When creatives get stuck in their 9-to-5 grind, passion projects fall by the wayside – gathering layers of dust and cynicism ‘til it’s nowhere to be seen. Launched today, Side Racket is set on amping up side projects all over the world so all ideas can reach their full potential.
After soft-launching in May, Side Racket Co-Founders Mark Hendrickson, Will Dayble and Luke Giuliani, have been testing and amending their service so it irons out the pain-points that creators face throughout their project’s lifecycle.
“Side projects are an amazing way to spend time doing what you love. We felt there was no real home on the web for people to work together on their side projects,” says Side Racket CEO and Co-Founder Mark Hendrickson.
The Side Racket team believe the best way to enable people to engage in what they love is by connecting them to a diverse range of projects.
“The site is built on the idea that people aren’t about to spend their precious spare time working on something they don’t care about. By creating a hub for people and their side projects, the opportunity to pursue things you enjoy increases dramatically,” says Hendrickson.
He adds that while there are many educational resources, crowdfunding platforms and Co-Founder matching services, none of them “do a solid job of connecting a diverse group of people around a project.”
As such, Side Racket is more than just a platform. It’s a global community for users across industries to start, discover and collaborate on projects.
Hendrickson says that very few projects “start out with the clear intent of becoming a startup or crowdfunded exercise”.
“We needed to create a way for people to connect around projects, but without being boxed into ‘Arts Project’, ‘Charity’ or ‘Startup’ categories from day one.”
Using the ‘to be confirmed’ nature of most side projects to their advantage, Side Racket doesn’t have project categorisation. Instead, users navigate the site through ‘talents’.
“We defined talents as the skills you have and actually want to use,” says Hendrickson.
So, to quit or not to quit? Side Racket is a great way for people who hate their jobs to test other options.
“It’s pretty hard to turn a side project into a full time pursuit. Walking away from a good job is scary. Having a side project is a great way to test the water, risk free,” says Hendrickson.
People have already started using Side Racket to explore new skills and test ideas before walking away from a job.
“Figuring out what you love can be hard, but it’s worth figuring out. If you don’t love what you do, we want Side Racket to be a stepping stone in quitting your job,” says Hendrickson.
On the business side, Side Racket lets users buy each other endorsements in the form of badges that represent a specific skill or personality trait.
“The problems we heard about with online recommendations, was that nobody thought they carried real weight, and they’re often vague or fluffy. We put very transparent price tags on the badges to give them real weight and we kept them relevant by pre-defining messages that meant something to our users,” says Hendrickson.
The brains behind Side Racket all admit that the badges probably won’t make them millionaires.
“It’s not likely we’ll come out any richer for it, but they’re a nice way for users to thank each other for help, whilst building one another’s credibility and keeping our servers alive,” says Hendrickson.
The Side Racket team plans on spending the next few months focusing on growth and refining the free-to-use platform.
“It’s going to be ramen for a few months yet, but we’re confident we’ll make it. It’s also a lot more fun this way,” says Hendrickson.
Side Racket does not aim to replace meet-ups or cut attendances at Hackathons – rather, it aims to accelerate the process of building and executing a project.
“We want to create a free, open community that’s more of a fabric than a specific group. We want to connect your local startup-flavoured Meetup to the maker-community on the other side of the world, and likewise connect niche-interest groups to people who’ve never even heard of that niche interest,” says Hendrickson.
How will they address competition? Hendrickson believes they’re up against ‘Find a Co-Founder’ sites, DIY sites for engineering projects, as well as other platforms with a similar offering.
“But there’s so much value in connecting these fractured communities. They might not know it yet, but we actually want to help our closest ‘competitors’ grow,” he says.
For more information on Side Racket, visit www.sideracket.com.