Launching Your Side Project
Kaya Thomas

(starting after "mystery box" drawing. Michael Walker from Canada wins!)

Calm app, featured in Apple app store! We Read Too!

Types of side projects include blog, app, website, etc.

Finding a meaningful project

Is there a skill you'd like to share with others? Is there a problem you'd like to solve or contribute to solving?

Is there a hobby?

How do you get started?

What skills do you need to do this project? New language, new stack, new tool, you need to do some research beforehand

Is it going to cost you any money? Like, for an iOS app, it's $99 to join the developer program

How much time do you have to work on it?

What MVP would you be comfortable with before launching? Getting over the hurdle of "I'm not happy with it yet"

Find what motivates you

Do you respond well to inner or outer expectations? Goals or deadlines? Or outer expectations (like asking someone else to check in with you for accountability)


Write down all the things you hope to do and accomplish with this project. What are the top two or three things that you can realistically do? Split those into goals. Fortunately, a lot of tools to help with that (e.g. Trello, Asana, Jira if you're into that). Make accomplishable goals (e.g. 1 post per week)

Time Management

You do have to limit the amount of time you work on it. Whether one hour a week or one hour a day, don't let yourself go overboard and burn out from something that's supposed to give you joy and fulfillment. It can be really easy to burn out on a side project. Think about impact of side project

Getting your work out into the world

It'll never be perfect. Once you finish working on those 2-3 things you outlined, launch it!

(ed- This live-blog is certainly not perfect, but an MVC)

List view of POC book recommendations, but it was easy to start!

Asking for help

After accompolishing those first 2-3 goals, do you think you need help of others to accomplish the next 2-3? For example, crowdfunding. Was able to find folks to help, could hire a designer. But if I were too afraid to ask for help, wouldn't have been able to solve the other issues like design.

Asking friends to read blog post for feedback, or ask on Twitter

Full-Time Job vs Full-Time Project

Not everyone wants a full time hustle! Wanting the security and stability from a corporate job is completely okay. You can do a monetized project that's still just a side thing! Don't feel pressured to convert a side-project to a full-time project!


It's OK to take a break! Nobody's measuring your performance or evaluating your worth based on your productivity on a side project. Realize when you need to step away from it and revisit it whenever you are in a better place.

Take breaks when you need to, whether a few days, weeks, months

Sometimes, things come to an end

DOn't continue something just for the sake of continuing. Ask yourself:

I've been working on We Read Too for five years, it's still good, but if it gets to a point where it's not enjoyable, then I'd look into handing it off. Look for someone to hand it off to to keep it going!

Thank you!