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5 side projects in 6 years, earning $0 (kwcodes.com)
472 points by kw_dev 85 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 198 comments



All these have a thing in common: he gave up because they weren’t immediate successes. Some even had traction: 5 users in 3 months isn’t the incredible outlier story you hear time and time again, but it’s 5 people you can talk to, listen to what they want (and why they signed up anyway), then you gear up from there.

We’re too conditioned to believe in the stories of immediate success and MVPs making tens of thousands of dollars immediately. Those are exceedingly rare, and you might be able to pull it off when you have a massive audience. Jumping from project to project won’t net you that audience, so you end up spending time in circles… and earning $0.


I don't think "just stick with it" is a good advice in general and especially not for his projects.

He was smart to abandon his minimal time tracker, minimal metronome and jobs website.

BTW: he didn't get 5 users for minimal time tracker, he got 5 people who signed up for a mailing list based on screenshots of non-existing product.

Even smarter would be to not do such projects in the first place.

With jobs websites you need a giant, unfair advantage over all other job websites.

Metronome and minimal time tracker are both vitamins, not pain killers. They don't solve a painful problem that people are obviously willing to pay for.

They are also extremely competitive.

The only idea that was somewhat viable was time tracker, but only if he managed to stand out from all the other time trackers and masterfully execute both the product and marketing.

There is no recipe for a successful projects but there are plenty of giant red flags that you should notice and avoid.

High competition is a red flag. Low value to potential users is a red flag.


“Stick with it” is by no means what I said. A time tracker isn’t an end-all product - you start with it, then spiral out based on customer feedback. I’ve seen plenty of companies start that way and succeed, even time tracker and job posts.

High competition is also not a red flag by definition. It’s a strong indication that the market exists, and as a solo or bootstrapped founder, that’s a HUGE time & money saver.

Low value to users isn’t necessarily a issue on itself either - you start with something with low value, then value-add as you grow. There’s room in the world for vitamins and painkillers.

There’s room in the world for red sea strategies and blue ocean strategies. In none of these worlds is “not doing projects in the first place” a good idea though, no matter if they fail. The best way to never succeed is to keep dreaming and never try :)


> High competition is also not a red flag by definition. It’s a strong indication that the market exists, and as a solo or bootstrapped founder, that’s a HUGE time & money saver.

I can't tell you how much this resonates with me having been slowly and methodically building a project in a competitive domain over the past two years. I have a handful of organic users who've continued to show up and inspire me to continue pushing forward, but in that time I've also had people close to me question what I'm doing and why it's taking so long (as if there is a finish line).

My experience so far is that building a software product is a hard and time-consuming process fraught with obstacles of all variety. There are many instances where abandoning it will sound like a good idea, so you just have to ask yourself how determined are you to bring it to life and push through when it gets difficult?

You miss 100% of the shots you don't take.


> I’ve seen plenty of companies start that way and succeed, even time tracker and job posts.

That would be a good argument if you mentioned which ones.


https://clockify.me/about-us

>>Nothing fancy or intrusive. We just needed a record of how much time a certain project took in a certain month, and how much we need to bill clients.


I think you just said “stick with it is by no means what I said”, and then gave a longer, richer explanation why he should have indeed just “stuck with it”. I agree with the original commenter. Seems these app ideas were all pretty unoriginal and in markets with giants already. Making a video game is the software equivalent of opening a restaurant… And so are a few other of these app ideas.

I think it’s good to see failure posts like this on HN. Helps balance out some of the toxic positivity you can run into. Not everyone will succeed, even the ones that work hard for years and are very talented (like these folks).


Yeah the first step if you want to be successful on some metric is to type “time tracker” into AppStore search and see that is completely hopeless and pick something else that doesn’t already have 100+ professional and commercial implementations


As Guy Kawasaki once said in Art of the Start : “You want to be high and on the right.” You make something everyone wants and is of great value, and only you can make it. The worst place is making something that 50 others do and is of no value to the customer.


Did he also say that you want to bring in more money than you spend?

Sorry for the snark, but how is this actionable advice? It's just a fortune cookie anecdote of a situation that of course would be profitable.


The only problem is that pretty much anything I can do has been done a zillion times by others.


I doubt that's true.

I have literally hundreds of ideas.

As an experiment I put them on a website for anyone to see and "steal": https://blog.kowalczyk.info/article/e4132d5a44014b2aad81d815...

I'm not saying those are all great, profitable ideas.

I'm saying that they are doable by a competent programmer and unique enough. Certainly not "done a zillion times by others".


Almost all the “ideas” in your list are “make X with Y”. They’re not unique by definition. It’s a nice exercise for the brain, but you won’t really ship anything people use that way.


Sorry for an off-topic comment!

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your work on SumatraPDF. My favorite, hands down.

(Following the link you posted, I realized you're the author.)


Try to translate this list into:

Let [customer group] do [pain point solved].


That list really drives home the 'ideas are cheap' phrase.

I guess the good ideas are expensive.


I very much agree that ideas are cheap.

I don't agree that "good ideas are expensive".

The issue is: we don't know which ideas are good or bad.

The stats from Venture Capital markets are showing that clearly.

Before someone even gets a meeting with a good VC firm the idea is already filtered 100-1 if not 1000-1.

Of those who get the meeting, maybe 1 in 100 get an investment.

Of those that get an investment, out of 10 maybe 1 or 2 become the really great successes and the remaining 8 are somewhere between "mild return" and "complete failure".

Since even the best of the best cannot tell what idea is good and which one is bad, we value all ideas as bad ideas i.e. at zero.

I'm quite sure that in that list I've posted there are at least few good ideas i.e. ideas that, when well executed, would lead to a profitable, solo business.

I just don't know which ones are good.


>ideas that, when well executed

I think this is part of the issue. Unlike the GP, I think the expectation is often both difficult and sometimes expensive. Often ideas seem bad only because they were executed poorly; good execution acts as a type of filter.


Could you please share the source of these VC stats?


That might appear to be the case, but probably isn’t. There’s often not anything harder to implement a CRUD app that solves a novel problem than implementing a CRUD app that solves the same problem as 100 other people are hawking.


Figuring out what problem to solve is the most difficult part for most side projects. Unless you personally have an unsolved problem that by chance many other people also have, finding something good requires either luck or talking to many potential customers.


I think one way to narrow down to something relatively unique is to look for the Ven diagram of skills and interests. If you layer enough, there's bound to be some areas where relatively few people how the knowledge and passion to pursue. It's no guarantee you'll make money, but it at least helps identify areas you can stand out.


How thorough have you been in researching competitors? I'm willing to bet that there'll be some differences either in target market or execution. Even if it's effectively the same product maybe there's something they've missed which would give you a significant advantage early on?


