It Is Very Different When It Is Your Only ThingApril 4, 2013 2:07 pm
Side projects are good, but not good enough. Here is why:
1. Returns are always proportional to Risk. You cannot beat this universal truth, no matter how many hours you put in for your side project. Where is the Risk in doing a side project?
2. You are very well aware, at a subconscious level, that ‘it is okay to get it done tomorrow’. You see, things are going good – you have a day job – and you are doing great on the side project as well – so that bug fix or additional feature can wait for the weekend. You are ‘on track’. Sum up this reaction over a six month period, and you have a side project that has already been abandoned (or) is ready to be abandoned. (If you are interested in this stream of thought, you might want to read ‘Just Finish Everything’)
3. Your best hours (in terms of energy, focus etc) are not spent on the ‘side project’ – they are spent commuting or in meetings at your day job. A successful project needs those hours, and much more.
4. Your mind shifts between a ‘status quo’ mode and a mode that needs you to hate the status quo. The human mind is a powerful thing, but not that dynamic in switching modes. And even if you manage to switch modes, you are not operating anywhere close to your 100 percent in either mode. This impact will be felt just in a matter of days.
5. If your side project is your only thing, without the shield of a monthly deposit in your bank account, your mind is forced into a ‘how do i monetize this thing’ mode for your project. Which, in the medium to long run, is actually a good thing.
It is just very different when it is your only thing. If you can afford it, try it for a few days. You will feel the difference.