December 21, 2023

How to Get the Most Out of Your Web Developer Side Hustle


Balancing a web development side hustle alongside your main hustle can feel like a juggling act, requiring time management, efficient work processes and clear prioritization.

This becomes even more pronounced when you add in the demands of the job — including client acquisition, tight deadlines, complex problem-solving and client communication. Even if you have stellar programming skills, if you are unable to manage these challenges well, your side hustle can flounder, driving up frustration while income stagnates.

How can you maximize extra money from your web development side hustle while minimizing stress? We'll share some tips below.

Client Acquisition In A Crowded Web Development Market

It can be difficult to separate yourself from the pack in web and mobile app development. There are an estimated 1.5 million freelance web developers around the globe, many of whom picked it up during the pandemic.

Now that higher global interest rates are forcing businesses to cut back on investments, budgets are shrinking, and in many cases, the work is drying up entirely. When it comes to getting new web development clients, how can you best compete?

While it can be tempting to price your services lower or propose aggressive timelines in order to keep up with a saturated market, engaging in a race to the bottom isn't a sustainable course of action. Your work is valuable and should be priced accordingly. The key to thriving in such a competitive environment lies in carving out a unique niche for yourself. This can set you apart from the multitude of generalists out there.

How to Specialize

Start by assessing your skills, interests and past experiences to identify areas where you excel. Perhaps you have a knack for creating intuitive user interfaces, or maybe your strength lies in backend development with a particular programming language. You might even specialize in a specific industry, like e-commerce or healthcare, leveraging your understanding of their unique needs and challenges.

Once you've identified your niche, invest time in becoming an expert in that area. This might involve additional training, online courses or certifications, attending specialized workshops or keeping up with the latest trends and technologies relevant to your chosen specialization. A niche not only makes you more attractive to a specific subset of clients, but also makes it easier to network and it allows you to command better rates from potential clients due to your specialized expertise.

This also adds an element of predictability to the work you do, which is critical when doing web development as a side hustle (more on this in a moment).

Managing Your Time Well

When working as a freelance web developer in addition to a full-time job, your time is at a premium. Firstly, you don't have much of it, and secondly, you need to value this time against the leisure, social time or other activities you're trading for the extra income.

Estimating Time Commitments

One of the primary areas where freelancers get tripped up is in the mismanagement of time. Web development projects can be intricate and time-consuming, and without proper time estimation skills, developers might find themselves overwhelmed.

This leads to missed deadlines, reduced quality of work and increased stress. Balancing a side hustle with a full-time job adds another layer of complexity, making it crucial to communicate openly with clients, develop realistic timelines and use effective time management strategies.

Avoiding Scope Creep

Scope creep, where the requirements of a project expand over time without corresponding adjustments in budget or timelines, is a common challenge in web development.

Freelancers often struggle with setting clear boundaries and communicating effectively with clients about the scope of work. This can result in additional workload without additional pay, impacting the profitability and viability of the project.

Managing Client Communication

Effective communication with clients is vital for the success of any freelance project. Misunderstandings or lack of clarity can lead to dissatisfaction, disputes and potentially lost business.

Freelancers must develop strong communication skills to clearly articulate project details, timelines and expectations to avoid these pitfalls.

Tackling these challenges starts with developing predictable processes that remove their complexity.

Baking Simplicity and Predictability Into Your Business Processes

As we mentioned above, adding an element of predictability into the work you do is valuable as a freelancer.

Tools like 8base are invaluable for this. 8base is a low code development platform that offers superior ease of use, with all of the functionality of a full code platform.

Rather than having to reinvent the wheel with every new web design and development project you take on — greatly increasing the odds you incorrectly estimate a time or scope commitment — by specializing in a niche and leveraging low code, you can develop simplified and repeatable business processes that become muscle memory over time.

Predictable Design with Drag-and-Drop Interface

8base's App Builder, featuring a drag-and-drop design interface, greatly simplifies the creation process. This intuitive approach allows for quick assembling of layouts and integration of components, making design predictable and efficient.

Customization When You Need It

The platform's ability to import custom libraries and components provides a balance between customization and ease of use. It allows for tailored solutions without the complexity typically associated with custom development, ensuring a predictable development timeline.

Accelerated Development with Prepackaged Features

8base offers prepackaged accelerators for common application services. These ready-to-use elements speed up the development process, reducing the time spent on repetitive tasks and bringing predictability to project timelines.

Flexible Coding and Integration

For specific custom needs, 8base’s integration of JavaScript with handlebar notation offers the flexibility of traditional coding. This feature, along with the platform's seamless backend and API connectivity, simplifies the complex aspects of web development while keeping the process predictable and manageable.

Enhanced Collaboration and Communication

The collaborative UI of 8base allows for real-time client interaction, which is crucial for clear and effective communication. This feature not only enhances project transparency but also helps in setting realistic expectations and maintaining a predictable workflow.

Incorporating 8base into your freelance web development projects means more than just using a low-code platform; it’s about embracing a tool that brings predictability, efficiency and quality to your work. 8base allows you to simplify your development process, reduce unpredictability in project timelines, deliver superior web solutions to your clients and drive better results from your side hustle.

Wrapping Up

Building websites and web applications as a side hustle can feel like a juggling act. It's critical to manage your time efficiently and effectively communicate with clients.

The simplest way to do that is to make things simple. Low code platforms like 8base abstract the complexity that can derail web development projects, making it easier for you to tackle the project and build predictable business processes around them. This ultimately leads to more successful projects, greater job satisfaction and extra cash.

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