With the internet economy enabling perfect markets, everyone is competing with good enough monopolists so tiny niches remain to become successful.

perfect market = Market with a perfect allocation between demand and supply, because of no information deficiencies.


Find a specialized niche then


Yep!

You have to learn how and when to KILL YOUR CHILDREN (your ideas)!

I typically come up with a dozen ideas a week - most of them don't pass hurdles of basic physics or economics, or once you research "the market" you discover there isn't one. So you plunge a knife into the idea and kill it quick. You have to learn how to do this. I do minimally document them and then file them away, however. Things can change.

Then you absolutely may need to spend YEARS at the few that survive. But you are always checking, setting hurdles and milestones and being ready to kill off the idea that doesn't have any more to work.

Or you discover YOU aren't the one who can take through that jungle and then you have to decide what to do about that. Sometimes you find someone who can and take a minority venture stake in what they can do with it. Sometimes you have to wait until ideas or technologies become more mature. Or you need to put it on the back burner as you can accumulate more capital to "do it right".

You do need an incumbent in most cases to prove the market exists but you want to shy away from the "popular" products because of high competition you won't likely match.


The thing is he might have learnt something if he had continued the project. Maybe he would have learnt something about marketing and market positioning. Or maybe he would have learnt about delivery and server provisioning, even without any commercial merit to his product.

The whole thing reads like he had a vague idea that writing a basic piece of software would allow him to retire, but could only bring himself to make a very limited effort.

The rule is: if you want to get money from it, you have to be prepared to work hard, and on parts of it that you don't find interesting, with no guarantee of success. If you aren't motivated by money and ready to put a lot into it with a high chance of failure, just work on things you enjoy. You will get further and learn more.

In neither case will you get much from it if you just do the minimum and then abandon the project.

'Side projects' have become the new programmer blogs, as something which everyone feels they need to have in order to get a job. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO STUFF LIKE THIS. If you're not excited by it then just don't. Just getting good at your job and enjoying your spare time will get you much further in life than pursuing things which it will be clear to an employer you don't really care about. For every employer which looks for stuff like this, there is another who just wants someone who does a good job and doesn't waste their energy on side hustles.


Great points, where do you suggest reading to learn how to think like this?


Reminds me of "Good Software Takes Ten Years. Get Used To it." by Joel Spolsky.

https://www.joelonsoftware.com/2001/07/21/good-software-take...


This has been my experience.

I'm working on an app that will be released in the next few months (we don't have a definite ship date, yet).

It's based on two servers that I wrote. One, I wrote eleven or twelve years ago, and has become a world standard; but only in the last three years. Since it's a specialized demographic, the numbers are quite small, for "world standard."

The other server is one that I wrote, about four years ago. It took me seven months. It's a very good general-purpose application server. I wrote it for practice, but it's also ideal for the app I'm writing.

I've been working on the frontend app for over a year. It's really, really good. I deliberately took my time, because we went through a lot of "MVP" stuff, during its development.

The rest of the team seems to think it will take the world by storm, when it's released, but I don't think it will.

That's fine with me. I don't mind a slow burn. I've written software that lasts decades.


I'm working on social software at the moment, and when I explain it to potential users, they seem to love the concept (which gives me confidence), but truthfully I don't know if will live up to expectations. I've found it best to downplay any potential success in my own mind so that I'm not disappointed if it doesn't take off. I hope your launch goes well; your comments are always insightful and glad to have someone of your experience around the traps.


Thanks.

I think that the general Quality of the app will be phenomenal. I spend a great deal of time “polishing the fenders.” This is stuff like making sure that popovers are pixel-perfect, Dark Mode is supported, it’s localizable and accessible, and has various fast animations for “flourish,” etc.

We know the target demographic well, and all indications are, that it will be well-received.

But I don’t think it has much monetary potential, which I feel is fine. We’re a nonprofit, anyway. It will be funny, because a free app will have a level of refinement that leaves many money-making apps in a cloud of dust.

Time will tell. More will be revealed…


You should read the „Mom Test“. Very often people say they like the idea, but still won‘t buy it.


Indeed, it's on my list of things to read, and it's why I'm not considering these signals to be definitive.


FWIW, there seems to be an issue with your contact form on rift walley software, here is what it looks like in mobile Safari:

  CONTACT US
  [contact-form-7 id="67" title="Contact form 1"]


(


Sigh… I updated the plugin, and it seems to have borked.

Thanks. I’ll get on it. I may need to do a fairly significant site upgrade. I’ve been avoiding it.


No problem, I just wanted you to know :-)

Other websites have full lorem ipsum pages or have someones dubious web shop selling crystals running in a subfolder.

(Idea for webmasters: set up a few scheduled search for <words that should not be on your website> site:<yourwebsite.example>)


Grr... It wasn't even that. A couple of days ago, the hosting provider had some kind of server bork. I complained, and I guess as they were looking at it, they renamed the plugins directory (fairly common practice).

After they figured out it was their server, they never went back and renamed the directory.


At least by being on HN you got a warning within a couple of days :-)


This seems true of small scale things but companies like google have been able to release good software on the first try. I don't remember it vividly but I used google docs and drive on the first year and I don't remember having a single issue with them and I can't even think of anything it does now almost 10 years later that I would have wanted back then.


Wtf your pseudo dude, "Gigachad"?



https://i1.wp.com/www.joelonsoftware.com/wp-content/uploads/...

This chart is a good example of having no traction for years and then growing exponentially. We usually hear about a company once it hits the inflection point so it seems like an overnight success.


"no traction" lol. After 2 years that chart shows 35k users. That's only no traction in relation to the final outcome.

Imagine this was money instead, where the final result was $1B and after the first 2 years it was only $1M.

$1M is only "no traction" in relation to $1B. In absolute terms it's pretty damn good.


It would be an absolute disaster if people would stick to their dead-end side projects for 10 years before calling it quits.


So much this sentiment. I ask people I mentor "why do you measure yourself in dollars?" and they often respond with something like "all the successful people I admire are rich." or something along those lines.

Money is a 'first derivative' of success and a lagging indicator.

Measure yourself by what you learn not by what you earn and you will be sticking to projects longer because the payoff will be in what they are teaching you. Everything you learn gets you that much closer to a side project that brings in money as well as experience. Why? Because you'll know what is important and what is not, you will know how things waste money and how to avoid them, you will know what metrics are important and what they mean.


One the one hand, I'd observe that most people's side-projects, aka hobbies, were never expected to make money. Short of opening a shop your pottery or whatever wasjust something you did.

On the other hand I recognize it's somewhat privileged to just shrug off making money with "side hustles."


