Your New Startup Idea: Profit or Passion Project

Allan Caeg Branding

Maybe, it’s the new year…
Maybe, you relocated…
Maybe, you left your job…
Maybe, you’re now raising a family…

Whatever it is that you are now experiencing, it all boils down to the itch to start something fresh. You want a project without the baggage. You want something new.

What makes a new project idea great?

A good startup can solve age-old problems. For example, people pay for the same old problems like communication, transportation and lodging. Hence, we now have Facebook, Uber and AirBnB. Solve old problems in a way that’s specifically tailored to a specific group of people that’s willing & able to pay.

A good project idea is based on 2 things: PASSION or PROFIT.

Doing something you love while still being able to pay the bills and enjoying the life you always dream of. Think of the business as a mountain. Choosing to climb it locks down you commitment, involving your scarcest resource like money and time.

In your case, what mountain should you climb?



No one is immune to this. Do you think Mark Zuckerberg dreams about Facebook Pixel Retargetting? Do you think Google founders are more excited about AdWords than their Google X projects like the self-driving cars?

Take it from McDonalds. They seize every opportunity to expand their business by adapting to the food tastes and preferences in every region; their meals are certified halal in Muslim countries, they serve banana-flavored fries in Brazil and no pork and beef in India.

Whatever the case is, it’s all about seizing the opportunity because you know there’s money to be had despite the restrictions. You have enough about knowledge and skills about the product. You know what the market demands. And you know you can produce something that can cater to every demand.

McDonald’s has a strong template that works. Despite that, they’re not stubborn. They know when to adjust.


No one is immune to this either…

Money is not your primary objective in this case. It’s pure passion, making you start something because it’s what drives you. Creative people treat this as oxygen, as long as their basic needs are already satisfied.

It can be called a side project. You already have a money-making business running in the background. Yet, you’re working on other projects because you have the relentless itch.

Facebook co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg is paying the bills with his earnings from the company. But on the side, he also is running the Chan Zuckerberg foundation and created Jarvis Al, an AI system to run his home using Facebook tools.

Watch Zuck’s Jarvis AI in action:

The ever successful Google Adwords is a huge moneymaker for Larry and Sergey, ever since it first started. But they are continuously pursuing their passion with side projects being developed at Google X, otherwise known as Google’s lab of wildest dreams.

Let’s take a slightly different turn. Another example are VCs or venture capitalists. They’re comparable to Google X. They already have an existing business that brings in the funds. But they continuously invest in potential unicorns, small business startups, in the hope that one of them will grow to be like Uber and AirBnB.

Passion first projects are: Your source of creative expression and your investment for the future.

It’s not the primary means to pay for next month’s rent. It’s more like a comfort place for you. Where you can let loose and do what you do best. Not many of them will be successful but you might hit an occasional jackpot, while doing what you enjoy.


If you think about it, most tech startup guys begin things out of passion. But those tech businesses that survive are the ones who built a money-first project. Most of them realize too late that their passion-first project is nearly impossible to be their sufficient income source.

So many talented and skilled people working on projects because it’s what they love, even if there is no money to pay the rent. You wouldn’t want to be one of those people.

How do you know if the new business idea is worth it? Here are some things to consider:

1. Is it competitive enough to stand out?

You know you have a good product or business once you’ve studied the competitors. You may be offering the same type of product but you have that unique selling point that they don’t. Once you’ve done your due diligence, you’ll be able to spot what’s not out there yet.

Remember the age-old problems? They are still ongoing. Even if there’s already a solution created, some angles are still waiting for you. Uber is ruling the transportation world. But some people are complaining about unruly drivers and those that take advantage of their passengers. That’s the angle.

In your startup idea, think of ways to put a lid to that angle. In Uber’s case, it can be strict driver application that involves psychological testing.

When you think outside the box, you can always find things that you can solve to make you stand out.

2. Can it be executed successfully?

Time, money and resources are all needed when starting a business. Even if you’re passionate about your product, you still need other things to have it up and running.

Make a plan. Think SMART. Having or not having skills for the business is but skin-deep, as they say. You need data and figures to get the business rolling.

Get your families or friends involved in your business because you won’t be able to do it alone. You need support and mentors. Your family will be your first investor. The first group of people who can help you execute plans and QA them along the way.

3. What is its impact on your lifestyle?

Keep in mind that you’re starting a project or business because you needed CHANGE. It can be because you want more time with your family. Or being able to take a vacation every once in a while. Maybe, you want to make sure there’s still money in the bank in 6 months. Maybe, you want to travel with the kids. Will you be able to do all these when you start your business?

Don’t let the business take over your life. That’s the good thing about getting support from the people around you. So you don’t have to do it alone. So you will have time for other things.

Make sure that your lifestyle will be better when you start your own business. If you think that it won’t meaningfully change the life you had before, then it’s not worth pursuing.


Actual, actionable and attainable plan for results. That is the SMART way to set goals for new projects. SMART goals make you do away with the blurry and the foggy goals that are just a waste of time and resources.

Here are concrete examples of goal setting for money-first and passion-first projects:

Money-first projects:
– 6 new clients this quarter
– Additional $50,000 revenue in 6 months

Passion-first projects:
– 300 YouTube subscribers for your hobby channel
– Do a DJ session for the first time


When you think of 2017 startup business ideas, think projects:

  • That can be your source of income. For paying the bills and buying the things you need.
  • That you can practice your passion with. Your side hobby and comfort project.

Pursue your passion but don’t forget that you still need money to pay the bills. Don’t aim to build a project that can satisfy everything you want in life.

Stop being romantic. Stop being stubborn about your money-first project. Like McDonald’s and Facebook, bend towards what works. Stop playing in ‘hard mode.’

If something’s built for fun, don’t confuse or pretend. Don’t mix it up with your source of livelihood. Let it be the time for your creative expression. Allow your hobby to be a hobby.

Go start that new project!