I hope this graveyard inspires you to take risks and work on those passion projects. Every side project I launched, no matter the outcome, provided lessons for the next and in turn helped me quit freelance.
Free macOS menu bar app to quickly record and send audio messages. I used it to send landing page feedback when people asked via email and DMs. The response was always super positive hearing my voice over text. More recently though I've been sending video feedback with Loom, so no longer needed the app nor wanted to grow it. AudioNotes was acquired by AudioPen in 2023.
Email resource featuring design inspiration, html templates and newsletter discovery. After quitting freelance and going all in on One Page Love, I had the confidence to apply everything I learnt from a website inspiration gallery into an email inspiration gallery. Leading up to the birth of my son, I decided to focus on less projects to free up time offline. Email Love was acquired by Andrew King in 2023.
Interactive checklist side-project started with my friend Calvin to go alongside my Landing Page Hot Tips Ebook. Once you completed the book, there were 6 checklists to ensure your landing page was ready to ship. Was quite stoked to nab the chl.st domain for this one. Calvin has now taken over the project and Chlst has rebranded to Interact List.
The dream was to connect someone with a newly found hobby/career with a professional within the niche, delivering exclusive content via email newsletter (removed - debrief)
Private supporters club for the Yo! Podcast accessing exclusive behind-the-scenes content and bonus questions (discontinued - debrief)
Gift Voucher webapp to help small businesses with cashflow during Covid. Gvouchers was a free service enabling anyone to sell digital Gift Vouchers to their loyal customers. Upon transaction, a digital Gift Voucher was emailed to the customer, while the funds are deposited directly into the owners PayPal account. The service took no commission. I wanted to try to use my (very limited) development skills during lockdown for good. Think I had around 50 businesses that sold vouchers. Felt good. When businesses went back to work and interest waned, I closed the service down. Wasn't interest to try turn it into a serious business.
The Yo! weekly YouTube show (about design, dev, productivity) was a creative outlet for me while learning new skills. I had never used a camera pre-2018 and on 01 Jan 2018 challenged myself to launching the YouTube show I'd want to watch in 30 days no matter what. Still to this day I've never been so creatively stimulated than Jan 2018. It was incredible. After 30 episodes I hit burnout and called it a day. Each 5-7 min show took ~40hrs from script → film → edit → launch → promo. The season finale Yo! Halloween was definitely my favorite ep. Yo! Namibia was a fun vlog too. Yo! has now pivoted into the Yo! Podcast.
Curated startup dot com domains under $1k. Had so much fun with the branding on this one. My cousin Jake illustrated the Panda. Landing up selling the site including all the domains bundled in.
One Page WordPress theme company with my friend Manu. We came to terms WP wasn't a great solution for ultra simple Single Page websites (without blogs). Landed up closing it all down and giving the domain to a young UK doctor who worked at the NHS. He wanted the acronym-matching Currl.com domain for the Clinical Undergraduate Research and Remote Learning - kind of a weird but wonderful result.
Digital agency that hosted my freelance work. Shut down once I took the leap to work on One Page Love full-time.
WordPress theme company with my mate D Rock. Sold using Flippa.
Small hosting company, more to service my freelance clients needing space and domains. The prices were silly cheap. After deciding it wasn't worth the admin, I didn't want to "ditch" my loyal clients with one single dodgy hosting company, so manually moved around 200 domains and 50 hosting clients. Took 100s of hours over 18 months. Definitely my biggest business regret in the graveyard. Landing up selling the .com to Pair Networks.
Ultra niche collection of unique website footers I curated with my mate D Rock. I coded it up in WordPress and D handing all design. We had such a hoot with the "footer" branding. The side-project was basically an online playground for us with no intention to monetize. It was all for the fun. Full credit to D for bringing it to life with his design skills. You can see he had a great time and his talent shows with the textures, gradients, (shoe) stitches, footprint heart logo and more. We landed up giving the site away once the traffic semi-plateaued.
Blog about minimal design with my mate D Rock (sold - pics soon)
Responsive webster tester (sold - pics soon)
Indie music discovery website, I was a co-founder (closed - pics soon)
Music social network and blog, We got investment and I was a co-founder. Full debrief soon. (closed - pics soon)
Blog about good design (gave away)
Curated list of new bands signing up at Twitter. When Twitter was still young I started an acc @BandsToFollow and just tweeted when big bands signed up on the platform. It got 12k+ followers in no time as discovery was so bad. Just dug these up screens from way back machine. Landed up selling the site to a friend, who deleted the account it seems.
Simple online text converter I built to help convert poorly edited client copy. The domain was perfect (caseconverter.com) and had around 21k unique a month purely from SEO. Note how the tool didn't have much SEO baited copy either. But after a few years I stumbled upon Flippa and thought why not put it up for auction as an experiment. Landed up going for $880 and the indie hacking bug officially bit for me. In hindsight I absolutely should have kept this going passively.
Positive South Africa news portal (closed)
Business card inspiration gallery (closed)
Surf, skate, snow board inspiration gallery (closed)
Business card inspiration gallery (closed)
Post-hardcore, rock band I played bass for
Melodic punk-rock band I played bass for with my good friends Steve and Dunx. We played our first live gig at age 15 in 1997 and had 2 releases (now preserved on Bandcamp). Countless lessons learnt from recording music, designing artwork, production of CDs, being on stage.. you name it.
If you got this far - thanks for joining me on this trip down memory lane. I think the common thread here is hundreds (probably thousands) of hours into things I was passionate in exploring. There was so much money left on the table - not doing these things - and solely working for someone else. But what's the fun in that.
Got a fun side-project idea? Ask yourself how small-of-a-version of it can I ship. Then give yourself a no-matter-what timeline to hit publish. This constraint will help get it out the door. Trust me. You are the only one in the way of yourself shipping. Just like I was the only one in the way of myself shipping the above.
Step aside. Have fun. You got this.