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Say what you want about Jason Fried, but I recently read this article (Section 3 “How, and why, to charge real money for real products”) in which he argues that you should charge for the things you do.
His argument boils down to the fact that both the buyer and, more importantly, the creator will have more respect for the product. The creator will have the time if not the necessity to make the product great.
I love side projects but sometimes they’re hard. The fact that they’re a “side-project” or “just for fun” is sort of a cop out. It’s like you’re saying, “I really would love to go all the way with this but I doubt if anyone would support it or if I’d even be able to do it.”
That said, I think some people really do want just a side project. Some are more timid that others. No matter how you look at it, having side projects is a wholesome healthy hobby. If you want to get serious about it, however, mix in some money.
Disclaimer: I have not put my money where my mouth is. My side project is nowhere near where I’d like it to be, but I see the value of charging something as a means to spur me into action. If you’re curious, visit PlaidMaker