You Don't Need a Side Project

Most software engineers dream of having a product of their own: a side project that could potentially replace their full-time income.

This is pretty hard to do. It requires time, effort, and sacrifice and could be approached in different ways:

  1. Spend nights and weekends after your full-time job
  2. Quit your full-time job to fully focus on the side project
  3. Half your time doing part-time work and the other half on the side project

It could take years of work before you earn what you would from an engineering job.

The reward of building your own product, having freedom over your own time, and choosing what to work on is great, but it’s too costly. If you can afford the financial loss, stress management, and uncertainties, then go for it.

There are manageable ways to do build side hustles though. For example, you can focus on a niche market or an ecosystem (Shopify, Heroku, Hubspot, etc..) and build a tool that does one or a few things well. You could also build slowly while the rest of your life remains in balance. This may take longer but who knows, you could actually replace your full time gig with the side project.

What’s the alternative?

Find a company with a product you’re passionate about, one with a vision that you could see yourself working for in the long run. Make sure you’re paid fairly and have work-life balance.

Do good work, spend intentional time developing both your technical and leadership skills. Outside of work, read books to sharpen and expand your thinking. Code and be curious about your tech stack.

You can do this without the pressure of having to sustain a side project for financial reasons.