1087
8 min 43 sec

Software Engineer Scavenges For Profits

A decade after he attends a photo scavenger hunt, a software engineer tasks himself with finding a side hustle that develops into much more.
Scavenger Hunt Service

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What It's About

A live-action photo scavenger hunt.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Organization & Marketing
Complexity
Low
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

When should you go all-in with your hustle? Chris has some insight regarding this: "My primary struggle was worrying I'd run out of money before the idea had a chance to grow legs. I took many side jobs as a result, consulting gigs...low paying gigs even...whatever just to slow my burn rate. I think that was all wasted time and effort actually. If I were to go back, I'd value the time put into the business more than the time refilling my savings."

Fun Fact

Scavenger hunts have come in many different forms over the years often facilitated by new technology. The most recent scavenger hunt that took the world by storm was Pokemon Go. It has over a billion global downloads, and had over 147 million monthly active users at one point in time.

Notes from Chris

Episode 1087
It was more than fifteen years ago when Chris Germain attended his first photo scavenger hunt. That, of course, was a different time, with no smartphones, less internet access, and a reliance on good old pen and paper. Needless to say the hunt was low-fi and analog… but also a lot of fun. In fact, Chris enjoyed it so much that he wanted to arrange a hunt of his own.

A photo scavenger hunt challenges groups of people to get outside their comfort zone and explore the real world. They complete tasks from a list and take photographic proof to go along with it. The tasks include things like ‘take a photo of yourself in a candy shop’ or ‘wear a stranger’s hat.’

But Chris never did figure out a way to make it work, so he sat on the dream for a decade. Yes! Ten years! In that time he built a career as a software engineer.

It was his interest in technology, along with the rise of smartphones, that inspired him to revisit his old idea of creating a photo scavenger hunt—but with a tech-enabled twist.

Chris wrote some code to scan the email, extract the picture and use the code to assign the correct team. He could then log-in, judge all the photos and notify the players who won.

He tested this concept by planning scavenger hunts through meetup groups and his own social connections. For a while, the only people who showed up were friends or friends of friends, no one outside that network. Chris wasn’t worried. He enjoyed the process and ran his hunts on a casual basis… at least until a life change made him reassess things.

That change came when Chris unexpectedly lost his day job as a software engineer. Instead of stressing out and frantically trying to find a new job, he took the opportunity to consider what he really wanted for his life. Was it staring at a screen all day—or taking a chance on finding something that he might enjoy more?

He had savings to last him a couple of years, so instead of looking for a new job, Chris decided to ramp up his scavenger side hustle now called FrogQuest. For months the only clients Chris was able to pick up were from his second-tier network. While they paid, it wasn’t lucrative enough to live on, not by a long shot.

A stroke of luck was about to turn things around.

You see, at the end of each hunt the guests would meet in a bar and Chris would play a slideshow of the best photographs. This often involved laughter and boisterous behavior which led to others asking what all the fun was about. One of those people was a manager from a local business who asked Chris to run a hunt for their team building day. It was his first corporate client, and it brought in some real money.

As Chris began making real money from FrogQuest, he could let go of outside consulting work and focus on turning it into a real business. One of the things he’s invested in is building an app to replace the email method he’d been using for over five years. The app helped him scale. Chris could set up hunts but didn’t actually have to be there to run them. He could merely facilitate through the app from a remote location.

This has helped Chris grow FrogQuest into a money maker that allows him to continue working on it full time. Last year, he earned sixty thousand dollars, not as much as his old six-figure salary but more than he needs to live one and with a much-improved lifestyle.

While it didn’t happen in a flash, Chris eventually took the perfect side hustle picture.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • FrogQuest: Learn more about Chris's scavenger hunts on his website.

SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"Ask yourself...how much do I really want this? it's hard. You will doubt yourself. You need to want it really bad to push through those doubtful moments and trust yourself."
—Chris Geirman #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau