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Ask HN: Advice Wrt Side Business
7 points by tkds0010 6 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 3 comments
I am a backend developer(Python mostly) working in the middle east. While my job pays okay-ish(~USD 6000 per month take home), I need to make more cash on the side as I have ~USD 60K in liabilities that I want to pay off in the next year or 2. I want to take this as an opportunity to start something of my own. I am willing to spend a couple of hours a day and 1/2 days on the weekend as well.

Would be grateful if anyone who has built or witnessed successful side projects that generate(d) profits in the mentioned bracket could advise.

It's always good to dream.

But don't let your side hustle consume you.

Other than watching out for employee agreements regarding IP of what you create, I would keep your side projects top secret, domain privacy, etc, don't talk about it with your coworkers, don't work on it with company resources or even visit the domain(s) from work. Do all development/work outside of work on your own hardware. Not only so you own the IP, but also your employer might not like you pursuing your own thing and could effect raises etc.

I would start listening to StartUpsForTheRestOfUs.com Rob has tons of great advice for what you're wanting to do.

It's hard to generate revenue from a side project, you might be better off doing some freelance work to generate extra income. Try to network with friends in the industry not connected to your employer first. The online freelance sites aren't super helpful, as it's usually a race to the bottom on pricing.

Building an info product or a website with ad revenue or SaaS would be a great revenue addition too.

It's not easy but it's possible. You have to execute and put in the effort though. It's easy to get caught up listening to podcasts about it, buying domains, setting up landing pages and not putting in the work to execute the idea to make it a success.

Here's a great talk from @DHH Start Up School 2008, but still relevant. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CDXJ6bMkMY

Good luck with your side projects.

Some quick napkin math:

You have 60K debt that you want to pay off in 2 years -> that's about 2500 to 3000 USD per month (depending on how must interest you pay for that debt).

You have a salary of 6000 USD per month.

It seems that the simplest way to accomplish that is to reduce your monthly spending to 3000 USD per month.

Coming up with a side business that return 3000 USD per month is probably going to be a lot harder than reducing your spending. And unless you are very lucky, it'll take a year or two to get to that kind of revenue.

Side projects are a crapshoot, and as @jakobeggar points out, have way too much lead time to revenue generation.

Your most reliable option is probably freelance work. It sounds like you can put in about 20 hours per week. If you can get a steady flow of work at $25-50/hr that gets you to $50-100k in two years.

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