Starting a business can be a daunting task, especially when you’re trying to balance it with a full-time job or other commitments. However, many successful businesses began as side projects that their founders pursued in their spare time. Here are 10 famous businesses that started out as side projects:
- Slack: This popular workplace communication platform began as an internal tool for a gaming company called Tiny Speck. The tool was so useful that the company decided to spin it off into its own business. Today, Slack is used by millions of people around the world to communicate with their colleagues and teams.
- Etsy: This online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods started out as a side project for founder Rob Kalin, who was looking for a way to sell his own handmade furniture. The business quickly took off, and today Etsy is a well-known platform for artisans and small businesses to sell their products.
- Basecamp: This project management tool began as a side project for founders Jason Fried and Carlos Segura. The two were working on a different project and needed a way to manage their tasks and communicate with each other, so they created Basecamp. The tool became so popular that they decided to turn it into a full-time business.
- Trello: This popular project management tool was created by co-founder Joel Spolsky as a side project while he was working at another company. He and his team built Trello as a way to manage their own projects, and it eventually became a standalone business.
- Zappos: This online shoe and clothing retailer started out as a side project for founder Nick Swinmurn, who was looking for a way to sell shoes online. The business quickly took off, and today Zappos is known for its excellent customer service and wide selection of products.
- MailChimp: This email marketing platform was created by co-founders Ben Chestnut and Dan Kurzius as a side project while they were working at another company. They built MailChimp as a way to send newsletters to their own clients, and it eventually became a standalone business.
- GitHub: This platform for hosting and collaborating on software projects was created by co-founders Tom Preston-Werner, Chris Wanstrath, and PJ Hyett as a side project while they were working at another company. The platform became so popular that they decided to turn it into a full-time business.
- Duolingo: This popular language learning app was created by co-founder Luis von Ahn as a side project while he was working on his PhD. He wanted to create a way for people to learn languages for free, and Duolingo eventually became a standalone business.
- WhatsApp: This messaging app was created by co-founders Jan Koum and Brian Acton as a side project while they were working at Yahoo. The app quickly gained popularity and was eventually acquired by Facebook for $19 billion.
- Reddit: This social news and discussion platform was created by co-founders Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian as a side project while they were studying at the University of Virginia. The platform became so popular that they decided to turn it into a full-time business.
These businesses demonstrate that it’s possible to turn a side project into a successful and lucrative business. With dedication, hard work, and a bit of luck, your side project could become the next big thing.