I really love side projects. They are unencumbered by the need to be good ideas from day one, or the need to have a clear path to making money. They are perfect tiny droplets of relief from day to day work. ❤️
They say that the invention of cooking was what gave humans an evolutionary leap forwards, as calories became much easier to consume and digest. This led to less time being spent on hunting and eating, giving Homo Erectus time to indulge in “side projects” like developing tools and weapons. (Did I really just make that leap? Why on earth are you all reading this drivel! 😂)
Let’s get back to the point though, I really enjoyed following John Sundell’s tweets about Splash this week. It’s clearly a project that is bringing him joy right now, but why did he build it? Of course, like most side projects they start as something to scratch an itch. But, once the itch was scratched, he started experimenting and now it’s potentially mutating into something new. Combine that with potential synergies with previous side projects and who knows what will happen in the future? Will it definitely turn into something else? Who knows, John definitely doesn’t, but it doesn’t matter.
My iOS Dev Directory was a side project and it was fun the whole way through building it (it’s still open for contributions by the way). I made it to scratch my own itch: “How do I find, and subscribe to, a whole community of RSS feeds?” but now it’s very much its own thing. Does it make money? Absolutely not. Does it get a lot of traffic? Actually, no. 😀 Am I glad I built it? YES! I still use it every day.
But, over and over in my career a surprising number of these side projects turned into real parts of various businesses that did end up making money. For example, this newsletter started as a side project. I had no intention of doing this for 7 years and definitely wasn’t thinking about it making money through sponsorship when I started it. I just wanted to read a newsletter like this on iOS development. There wasn’t one, so I started one. I didn’t think much about it! It was only a side project. It was easy.
Are you working on a side project as well as whatever you do for your main job? If not, why not? 🚀