My name is Rob, I’m 29, and I’ve been working on a variety of “side projects” for the past 6 years or so. Primarily all of my side projects have been focused on some big data / machine learning / moonshot “startup” play. I’ve slowly come to the realization the past few months that these side projects were primarily that – SIDE projects. They were just an escape to distract me from actually solving real world problems.
My process, that I’ve been executing the past month, is the following:
- Work on project(s) that can be built in an MVP within a week & continuously launched for market feedback.
- Cross resource the projects by utilizing the same frameworks.
- Work on the projects until either its like beating a dead horse or another project demands far more attention due to its success.
- Film my progress on the project(s) for both a selfish reason (to visually see how far I’ve come) and a monetization one via YouTube (to build a following for future hustles).
I’ve always believed the advice “only focus on one idea/project” to be bullshit. Perhaps if the ideas/projects are in completely orthogonal spaces that theory holds more weight. But in my world of micropreneurship/SaaS, all the projects utilize the same foundational base such that I can share resources across projects:
- Web frontend
- Backend API for logic processing and data storing
- Marketing analytics tools
- Devops deployment for continuous feature upgrades
- Server hosting & database management (I share production servers & databases across projects)
While I’m waiting for the analytics & numbers to validate a new marketing channel/technique, I can be engineering features for the same project or other projects.
The key goal here is for every one engineering hour I put into features, I spend 2 hours marketing or developing content. This will be my way of putting a check of engineering before selling.
My current projects have two common themes:
- They are subscription based (software as a service)
- They are processes/systems/things I currently do everyday in which I would be customer #1 of the SaaS. I also know others that struggle with the problem (customers #2/3/4)
I have three SaaS projects I’m currently working on:
1. SaaS for tracking business mileages & reasons via smart car API’s (currently only Tesla)
I’ll be releasing weekly videos showing the previous weeks work on this SaaS. I go into detail the idea and implementation in the first video I put out yesterday. I started about 3.5 weeks ago on this idea and I’m currently in the process of continuously launching, obtaining customers & finding new channels.
2. SaaS fitness application for the Apple product family (healthkit and iwatch data) to track workout progress & body markers to determine true TDEE (total daily energy expenditure)
A month ago I was at my highest weight I’ve ever been at in my life. I’m very data driven when it comes to creating new systems. The health world has so much data that could be better utilized & displayed to help individuals in their weight loss journey.
I’ve been releasing weekly videos on my fitness progress but at some point I’ll release what I call rebele fit — the application that encapsulates my full process:
1. PPL lifting routine (push pull lift) with healthkit integration to link heart rate / vo2 max to sets
2. Smart scale integration with my fitness pal (get exact calories in)
3. Correlate heart rate data to long term weight loss to get a better estimation of calories out (TDEE via BMR & calories burned during day)
This project is currently #2 in the priority list behind #1.
3. SaaS plugin for a marketplace that facilitates distribution of product.
This project I will be keeping relatively close to the chest until much later on into the process. I am actively filming the progress I make on this project but since it involves a cofounder with the business side SME, I don’t want to expose too much of the project until it is more established. It would be unfair to the partner who isn’t involved on the rebele branding side.
So then, what’s this about a rebele brand & a YouTube channel?
The meaning behind the rebele naming is twofold:
1. Rebel. Contrarian. Fighting for freedom against the system. I’m personally interested in what I call the trifecta of fitnesses – physical, financial, and spiritual.
- Freedom from the limitations of poor physical fitness
- Freedom from the woes of financial worry
- Freedom from the unconscious, unaware mind
2. Remembering, Becoming, Leading -> ReBeLe
By posting these updates and videos, I’m holding myself accountable to remember where I started and where I’m going. Its a way to remind myself that going back to where I was isn’t an option. It’s a self reinforcing prophecy in some ways. By showing myself at my most vulnerable (unsuccessful in the eyes of the masses), I’m basically burning the boats in such a way I have no choice but to succeed. But most importantly, I am remembering who I AM as a person. The actual ME that enjoys problem solving, making videos, teaching others, and random philosophical musing.
The action we’re doing at every second is the becoming of who we are. It’s only by doing that we establish an identity. NOT the other way around. So, I’m giving up the obsession with who I want to be (identity), and instead becoming obsessed with doing the things that will add up to the me that I aspire to be. I want to solve problems that are interesting to me that can also impact other people.
Only by becoming can we even be entrusted to lead. Leadership is predicated in the unspoken actions. Women and men only authentically, loyally follow leaders that have been in their shoes.
The End in Mind
I’m a big believer of starting projects with the end in mind. It helps to focus the priorities of the project. But this isn’t another project. This is a lifestyle. It’s my new way of life. So there isn’t really an “end in mind” because a lifestyle – a way of living – only ends when you physically do.
That being said, I hope this thread, the rebele videos can serve as the inspiration and teacher I wish I had. There is not enough content out there to show the actual transformation process of “fat to fit”, “zero to 50k MRR”, or “nobody to state senator”. My dream is to inspire more videos of individual transformation processes. Too many fitness transformation videos are event driven — “I lost 120lbs” all jam packed into a 7 minute youtube video. But we all know it took a lot more than 7 minutes to fully transform a body. And content on someone starting a company from scratch is NONEXISTENT on youtube.
I could be wrong on the value of showing process — after all, traditional marketing shows EVENTS. But the beauty of my goals are even if I’m wrong, the videos ultimately are for me. It’s similar to the twist Randy Pausch made when giving his “Last Lecture” — at the end he states the lecture really was for his kids he was leaving behind.