Two years ago when I was interviewing for product manager positions, I got some advice from an entrepreneur and Director of Product Management.
He said that I was only looking for my first official product role. I had built a startup and was building side projects for years, so I was in fact already a product manager. I had to change how I viewed myself.
So when I get asked “How can I become a product manager?”, my answer is always the same: “Build something”.
1. Most people won’t do it
Most people when looking for a product job do the following: they take courses, read books, join communities of product managers, etc.
By building something, you’re saying (among other things) “I don’t need anyone’s permission to be a product manager, I already am one”.
By building something, you’ll immediately set yourself apart from the pack.
2. It’s never been easier
You don’t have to know how to code (although it helps). Anyone can build something useful with no-code tools like Bubble, Airtable, and Webflow.
3. You get to see the entire product process
Even if you’re building a small product (and you should be), you’ll be in charge of everything.
Compare that to joining a large company where you may only own a small piece of the product or process.
The other benefit? You never know where your project will take you. More than one side project has turned into a billion-dollar startup.
What will you build?