Unoriginal Side Project Examples

No more original side projects.

This is an ongoing article of unoriginal side project ideas that could be executed. I don’t know what I’m doing, I’m just documenting this so I can find it again later.

The unoriginal side projects will follow a bit of a formula – having many elements in common. I’ll keep revisiting the article and adding examples.

Certain SaaS products go “Enterprise” or upmarket and leave a hole that can be filled to deal with smaller customers. They end up full of thousands of features, and there may be an underserved market of users who could be paying for a much lighter product.

They end up as “Request a demo” or “get more information”.

“Ha, twitter!? I could write that in a weekend!”

On reflecting on the enterprise behemoths below it looks like I’m doing the old “Ha, twitter!? I could write that in a weekend!”. It’s not that. I want to take an enterprise behemoth, slicing it back down to what it used to be, and build that.

Any one will still take me months of nights, realistically. I’ve got a full time job and a big family that both take priority, but also a strong desire to stop trading hours for money.
I’ll build up a stack I can re-use, find some valid and invalid assumptions, ship some products, and keep moving the goalposts as it goes.

Who’s going to buy the stripped out tools?

The target market for any of these projects will be a person with an online or offline business who already knows they need a <SaaS for X> (where X is “Trust widget”, “Support ticket tool”, …).
I don’t want to convince them they need one – I suck at that. I just need to convince them that this will also generate support tickets, doing much the same shit as Zendesk. They’re not going to find me in position 1 on google – that’ll always be Uservoice. They’re going to find me on page 2 of google (after abandoning all the “Schedule a demo!” shit), read a few articles, watch a video and create an account on the spot. Sometimes, hopefully.

Follows is my incomplete list of up-market enterprise SAML HIPAA compliant “schedule a call with our executive integration team” bullshit unicorns that I think have an underserved lower end of the market.

Ideally, I’d pad this list out with some smaller stuff, but hey, I’m starting here.

Help Desk Software

Customers email [email protected] and start a conversation thread with one or multiple support agents.

Customers use live chat

A knowledgebase is slowly created, which becomes SEO long tail bait, reference material, internal bible, and inbound lead generation.

Zendesk $5/agent/mo to $19/agent/mo (Max $99/agent/mo).

HelpScout $20/agent/mo to $35/agent/mo

Feature Request Software

Customers visit a feature request leaderboard, and it helps drive feature development of the SaaS.

In theory helps drive development roadmap. Gives users a place to help each other, self diagnose, request features.

uservoice is the big one ($499+/mo.). Loop,, etc are others.

Forms Software

Users can fill out a form, and the data is shipped to the form owner or a google sheet.

The form has many field types, including payments, maps, etc. New field types can be added regularly.

Paperform (12.50/mo to 32.50/mo, up to 82.50/mo)

Spreadsheet Software

Users fill data into spreadsheets, either with forms or spreadsheet view. They can link the sheets together, export to CSV, use as REST API.

Airtable $10-$20/user/mo. Airtable is a $X00B company, but 99% of the usefulness (that I can see) is linked spreadsheet rows that you can share with co-workers and devs.

Trust and Reviews

When an order is shipped, the trust server sends an email to the customer in a few days asking them to review the products and review the website.

The customer can review both and the data flows both to the website and to a list of the products.

Trustpilot $189/mo

Loyalty and Rewards

Award points and credits for purchases to a customers account. Customer can spend the points and credits on checkout.

loyaltylion: $159/mo