The Developer’s Tool to Growing Side Hustles

Introducing Zero to Grow, your growth experimentation tool

Building side hustles is a whole lot of fun. It gives us a chance to unwind from the rigours of the day job, practice new skills or hone existing, and if we’re really lucky, generate some passive income.

Most people know that shipping a side hustle is hard. Maintaining focus and not getting distracted by your next big idea or that urge to test out the next burgeoning JavaScript framework takes a lot of willpower.

However, what you might not know is that growing a side hustle takes just as much, if not more energy. What happens when that side project you’ve fought so hard to finish has been shipped? Do you just put it out there and hope that some internet magic will deliver your product to the masses? I can assure you this is not the case.

Growing a side hustle takes a lot of hard work and commitment, but if you can free up some of your precious time to do it properly, then you are far more likely to reap the rewards.

How do you grow?

There is no set answer to this question and it will very much depend on the product/service you are putting out there. A good place to start is to devise a short list of overarching goals of what you want to achieve. This could be anything from increasing traffic to increasing conversions.

Tired of letting that side project gather dust in your repo? We’re launching the right product for you.

Once you have these goals established, you can start to have fun experimenting with ways to work toward your goals.

Experiments could be anything from increasing the number of tweets you send in an attempt to increase traffic, to changing the colour of a call to action to try and increase conversions.

Experiments should be carried out as regularly as possible. However, where possible, those experiments measuring the same metric should be run concurrently so as not to impact on each other.

Keeping track of all of these experiments in paramount to understand what is working and what isn’t so that you know where to spend your limited time most effectively.

What will you learn here

In this section of the blog, you will follow the journey of myself @joedixon and fellow editor @alexdebecker as we build, launch and grow a brand new side hustle.

We’ll talk through the challenges of developing a product, building an audience and launching and growing our side hustle.

The aim of this blog is to be completely transparent about everything. We’ll tell you everything from exactly how many email addresses we’ve managed to capture on our landing page to how much revenue we generate during launch week. There will be no fluff, no ambiguous statistics, just raw figures — good or bad.

This will give you valuable insights which you will struggle to find elsewhere.

Every experiment we carry out will be fully documented for you to read. You’ll see what has worked and what has failed. Failures will happen and are an extremely important learning experience.

What will we build?

We can’t stress enough the importance of experimentation when it comes to growing your side hustle or any business for that matter. Saying that, experiments have limited value if you don’t document them for reference at a later date.

Currently, our documentation process uses a combination of Basecamp for reminders, Google Drive for documentation, and Trello for keeping a list of ideas to test. Not what you would call an efficient process.

There is purpose built software available that allows you to do all of this in one place, but it comes with a price tag. A big price tag. The better part of $1,000/month.

So this is what we will build. A tool to help us streamline the process for our growth experiments.

In the interests of being true to our own ethos, we want to make it clear from the outset that the purpose of this blog is to grow an audience of readers. The idea is that these readers will realise the importance of our product during the journey they take with us.

You can think of this blog as our first experiment, and you guessed it, we’ll be giving you the results of this later in the series.

What next

In short, sit back, relax and enjoy the ride. We’ll be posting as regularly as possible with everything from documenting planning sessions, to challenges with the build, to figuring out fun and innovative experiments.

We really want our readers to get involved so please comment on the articles if you have any feedback or reach out on Twitter if you have any ideas of things you’d like to see covered or feature requests you have for the product. We want to hear from you.

For now, see you next time!

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