We’ve spotted an interesting pattern in our DM’s recently. Developers seem to find it really hard to stick to a project long term and not get burnt out, bored or doubtful that it could ever become something.
The pattern isn’t the subject of the message, but their response to this question: “Why did you start the project?”
The most common answer looks something like this.
I’m looking to make some passive income
While being a developer is one of those weird professions that allows us to build anything, its really impractical to go into a project looking to just make some side income. The amount of work involved is generally WAY more than we expect, from marketing, polishing, support and patches.
It’s all too easy to get overwhelmed before we even get a few weeks into projects like these. Overwhelmed by boredom, fear that no one will buy, fear that no one needs it, not wanting to put our name on something we don’t care about.
While a passion project isn’t going to solve any money troubles, if you’re someone that finds it hard to stick to projects long term, you’re probably more likely to make money this way anyway - in the form of sponsorships, partnership and monetisation opportunities thanks to the fact you can actually stick to it long term.
Here are our 4 practical reasons why you should start a passion project:
If you work on something you’re truly passionate about, it will give you motivation, instead of you needing to constantly push yourself.
With “Side Hustles”’ that don’t really relate to anything we have a genuine fire for, rather than it motivating us, we have to push ourselves daily to keep working on it - and for most of us, this isn’t sustainable.
This is similar to the last point - but it’s really important to understand how burnout proof a true passion project is.
Think about those times you feel burnt out - other than reverting back to basic human needs, usually there’s something you’re passionate about that you’ll be craving to go do instead of that thing you need to do.
During this period of burnout, maybe you’re the type of person browse the Pokemon subreddit - perhaps you’re browsing pictures of rescue dogs on Facebook - whatever it is, it’s the thing you do when you’re burnt out. By definition it can’t burn you out.
Embed this passion (which some might call procrastination) into a practical development project, and you’re going to find burnout is drastically reduced or practically non-existent.
When our focus is money, fame or something along those lines, we tend to want to get there as quick as humanely possible. Usually because the road we pick to those things is something we’re not passionate about and we want to stop needing to work on it, and we’re desperate to get that fix as soon as possible.
This is conducive to short-term thinking and (not surprisingly) counter-intuitive to your money or fame goals. There are (practically) no “overnight successes” - these types of people generally worked their backsides off for years before a chain reaction of events happened to give them what they needed.
And you need to be in the mindset of years, even decades - not months - if you want to make any real money. And the most practical way to do that is to tie it into a passion project. And who cares how long it takes - you love working on it! What if it fails in the first year? Rebuild it! Pivot the business to a completely different model.
You’re no longer desperate to get it over and done with, so enjoy the process - this is how winners are made.
It’s really cool when you build something you can actually be proud of and want to tell everyone about - when it’s not a money making scheme or something you’re doing for alternative reasons, you’ll feel much more comfortable and proud of the product you’ve created.
It also gives you the opportunity to team up with others who have a similar passion who also buy into your idea - double awesomeness.
Tell us, what do you think your passion project could be - or what is it if you already have one? We’d love to know if you have a similar experience to the one we’re describing.
Skill Pathway is our passion project - it’s the same reason we put out a volume of content without any expectation in return, and in 10 years time we’ll still be loving the process of helping others.
Curious about frontend development? We’ve just released a free crash course (No, it’s really free - no upgrades, no hidden costs)
We worked for a couple of months on a professional design and 4 hours 20 minutes of video content to bring you our free crash course showing you how to code this portfolio website (which we constantly encourage you to customise to your own style)