Well, it's also kind of privileged to expect to have such a "side hustle" that you enjoy doing, and that generates income.

Sure, people used to have side hustles back in the day, but maybe more like weeding your potato plants after a back-breaking day at the factory.


I would be interested in how you got to here:

> On the other hand I recognize it's somewhat privileged to just shrug off making money with "side hustles."

Was it from what I wrote or was it unrelated?


I was just referring to expectations that projects you do outside of your main job can be turned into money-making enterprises. And, from my perspective, this is usually not the case and I'm fine with it but it's easy to see that being dismissive of side hustles assumes a well-paying 9-5 job.


> Money is a 'first derivative' of success

Does that mean that even if my success stagnates at “quite successful”, I make no money at all? That doesn’t make sense to me. How would that work?


Yeah I think it would be the other way around: money would be the integral of success.


Absolutely agree with you, 5 users here, 5 there and you will have hundreds in 1 year, 500 after 2 years and so on... This happened to me with my side project hostbeat.info. I have started it bcs some of my friends wanted this kind of service. Then I have realized that I can do it as a multi-user SaaS. I was expecting thousands of users in the first month, still don't know why :) (perhaps I made it free of charge?) Made a post on 3-4 forums/discussions, etc... scaled my server to handle load almost to 10.000 daily active users. And.... 2 registrations happened in the first month. This was not expected and hit me hard. But later on, as you write, it started to gain some traction. One user per week, 2, then 3 users. Sometimes 2 new per day, the other day or week or month nothing. Sometimes I am surprised that some big player on the IT market has registered and is also actively using it (2 largest telco operators in DE and AT fe.) I don't care anymore about profit or userbase. I'm happy with it as is and sometimes users are sending me emails and thanking me for such service.


So, do your friends use it? :)


Yes, they do. I did admin work a long time ago and mostly it was planned to have information about the connection, in case they have a dynamic IP. It works reliably to this day.


Yea if you read the article, it is actually more like 5 side projects in 4 years (took a 2 year break). That is way too many projects to try for real results. Nothing to take away from the effort and learnings though. I commend people who try to build anything. However, most people give up too quickly. It takes months or even a year or 2 to really get traction on any project if you want to be serious and I am not talking VC funded but bootstrapped. Yes the risk of doing something for 2 years is big but you need to do a lot more customer discovery/validation than just 2-3 months before you give up.

If you just want to learn how to build stuff for fun, sure do 5 projects that quickly. But if you want to build anything to make money (even if small), you must spend more than a few months on it. That is why software developers are not all entrepreneurs because even though a lot of us can build stuff, we don't know what to do with it.


Also, only one of the side projects actually broke any ground at all. Mostly they were abandoned after less than a month.

A couple of weeks of part time desk research is not a side hustle. It’s simply due diligence.

Disappointed that the game didn’t go ahead as it’s something I’d definitely play. Reminds me of x-battle.


Completely agree. Good ideas are abandoned too often because of bad advice from influencers and unrealistic expectations. I actually wrote about this a few weeks ago ^1.

^1: https://keygen.sh/blog/5-things-ive-learned-in-5-years/


Also contrary to what is often professed here, a landing page is not a product. If you lure me to your website and there is no download and only a textbox to extract a personal information from me to spam me in the future, you just lost my present and future respect. Don't waste people's time like this please.


When it comes to the time management app, he did exactly the right thing: created a mailing list, found out there is no market, left it alone.

Generally 'just making an app' does not produce a business, and has not for the past 10 years at least.

Games are a very special business, and there is no science as to what makes a game compelling: flappy bird was created in a weekend and made millions, some million dollar projects make nothing. I think that you have to be very passionate about games and have deep understanding of gameplay to even compete.


This makes me feel better about 0 side projects earning $0 in 20 years: I've come out ahead of people who are "underwater".


The question is if he created any public value with this side projects. Another example for UBI?

[UBI](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Universal_basic_income)


Counterpoint: He is trying to compete in sexy, very competitive industries. I launched a landscaping business with a partner four months ago and we already have over $100,000 in revenue.


After a certain amount of work I think it stops really being a side project, even if it's not where you make money.


I think the common thing here is not giving up w/o immediate success. That is a very good idea sometimes. Homer Simpson built a goofy car, people were exposed to it and he got negative feedback, and he rightly abandoned it. Some projects are a bad idea, you don't know they are, and once you find out they are, you absolutely should not keep wasting resources due to the sunk cost of wishful thinking.

His common issue is he expected to invest time to make money. You need to invest money to make money. This is why I sometimes laugh at a guy who can't get a good job, has no savings, is borrowing cash from friends to pay the rent and maxing out credit cards for food. Sometimes that guy's solution to being poor is "I'm going to start my own business." When you build on a foundation of nothing, your house collapses.

He ran an ad campaign - it clearly worked. He needed to run it more, and bigger, and yes, eat the cost of it from personal savings. In a business, you first spend money, then you make money. There are no freebies just because you have an idea. Stories of that happening are like self-learning guitar because you plan on being a rockstar.

The reason people don't want to pay for a new project from a new person? Because there's high risk of it being dead within a year - like all of this guy's projects. It's the same reason I don't start watching any new shows till they've had a few seasons out. Don't want to invest hours into the plot just to have it cancelled and left w/o closure in after two seasons.

It's also a reason no one joined things like google plus or used any of their other now dead projects. They proudly declare they try many things to see what sticks and kill the rest. Well, I'm not willing to give my time for free to their unpaid focus group.

So what he needed to do was save up, spend those savings on letting people know about his product, take the risk of loosing that cash, and give the product away at first. Then when the paid product comes, there is a huge user base he paid for, and people see the risk of it being killed as minimized.


I find this kind of post very interesting. The key takeaways from my point of view is that none of these projects actually created value. Most of them didn’t solve a problem that other software hadn’t already solved. The most interesting one I think was the appartment notitication one. Especially that today there is such a race if you want to find a good and affordable appartment. It’s just too bad the author wasn’t able to create something simple for this. At the end of the day, you have to try 10 ideas to get one off the ground. But you also have to give them a serious shot, which doesn’t seem to have been the case here. You often will have to invest actual money to get your idea out there and popular. Unless it’s a one in a million that will go viral on its own.


Regarding solving a problem. I think there is always room for a better way to solve a problem. Really, there is room for multiple companies to solve the same problem the same way. If I would have been pitched Airbnb in its early days, I likely would not have given it much thought. After all, VRBO has been doing basically what Airbnb does for 25 years.


Airbnb is a good example of "success" by doing nothing new, just pushing past law or other external difficulties that no one else managed before.

