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Accepting Side Work As A Developer: When Is The Right Time?

My intention is to send this blog out into the world and hopefully receive some feedback from experienced developers. I mentioned in my last post that I have received requests or offers on numerous occasions to build a website or help on various projects as a side source of income. I have been turning these offers down because I am not confident in my ability to complete the work with professional level design and functionality. However, I am wondering if I should accept this work as a way to learn and gain experience.

So, when is the right time to accept side work as a web developer? How ready should a person be before you just have to take the plunge and try?

I am unsure of all of the risks that go into building a website for a friend, an acquaintance, or even a friend of a friend. There are a few obvious worries that I have about accepting the work, which I sort of mentioned in my previous blog about being an imposter of a web developer.

Here is a small list of concerns:

  1. My work is inadequate. Meaning, I am concerned with the quality, and I am concerned that the person spending money for the product is unsatisfied.
  2. I am unsure of what to charge for services. I am providing a service that most individuals probably cannot fulfill; however, in terms of actual business value (quality x price), does my product properly reflect the cost needed to build a website for someone. If so, then what is a proper quote of time and expertise to complete a job for someone?
  3. Security/maintenance/hosting. I believe I understand what is probably needed, but my concern is that I do not have every base covered. On the other hand, I feel like it would be the responsibility of the customer to purchase proper security/hosting and pay for general maintenance.

As you can see, I have a lot of questions when contemplating the acceptance of work. I wonder if it will always be like this or if it is simply a phase because of inexperience. If it is the latter, then the only solution is to just accept the work and do the very best that I can for the friend/customer.

Extra Content

There is one content creator on Youtube that I tend to watch for motivation and basic knowledge with business and web development questions – John Sonmez. I linked the youtube channel for anyone interested in his work. His brand is Simple Programmer, and if I were to be completely honest, then I would say he might be the hardest working individual that I have come across. He teaches courses, makes 100s of youtube videos, writes books that do very well in the field of web development, and is constantly doing other projects.

I believe if I were to ask him this question, then his response would be to accept the work and be exceptional.

I came across this quote when I was contemplating my possible fear of failure for the possible work I could be completing:

“Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”

— Thomas J. Watson

In order for me to get where I want in this software development world, I need to start taking on challenges and risk failure. Many of the people that are admired by the masses have all risked failure to achieve greatness or achieve a particular goal. I think it is time that I replicate this attitude and apply this formula to my own life.

When I flew across the world to see about a girl I took on this motto and risked everything to follow my heart.

So, when is the right time to accept work as a new programmer/web developer?

The answer to myself is: Now.

-Nick

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