Side projects or part-time freelance work

I’ve been thinking about part-time freelance projects vs side project, and the pros and cons for each.

If you have a full-time job or contract you’ll only have a few ‘spare’ (if that’s actually a thing) hours. So is it better to get a freelance project or spend the time working on your own projects.

If you have a freelance project you are getting paid, which is a plus. It also may building a project using a new technology that you want to get into, for example building a native iOS app or a WordPress theme, which is a great way to get into a new arena. But you are building a project for a client who has their own deadlines and plans for the project. So there is extra pressure to get work done. Those days when you get back from a long day at work, and you know you have to star your second job. You’ll have emails from clients asking how projects are going or asking for amends to the project.

With side projects you do get the freedom to use a new technology you want to get into. You are the client, so you guide the project any amends are your ideas, you decide how the project will go. Once your side project is live you can show others and use it as a way to show your skills in a new technology. The main drawback for side projects is when building them you are not being paid, you may find that progress on the project slowly gets slower and slower until the project comes to a halt. While with a paying project you’ll keep working on the project so you can get paid once it is complete.

Looking into this I’ve found some interesting articles, including this one on the Todoist blog about keeping your side project moving forward. In this article it lists some amazing projects that started as side projects including Gmail, Github and Buffer all very successful projects.

So where do I stand on this? Well I’m currently leaning to the side projects. Because I’d prefer to work with a technology that I want to get further into. I’m sometime a bit lazy so those days I get back from work I may not want to work on a project. It’s a tricky one…..


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