I’ve recently teamed up on a new project called GitHustle. Working on it has involved working closely with developers who have side projects.
Their core strengths are coding, and they often prefer to limit the scope of their work to building software.
Some try to learn basics of building a business, while others try to find a partnership with someone who can help with the business side of things.
There are even a few that prefer coding so much, that they build products in an attempt to sell it off before it’s even live.
Being a big fan of early startup building process, I do have a bias in advocating developers to opt for running a project, rather than selling it as a software asset.
Here are some of the reasons why you should agree with me if you are a developer working on a side project.
You Make More Money.
Making extra money is definitely one of the main goals when you are working on a side project. Sure. When the side project is sold off, you get cash from the buyer, and you can move on to something else.
But, there is a limit to which you can scale. How many projects can you build simultaneously? How many software can you build in your lifetime?
When you build a business around it, the sky is the limit when it comes to scaling it. You have the ability to generate recurring revenue and passive income. At the end of the day, if your business makes a profit every year you can even sell it off as a business. Businesses make a lot more money than hacked together pieces of software and can result in huge buyouts, especially compared to the alternative of selling the software alone.
This stems from a lower value that would be realized if its assets were liquidated compared to when you build a business and sell.
The difference between the going-concern value of a business and its liquidation value is known as goodwill. Goodwill consists of intangible assets, such as brand names, trademarks, patents and customer loyalty.
You Learn More Stuff.
The software landscape is changing daily. With new innovations, tools, and technology being released every day, how will you keep up? How can you differentiate yourself?
Simply put, you will need to find some avenues that give you that extra edge. Building a business from a side project just offers that. You gain experience by doing and this is one of the most valuable aspects of a hiring employer. They typically ask themselves, “Do they have experience?” and “Can they do the job?”. Building a side project shows them just that. You not only have the experience, but the skills and know-how to get it done. Not to mention, you show them your go-getter attitude while you’re at it. Huge leg-up on the competition.
You Gain Priceless Experience.
Those of us willing to explore entrepreneurship are realizing it’s becoming the safer path. Working in an institution isn’t necessarily bad. We just need to realize that job security is a thing of the past. By definition, an entrepreneur can adapt and thrive in rapidly changing environments, so familiarizing yourself with those behaviors is the smartest strategy for long-term success, whether you plan to freelance, start your own business, or work for a bigger organization. Everyone should develop entrepreneurial skills. Advanced problem-solving, decision-making, creativity, and content-creation will be the most valuable disciplines in the workplaces of tomorrow.
And the act of building a product, launching it, and marketing business is arguably the best training program for excelling in the entrepreneurial economy. If you want an unfair advantage in life, it’s time to start building a business.
You Will Be Rich.
Working on a side project feels great, but most of us want more than that. We eventually want money! We all want to be rich, but what does that really mean?
Having money feels great. But money is a tool, and nothing more. Don’t confuse it with the end-goal. Getting rich isn’t just about hoarding piles of cash in your bank. Here are some other ways to get rich: Gain Knowledge, build relationships, have experiences, build products you love.
Flexing the idea muscle is just like flexing any other muscle. It gets stronger with repetition. With enough practice, you’ll solve problems more easily, write more effectively, and think more freely. Better productivity, better opportunities, and a better income will then follow. You can flex your idea muscle by deliberately focusing on it.
Building a business from your side projects forces you to flex your idea muscle and gain knowledge. Throughout this process, you’ll inevitably reach out to awesome people. And when you meet incredible people, the richness of your life—and your future opportunities for growth—are bound to expand.
You Gain Credibility.
Most people talk the talk, but very few of us walk the walk. A live, running project provides tangible evidence that you know what you’re doing. It establishes you as an authority.
The truth is that building a business requires critical thinking and learning. Even if you weren’t an expert going in, you’ll be an expert by the time you’re done. Establishing credibility can direct people to other products you create. You’ll also be more likely to land speaking gigs, become a contributing writer for various publications, appear on podcasts, etc.
It’s a virtuous cycle that keeps feeding on itself.
The act of building a business carries immense personal value. Similar to exercising, you won’t feel the benefits unless you practice consistently—but it’s worth it. Here are a few of the byproducts: A business builder is a great communicator, creative thinker, and an adept organizer.
Sharing your knowledge, your thoughts, and your creativity with the world creates value. Do you want to be the person on the stage or the person in the audience?
When you put your project out there publicly, you’re demonstrating your ambition. You’re sharing your knowledge. You’re sharing your passion. You’re sharing yourself.
If you refine this craft as you go along, you are growing your personal stock significantly.
If you are still not convinced to run with your side project rather than selling, then talk to me.