Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks: How to Bring a Side Hustle Career Back to Life

Relaunching Projekt19 a decade later

As you might have heard, I’ve set up quite a lofty vision for my creative self. After working on a side hustle over a decade ago I’ve since let that part of my life lay dormant focusing on other life priorities. I guess you could say I’ve been keeping the bench warm for quite some time. The past few years, new tech and the creator economy has caught my attention.

Put Me in Coach!

Late last year I started putting more time into how I could pull this off, how I could scratch that creative itch. Like many, ideas are plentiful but focus and execution is the road less travelled. I’m a big thinker, dreamer, and get excited riffing on ideas. Ideas aren’t the hard part, focusing on one and getting it started is much more intimidating.

Doesn’t matter how many gurus or successful folks say “Get started” - well it’s not as easy as it sounds!

One day things changed, I decided “let’s start"!” Who cares which idea you pick first, you’re going to execute on a lot of ideas! I took my old business handle Projekt19 and it was right in front of me - 19 Projects! That should be good enough to let my creativity roam. Now as mentioned, it’s been hard for me to “get started” in the past. Humans thrive and work best under time constraints, two years sounds good enough for me! The vision is as simple as that.

Build 19 projects by 2023! Two years to be exact

Getting Back in the Game!

It’s been a while since I’ve built something public. I let my twitter account run quiet, stopped subscribing to newsletters, divorced from the industry... I felt I had to play a little catch up! Things have changed, it’s funny you don’t realize how quick technology is until you take a break and jump back in. When I was building, Smashing Magazine, Envato were only a few years old, Dribbble was the new kid on the block, hell I was still using Google RSS Reader!

Things have changed, now you choose from dozens of nocode tools to build a Dribbble copycat in less then a day! Digital assets have swarmed dozens of marketplaces and content is everywhere.

Where to Start? Two week re-up sprint

I would be lying if I said it was overwhelming and unorganized, but one thing I am, is being resourceful online. I started scouring the web for basic nocode content. I subscribed to over 50 indiehackers/creators/hustlers/idea generators. I spent two weeks reading on anything about the current landscape. Here are a few resources / people that helped get me on the up and up;

  • My first million podcast - It’s an idea machine but Shaan Puri and Sam Parr have a ton of insight into the industry.

  • Indiehackers - Likely the most valuable community I’ve joined this time around. I’ve already made some great relationships here.

  • Reddit - Not a huge surprise here but a ton of great subreddits that I’m involved with /Entrepreneur, /SideHustler], /SideProject.

  • Webflow - My first entrance to nocode. I only chose this because it seemed to be the most popular.

  • Jakob Greenfield - Opened my eyes that even small ideas are worth pursuing.

  • Greg Isenberg - Not sure how I found him, but modelled a lot of what Projekt19 is.

  • Doc Wiliams - Great personality with a ton of knowledge, did a five hour sprint to validate 50 ideas! The guy knows a ton of stuff in the nocode world.

  • Andrew Dertinger - Has kept me close enough to this industry as anyone, always pushing me to get back in the game. Thanks for your persistence!

Enough to Get Started

I didn’t want to dive in too deep with the learning - I needed to put this plan into action. I put out this tweet on Jan 1 - I know I know NYE. Trust me this wasn’t some sort of resolution.

The Plan

Setup Projekt19 as the Startup Studio (Umbrella Brand), my personal brand would “build in public”. I needed an umbrella site and a place to communicate all the things. I created a Substack blog - seems like all the cool kids are doing it. I’m not sold on whether this is the right choice or not, for now it was enough to get up and running. Twitter would act as a supplemental quick communication tool from my personal brand.

The Brand

The old brand was… well old! I used the old brand as a freelance agency supporting small businesses. It was over a decade old and it felt like this was a new meaning. I didn’t want to spend too much time on going through a thorough design thinking process - I do this enough in my career.

This new vision was about executing and getting started. What I learned most about the industry is that everything is moving way faster and you can be “good enough” to get started. I’ve been sketching a lot of 90’s cartoon characters with my kids lately. Feeling nostalgic, I decided to build a 90’s vibe.

Built a quick logo, proper assets to update Twitter account, sub stack account and was off and running.

My First Nocode Tool: WebFlow

I had a good understanding of web technologies, I built dozens of websites and WordPress themes in the past. Nocode made things easier! The learning curve was easy, sat down and went to build a simple “hub site” within a day. I figured I would learn more by doing!

Webflow is a joy to use, building is easy, and the ui is simple. This whole project was a ton of fun. I understand the site is simple but was a great way to time-box practical learning.

Showing Who You Are

With Projekt19, I wanted to show myself! I don’t want to come across as this dude that is going to crank out product after product on his way to making millions. I am in this to have a creative outlet, learn some new stuff and most importantly, reconnect with the community. I know I am not the only one with the same story, I know there are hundreds, thousands of like minded folks out there.

I am keeping everything fun and casual (if you can’t tell by the site!) I know the journey isn’t always going to be fun, but I’ve been there before I know what it takes. I am here to enjoy the trip and build some cool projects.