My planned side projects for 2019
The topic of today's post was voted on by Twitter. It's a mix of the top two choices.
It's 2019. New year, new me, new possibilities! At least that's what many of us want to get out of it. As for me, I have a simple goal. I want 2019 to be more successful than 2018. Given how that went, that is tall enough order on its own.
For me 2019 should be the year where I focus on establishing a bit more freedom from the normal hustle. At this point in time I work an amount that is probably not healthy in the long term. I sleep a lot less than I should. And that is not something I want to or even can keep up in the long term. 5-6 hours of sleep and coffee a good combination does not make.
Instead, the focus for 2019 should be on side projects and growing an audience. You've probably been seeing this quite a bit in January already. I started a blog, I've rebuilt a previous one-day build of mine, I've gotten back into the Twitter game and I'm trying to take up streaming more regularly again.
But what are the projects I'm building? Well, ideas may randomly pop into my head at all times, but the ones that follow I'll try my hardest to focus on right now. Enjoy a curated tour of my brain
💵 How Much Does This Meeting Cost
This one's a biggie. In the middle of 2018 I built a little site called howmuchdoesthismeetingpay.com. It was meant as a half-joke because I'd been sitting in a lot of meetings and wanted to know how much money actually came from that. So I built a little counter on a nice sunny Saturday and put it online. It actually did pretty well on Product Hunt and people were into it!
But there was one request that came again and again:
Richard, I want to use this with my team. Can you add that?
Well, I got side-tracked by a very lucrative contract but yes. Yes I can. So I put a new prototype version of it online and I'm currently hacking away on adding user accounts and billing.
The game plan
The idea is to extend this project into more than a simple cost tracker. I want it to be a tool that can be used to track your meetings from start to finish: Meeting notes, action points, participants tracking, statistics. I want meetings to be as transparent as possible.
Why? Because I think a lot of meetings are just utterly frustrating and unnecessary. If this were more visible, perhaps companies could cut down on wasting precious time and get back to delivering value to their customers.
Yes, this is supposed to be a paid service.
I'll also try to livestream most of the development.
URL: GitHub respository
I accidentally a popular repository. For what it's worth: before I started building jinx I was heavily in the camp of Caddy server converts. But due to some unfortunate circumstances I was forced to move over to nginx in a pinch. And because I got sick and tired of
^R-ing for the same four commands I wrote a wrapper script.
Then I put it on dev.to and people loved it. Then I marketed it on Twitter and people loved it. And here we are.
The game plan
I want to make jinx as useful as it can be for the largest number of people. Some of the more immediate features I want to add are HTTPS support and improved templating for server configurations.
Ideally this eventually becomes flexible enough to support some sort of plugin functionality so that people can add their own features and ideas! For now, however, everyone is welcome to make a pull request.
And no, I haven't gone back to hosting my sites on Caddy yet. 🤓
📝 Blogging about everything
I was inspired by Swizec Teller to pick up blogging and try to write 200 words every day for a few weeks. Well, I'm not good at keeping posts short, but I decided that 200 words/ day or 800-1000 words/week doesn't matter all that much.
What does however matter is keeping up the habit. And I've done pretty nicely on keeping up the habit so far. I've also found that blogging has immensely increased my audience size in a very short period of time.
Generally I publish posts on my blog first and then crosspost them on dev.to for maximum reach. This has been successful enough that my dev.to audience is actually about to outgrow my Twitter audience. Within less than a month. Woops! 😅
The game plan
My blog is both a project I take to to get wild with programming and to grow my online presence. The engine is hand-written from scratch in PHP with a bunch of loose libraries thrown in. I want to extend it bit by bit to turn it into something I love using.
Ideally, this can also help me supplement my freelance leads in an organic way. Because while the overarching goal is to be less-dependent on a 60hr/week hustle, I will still need to make money to survive.
🤵👰 Getting married
This isn't really a side project, but it does take up a good chunk of my time and it's probably the personally most important thing to me on this list.
In May I'm getting married to my wonderful fiancée and she will come to live with me. It's been 3.5 years of a long-distance relationship with 10,000km between us at this point and I'm already looking forward to having her around. I've actually taken off all of May in anticipation for it.
And I'd love to invite all of you, but I can't host some 1,000 people in my backyard.
These are my goals for 2019. I hope to achieve at least some income out of How Much Does This Meeting Cost by the end of 2019. I don't care if it's $5/month or $500/month. But earning real money from a side project is something I've been wanting to do for a long time. So it's about time I just sat down and shipped something.
If you want to follow along:
Talk to you soon!