hobby: create my own retro inspired headphones with an iconic 80s design.
Learning new elements related to industrial design, production, packaging, logistics, etc have been amazing to experience. Physical vs digital is a massive difference, and I’m starting to understand and respect the saying that hardware is hard. I'm not used to supply chain, production, working capital management and logistics...phew.
But the most amazing thing with this is the fact that this is something anyone can do with limited resources of time and money! It’s an amazing time we live in where someone like myself with literally no manufacturing or hardware experience can tap into tools, talent and tactics to take this from an idea to reality within just a few months… on the side. Making sh*t happen can feel difficult and overwhelming but with a lean and mean strategy it’s more than doable. Here’s basically what I have done to take it from idea to pre-orders:
- Upwork — helped me find an industrial designer who created 3d models and factory instructions.
- Alibaba — sourced me factories.
- LinkedIn — brought me a project manager to help me with manufacturing and Q&A.
- Asana — helps me manage all parties involved.
- Kickstarter — will now hopefully bring me customers and pre-orders. #fingerscrossed
If you have the bandwidth, having a side hustle is one of the most rewarding things you can do. It’s something to compare with playing soccer, guitar or video games. It’s a hobby. You do it because you want or need creative output, to learn, and perhaps to have a tangible activity to do with a friend. Never consider it a job.
I see Rewind as an exciting project where I’m teaching myself the basics about hardware development and manufacturing. I could have read a book, but this is way more fun. My hope is to break-even. Worst case, the Kickstarter campaign fails meaning I won’t go into production, and I will be left with having stirred up some dust and learned the basics of going from idea towards (but not all the way to) production. Regardless, there’s no financial upside that I strive for, nor a stepping-stone in my career path. It’s purely for fun, and let’s not forget because I want these headphones for myself. But the unique thing about this exciting project and side hustles alike, is that learning by doing is by far the most effective way of acquiring new skills. And if successful there could actually be an upside. The likelihood is tiny, but projects like this could, in fact, turn into companies. And that creates a subtle tingling excitement about what this could become…
Dreams start small. Skills come easy. Find your side hustle. And while you’re at it why not pre-order some dope Rewind headphones? 💪 👊