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Side Projects

Repeat after me: I will not start another side project… Oh, shit.

2 min read
Side Projects
Before Growth is a newsletter about startups before product–market fit by 3x founder and programmer Kamil Nicieja.

You might have noticed I haven’t been writing as much this year compared to last year. This is because I’ve been busy with a few side projects that I’m not ready to announce yet. (Soon!)

I always wanted Before Growth to be a place for builders and practitioners, not just filled with theoretical articles. So, I guess it was expected that occasional breaks would be necessary. Otherwise, I’d be working full-time on the newsletter, which would keep me from actively engaging in the field.

This wasn't clear to me from the beginning. I experimented with different models, including paid subscriptions. I turned them off some time ago when I realized they no longer made sense. So now, all content on here is free! If you haven’t read the previously paid articles, feel free to do so now. If you were one of the paid subscribers, thank you for your support. I hope to continue earning it by writing quality content.

On a related note, I do believe side projects are extremely important for every creative person. This blog itself started as a side project. Before that, I worked on Changepack, my open-source Rails app that uses AI to write changelogs for teams. That project led me to write more about LLMs, which inspired me to start a newsletter. This eventually led to organizing my essays into an online ebook. None of this was planned; it all happened serendipitously.

But I’ve noticed that this is what tends to happen when you’re active and open to opportunities. Many of my friends, some of whom read this newsletter—you know who you are!—complain that they’d start some side project that would be fun if they only had a good enough idea. But I think that kind of misses the point. All ideas are good enough. None of them are good enough. You’ll only know once you start and work on them.

And sometimes, course corrections are needed, like this one! This isn’t something to be too hard on yourself about. Personally, I think it’s more productive to go with the flow and see what sticks. In my experience, what sticks is usually what’s fun to do. Yes, some grind, perseverance, and determination are required, and the more serious you get, the more of it is needed. But it’s difficult to force yourself to do something that doesn’t seem fun over a long period.

And if you develop some marketable skills along the way? That’s fantastic. But if not, that’s okay too. One of the key benefits of side projects is the idea of recovery. Setting time aside to work on passion projects isn't just good for your mind; it can also make you more productive and bring you greater life satisfaction.

So, I’ll get back to you soon with three small projects I’ve been working on. One is a summary of last year’s period on Before Growth. Another is a personal look forward into the future. The third one is almost completely unrelated to anything I’ve written here so far, but it’s probably been the most fun to work on.

Let’s see how it goes.

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Kamil Nicieja

I guess you can call me an optimist. I build products for fun—I’m a startup founder, author, and software engineer who’s worked with tech companies around the world.

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