#17: Rod built a ~$1600 MRR side project in 5 hours
Learn how Rod built a job boards' curation site
Side hustles can make way to building a sustainable primary source of income while freeing up your time and mind space to help you design your kind of work life. Today's hustler is a freelance developer who has built a portfolio of side projects that generates five figures in monthly income for him.
🚀Built more than three side projects
📈Recent side project is generating ~1600 MRR
💰All side projects together make five figures in revenue
From Freelancing to 5-Figure Side Projects: Rodrigo Rocco's Story
Rodrigo Rocco (Rod) discovered his passion for coding early on. At 12 years of age, he started learning Clipper ( an xBase compiler that implements a variant of the xBase computer programming language). After finishing high school, he enrolled for Computer Systems Engineering at the university. Eventually, he dropped out of the program because he was only interested in the part of the program that involved coding. In 2008, he decided to return to coding and has been focused on web development ever since. He now makes a living as a freelance developer and indie maker in Mallorca, Spain.
A side project that accelerated his freelance career
After quitting university, Rod travelled for a while. In 2008, when he decided to get back to coding, he had to find a way to get his career on track. He started to help a forum for free, and the network he built there helped him get a lot of freelancing work. While freelancing, he discovered that many people wanted to create a booking system in the travel industry and required help with Jomres. (Jomres is a software application that allows users to create and manage a booking system for their website.)
To help the developers working with Jomres, he built Jomres-plugins- a website that offers plugins and extensions for the Jomres booking system. These plugins and extensions can add additional functionality to a Jomres-powered website, such as the ability to accept online payments or integrate with other popular platforms like Airbnb or TripAdvisor.
After the launch of jomres-plugins, he received many work offers, including one from a company in Dubai that was building a 7-star hotel listing, which got him great pay. He also worked with a Swedish startup called Handiscover, where he built a platform similar to Airbnb. He had much fun working on that project. He also created an Airbnb-like template for Jomres users and sold it to many users.
Quirkyaccom, a well-known British accommodation portal with around 3 million visitors, also approached him. He has been working on a contractor basis for them since 2008. Jomres-plugin allowed him to productize his services and create a sustainable primary income source.
During the pandemic, he built another side project with a friend who has been in the villa rental business for 12 years. It is called Villasmediterranean.com, a website for renting villas in the Mediterranean region.
Building a revenue-generating side project in a day
Rod has been active on Twitter and shares his journey of building side projects. His recent side project idea was born from observing a tweet of famous indie hacker Pieter Levels.
Rod was brushing his teeth before bed on a late Saturday night when he saw a tweet from Pieter Levels about StackOverflow Jobs shutting down. Many people were asking about alternatives, so he quickly registered stackoverflowalternatives.com from his phone.
The following day, he woke up at 7 AM and built jobboardsearch.com in 5 hours. It was a website that curated different job boards. He then went to the skate park with his daughter. When he returned, he added 10-15 job boards and tweeted about it under Pieter's tweet to let people know about his new site.
Pieter retweeted the tweet. This caught the attention of many job board founders, who reached out to Rod to ask about being added to the list. Pieter suggested Rod to add a sticky job board listing and sponsored slots. Rod added these features and tweeted about them, and two founders immediately purchased sponsored slots.
The third slot was sold the following day, and the website went viral on Reddit with a post that received 4K upvotes and 800K visits. In November, a job board founder also purchased seven months of sponsored slots. A non-job board company reached out to advertise, further validating the website's success.
Jobboardsearch's best monthly revenue to date has been $4.5K. It generates more than 1.7K visitors daily (at the time of publishing of this issue) and has an MRR of ~$1600. The first MVP was built in 5 hours but subsequent updates has taken significant time and effort from Rod. And he plans to keep working on improving Jobboardsearch and growing its revenue in the coming months. All his side projects together help him make a five-figure income monthly.
Don't fall into the trap of building something perfect (it will never be). Rather ship fast, build in public with the users, and improve based on feedback. Find a way to keep yourself accountable and accept that hustling is not a bed of roses.
Hustlers Insights of the Week
Rod's story is different from other hustlers we have met so far. While Rod continues to work as a freelancer on his own terms, he created a sustainable primary source of income through his side projects.
🤩Become good at finding pain points: There are opportunities all around us in the form of problems we or others face. Don't just go about your work and life; when you observe a pain point, explore and act on it. Rod found a pain point with Jomres developers and made his first side project solving it.
✨Be quick to act on trends: Online world is a place where trends keep changing rapidly. If you follow trends closely, don't just follow but take action. You might find something worth building. Observing just a tweet, Rod built a revenue-generating product in five hours.
😍Double down on your passion: Doubling down on your existing interest is far easier than chasing an interest you are unsure of. The journey of building side projects is also full of ups and downs. To sustain the down periods, you need to have a genuine interest. Rod has been building web products since 2009 and can sustain them because he loves to code.
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