March 21, 2019

Help! How to balance full-time job + side projects as "maker"

Hey IH 馃憢

Some background before, I'm a full stack engineer working full time, I'm from Argentina but a few months ago moved to Denmark looking for a better/balanced life.

As new years resolution, I decided to actually start and launch side projects because in the past I started several things but never ship it/released because I wanted to make it perfect. So far I manage to release 3 "things", but the other day finally got some traction on one of them (updatefy.co), and I realize that I don't have enough time :(.

So, my question is, what do you suggest to have a better balance?

Thank you!

  1. 2

    Can you identify what tasks are taking up the most time?

    Is it making any money? Or can you justify paying someone to help take some tasks off your plate?

    1. 2

      Everything in general, but mostly trying to learn marketing/growth. The day I released in Product Hunt was a bit overwhelming because I got several messages for potential customers.

      I made ~78usd in the release day, for 2 paid customers, but nothing after that.

      1. 1

        I would echo comments made below. For a product to succeed it will take effort to get it off the ground. Having 3 plus a job that you want to keep seems like too much.

        I'd be happy to talk from a marketing perspective if you need advice from that perspective. I see marketing/sales are part of the making process, but definitely a different set of skills required.

        1. 1

          Definitely 3 projects + full time is a no go. I will focus only on Updatefy for now (and my "real" job :)).

          I'd love to have some advice from you! I have 0 skill in marketing/sale.

  2. 1

    You probably already know this since you moved to Denmark, but I'll repeat it for everyone else.

    Get an even easier job if you need more bandwidth for your side projects. There's a finite daily amount of mental stamina you have for solving problems and creativity. The longer you work hard past 8 hours, the worse your health and your performance becomes.

    https://medium.com/building-asana/work-hard-live-well-ead679cb506d

    1. 1

      Exactly, that's my biggest fear.

      I'm happy and committed with my current job, so that's not an option at the moment.

      Lately, I've tried to only do side things a few days a week but still couldn't find the correct balance to not feeling bad of not changing things a few days :/

  3. 1

    Are you making just because you love making? Or are you trying to build a profitable business?

    1. 1

      A bit of both, but mostly looking to build useful products because I enjoy the process.

      1. 1

        Growth comes from a mixture of sales/marketing, which takes away from being a "maker". I'm also a maker, but I had to make the decision to either continue to make more things and sacrifice profits overall, or commit to building out the required components of a business (product/marketing/sales/customer service).

        For me, I committed to only focusing on the one product that had the most promise, and cut everything else out. Then I hired/recruited a partner to focus on sales & marketing so that I could continue to do what I love, making a great product. And also hired out customer service.

        1. 1

          @rlfrahm thanks for sharing your experience!

          I will try to only focus on Updatefy for now and see where it goes, and look out for some sales/marketing guy to get some help of.

          1. 1

            Let me know how it goes! Always happy to help!

            1. 1

              Thanks! Will do :)