A journey and a guide to a rich and happy life through (too) many side projects. A story of balancing working from home, coding, relations, diving, planet impact and self-improvement.
👋 Hey, I'm Arnaud Joubay
I'm a Swift & Rails Indie Maker, always working on multiple side projects, and loving it. Here I'll write about those projects, how I approach them, but also about finding time for them.
🏝 Live in your paraside
All those projects are like islands in a vast archipelago in my mind.
I'm never bored, always having fun, and sharing some of that as those projects take shape. All those projects are like islands in a vast archipelago in my mind. They bring me satisfaction, skills, and purpose.
I can visit those project-islands in an instant whenever I want to. I can stay for a short trip (while taking a shower) or live in them for an extended period (a weekend of design+code). I can hop from one to the other and bring what I learned: ideas, concepts, know-how, opinions will help bootstrap new projects or improve existing ones.
Together, those side projects form a paradise of many islands; I call that mind archipelago my paraside, a portmanteau word. A parasider is a person who has their own paraside. Of course, to paraside is to visit one's paraside.
❤️ Learn to love your side projects
Side projects often have a bad rep. Like being that thing you will never complete, and even making you feel miserable because of it. It's probably deserved.
Like any project, they are subject to the planning fallacy, and they require some level of self-discipline, maybe even more so. Learning to say no and set reasonable goals are things you usually don't want to hear when it comes to side projects. After all, it's supposed to be a place of total freedom.
But that freedom is about the ability to do anything you want, not about doing everything you can think of. You get to decide what you will prioritize, how much time you will spend over a given feature, how things will look, how you will talk about it. You still have to choose, and there's no better way to practice self discipline than on those projects that can't make most of your days. Give yourself goals you can't fail to reach. Use those projects to build some self-esteem (don't worry, your impostor syndrome isn't going anywhere, though).
Aside from frugality, it would be best if you also had the right ambition for each project. Otherwise, you will very quickly be disappointed in yourself. My general rule is to consider each of those projects as a training opportunity first and potential side income second.
Not all islands are meant to become Singapore, and that's fine, they still have tons of value.
It took me a long time to understand that I shouldn't judge those projects based on the KPI people would ask me about them (number of users, revenue). I would often feel terrible because, for most of those projects, I wouldn't care about those KPIs unless when asked about. But I should have been, right? I mean, who doesn't want to have thousands of users or tons of cash at hand? So, when asked about those projects KPIs, I would instantly forget everything that made that project amazing. Their value would vanish and be reduced to those business figures.
The thing is, not all islands are meant to become Singapore, and that's fine, they still have tons of value. They can be places where you go to rest, find inspiration, have some distraction. They can be places where you can learn, build, train, and hone the skills required for your next big adventure. Often, the value of what you got from touring them will only be revealed later in time.
What may look like a deserted island can reveal wonders with the proper guide.
I was terrible at communicating what makes those projects amazing. As a scuba diver and nature lover, I know that what may look like a deserted island can reveal wonders with the proper guide. I'm here to share that journey and, if need be, help you love your side projects and get the most of them.
That'll be it for now, but there's more coming here for fellow parasiders. In the meantime, you can find me on twitter at @sowenjub, and I'll tell you more about those many projects and how I manage them very soon!
🙅 Claim back your time
To work on all those side projects, you need time and focus. This is hard to come by, because of all these companies that feed on your attention because you're the product, that interrupts you with some sort of notification because they want to make sure you're still thinking about them, or that simply don't care about your time enough to do better.
It's time for a change. Just like our planet has limited natural resources, we have limited time resources. We need apps that deliver their service with the smallest amount possible of interruption and usage.
That's what I try to do with my apps, my setups and my routines, and what I'll talk about here as well.
You have one life, make sure you own every second of it.