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Side project success πŸŽ‰

Beautus S Gumede
Junior Full Stack Dev | I make stuff at home | I break stuff at work | I write code
・3 min read

Ahh, side projects, side projects... We code and code but the damn things never get done 😌. When you're just about to finish, a great feature idea comes up, even worse a whole new project idea!

I'm sure we've all been there, scope creep habitats lie on our git repositories. And when that happens, we slowly abandon these projects as interest in them diminishes. Like everyone else, I have a couple of these, hell I have a 2 year project that I haven't even come close to finishing. First built with AngularJS 😣, then Angular πŸ™†, now Vuejs 😌 I still work on it till this day.

Ok here's why I wrote this post.

Months back I created an Android app. Why? Because I didn't have anything to showcase my android skills and my Google play store console was lonely, it had been 2 years since I paid for it.

I needed something light enough to be finished too. I couldn't afford to have another unfinished project haunting me. So I made a launcher. Something I actually use, it was inspired by LessPhone

Days into dev, I released in beta, a week in, a full rollout to production 😀
It's alive!

I stood on top of desks shouting out my app on campus, emphasis on 5 star reviews. I needed that for it to stand out on search lists and suggestions. I even gave myself a boost for a good average. This didn't work. I had about 20-25 downloads and around 10 active installs. Not as impressive as I anticipated.

Cooked reviews
Reviews from friends

I had 7 reviews from my friends, one of them is a 4 out of 5 πŸ™† I think this person had some grudge against me. This wasn't good at all, I had to improve UX to at least keep people from uninstalling my app.

I shifted my focus greatly into making it better, I'm even using it myself and if I can tolerate it, so do other users who download it.

Its completion is not so complete though. The repository looks lonely. I'm not really good with expressing myself and that shows with my dry README. Ow its also in version 2 ✌️

Something amazing happened this week. A short spike in downloads and some reviews, all 5 stars. Best part is, they're completely organic.

Install average is going up

Graph on installs per month

I just need to counter the trend of uninstalls.

Graph on uninstalls per month

I think with a little more work, I'll be better. More and more people are are finding it useful.

30 day active installs

Of course this is not much. Although there's still work to be done i.e. landing page, tests, CI intetgation for README badges, but it is a complete project! A working entity that I can show of on my portfolio. So a handful of downloads is a cherry on top.

I can't remember the post that motivated me to start the project but I found it here on dev.to, literally days after joining.

I'd also like to thank @subbramanil for the PRs. I learnt a lot in a matter of weeks. I'm still yet to expand on the contributions made.

subbramanil image

Dev.to is a gem πŸ’ŽπŸ”₯ I'm proud to be part of it.

Discussion (15)

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michael profile image
Michael Lee πŸ•

Congrats on shipping Beautus! That's a great feeling and I hope you continue to see momentum as you finish and ship projects.

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sduduzog profile image
Beautus S Gumede Author

Thanks a lot. I can't wait to ship again, hopefully something profitable now.

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michael profile image
Michael Lee πŸ•

πŸ™Œ

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warnero profile image
Warner Onstine

That's awesome! Congrats on shipping, that is the best feeling. If I could I'd like to make a few recommendations for future work so that you get the most out of it.

  • Have a specific goal in mind of why you want to build this thing
  • Once you have your goal, then I would time box it to 4 - 6 weeks. What is it that you think you can deliver in that time frame?
  • Once you've got your end goal and you have your specifics for a deliverable then you need to work on that project every single day. Not just on the weekends, not just when you think you have time, carve out at least 30 minutes a day and work on your project.
  • Document as you go. What are you learning? What is stumping you? Make sure you keep this up to date so that when you come back to your project the next day it is fresh in your mind and is easy to pick up again.
  • Run into a problem? Ask for help. Find the right forum or group and ask detailed questions about the issue you're facing. Most communities are very open and willing to help those who are learning.

Some of this I have distilled into a flowchart to help people pick a side project. Other sections are actually part of a course I teach called 30 Minute Project.

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

This is awesome!!! Keep it up.

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maxdevjs profile image
maxdevjs

I must write, this is AWESOME :D

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sduduzog profile image
Beautus S Gumede Author

Greatest feeling ever. I enjoyed every moment of this.

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vintharas profile image
Jaime πŸ”₯πŸ§™β€β™‚οΈπŸ”₯

Awesome! Great job!

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sduduzog profile image
Beautus S Gumede Author

Thank you. I'm still seeing side effects of this article. I've received great feedback and I'm grateful

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benprax profile image
Ben Prax

Dude, this is awesome! I checked the app and downloaded it and it's so good! Keep it up!

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sduduzog profile image
Beautus S Gumede Author

Thank you very much man. Also please consider contributing 😁

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pabiforbes profile image
Pabi Moloi, but Forbes

Inspired 😁

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sduduzog profile image
Beautus S Gumede Author

No I'm inspired! I just went through your posts here on dev.to and I really love what you're doing.

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simonholm15 profile image
Simon Holm

Keep at it! Nice job!

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erdo profile image
Eric Donovan

Dude, that is a great app!