Issue ø1
August, 2016

How I changed my life with side projects and why you still do not have one.

Today, I’m going to tell you tough things about your side project. In other words, I’m going to tell you why you still do not have one.

I’m a Creative Director in Designmodo and I make stunning web designs. For a designer, it’s very difficult to develop any side project if you have zero coding experience. I can’t really build things. It’s easy for me to make a website in Sketch, but there is no way to see it in person without a help of a developer. I can’t get around that for a long time. The Universe decided that I was born as a designer, and all I need to do is to design things, but not to build them. It doesn’t sound fair, right?

About a year ago, I moved to Los Angeles. There are no seasons in California, except for summer, and every day is pretty the same - summer all the time, bright sun and blue sky. When there are no seasons, you can’t think “seasonally” - you don’t worry about cold winter, or preparing for the Christmas holidays; you don’t wait for the summer the next half of the year; you don’t have to waste your time picking and buying shoes, jacket, and coat for autumn; you just forget about it.

Malibu, California, 2016

Then, I realized that I spent a lot of time thinking about these things when I lived in New York, and here, in Los Angeles, I can finally concentrate on my goals and not worrying about being distracted. And you know what? I found out that I had no goals. What did I create last year that will make me more successful? What did I learn that will make me smarter and more productive? Nothing! I did absolutely nothing! It really shocked me. It was like a slap in the face.

«If you don’t have enough knowledge, you can learn by yourself.»

That was the point when I realized it’s time for a change. I’m not satisfied with my life - I want to spend my time being sure that I moving towards a better life; I want to earn much more money than I do now; I want to put my ideas into life; I know I can make things much bigger than me! I don’t want to be just a dude who designs user interfaces.

I decided to change my life and I did it. I’ll tell you about that later.

What about you? I know you hear a lot of success stories from side projects, but it looks like you still spend time fighting your inner battle with excuses. Let me guess, you have no side project because:

  • You have a full-time job, and you have no time.
  • You’re a developer and you need a designer to help you with your project.
  • You’re a designer and you can’t build anything without a developer.
  • You’re not a creative person, and you have no ideas for your side project.
  • You have thousands of breathtaking ideas, but you need money to realize them.
  • You have ideas and a desire to realize them, but you don’t know where to start.

Yes, we all have the same excuses, but deep down, the real reason is fear - fear to start with a new, blank page, having nothing; fear that it is a hard process and you can’t handle it by yourself; fear that you just can’t make it. Now, add procrastination to this cocktail, mix it, drink it up and never think about your future life so seriously anymore!

You don’t like this option? Then don’t take it! That’s the point when you decide to change your life completely and not to leave it as it is. If you want to change, welcome on board!

Back to my story, I started watching video tutorials about front-end web development and Ruby on Rails. I read a lot of books about startups, product launching and productivity - dozens of good books. During this process, I developed my own formula, called “Learn & Earn”, that helps me increase my new skills exponentially. I spent a month learning Ruby on Rails. It took only one month to change myself, from a guy who can draw a bunch of images to a developer who can make a working project! The idea behind it is pretty simple: If you don’t have enough knowledge, you can learn by yourself.

«It was a challenge, but I can’t find the right words to express what it meant for me to launch my own project! I was excited!»

My very first project was a simple tool for designers Color Slap. I made it in three days and implemented some administrative functions, such as adding, editing and removing colors, user registration, etc., and I launched it.

Color Slap

While I was still learning Ruby on Rails with front-end development, I ran a project Yotti. There you can find a perfect gift for your picky friends, such as designers, gamers, photographers, travelers, etc.


Yes, it was hard! It was the challenge, but I can’t find right words to express what it meant for me to launch my own project! I was excited! I was thrilled! I designed my first project, built it, and then launched it by myself. All my fears just disappeared at that moment and never came to me again. My life was changed!

«Someone said that if you want to be a millionaire, you need to solve problems of million people. So, that’s the right point, to start to combine your ideas with the problems of other people.»

There are a lot of benefits behind creating a side project. You can transform all your crazy ideas into something that people need. It’s a real chance to learn and master a ton of things through building your project. You can’t even imagine how many cool things you will achieve in this way, how it will change your life, and how confident you will be when you become a man who can design, code and promote any project he wants! (And in case your project is valuable, you can make a lot of money!)

Someone said that if you want to be a millionaire, you need to solve problems of million people. So, that’s the right point, to start to combine your ideas with the problems of other people.

«You have to start right now! You can name a current chapter of your life “Preparation”, and start a new chapter, called “Doing”.»

Today, I will open a subscription to my private email list, where I will share with you a lot of gems I discovered through the process of building the side project. I will share with you my “Learn & Earn” formula that helps me every day to stay productive and achieve my new goals. Also, you will learn how to design and develop side projects.

I will share with you my revenue reports every month, and you’ll be able to follow the process of creating my side projects. It’s like having a friend or a mentor who is building something significant and is sharing his experience. I’m getting this experience right now, at the time when you just started doing your project. That’s the right way to learn the process and do something by yourself!

But, you have to start right now! You can name a current chapter of your life “Preparation”, and start a new chapter, called “Doing”.

However, I need your help. Before I finish everything, I’d like to know more information about your stopping point. Why don’t YOU still not have a side project? And what are your top questions about side projects that I need to answer?

P.S. I would really appreciate if you would share this post with the people who may find it useful.

P.P.S. Check a discussion on Product Hunt.

Vladimir Kudinov  —  Designer based in sunny California. Founder and writer at The Next Big Me.
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