Side projects can boost a remote career
3 min read

Side projects can boost a remote career

Today I'm expanding on the reasons why you should have side projects, and how such projects can often boost your career, especially in remote work.


I'm Sergio Pereira, and this is the Remote Work newsletter 👋

Last week, I wrote in depth about, the side project I'm building at the moment.

After that, many people asked me to give them input on their own side projects. Some are building tech products, others are recording courses, others are doing freelance gigs, and a myriad of other things.

Today I'm expanding on the reasons why you should have side projects, and how such projects can often boost your career, especially in remote work. 

I must note that my own career as a Fractional CTO also started with a side project that I didn't take seriously at first. And see how it went after that.

There are a few common reasons why side projects can accelerate your career:

1/ Learn, above everything else

Yup, the first goal should be learning. Either to get first contact with a new tech stack, or to try a new framework, or to simply build something end-to-end will all nuts and bolts.

Having no further expectations helps keep complexity low. Gaining new skills or just sharpening current will increase your market value, which will get a higher salary ahead. This should be the primary push to build a side project.

This has always been true for me as well. First when I started helping those Startup Founders in the accelerator, I did it for the learning, only after that I realised there could be a Fractional CTO career to try.

Now with I'm doing it first of all to go back to coding mor often, and to get serious hands on experience with LLM stuff and train my "builder muscle" more, after so many years in more managerial roles.


2/ Grow your "proof of work" portfolio

Often in job interviews you're asked about projects you built, or live URLs you can show. Many people have none, and that's a big frustration. 

Some lack it because they worked always in products that aren't public facing, such as enterprise backend flows. Even if they have 10+ years of experience, many have no publicly visible work to show.

Others lack it because they are juniors, or freshers, and they have no professional experience. In remote work this is a bigger challenge, actually.

In either case, building a side project that you're proud of gives you a live URLs, a visible website, and a code base you can comfortably show to any future employer. This is a game changer for many people.


3/ Gain exposure to relevant people/companies

By launching your side project in public, you'll have people looking at your work. Either if it's a SaaS product, or a youtube channel, or an open source repo, or a course.

You'll also have an actual topic you can write about for hours, so you can write on Twitter, Linkedin, Medium, or stream on Youtube or Twitch. This will get even more people looking at your work, and increase your online footprint.

All of this flywheel created around your side project will get you in front of thousands of people. You're increasing your luck surface area. One day you wake up to messages from people wanting to hire you, or inviting you to speak at their event, or some other interesting collaboration you hadn't thought of.


4/ Make money and build a plan B

This shouldn't be the first reason to build a side project, at least for most people. Making money online is tough, and doing anything solely for the money creates a huge barrier to entry. That's why so many people discover monetisation channels while doing something for fun.

In any case, everyone wants to make more money, and there's nothing wrong with that. Financial incentives are a huge push to do anything, providing you know how to sell what you're building.

For those who find revenue through their side projects, the first moment is to have some spare income, which always feels great.

But some people manage to grow their side project revenue to match their full time job salary. If you get to such a case, you've built yourself a plan B. Layoff fears no longer affect you, and you might now be thinking about pivoting your career around your side project. You plan B might soon be plan A, and that's how many great businesses have started.

If you're working on some exciting side project send me the link as a reply to this email. I'll definitely have a look.


Thanks for reading this newsletter until the end. You can read all past editions here. Make sure to share it with your friends and colleagues so they can read it too.

See you next Friday,

Sergio Pereira, 
Startup CTO & Remote Work Lover

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