Like you say, there had been similar apps for several years. CouchSurf-style websites were common, and the transition to paid accommodation provided by normal people is obvious from there, but no one could get past the difficulty of getting people to pay for something that was commonly done for free, and getting this done without legal issues.

AirBnb, to my knowledge, was likely illegal in most places it worked, but similar to Uber, was on perhaps a gray area that allowed it to continue working until it was so big it cold lobby politicians to acommodate it within the law.

Only a handful of successes can happen this way, and I think all that could, have already happened.


Minimal metronome and minimal time tracker are close to useless, because the market is so saturated, and there are tons of free options.

You need to start with validating your idea instead of wasting days/months on coding.


Also, I think we need to stop rewarding 'minimal' products. Like you said, there's no room for minimal time tracking, but there's definitely room for more high quality, feature-dense time tracking tools.


Nope, sometimes I just want no bloat software that can cook my eggs during I use it for time tracking. I just want this one feature. But don't suppose to make money with an app like this, because there are 20 other people that released one before you.


Yeah, my minimal time tracker is Excel.


He needs to make ten times as many applications/solutions at least in the same time frame. His ratio comes to less than one project a year and across different markets. In fact he doesn't even release but two of the projects mentioned. The product startup world moves a lot faster than that.

"How I failed 5 side projects in 6 years"


Exactly.

It needs to become a habit so that he can release at greater velocity. Regulary thinking about new ideas and the writing code 1-2 hours everyday is ideal.


Having a night full-time job next to your day full-time job is too much for 99% of people.


Spamming startups!? Yeah, I don't think the world needs more of that.


Tell that to those guys who made the 1500 slot machines.


Good for you man. I don’t really see much about customer pain points though.

If people aren’t in pain they aren’t going to buy / use your stuff.

Take the product job board. At first I thought it was product manager jobs, but doesn’t that already exist? Then after seeing accounts payable and other stuff I realized you meant tech, which also exists already. So why would people use yours?

Your startup HAS to solve something better than existing solutions. For example -Uber was a taxi, but cheaper and much better -Facebook was MySpace but geared toward your in person friends / clean interface. Turns out people preferred not having to customize their page -TikTok was vine but done way better. Its learning algorithm is unbelievable, it leans into Adding music which makes everything more fun, etc. it’s a markedly better way for people to express themselves

The one project you build for yourself, the metronome, already had a solution you discovered after you started building

So I’d really spend some time on the problem first. Read the lean startup. Talk to customers. And figure out if a project is actually a smart bet. Your product has to be markedly better for some group of customers - if it’s just a little better, people aren’t going to switch


One thing I've learned from doing side projects is that; If you're not going to spend any time/money on marketing then stop giving your projects obscure names.

I know we programmers want some Googly names that is not currently in the dictionary but no one will EVER find it and it's very hard to grow organically.

If you're not making any money it doesn't mean your product is bad. It mostly means people can't find it. It's highly possible to make at least +$100 more just by using a name that a normal human would search for. Do anything so that people will can find it easily.


This. Especially on the app store. I have several successful side projects myself and am semi retired.

But it is a waste of time trying to tell people that discoverability is the key to success. Everyone who owns an iPhone thinks they are an app expert and the first thing they do with a new idea is to come up with an unsearchable, undiscoverable name.


Maybe I'm just old and cranky and this is a generational thing, but when did "side project" become mixed up with "side hustle"?

I think the dead horse has been beaten already in this thread, with what the author "should have done" in terms of market research, A/B testing, MVP, etc. No need for me to pile on further there.

But what strikes me is that the author really seems to draw no distinction between personal side projects, done for the purpose of developing new skills that you aren't learning at your day job (e.g. iOS development, Ruby on Rails, etc)... versus entrepreneurial side hustles that you pursue for the dream of financial independence.

I think the the lesson here is, "Pick one". If you're trying to get rich, then that's not the time dive into some completely unfamiliar tech whose learning curve will slow down your velocity. You should be leveraging whatever boring tech you already know and are already most productive in, so you can focus on the marketing research and business side of things. Conversely, if you're trying to dive into an educational side project to learn new skills, then it's rather naive to expect that to be a path to riches. It won't be, and that's okay!


I've gone in the opposite direction. my latest side project is costing me money. but it gives me a dev superpower, so I don't mind.

this is a blatant plug, sorry, but here's my newfound superpower: I built forkfreshness.com so that, whenever I find an abandoned repo that would otherwise be perfect for whatever I'm working on, I can find out exactly what downstream forks exist, who's keeping those forks alive, and how much ongoing work is happening.

this was, as you say, absolutely not about getting rich. but while I did learn a bunch doing it, it wasn't about learning, either. I stuck mostly to familiar tech. instead, it was about creating something that I had wanted many times over the years.


forkfreshness seems like a really nice idea.

I have a repo[0] where I would like to check how active any of the forks are, just to see what they have done with the project, and/or speak with them about contributing upstream. I noticed that just adjusting the URL[1] did not work, however since running this website is costing your money, I don't feel comfortable asking you to add it.

Is there any chance you would feel comfortable open sourcing the code? (It can even be under some kind of fair-code license)

[0] http://github.com/GitJournal/GitJournal

[1] https://forkfreshness.com/GitJournal/GitJournal


well, the bad news is Fork Freshness would probably decline to analyze this repo, because it's got very recent commits. the other bad news is that I'm not currently planning to open source it.

but the good news is that I could maybe change its recency rules, and the other good news is that it costs me money whether people use it or not, and I want people to use it, so please feel absolutely free. it's intended as a kind of public service.


Did you try

> Just tweet the GitHub URL to @ForkFreshness on Twitter.

as instructed on the front page? It seems like he's inviting people to use it.


Send a message on a closed-source social media platform for my source code on a closed-source Git forge. That will be a nope.


I am!


> personal side projects, done for the purpose of developing new skills

That sounds like a work focused side project to me. Things I've made that are personal side projects - iot blind controls (because I wanted it), magic mirror (because I wamted it), triathlon result parser (because me and my so wanted to settle some race stats debates), groupable containerised desktop apps (because I wanted it) etc.

None of my personal side projects set out to develop new skills, they set out to make me or a loved one happy. Often they do develop new skills. My partner is currently stripping and repainting an old bike - shes learning loads, but thats not the intent. The intent is to make it match her other gear because that makes her happy.


It's not rare to enjoy learning.


That's a relevant advice IMO.

However, as a tech guy trying to build stuff too, I need continuous motivation for this. I need to stay in a "flow" state. And a good fuel to this is to learn new cool things during the journey.

To put it differently, I think you need to find the right balance between fun and efficiency, even if your goal is to earn money in the end. Trying to always look for the maximum efficiency could be a short term vision that quickly lead to boringness.


