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If you don't mind me asking, I'd like some help laying out what my next steps should be on one of my side projects. I had an idea for a side project, ran it by a hand full of friends and associates, expecting to have a bunch of holes poked into it (they have done that to me many times in the past). This time they all think I have something.

Problem is I work full time, as a Linux systems engineer (30 years of Unix experience), with a side passion for C programming, web technologies, and have built a hand full of web apps that are getting a lot of use at work (btw I'm not under any contract prohibiting side projects, and have cleared it with my management).

Next problem: The project itself is relatively simple, has client-side pieces that will be open source, and over all I prototyped it in about a weekend's worth of work, but need probably a month or so to get it more polished and robust. The upshot is that it can be easily replicated by anyone in a similar space. There are similar products that try to solve the same problem, but in a rather backwards and less secure method, but I'm really not sure why other vendors haven't thought of this project first.

Third problem: I'm relatively new at modern advanced web apps, so things like taking payments, handling customers, integrating to a customer's on-premise or cloud based authentication (O365, Active Directory, etc) is something I'm not too familiar with (for my projects I just used ldap bind for authentication against a local AD server).

So for my next step, should I put a prototype / demo site online, and let people create demo accounts that last for a couple weeks? Then if there is sufficient interest, set up something like a Stripe account? Start off with local user account authentication, then later on add the ability for customers to set up users authenticating against their own AD domain or O365 account?

Or would I be better off finding a business partner that has been through all this already?




Honestly, as someone who has started a 5-6 figure monthly "side-hustle" in an area where there are many other players, and which requires learning new frontend skills, while I'm a crusty UNIX/Linux head, 30 years experience like you, I would say: just do it!

Here is the thing I learned in 2018, in which I also generated >$700K of side income working 10-12 hours a week (mornings, evenings, and weekends): If you know how to learn new tech skills at a reasonable rate, you can learn anything you need to do in a few hours. Obviously this doesn't apply to sophisticated things, but how many of the things you need to do in tech are really that hard? For example, my client needed to update a static website with data stored in Airtable - I spent 2 hours finding some python code that was open source on GitHub that scrapes Airtable every few minutes and puts the data in a JSON file that his static website can now read. 2 hours of effort and I have a client that I billed almost $1000 and he's completely happy with the outcome. His static website is now dynamically updated from Airtable. Not only that, I learned a new skill and I can repeat this for other clients without the effort of learning. Multiply this over several hundred days over several years and you have an amazingly strong side hustle.

Just do it, you can figure out the details as you go...


You were able to charge $1000 for the Airtable gig? If you don't mind my asking, was the client not aware of Upwork, Fiverr, etc, which I would imagine would be perfect for these one-off, low-engagement gigs?


Can you talk a bit more about these side gigs of yours? As much as you can, without affecting your biz.


I'd also like to know more about what you're doing on the side that is that profitable.


And where do you find clients with one off needs like that?


> The upshot is that it can be easily replicated by anyone in a similar space

I think many problems are like this. We engineers to think that we have to build something "rocket science", but actually many businesses don't require "rocket science" software to take off. It's more about the execution.

>I'm relatively new at modern advanced web apps, so things like taking payments, handling customers, integrating to a customer's on-premise or cloud based authentication

These days, there are almost already SaaS for everything. A little googling here and there will find you what you need :) Also sites like indiehackers.com is really awesome. People share what indie projects they had built, there's also a comment section where people can ask.

>Or would I be better off finding a business partner that has been through all this already?

I think you should try to do this in parallel with trying to learn it yourself. Finding a good, competent, and suitable business partner isn't exactly the easiest thing to do.


> I think many problems are like this. We engineers to think that we have to build something "rocket science", but actually many businesses don't require "rocket science" software to take off. It's more about the execution.

I would even go further than that, that's exactly the reason why Wordpress and basic CMS are very popular, most companies have some very basic and similar IT needs.


I've been through all of that, and have a great resume.

Happy to partner up, or just mentor. Just went through a third-party AD integration, for example.

(Throwaway as I don't want too many people knowing I'm looking at side projects right now...)

Feel free to email throwaway650@trashmail.com if you're interested.




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