I know you need the money but are side gigs really worth it?

The first time I built a website with GatsbyJS, it was on a side project. Here I am with a brand new skill that could get rust if I don’t sharpen it. A side gig then showed up — a single page website that needs to be fast with interactions.

Working on that project gave me a lot of confidence to take on the next project at work for The Green Investment Club and I ended up delivering a 4weeks MVP in 3weeks.

At the time I worked on that side project, I needed the money — I wasn’t thinking so much about the experience even though I was looking for a project to explore my GSAP and Gatsby skills.

That project was a one-page website — I think the timeline was 1 or 2 weeks but I must have written the majority of the code in about 3days.

If I didn’t work on that project I might have still delivered TGIC MVP in four weeks — but that project was the perfect way to jump into the world of working with Gatsby on live/production websites.

The first time I used Elementor was at work but the most complex thing I have done with Elementor wasn’t at work — this means if a complex thing comes up at work, I am now able to tackle it at work (PS: we stopped using Elementor at work after we discovered Gatsby)

In 2020, I built 15 websites (11 side gigs, 4 solid ones at work)

In 2021, I built and launched only on four websites (3 at work and 1 side gig). I had some other couple of side gigs and side projects too that I either had to stop because of resources, transfer them to someone else because of new opportunities or pause them.

So SMOG, what’s the excuse for all these failures or incompleteness? These are no longer one-page websites whose major code can be written in 3days — one project was modelling ideo.com — I ended up contributing to ideo.com ‘s codebase and I now know that there was no way I could have completed that project alone with or without another full-time job.

There was another — which I was very interested in because a previous version literally brought me to “stardom” but I rewrote the menu bar more than 3times before I could get a headway — I am not sure I did because I haven’t looked at the codebase in a long time, long story short — looks like someone else is doing the Lord’s work in finishing it up.


My concluding thoughts are,

  1. While starting out; it’s “Ok” to do side projects either for the experience or to patch your income; but it shouldn’t be the norms — if you have to work in a job for years and side gigs is how you plan to be able to make ends meet — something is definitely wrong somewhere.
  2. It’s actually possible that you earn well and you still decide to work on side gigs to earn even more — my honest advice is: know when to stop. Money is good but what time would you actually have to enjoy the money if you are always working.
  3. Rather than side gigs, how about passion projects or doing something for the community — not something that would take much of your time that the reason in 2. then becomes nullified but just building/designing with total freedom and autonomy.
  4. In this age/era, if you spend the time you spend on side gigs upskilling, you have a huge potential to earn way more than any side gig can offer.
  5. Lastly, if you want to hear someone else break it down better? You should read this

PS: Far from it, I don’t make a lot of money — the money I make can’t even fund my unambitious vanity yet.



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