What I get from this post is how out of touch the world of silicon valley, tech investments and startups have become with reality. Almost anything can "make you rich" in the loop that goes: Idea -> Startup -> Impressing investors -> sell out and move on.

In that world, the presentation of your idea/product is everything, and the idea/product only plays a minor role, because you have to impress rich people that often don't know anything about it. Once you succeed you can pump so much money into it that even the worst idea is able to create some success.

Back to the post: It feels like this kind of sentiment is what spawned the feeling behind it. The projects very much seem straight out of a "new app to change the world" presentations aimed towards investors.

I do not doubt that they could generate profit, but I doubt that they have all that much value.

Add to that the startup sentiment of "if it's not an immediate huge success it's basically a failure" that the post radiates.

Even the conclusion of the post gives me the vibes that the takeaway should be to churn out more, any projects faster, until something eventually sticks.


> It won't be, and that's okay!

These days hosting costs are cheap enough that even if it takes you several years to turn something into a business, that doesn't really cost you that much. We've seen several examples of this happening already, and it's only getting more prevalent.


Superb Advice, thanks. I often get caught in the trap of having my feet in both buckets


This is the most telling quote for me:

> I started developing scrapers gathering data. I spent maybe 2 weeks on it when I realized the level of complexity. This was too much work for just one person.

When the complexity was in the technical domain he was able to (relatively) quickly understand the scope and effort required and cut his losses.

For the other projects he's been able to constrain the technical complexity and thus "finish" the projects. But has been blind to non-technical complexity, whether that is game design, art design, marketing, or sales.

One silly little example that stood out to me was the iOS game, which has the evocative name of "Planetoid". I can imagine a space themed game where planets battle to the death. But the video shows a white screen with minimalist graphics. Isn't this a space game? What a missed opportunity to sell the game with interesting visuals.


> One silly little example that stood out to me was the iOS game, which has the evocative name of "Planetoid". I can imagine a space themed game where planets battle to the death. But the video shows a white screen with minimalist graphics. Isn't this a space game? What a missed opportunity to sell the game with interesting visuals.

Or alternatively, keep it as an abstract (Go-like? Not the language!) game and just change the name.


I launched 5 major software projects over the last 15 years. The first one was a failure; the big lesson I learned from that failure was that I couldn't salvage or re-purpose any of the code; aside from educational value, all that work had been wasted. After that experience, I tried to build all my projects in such a way that I could always salvage/re-purpose my work.

My second project was a software development framework which I tried to sell it as a SaaS platform. The platform was a commercial failure but the open source framework became popular and I was able to convince the founders of a popular blockchain project to use it as part of their P2P layer.

Although that project was a technical success, because I didn't own any meaningful stake in that blockchain project, I wasn't able to capitalize on this opportunity so it was a commercial failure for me.

So then we (me and some open source community members who joined along the way) used that blockchain as a base to build a Decentralized Exchange and 2 new blockchain projects. Although these projects have not yet succeeded commercially (still working on it), I managed to secure passive income as a blockchain validator on the base blockchain. Securing this passive income was my first hint of commercial success after 10 years of trying. Anyway, it's an ongoing story but if my current 3 active projects don't succeed commercially, I have already planned for the next projects to build on top...

The goal is to just keep building stuff on top of this blockchain ecosystem, welcoming new contributors along the way and keeping everything open source.


For every remoteok.io which is a single PHP file and makes $100k a month, there are 1000 of failed job boards. I suppose this is the reality.


There it simply becomes a marketing project not a software project.


It's true, but developers don't like to hear that because we like writing code not marketing shit.


Yep, the site (CRUD at best) is a poster child of non application. It's more like a beautiful movie star selling beauty product.


This is the best description I have seen. I never thought of it that way


it helps that Pieter Levels is insanely good at promoting and growing his projects/businesses.


This was 3 projects from 5 ideas of projects.

If I count ideas I had that I never seriously started on, I've failed hundreds of projects.


I have at least 20 project ideas described in my notebook that I truly believe all of them could be successful businesses and solve a real problem, but the truth is that you can only really build ONE good business at a time. It is very easy to abandon a project and go for the next shiny idea, but it is very hard to stick to a project and make it work.


Main lesson that seems to not have been learned yet, since it's not mentioned at the end:

If you want to make money (any money at all), stop focusing on consumer products, build a small B2B product instead.


And build it full time, not as a hobby. And build one that no one else is selling already.


No quite the opposite! Part time is fine, and you can build a simple niched-down version of a popular tool.


What seems lacking in the choice of projects is a particular expertise in any of these subjects. Pick an area of study, try and narrow it as much as possible, stick with it over several years, and seek to become the world's expert on that very narrow topic (which is hopefully useful). Then you will understand what needs to be built.


Alternatively, you commit to a field of expertise, only to become narrow minded, and unable to synthesize simple ideas into products end users care about.


Bit of a painful read. On the first game, it's a common game concept (very much not novel) that I've seen many people recreate. I built one myself with better graphics and gameplay over the course of a week and sold it for 5k to a games publisher around 2013-2014, about 2-3 years before they released their game. That publisher offered it for free on an ad model. I can't believe working on it for a year, with two people, for free, releasing it in 2016 and expecting any sales.

Enough has been said about the projects in general already which mostly mimics the game (not solving a real user problem, late-entry, competing with existing solutions, no marketing)


I've published ~20 iOS apps. Only 4 make money, but they allowed me to reach financial independence and never have to work for someone gain at the age of 24.


That's great, well done, but without details it doesn't add much to the conversation. What are the apps? How did you market them? How long did it take to start seeing results? etc.


Based on comment history https://apps.apple.com/us/app/cuff-video-chat-make-friends/i... making $2000/month profit "No marketing involved, all organic traffic"


What's when your apps are removed from Apple for any reason? Do you have enough money to live without this income? Or do you need then just start over again?


I'd have ~2 years and not hurting my lifestyle. Hopefully it doesn't come to that, but I can get a job if needed


Well he said to "never work again for anyone else", that does not discard working for himself.


I see this a lot: a clearly talented person who is unable to monetize their project.

At a glance, it looks like OP is just building stuff, throwing it at a wall and seeing what sticks. Of course, that is bound to fail. You are, essentially, playing the lottery.

Nowhere in that blog did I see any mention of figuring out what a customer is looking for in a game or a product.

What is the niche you are trying to fill or pain-point you are trying to solve? It would be much better to build something _after_ you know people want it, not before.


Sharing some thoughts in the spirit of us all learning and improving:

Re: Planetoid my immediate first impression was "I don't understand what's going on here". With that one it seems like maybe the author should have vetted the basic idea with friends and family first and see if they get it.

