January 2018 side-project stock take, and what I'm thinking about moving into a new year

In this post I want to document all my options for the coming year in terms of side income. I want to take a critical look at what I have at my disposal, and what opportunity they present. Maybe there's a project I need to revive, and maybe the projects I'm working on right now I need to kill. Or maybe, the path to more income is just focusing on my 9-5 and being as successful as possible there...



If you've been following the blog you know my most recent project has been a web application to help developers and programmers build one page portfolio sites using the GitHub API. The idea spun out of a few complimentary comments on my simple github portfolio page that I shared in a reddit comment where I described my experience getting my first real developer job.

My thoughts on this were that developers don't necessarily want to spend tons of time building their own portfolio sites, and that a tool to build one for them from their Github account might be something they'd use.

So far the feedback has been mixed, but mainly negative. Most developers seem to feel that portfolios should be built by themselves. I have my own thoughts on this (especially for non web developers and those without design skills), but as an idea it doesn't seem to be gaining an awful lot of traction.

  • time spent so far: ~6 months (part time)
  • target market: developers/programmers, with most likely target being codeschoolers/bootcampers fresh out of their course and wanting a job
  • money made: €0
  • money spent: €30 (heroku hosting)
  • reason to kill it: still haven't got product market fit, app is still flawed and considerably shy of what it needs to be
  • reason to keep it alive: enjoyable app to work on, probably hasn't been given a fair shot in terms of marketing and promotion, target market are decent spenders



Jobbie is a simple 2-page jquery site with a nodejs backend that I built when I was looking for jobs. I got sick of searching the same terms across multiple jobs sites, so I decided to build an aggregator for myself. Most of the app I managed to build in 2 days, which I was quite happy with.

In terms of its viability as a business, I'm not so sure. I know there's a lot of money to be made in the recruiting space, but is there enough just in the Irish market alone, which is where Jobbie is for? It's also using other site's content, which may get me in legal trouble if I got some traction.

  • time spent so far: ~1 month (small fixes and updates after the initial 48 hours)
  • target market: Job seekers in the Iish market
  • money made: €0
  • money spent: €30 (hosting)
  • reason to kill it: potential legal issues for using other website's content, no clear path to revenue.
  • reason to keep it alive: recruiting industry is massive, potential to port it to other markets, it's an app that I'll probably want to use in the future anyway.



This is an Android app I built as I dipped my toe into the world of cross platform mobile dev. I was working as a delivery driver at the time, delivering pizzas, and wanted a way to track my earnings and tips as well as add obscure addresses to a database for me to share with the rest of the drivers working.

In its current state the app is almost fully funtional, but is missing some key features like sharing address books with other drivers etc

  • time spent so far: ~6 months
  • target market: Delivery drivers and fast food outlet managers
  • money made: €0
  • money spent: €0
  • reason to kill it: In the initial stages of testing viability it didn't get much interest from shop managers, who'd be the primary target market in terms of revenue (delivery drivers don't have much disposable income)
  • reason to keep it alive: I think the problems it was solving are potentially a global problem for delivery drivers and managers. I also may not have properly given it a chance in terms of market validation...


Vistory was my first mobile app, built primarily as a learning experience, but also to solve a problem of recording expenditure for my car and motorbike, and tracking warranty/receipts etc. I never really considered it a viable business opportunity, although I am aware of some Android apps in this space that are doing quite well.

  • time spent so far: ~6 months (lot of learning)
  • target market: Car/Motorbike enthusiasts, as well as professional drivers like taxi/cab drivers etc
  • money made: €0
  • money spent: €0
  • reason to kill it: It's not something that particularly excites me at the moment, and I'm not that into cars and bikes any more, I'd be making assumptions about the market.
  • reason to keep it alive: Automotive space is interesting, and people spend a lot of money on their cars...


I tried getting into the freelancing space roughly a year ago. It didn't work out. I have a lot to learn about marketing, pricing and dealing with clients. I know there is a lot of opportunity in freelancing, but I'm yet to figure out if it's something I want to do properly.

I really enjoy coding and building things, but I'm afraid I'll grow to hate it if I'm building things for other people, where I don't have control and the client is making decisions I don't agree with. I know that's the life of being employed, but enjoying coding is important to me, I don't want to turn my hobby into a chore.

Focusing on 9-5

In 2017 I landed myself a fantastic job as a Technical Product Manager in Hostelworld. It's been going amazingly well, albeit busy at times. My side projects have already taken a hit as most days I'm too tired/fed up of staring at a screen to code any more. But my desire to build products and businesses is still there, it hasn't died just yet.

But lately I've been thinking, what's the upside to a side project taking off? Realistically, it's extremely unlikely I come up with the next Facebook, so with the limited time constraints (10-15 hours per week), the most I could hope for is probably what, 2-3K a month? Even that would be best case I think, and would probably take 2+ years to build up

That's an extra €35K a year. Who's to say I won't make that in raises and/or a job change in the coming two years, just by focusing on my current full time job? That way I still have my spare time to myself, and I'm not stressing myself out, burning the candle at both ends.

I'd probably (inevitably) continue to build things in my spare time, but they'd probably be more for fun than as actual business ventures which, oddly, could work out better in the end financially.

That's where my head is at at the moment. I'm not entirely sure what to do, but those are my options. Have you any thoughts? Let m know on Twitter @cderm, or email me at [email protected].


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