Writer or Developer

Published on Nov 16, 2020

I want to build a side income in January, revolving around productized services. I can either do technical writing or sustainable web development. 

Both are niche, have a clearly identified market with proven business models, and capitalize on my core skills. I also love both ideas, so I'm having a hard time making a decision.

I already write and code on a daily basis, so I can't do one or the other to give myself a cognitive break.

Revenue isn't a differentiating factor either, as both pay extremely well if you choose your clients carefully.

Technical writing is more atomic in nature, as writing an article only takes a few hours. Web development would involve longer projects, so it would mean less flexibility but also less time finding leads.

Sustainable web development seems better on the long-term. I'd definitely see myself doing it for at least a decade, which might not be the case with technical writing. Formulating an offering as a technical writer seems easier though, and the workflow itself is dead simple.

Regarding competition, both industries are similar. It's hard to find good technical writers with an engineering background, and it's just as hard to find web developers with the know-how to build eco-friendly websites since it's a full-stack thing.

Each path has equal pros and cons, so I'm still stuck. Maybe I should start with the one I already have freelancing experience with (technical writing), then focus on the other when I can delegate some work. I feel confident I can add real value as a web developer, so it's not really an inconvenient to start with that as well. The goal of a productized service is to remove yourself from the equation at some point, so it'd be doable.