Re: Minfinity it seems useful and is actually right up my alley! I feel like the strategy here would be to keep it in maintenance mode and wait and see if it ever picks up popularity (such as in a thread like this).

My big takeaway from reading the author's post is that it seems to drive home the importance of marketing/advertising/selling/etc. Those stories about the Collison brothers pitching their product to developers and then doing the somewhat socially awkward thing of pressuring them try it out right there on the spot is burned in my memory.


Maybe I have a different definition of "side project" and/or it's somehow a HN-bubble about articles like "I earned 100k with my side project", but for me a side project is exactly the opposite of what seems to be the target is the author: I have side project in my free time, because it is always about stuff I don't get paid for but I need somehow. Is it about software to use for me and my friends or to learn about something. But it is always under the premise of not gain any cent from it. And I understood articles about making money from a side project exactly about being lucky to start something without financial intension and gain money anyways. If course I would love to get money for my side project, but worth noting, that I don't get any attention on it anyways: for example I build esp-ena, a covid hardware tracker to be compatible with exposure notification framework. I don't want any money, it was I side project, but it was still a failure because it didn't get the attention I hoped for (that maybe someone starting to make this professional). So of course it was not about money, but I had bigger expectations than just being for myself. I'm the end I think, side projects should always stays something you create just for you and maybe it goes bigger, but when planning to make more than that out of it, you shouldn't make it a side project and start a business instead.


My most lucrative "side project" was building a personal portfolio of $0 earning side projects that I could point to in interviews, and landed me a higher paying position.


What a lot of loud successful people wouldn't like to admit, is that even if you show up and do the work, you have to be very lucky to get traction for anything, regardless of novelty. True for being an employee or a business. For the latter, it helps to be very lucky and opportunistic with timing to begin with.


Maybe with consumer tech, but this isn’t the case with enterprise. Successful companies identify a market need then figure out how to sell it. It’s appealing to say it’s luck from the outside, but the successful playbook is consistent enough that it seems naive to attribute it to luck.


Well, it depends what you mean, but I certainly didn't attribute it to luck. I attributed a certain amount to luck, which is always involved no matter how you spin it.

I know someone who runs a successful enterprise consulting business for example. He's a relentless worker, and has earned it, but he'd be delusional to not admit that there's luck involved at every point in the delivery chain; starting of course with being lucky to never run into any problems on his first few steps into the job world where he developed connections he could later sell to. If you're a relentless worker, you have probably never been given a reason to question the merit of hard work, because it's always paid off for you somehow.

Doesn't even matter whether it's tech related or not. If you're on your way to being a successful mountain climber, you're going to need be lucky to not develop debilitating foot problems.

Back to your example, there's a certain amount of luck involved in finding out about the apparent enterprise playbook in a time and place where you can put it to use, and of course in finding a market. I don't know a thing about enterprise sales or business because my dad conveniently doesn't run one and I was never hired at IBM in the 90s.


My 10 year project (a computer-geometry-art thing) (yes, 10 years, 1 project) was a great success. I made zip cash. But that was not the aim of the project.

http://www.fleen.org/generative-art/


If you don't, you could consider posting some of your art to reddit.com/r/generative or to instagram. It's a really popular concept right now, although a bit plagued with people jumping on the NFT train trying to make money with generative "drops".


Do you have any recommendations as to how to get started creating your style of generative art?

I have been interested in a similar project for sometime, but don’t know the best place to get started. My background is in Math, so I’d really like to understand the “why” and “how” of these types of algorithms rather than just plugging in some parameters and getting a nice picture.


Here's a little paper on the geometry

https://github.com/johnalexandergreene/Geom_Kisrhombille


Damn that's impressive. I could see that on the floor of an important building. Somebody make that happen!


I feel like there was a loaded gun next to the head of each of these projects.

Plus, I don't think the projects were duds. They were instead simply buds - still too immature. Exactly how you execute an idea is often far more important than the actual idea. This isn't some catchy phrase, its how people take failing businesses and rework them to massive profits.

I agree that more iteration was required. Focusing on a particular set of real customers is also a useful activity. Real people have real needs. Developers often have no clue what people want because people in general have problems and your shiny thing is weird and wonderful and they don't (yet) understand it.

eg That time tracker... omg. Plenty of people use worse. Plenty are better. Its minimal, but a start. If this had been pushed in front of a large enough group of real people and left to grow with multiple iterations from feedback it could have ended up in all sorts of useful directions.


I like to hear about other people's failure. For one, it makes me less critical of my own failures. Then I can also learn and improve for the future.

I have two Android apps. Neither bring in money. One I intentionally did not monetize. The other I tried to. I targeted the wrong audience and my UI could have been more flashy.

I've had ideas for other projects, but they're usually already patented or they're too niche to really make money (involves some hardware).


I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but most people never manage to get passive income. I wish it was real, but it's about as common as winning the lottery and you're just burning the candle at both ends while you're doing it. I try to spend my free time doing stuff I enjoy rather than gambling it away for the hope of getting more free time later instead of having to work. I'm sorry.


Only purpose of side projects was suppose to be fun or learn something at the end of it. I don't understand why is there an increasing trend to do a side project with a goal of becoming rich.


I fully agree with you but here's my take on why this is a phenomenon:

1. People like making money when they shouldn't be; we live under the pretense that the only way to earn money is via your day job. A side-hustle makes things exciting. It's like finding treasure.

2. Pair the above with the rise of social media and the lifestyles people portray on there: success, money, etc.

3. Perhaps there is an actual movement away from "normal" jobs, leading to a mentality shift in which people simply want to be financially independent.


I wouldn't consider projects which make $0 to be failures, unless your intent was to make money from them. I like making tools/games in my spare time with no intention of profiting from them. I simply enjoy the programming aspect way more than any monetary value. I'm not saying that I wouldn't like the money, but it's not my primary focus for making these projects.


That's a very strong advice to remove irrelevant guilt. Many people bind success with money. That's just one thing you can benefit.


> How I failed 5 side projects in 6 years, earning $0

Not earning money is not a failure. Wasting time on non-free software the purpose of which is making money - now that's unfortunate.

My advice to that guy would be:

* Write software you need personally. You will at least have one happy user - and if you write something you like, other people will probably want to use it too.

* Think of the software needs of people you know - in your family, physical community, or online communities - and see whether you can't help implement it or adapt/improve existing software for that purpose.


> the purpose of which is making money

Most software that's capable of improving lives is capable of making money, isn't it?

> non-free software

I really doubt that throwing it up as open source would fix anything.

