Building a side-project is fun. Coming up with a good idea, validating it and building a business are all very different, yet exciting challenges. You will never have as much freedom as you have on your own truly 100%-own project. This article is for those, who haven't found the one idea they are planning to work on for the next months or years. It hopefully gives you starting points or food for thought.
Before we get started: Not all ideas listed here are suitable to build a business of them. Some of these ideas are "fun project"-type of ideas. Fun projects are great stepping stones to more sizable, commercial projects. I would especially recommend you to consider fun projects if you are completely new or aren't used to the indie maker space yet. You can use fun projects to get used to putting your work out there, learning how to market it and build an audience at the same time. I've started for example Random Elon with Jess Wallace as a fun project.
Ideas for startups and side projects are a topic in themselves. Some people seem to struggle coming up with ideas while others seem to drown in ideas. I'm probably closer to the latter. A while ago I've started collecting my ideas -good and bad- with notes. Now I've decided to share them with anyone who is interested. This is aimed at giving potentially interested makers starting points. Most ideas in my list are either up for grabs (as far as I know) and simply ideas I can't spend more time on as I'm pretty busy already.
A little disclaimer: I didn't do proper research on most of these ideas. If you are interested, you should spend some time finding out if the idea is actually feasible and (still) makes sense to build. Always consider your personal strengths and skills when you are making a decision. Don't forget to keep an eye on the market too.
I'm not worried about NDAs, copyright or anything. I'm openly sharing them to make the start for other Indiehackers easier. Feel free to use them! If you build them I don't have to!
If you decide (after your research) to build a side-project on one of these ideas feel free to contact me. I'll update the list and am happy to help you with feedback and launch-tweets. Please also let me know you if there is already an existing solution/product for any of the listed ideas 🙏️
Yeah, these ideas are public. Like most ideas. Amazon's business model is public (as almost any company's business model). Mighty Amazon was a little Online shop for a long time. Many people started online shops at the same time. Some even copied Amazon directly. Most of these online shops don't exist anymore - Amazon has replaced them. Not by having a unique idea, by having a unique execution. It's not about the idea so much as it is about the execution.
Here is my list. Some are better, some are worse. See for yourself:
|Idea||Details||People to talk to|
|"Quick Response" Browser Extension||A browser extension allowing you to quickly fill fields with predefined messages - and submit them. Don't type stuff like "Thanks!", "Wow, that's cool! 🤩️", etc. again and again. Just click the response! Should be configurable to allow custom versions.||Nobody is doing this as far as I know.|
|"Ready Or Not?" Service||A small service from indie makers for indie makers. The goal is to help indie makers making a call if their projects are ready for launch.||Some people have done feedback-related projects before. But I haven't seen a launch focused option.|
|"SameClicks" Chrome Extension||A browser add-on to automate repetitive tasks like clicking to confirm stuff by recording the element(s) clicked on.||I've seen one tool, but that was just way over the top in features.|
|Ad-free DNS service||A public DNS service which doesn't resolve for advertising and tracking related requests. Information could, for example, come from the project "Pi-Hole". For mobile provide an app which reconfigures the DNS.|
|IndieHackerBooks Website||A curated list of books for Indiehackers. Pretty much a content site.||Not sure if someone works on this.|
|RandomMakerSite Website||Imagine a site you go onto and get redirected to a random maker or product, either on IndieHackers, HackerNews, ProductHunt or Reddit. I would probably add a weighting in to highlight small to medium popular makers and products - gives the site more value.||Nobody is working on this, as far as I know.|
|"When is it airing for me?"-Site||A site which gives you global (sport) events (NFL, Rugby, Soccer, Donald Trumps Walk of Shame) for each time zone, country, and major cities. This project would answer Google questions like "When are the NFL games running in Cambodia?". This should drive some long tail searches towards the site.||Nobody is working on this, as far as I know.|
|"Share where I'm coming from"-Extension||Sometimes you might want to support a project and share actively when you are using their website to go to another website. Sharing the information where you came from might drive some attention to the original site — the website you are keen to support. Adding useful GA (UTM) parameters will ensure the target website owner has a chance to know how you came to the site. Simple use-case: You click a link on producthunt.com and want to make sure the website you are going to knows you came this way.||Nobody is working on this, as far as I know.|
|Browser extension to help with Right-Left confusion||A surprising number of people needs to deal with Right-Left confusion. This a problem where you struggle to recall what is right and left on demand. A simple extension, which shows either "R" or "L" as an icon in the browser (when your mouse is in the this part of the screen) can help.||Nobody is working on this, as far as I know.|
|"ForFirefox"-Addon||As a Firefox user you often stumble across Chrome extensions which look neat and you might want for Firefox. But these either aren't mentioned, linked or aren't available. This extension helps you to find them by pointing you directly where you want to go. The biggest question is: How to obtain the data?||Nobody is working on this, as far as I know.|
|"OtherAccounts"-Extension||Sometimes when you visit a profile you might find this person interesting and want to see more of him/her. This browser extension shows you the other accounts of this person. The biggest question is: How to get the data?||Nobody is working on this, as far as I know.|
I've decided to add some more ideas in. I probably need to rename this article "100 ideas for browser extensions" soon 😂️
|Idea||Details||People to talk to|
|"No More"-Extension||Many websites use "more" or "read more" to hide longer forms of content. For example, Quora hides length-ly answers. I think more people prefer the longer content than you might expect. It often provides some decent, deeper explanation and reasoning. My personal dream would be, if you could define a configuration like "always unfold, unless more than N words."||New?|
|"Keep an eye on"-Extension||Imagine you can select any element on a website (paragraph, sentence, image, price, ...) and the extension would notify you when the content changes. Right there in your browser using a notification leading you to the websites.
Thomas pointed me to the Distill Web Monitor extension (for Firefox), which pretty much solves the problem. I haven't tested it how much is available in the free version tho.
|TwitterStory||A service you access which generates you a static website or HTML-page for your own blog from your Tweets, categorized by topics. Sorted by likes with a reduction over time (older tweets need more likes to stay on top).||New?|
|😖️ Date-Sanity extension||A browser extension, which replaces all dates written in US-date format (mm/dd/yyyy) with dd/mm/yyyy to keep you sane.||New?|
|"Auto-Surf"-Extension||Simply an extension which you provide a number of URLs and it surfs to each of them. Other extensions can take other actions, such as collecting information. Maybe there is already something out for this. I haven't checked it - simply an idea.||New?|
|url 2 favicon||A web-service, which grabs you the favicon of any URL as assets. Good for listing stuff as you can make lists more visually pleasing. Ideally pre-optimized (width/height and file format). Use file caching as well as long caching headers to avoid constant requests. API for deeper integrations.
Interesting input from Thomas, Selvam and Ethan. The service already exists, as part of other major sites such as Google and DuckDuckGo: https://www.google.com/s2/favicons?domain=indiehackers.com and https://proxy.duckduckgo.com/ip3/producthunt.com.ico. Ethan was correctly mentioning, that the favicon is not of much use as the quality is fairly low. He uses the Clearbit API instead: http://logo.clearbit.com/Google.com. The number of logos is more limited than the number of favicons tho.
Wow, you really read the whole list haha. As mentioned, very little is decided by having the idea at the end. It's about putting the hard work in. Once you have decided on a project, you can check the names you come up with on startup name check of course! 😍️