Hey Friends 👋
Over the last few weeks since finishing the redesign of my website, I've been in a weird sort of limbo between wanting to tweak my new website (adding new features and resolving bugs) and starting a new project/carrying on with other unfinished ones.
So far, I've elected to go with the former and carry on tweaking my new website. While I know it'll never be perfect and there will always be things I want to improve on, there are some ideas I want to implement as much for the user as for myself (learning, developing, etc).
But, if I'm to be completely honest with myself this choice has added a layer of guilt that wasn't there before launching. Reflecting on this now, I think it's because the product is now live and while no product is truly ever finished, it feels now the efforts put into it have a diminishing return on investment compared to starting new projects.
Part of me thinks this is a curse that all developers have. To build, to keep building, and to keep pursuing what might be the next Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, or Google.
I mean who isn't attracted to the idea of billions of dollars and a life of freedom to pursue whatever interests their hearts desire?
But, putting my realist hat back on for a moment, is it a good idea to keep jumping ship, changing direction, and not finishing off current projects?
I don't think so.
The grass is always greener on the other side until it isn't...
Naturally, this line of thinking allows a new question to arise. When should we change direction, change project, or chase a new idea?
In my opinion, it's not quite as clear cut as always stick with your idea until your dying breath or drop your idea as soon as it has no traction. As much as I wish it was like that, unfortunately, there is a lot more nuance and self-reflection required to answer the question.
And, while I can't answer the question for you, what I can do is tell you how I would approach the question and the logic I'm applying right now.
My website redesign is the last big project I undertook; it was a full scale rebuild from Gatsby to Next.js, adding new architecture and ideas that I've learned since the last rebuild. So, in short, it wasn't a small project.
And, while the new website has been live for a few weeks now. I wouldn't classify it as finished; it's more in a state of an MVP. There are a few big features that weren't required for the initial launch that I want to add in before calling it done.
So, my plan is to stick with the website and keep working on it until I've implemented all the big features I want to add. Once it's in that state, I will look at starting/resuming other projects.
The biggest driver for a lot of my projects isn't making money but rather learning. I'm running my website at a loss due to the AWS bills, but that doesn't matter because I'm learning new things and building cool ideas.
So, to put it simply if a project isn't about making money and is just for fun/learning, then my advice is to keep working on it until one of two criteria are met:
- You've completed all the features you want to add.
- You've learned everything you set out to learn from it.
I've still got stuff to learn and things to build so I'm pushing on with the website.
If your project is more money orientated, it's a bit harder to answer and a lot more personal in my opinion. If I were in this situation, I would be asking questions like:
- Do I still believe this product will make money / solve a real problem?
- How long have I given it to make money?
- How expensive is the product to run vs the revenue it's generating?
Ultimately, if the product is all about making money, there is only so long you can afford to run it before calling it quits and moving on to something new. Only you know how long that period is, based on your life and financial situation.
To summarise, as long as you're getting value out of a project, carry on with it. The moment you stop getting value, start thinking about changing projects and pursuing something new.
As always, thank you for reading.
- Thought: A project or idea is worth chasing as long as you benefit from it.
- Question: Is there any value you can gain on by revisiting old projects/ideas and completing work on them?
- Challenge: This week, outline any work you can complete on existing projects that would benefit you and work towards completing it.
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