And if you remove those two factors then all that's left is "that's unfortunate".


> I really doubt that throwing it up as open source would fix anything.

You're probably right. What I'm saying is that the cause for embarking on a software project should be different. If you write software to address needs and desires, then you're more likely to succeed in doing that. And maybe you'll make money off it somehow, or maybe not.


> Wasting time on non-free software the purpose of which is making money - now that's unfortunate.

This sounds very ideological. It looks like a personal trap that you might fall in the future. Be careful.


Oof. I have something similar as other stories posted here.

I have about 30 pet projects from the past 10 years or so, not released to the public and I treat them as utterly private. A few of them have gotten me through job interviews when I would have failed otherwise. I think some of them exist as a form of therapy. I can probably "productize" 2 or 3 of them but then the world will be the judge of my work. The code I write at home is much different from what I do at work, where we supposedly follow best practices and at home.. I just express myself. I'm so utterly pleased with some of the things I've come up with that would make development easier (not a new framework, don't worry) but I cannot take it to work since it would mean blasphemy and it would most likely make our architect have another meltdown.

My favourite project of the bunch is a code/platform generator. After that one it is probably the small storage engine I've built cause I got frustrated with sql + object mapping - it works so nicely but the entire community/industry will take a dump on it, as relational/sql db's are supposedly god.

I maybe want to share some of my work with the world, not as side-projects to earn money, but perhaps just for the fun of it and to contribute yet another shape of doing something - even if it is to educate how not to do something, that is fine too.


I am really curious about how the storage engine works. Would you be willing to explain the idea behind it and how it works?


And you know what's worst than earning $0?

- The store not accepting your app because there are too many of the same topic (horoscopes, memes, sound boards, whatever-craft names, etc.)

- Spending lots of money on Google/FB ads.

- Spending lots of money on AWS.

- Burning out yourself and your friends.


Could you expound on this? Are you speaking from experience?


It's ok to fail sometimes, but if you only fail the only way for you to stop failing is to be lucky. It doesn't seem like a good strategy to me.

But yeah if the goal of OP is the guy he quoted at the end "Had a business idea that I think could build in 24 hours and get to $5,000 MRR in 30 days". Keep trying, survivor bias is still alive


There are a ton of ideas that could get someone to $5000 MRR in 30 days; they're just not passive income. For example, if he had started a facilities maintenance company and found one customer, he'd be set!


I think it's important to have inspired ideas if you're going to follow a project through to completion.

I've met my personal goals with side projects with the following criteria: - I really really want something - It doesn't exist

I've got 2 iOS apps that I built with the above formula - one is free and gets about 100 downloads a week, the other is paid and makes about $80/week. It helps that I'm working in a niche I know well, and where people spend money.

Don't try to make something generic. Even if nobody else ends up using it at least you've made something interesting.


Carlsborg's law: Distribution is as important as product, especially when the barriers to entry are low.


I often wonder how do people find those ideas that earn money with a year of man work or less. I'm seven years into my own company with a stable team of four developers, two business ops and an extremely competent board of directors. We solve a critical high-tech problem to our 170 business customers in an area with "gorilla" competitors. We even have "growth". Getting here took blood and tears by the wagons. And we are not even profitable yet.


1. he tried to monetize a game that should have been free/ads

2. the time tracker could have worked! Not "I'm gonna be rich" worked but still could have been something.

3,4. he didn't do them

5. tried to compete against linkedin/facebook?!

IMHO we are always too oriented to "make money, NOW"... Doing free stuff is ok. It's not that "if it's free then scrape the whole project, what's the point anyway"!

The opensource/free stuff you make ends up in your CV, and could be a game changer


There's something called _market analysis_: you either find a gap in the market for software tools, or you talk to people and ask what they would pay for _before_ starting to code.

Yes, you can jump straight into coding for your side projects, but not if your primary goal is to earn a steady side income (it may work but unlikely so).

But good to see negative outcome reports to counter-balance the extreme survivor bias on here.


I hope this write-up was a healthy and effective way to help you mourn these losses. (And then move on to the next big idea!) Kudos to you for experimenting like this.

Would you consider adding them to the Project Cemetery[0]? Then others could learn from them too!

[0] https://projectcemetery.com


"I still got many ideas in my head but right now I’m more cautious about choosing my next project.

First of all, when deciding about the next project, I need to choose the smallest idea possible that can be developed by one person. Cut the scope as much as possible."

These two paragraphs resonate very well to everyone in his shoes.


“I have not failed 10,000 times — I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.” ­— Thomas Edison


Alessandro Cruto, Alexander Nikolayevich Lodygin, James Bowman Lindsay, Nikola Tesla, and many others have different opinion on said quote.


My 5-odd side side projects over the last decade have mostly been tools I've built for myself, that I thought other people might also find useful (and a bit for developing new skills, and fun). Though I thought it might be nice to get a few dollars for ongoing work/support, but in most of my cases, the options to monetize are too complicated to bother with - in my case wanting corporate users to pay some amount, while being free for personal users. The time involved in setting this up isn't worth the likely (lack of) return.

Honestly, even listing in an app store is a pretty big barrier (bureaucracy-wise) these days for a side-project - on one project I probably spent more time jumping through these hoops than on developing a MVP.


I’ve had 100% success with my last 3 projects in 5 years. Here’s what worked for me.

1. An add-on for a cryptocurrency trading bot. I developed a MVP, impressed the founding team, got into a partnership where they promoted my project to their customers. After 1.5 years they acquired my product and I signed a 3 years royalty.

2. A Wordpress security plugin. Started with a free version, focused on ranking the plugin in the plugin directory. Once I saw 3,000 websites using it. I doubled down on it. At the peak it was being used by 50,000 customers, out of which 3000 were paid customers. Sold it to a private investor for mid 6 figures.

3. Dropshipping - It was more if a test to learn everything about FaceBook, Instagram Ads but the website went onto generating ~$800,000 in revenue.


> Sold it to a private investor for mid 6 figures.

How? Did you go looking for a buyer or were you approached?


Even if you had some users, making money is difficult nowadays. You have to rely on making some B2B feature and pray that a big company buys you. Or you go to SV and build hype. Or you find an investor that spends a lot on marketing.


Just get a web site ready for the next time a ship gets stuck.


This is why even at 26 as someone who enjoys working at startups, I'm very apprehensive when it comes to the idea of doing my own. I've leveled out income wise as far as startup comp goes - very motivated to make the jump to a Stripe scale company and not look back instead of trying to do a startup. At this point, I'd just rather have the money and less stress.


This is so true. Thanks for sharing! It reminds me of my own failures.

