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How do you handle dayjob and your own projects?

Hey there, the it's on the title.
But basically, how you handle your dayjob and your own projects?

Fore me has been quite difficult to manage both, specially because my job require a lot effort and when I try to keep up with my projects I see my performance on may day job dropping so a turn my attention back to keep up things.


Why are you building projects on the side? Is there any chance the benefit from side projects can be fulfilled in a dayjob (this or different)? As far handling, if possible farm out some work. Upwork has been great for me for this. If you can't do that, then not sure what else to suggest. Time blocking + reducing side gig time to weekends only maybe (or something like that).

My biggest aim with my side projects is to generate income and make it my full-time work, but I always learn a lot, and it helps me grow as a Technical Product Manager.
Although it helps, it's a tough schedule to keep up with that, because I tend to focus on the project and lose track of my day job work.

Would be fun to chat on a Zoom some day. I'm an ex-TPM as well. Replacing f/t income with side gigs is something I have spent (literally) decades decoding. Certainly haven't figured it all out. But I'm actively learning learning from past experiences now (vs passively before). Becoming a PM helped a lot. Saw a different view on business besides "solution space" where I would hang out a lot. I'm still working on perfecting my master recipe for startups.

I decided to quit my job entirely instead of trying to balance a FT job with indie hacking. I was too drained after work to do anything when I actually had a desk job - it was fairly high stress and I was leading a lot of different projects, so in order to free up some mental cycles, I realized I had enough savings and just decided to quit.

Overall I think it was the right decision and I only wish I had quit sooner.

That's amazing. Not many people reach the point where they can say that. Many quit, fail, and then get another job.. repeating the cycle.

Like me. I quit 5 times for longer than a year since the late 90's. Its been a fun ride. Scenic for sure. Would definitely recommend (do it like Ben, not me).

Haha. No shame in trying multiple times! But yes, I waited until I was sure I could sustain myself living in a cheap country without a working product for X years.

Thats my next stint possibly. Stay cheap in Bangladesh, learn to actually code (using Shipfast) for a year, build unicorn, win, retire.

Bangladesh > SF > Filet Mignon and Lobster > Sell Startup > Bangladesh > Die

This would be awesome, but I don't have a long runway and not seeing money income makes me very anxious, so I decided that I would work sideways, and when I get some money, I would jump into an FT indie hacking.

Its also tough on my end. But found a balance.
- Wake up at 5 AM
- Day job from 6-2 PM
- Gym from 2-5 PM
- Side projects from 5-10 PM

Day job tasks get mostly done uninterrupted before 10 AM. So probably 1/2 meetings during the day. Get uninterrupted focus on side projects after heading to the gym.

Sounds like a pretty good (but hard) schedule tbh

Haha its quite fixed. But i optimize to get into the rhythm of that sequence :)

That's tough man...
My original plan was to wake up 5:30-6:00 AM and work on my side projects but it was really difficult to turn my attention to my work because I was too focused and willing to spend all day.
I'm thinking about approaching the same way you're doing, taking 1-2 hours of work every day.

This is super tough. I've been in the same situation and ended up quitting. I don't regret my decision.

Don't have this option right now, hope so, but I get anxious without any income and draining my runway.

It helps to not have other obligations such as cash flow (debt & cost of living), demanding relationships (kids, cling partners), community work. If there's then only two things - day work and project work - it makes it easier to focus.

For me at least, the biggest obligation you have to get rid of as many cash flow problems as possible. This is not just to give you more "runway", but also because it gives you a lot of lifestyle flexibility to put more time into passion projects.

E.g. Imagine you earned exactly 100% of your lifestyle costs. If you could reduce those costs to 50%, this would now mean you can transition to half-time work (likely freelancing) and spend the rest of your time on your projects.

Unfortunately I've only realised this lesson after buying an apartment and car, the former of which I'm struggling to sell.

Good point, thanks @nikspyratos
I have been skipping some of that, but I will pay attention and be more mindful about that. I'm married, no kids, so it's not my biggest struggle, mostly I'm exhausted after work or my mind is still on work things.

Consider setting a specific time block each week for work. eg: Wednesday from 9-11pm and Saturday from 11-3pm. That way, you see it coming, can prep energy accordingly, and setup related activites like food prep, wife going out with her friends, etc.

