Lessons I learned from my failed side project

Lessons I learned from my failed side project

Software Development
December 12, 2022
Harsh Agrawal
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As a side project enthusiast, one or two years back I spent six months working on a project of my own. Although it didn't end up being successful, I learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way. In this blog post, I want to share those lessons with you in the hopes that they might be helpful in your own journey.

Don't write your code in a new technology for fun or performance

One mistake that I made was using new technologies for the sake of novelty or performance. For example, I was drawn to the simplicity of Svelte and decided to use it to build my project, even though I had experience with React and could have easily reused a lot of my previous code. I also migrated my express server to Go in an effort to improve performance, even though my website only had a handful of daily users. In retrospect, I should have focused on using proven technologies and spent my time on more important things like sales and marketing.

Don't reinvent the wheel

Another mistake that I made was reinventing the wheel. I ended up using SvelteKit, which was in beta at the time, and had to deal with compatibility issues and a steep learning curve. If I had chosen a more mature technology like Next.js, I would have saved myself a lot of time and frustration. I also spent time designing my own components like cards and tabs, even though there were already plenty of well-established solutions available.

Build the product and users will come

Lastly, I made the mistake of thinking that if I built a great product, users would come naturally. In reality, it takes a lot of effort to build distribution channels and get people to notice your product. I should have spent more time building a waitlist, reaching out to friends and family, posting on social media, and engaging with people online. I also should have invested in a blog and SEO to increase my visibility and attract more users. In the end, I only had 200 registered users after six months of work, whereas a well-executed Product Hunt launch can bring in 200+ users in just a few days.
Overall, my experience with this side project taught me the importance of using proven technologies, avoiding unnecessary reinventions, and actively promoting your product. I hope that sharing these lessons can help others avoid making the same mistakes that I did.