business strategy | February 18, 2014

Heather Payne at 99U: The Importance of Creative Side Projects [VIDEO]

At the recent 99U conference, Heather Payne, who is the founder of Ladies Learning Code and Hacker You, talked about side projects. This young entrepreneur is changing the way we learn about technology through low-cost workshops for women and career-focused skills training for aspiring programmers. But how did she go from a simple idea to the founder of a non-profit organization and thriving business? It all started with a tweet, she says.

In the 99U talk (video embedded above), Payne offered her five steps to turning a side project into a full-time gig:

1. Commit to a timeline publicly
2. Nail the business model
3. Know when to say yes (and no)
4. Let your team find you
5. Never slow down

She challenged the audience to pick their projects up—whether they're personal or at work—and inject a little momentum. "Momentum is like a fire," she said. "You constantly have to be fueling it. You always need to look at ways that you can offer your customer more, better, faster, something different."

In her talks, Payne changes the way we view our relationship to technology and the web. And, she inspires us to see what we're truly capable of. To book Heather Payne as a speaker, contact The Lavin Agency.