First focus on my dayjob and then I try to work 1 or 2 hours in the evening on my own projects.

I don't. I quit day job. Get 1-2 years of savings and just do it.

I'll preface this by saying I don't have a "day job." I'm a freelance content and copywriter while also building my own paid community and other things, like monetizing Medium. As far as my businesses, there are definitely clear lines separating what's client work (two businesses) and what's mine (one brand).

Juggling a lot of client work (I freelance at a friend's marketing agency and have a handful of my own clients outside that + doing the marketing required to continue to get more clients) while also keeping up with my own project timelines (while also being a single mom of two) has been THE hardest thing -- and I still find myself pushing off my own projects to keep clients happy.

I've been experimenting with a few things lately:

  1. I block off peak creative hours for my own work. (Even though I used to feel guilty because I felt like I should use these hours to create for clients.) I use an app called Engross to track when I'm most/least distracted, and the analytics tell me when my flow states are. (Mine are 12am-3am.) I reserve this time for JUST my own project -- no client work (or anything associated with those businesses, like marketing, sending cold emails, etc) allowed. When my schedule flips during winter (because I need to see the sun), I do my own brand work as the first thing when I wake up for 2-3 hours.

  2. I create OKRs around my own projects and have a Basecamp client portal for them, just as if I were my own client. I use the OKR system to measure freelancing growth (and to help clients better use marketing resources so they know what's working), so I just applied the same framework to my own goals. I use WeekDone to track OKRs, and I love this system because they allow you to create projects and weekly action plans for each key result associated with the objective.

  3. On days when I'm horribly depressed or swamped with client work (i.e. recently/now), I write out ONE thing that I want to do for my own brand that'll make me feel like I'm making progress. I typically aim to do 3-5 things per day (or 1 bigger project), but I find THE SMALLEST task I can do to feel like I'm continuing in the right direction. Stagnation is my Achilles heel, and once I feel like I'm stagnating, it'll sometimes take months to start back up again, so I do everything I can to avoid feeling stuck. For example, today, I just have to write and schedule my Substack to feel good about the day.

There's definitely an ongoing balance that happens, especially when I'm devoting SO much time to my own projects that I start letting client work slip and I feel like I need to play catch-up. The biggest thing I try to remember is to live in shades of grey. It's not all or nothing -- not "just client work or my brand."

The great thing about my situation is that (1) I'm in control of my freelancing schedule for the most part (I can choose to not have as many clients) and (2) my clients are all really understanding. They're growing their own business, too, after all, so they get it.

We're all friends, and so they can easily see when I'm in "grow my membership" mode since they can see all my marketing posts, so they'll cheer me on and are okay with more lax timelines on their projects. I can also plan my launches around clients, so I don't have to write launch copy for them AND myself. Without this flexibility, I think it'd be much more challenging.

The BIGGEST piece of advice is to not burn yourself out and don't shame yourself. If you don't have the energy to work on your own projects one night (not even one little task), that's okay. It's not the end of the world, and you don't have to make up for it later.

(That's like saying if someone misses a workout because they're ill, they have to do 2x the next session.)

Pace yourself and know that it'll take longer if you want to balance your FT job with your own creator brand, and that's okay.

There is so much "indie hacker nutrition" in this reply!

I'm glad you liked it and found value! I always worry I say too much. 😹

It's easy to feel like we're behind or not doing enough as an indie hacker, so it helps to remember we can work at our own pace in our own time.

I'm a lot like you - overcommunicate 😁. You should start blogging or something 😉

Thank you so much for this @thecatstickler
Really appreciate the time you invest in.
In the end i know that I just need to make a step further consistently.

You're welcome! I'm glad it helped. The great thing is "consistent" is however we define it, and it can evolve. As long as you feel like you're making forward progress (at whatever speed your life allows), that's what matters most.

PS If you didn't know, I created a free space for indie hackers + creators to gather and cowork quietly. It's set up to give us all accountability and a space to focus on what we're building. There are a few people from WIP who join, and you're very much welcome to pop by whenever you'd like. It's 24/7. :)

workfrom.com/@it4rt7