A few months ago I was thinking about my failed projects too and made a blog post with a few conclusions - "How to fail a project" - https://cornerbit.tech/how-to-fail-a-project/ ;)


Did you get better at evaluating ideas? Did you get faster in building MVP? Did you get better at listening to customers? Did you get deeper understanding at any of the business domain you worked at? If any of these is yes, then I think you time is well spent. (Financial) Success don't usually arrive suddenly. Keep crushing it!


Building a product is easy but takes a lot of time, that's why you need some marketing skills and validate your product carefully before put your time into the product.

Btw, your story is not alone. There are thoundsand of products are built everyday and just a few of them get to the top of product hunt (yet still out of business).


It wouldn't surprise me if that's far below the average number of "failures" to face before any sort of success anyone, regardless of their aptitude or luck will be met. All I see among people who make it is that they spent years trying things, they won't tweet every disappointment .


Well, I think the best advice I can give here is find someone to buy something before you make it. Also, you don't need to build something unique. Start with something that already sells well. Two years into FastComments, glad I followed these principles.


>> seeking financial independence

So, instead of being dependent on your employee, you are seeking to be dependent on a bunch of random people who you don't know anything about a.k.a. users. What could possibly go wrong,right.


What's the genre of the "planetoid" game called? I remember many games like this, both open source and flash, but can't find any of them and don't know if there's a name for the genre.


I think there is a common benchmark for AI algorithm competitions that looks exactly like that.


"Success Is Going From Failure to Failure Without Losing Your Enthusiasm"

Lincoln


More commonly attributed to Churchill, but apparently there's no evidence either of them said it.

https://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/06/28/success/


I'm one of the folks who took part in The Quittening that the last year has made for us. I left a demanding, unfulfilling startup job in July. The main factors in why I was able to do this was:

* a large nest egg due to nearly a decade of investing as much excess income as possible into index funds (If you're in the FIRE community, I suppose you could say I'm in a state of "Lean FIRE".)

* being married to someone who had the understanding to support me in pursuing this, as well as help me purchase affordable health insurance thru her work. (Love you, Emma!)

I took a few months off to not work on anything, at all, except for some very small pet-projects - programming for fun kinda stuff. Starting about a month ago, my focus shifted towards launching a job board targeted to a pretty specific niche in my main area of expertise. It's been my full time thing for about a month, and I'm getting some appreciable traction in the form of newsletter signups. Hasn't made me any money yet. I'd tried launching a few small websites before as part-time endeavors; all of those have ended exactly like the author's posts have.

Given all that meandering context: one of the things this project has taught me is that it is INCREDIBLY HARD to launch a side business with a day job. I'm not a web developer, so I've had to spend a lot of time learning HTML, CSS, JS, and all the LAMP stack stuff as I go. I had to spend three or four whole days just figuring out how to deploy this fucking thing to a cloud service. That's supposed to be easy! Or, at least, all the cloud providers' websites would have you think so. At least two of those days were trying and failing to set up AWS instances. (Thank god almighty for PythonAnywhere.)

I used to think I was stupid or unskilled for not being able to launch websites and software businesses in my spare time. Nope! Turns out, it's hard work, and it can easily take up all of your working hours! It's easy to think, being an HN netizen, that there are tons of people who can do this as a side hustle and make bank doing easy work, but I simply don't believe that's true. I think the folks who do succeed at this are some combination of:

* lucky,

* very attuned to a niche market with money to spend, or

* blessed with exceptional product sense for a software utility that doesn't exist yet.

OP - I'm sorry that none of your efforts have yielded monetary success, and I admire your perseverance for continuing to try. It's easy to beat yourself up over trying so hard, so many times, and being rewarded with nothing back. I just wanted to say that what you are trying is harder than most folks on HN want to admit, and to try to hang onto your positive attitude towards continuing to learn. Your opportunity will come.


Just leaving this here: people don't want MVPs or a cuter version of something that exists, people want to solve a problem that they have in a cheaper, faster or easier way.


Don't try to make money with your hobby, and don't operate your money busyness like a hobby.

Both will not work, if you have other things to do beside your side projects.


Software hustles: $0 is the median, $1,000,000 is the mean.


Try to stay longer on an idea than a few weeks.


For mé its 7 years and maybe 10 projects, although they werent equal nothing ever flew... I dont have many regrets tho.


If the apps you have developed solved practical problems of yourself, they are not failed.


You're going at it wrong. There's all kinds of money begging to fund a tech idea. Come up with an idea that sounds dumb and just differentiates a bit from a normal business, then look to get funded by a VC.

Keep in mind that Donald Trump now is worth more than twice the valuation of the NY Times and it only took a few days.

All kinds of money out there looking to fund an idea that can be loosely rationalized by a slide deck.


Yeah a lot of the projects are a marketing problem, that’s where it gets hard.


I've been on a similar trajectory.


Why didn't you open source your projects!!


because this would be a great solution to his problems?


Yep. After what he faced he might get help or even sponsored.


"Get a Product Job (May 2020 - May 2021) This time the main objective was to learn something new by doing. I chose Ruby on Rails. It's a great framework to build websites quickly."

Choosing Roby on Rails in 2020 as a "new framework" for web development ... sheesh.


I don't like using RoR personally, but it's not a dying platform. There's still a large active community around it. It's fine.


I don't either but ruby isn't just active, it's larger than it's ever been.


Like it is on Wolfenstein 3D and Doom.


It was clear to me the author meant “new to me”


Right, Ruby on Rails was out for a whole decade by the time I heard of it.


Another day, another person saying Rails is dead.

*sigh*


I didn't get the impression that GP was saying that at all. Just that, in 2020, Rails is most definitely not "new".


You’re right, may have misunderstood. If that’s the case, my bad. Text can be hard sometimes.


I'm not a RoR developer, but still: which framework would you use for a new web project in 2021?


Laravel, VueJS for quick prototyping.

Asp.net core with ReactJS for web, and React Native for Windows for any serious projects with SLA’s or multiple developers.


Django with python, or express with js/ts.


RoR with vue or react


node.js + express or rust + rocket


People pay for services because it's work that they are unable or unwilling to do themselves

Building things that people will not pay for is called a hobby.

You're not entited to an income from your hobbies.

> This is a story about me dreaming

Yup

> 5 side projects in 6 years, earning $0 (kwcodes.com)

You didn't even try to finish 2 of the 5 projects You didn't even do anything in 2 of the 6 years.

Your title is clickbait. Seems like you want attention more than you want money.

By comparison, looking at my github, I started over 50 projects in last year and finished a dozen of them. Hobbies all of them and I didn't expect to make a dime. If you want a reality check, head over to https://itch.io/jams. You'll find 10,000 hobbies projects not making any money.




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