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<Design think your side hustle series>: Find your passion!

Whether you are looking for a true side hustle to get some extra income or something that completely replaces your current job, one of the best things you can do is find your passion. What does that mean? Well, it could simply be that thing you love; but just as likely it could be inspired by those places in your everyday life that could be better, the pain points you experience regularly. Either way, all around you opportunity abounds for ideas. So if that’s the case, how in the world can you leverage it for your own side project? There are a number of different methods that can lend you a helping hand. One great starting point is to use design thinking to explore your area of passion. Design thinking is defined as a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer's toolkit to integrate the needs of people (desirability), the possibilities of technology (feasibility), and the requirements for business success (viability).

<Successful Outcome Chart>

In the end it’s the balancing act of these three areas that will drive your ultimate success. Traditionally we are pretty good at feasibility and viability – building something novel and writing a business plan for it. What’s missing, and what design thinking brings into the equation, is the human element of desirability. In other words, simply building it and writing a business plan does not mean that anyone actually needs or wants to buy it. Leveraging design thinking gives you the tools to discover where the desirability of your side hustle meets feasibility and viability. Once you find that sweet spot you’ll be ready to rock ‘n roll!

Ok, maybe you’re thinking ‘well that’s an interesting diagram, but how can I use this for my own personal gain?’ Luckily there’s much more to design thinking than a Venn diagram. It can be applied as a series of phases that overlap and repeat as needed – explore, understand, ideate, experiment and implement.

The launching point of your side hustle is to explore, to capture data and stories related to your passion. Discover others who validate or make you question your own assumptions. You aren’t using this phase to sell someone but rather to learn yourself. You want to create a 360 degree view of your passion or problem area before moving too deep into solving it.

Ideas are everywhere and it’s your passion that will help lead you to the right one.

What that all boils down to is that you’ve got to go talk to other people who have knowledge of your passion to understand their experiences, their pains. Find stakeholders in the business, the process, the experience and get their perspectives. Find the current providers and see what they do vs what they would like to do better. Just get the data – at this point you want to exercise no judgment but rather immerse yourself fully in collecting data for data’s sake. And don’t be overwhelmed by this. We’re only talking a matter of hours or days to give yourself a firm foundation for the next phase.

Now you’ve got a ton of unstructured data and you need to make sense of it. In the next blog, we’ll dive in to learn more about how to understand your data in a different way so you can prepare yourself to take every advantage of the opportunities presented.

Finally, you can join us for an educational session on November 14th at Zed Coworking in San Jose to find out about your passion.

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