One to Three month side-project ideas list

In the last one of these I tried to make a list of projects that would take one weekend to get a big start on. Well, one weekend is pretty limiting and chances are you cannot do anything truly novel. What if you had 4 full working weeks? With regular 40 hour work weeks that is 120 hours of time on a project. What if you had 3 times that amount?

Taking a month off of work is not impossible (I am in the US, so many would say that it is). You simply save 50% of your income the month before and arrange a 1 month unpaid sabbatical at work. Otherwise fitting 120 hours into nights and weekends would take a while: for example if you can only work 10 hours extra per week while working a regular job, that is 12 weeks on one side project!

What if you could take 1 year off of work and do 12 side projects that take 1 month each? At least one of these should turn out to be something either profitable or popular, or both, even if you only have a 10% success rate.

Ideas that will take one to three months to execute.

  1. A fitness guide package for programmers. The goal here is to create a product / service that out of shape tech people can use to get into shape. It would aimed at using science based approaches to increasing strength, dealing with having to work at a computer monitor all day long, reducing or increasing caloric intake, and providing meal plans. It would include some consulting component, but would include creating videos showing the exercises.

  2. A productized service based around an obscure IT skill. E.g. JVM tuning or Kubernetes deployment optimization. Build a website, build a marketing funnel, build sales copy, do content marketing, develop a flat rate payment form, and possibly learn the skill(?).

  3. Research possibilities and begin to build a consultancy around some public data sets similar to Urban Spatial. This should include the time to find interesting datasets, build tools to analyze them and finally to build a marketing funnel around this.

  4. Cleaned public data for sale. Find one useful public dataset that updates often but is provided with horrendous formatting. Build a pipeline to normalize it into a good relational format. Provide some basic statistics, historical info and visualizations with it. Re-sell it for a flat rate fee.

  5. A course that explains IT to IT recruiters. Market it by creating fake profiles on job sites and responding to recruiters with the info like the founder of HackerRank did.

  6. A site that maps all known gold deposits and historical gold prospecting sites in the US. Due to the popularity of shows like “Gold Rush” and enormous increase in the price of gold after the last recession it is reasonable to believe that during the next recession this interest will repeat and we will once again see people doing this for sport and profit. For example Virginia has over 300 historical mines. Although, looking at Google trends, maybe my hypothesis is false.

  7. A site that shows very very old maps with modern roads and towns overlayed on top of it. It would interesting to urban explorers and history buffs, or people who do metal detecting as a hobby.

  8. Develop an index showing the best cities in the US to be various jobs based on openings and overall size the economy in each sector. I.e. it should show San Francisco is heavy in IT work, but is actually a good ratio in terms of people vs openings?

Written on February 6, 2018