Forget about “Scale” for your side project

As a fellow indie hacker, I often find myself tempted to build side projects in a harder, but more resilient way “just in case they scale” or to “follow best practices”.

As a reminder for myself as much as for you:

Stop that.

There are positives to creating more challenges for yourself. You’re going to face and overcome challenges and grow as an engineer.

But if you’re like most of us, completing and launching your MVP is the hardest part. My hard drive is littered with abandoned side projects that never saw the light of day.

How can you learn to scale a system if your project never launches? How can you reaffirm best practices without facing the same challenges? How much can you learn from a system that is never tested?

I usually burn myself out in the process too. Without the positive feedback loop of hitting milestones, or having the urgent incentive of being paid, I get tired after exerting tons of effort for little gain.

For side projects, it’s important to focus on shipping instead of worrying about the possibility that your project might need to scale up.

To get to your next milestone, whether it’s launching a homepage, getting to $1000 MRR, or learning a new technical skill, it’s crucial to remove barriers so you can focus on progress and consistency. Like building any habit, focusing on progress gets you to a stage where problems like scale become real.

Your side project will be fraught with difficulty by default. It may not be technical challenge, but it will be other aspects such as launching, marketing, and selling. If your project does grow, you’ll learn about scaling and best practices when you have to.

Shipping is hard enough. Don’t make it harder for yourself for just in case.

Thanks for reading! You are my favorite person for sticking around until the end. 🍻

This blog is a constant work in progress, and I want to get better with your help! If you have feedback or questions on this post, please leave a comment below or reach out to me on Twitter.

This article is from where I publish articles on software engineering and how to leverage technology to build products that people will pay you for.

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