Here’s a simple XY grid to help you think about your next project, freelance career or startup:
All too common are ‘fun’ businesses where someone finds a hobby they like and tries to turn it into a gig. While the work may be fun, the uphill grind of this sort of project is exhausting. If it’s something that lots of people can do and that customers don’t value that much, it might not be worth your time. Taking pictures, singing songs or playing the flute are fine hobbies, but hard to turn into paying jobs.
On the other hand, in the top right quadrant, there’s endless opportunity and plenty of work for people who can do difficult (unpopular) work that is highly valued by customers who are ready to pay to solve their problems. A forensic accountant gets more paid gigs than a bagpipe player.
When you choose to take on a real problem that involves difficult work, but you’re serving a customer base that has few resources, thank you. Your quest is going to be a long one, but if you believe in the impact you’re creating, this can be a useful way forward.
And in the bottom right quadrant is a professional athlete or another gig where if you actually are the best in the world, you’ll do fine. Just know what you’re getting into before you start. The Dip is real.