Do something new- How about a side project?
As Adam Grant puts it in his book Originals, the entrepreneurs who hedged their bets by starting their companies while keeping their day jobs were 33% less likely to fail than those who quit their day jobs to start their business.
Side projects to the rescue
Whether you are a startup co-founder, small business owner, a full time employee or a freelancer, if you are stuck with progression or feeling lost at some point in your journey, a side project could be an amazing lifeboat for your distress calls. Touted as a distractor in yester-year workplaces, side projects are in spotlight today for their ability to add a fresh perspective to your dreams or your employers’. Whats more? There are tonnes of side projects making it big today.
What side project do I start?
Depending on where you are in your personal and professional journey, side projects can take the form of a whole lot things ranging from a blog to a small product, a newsletter, a magazine, a podcast, a facebook page, a social media channel, a work of art — it can be anything that creates value to your target users. You awe your customers or users through your side project, so they come looking for your main one. Better still, you discover a totally new niche for yourself that you abandon your main vocation altogether, now that your side project has hit it mainstream :).
If you are in a day job and your side project is a phenomenal success, it probably means that you are on a road to freedom — to defining your own schedules and calling your shots as an entrepreneur. You don’t have to be an all-or-nothing-entrepreneur for the starts. What this means is you’ve found your calling, without actually risking it all. You’ve hedged your risk sufficiently while still succeeding on your deeper aspirations.
If you are a full time employee, determined to get your employer to scale new horizons, a side project can be an amazing little experiment, that you want to help your employer with. Google began its famous 20% rule, where the employees could spend 20% of their time experimenting with projects that excited them. The result was a more creative 80%. Done right, the side project can mean a new niche, new segment, new customers, or some new insights that could take your employer to new heights!
If you are a hobbyist, looking at just making a side gig, or an additional income stream out of your creative talents, side projects fit your bill too.
How do I start my side project?
Read, read, read stuff in your chosen (side) field. Be informed — a cliche for sure, but worth the reminder. Read up the success stories in your field. Follow ideas, follow resources that will help you get there. A whole bunch of folks have tried, tested and worked it out for themselves. Follow the people and learn from them. Explore, experiment and evolve.
Also remember that your side project is a low risk, pure love based endeavour with an output. Set yourself some goals, but don’t pressurise yourself with deadlines. It a creative pursuit, so productivity should matter less.
Online — web or app based side projects
Tonnes of resources exist today to start an online web or app based side project. You can pick up the tech skills online for free too. If you are non-tech, some DIY websites let you build your own app or site for a few bucks, with a drag and drop interface. Here are some triggers to launch yourself on your side path.
A subreddit for side projects. A good hangout for ideas, resources, feedback and marketing for your side project. This is also a place to get or share tips and inspiration to work on new projects.
A marketplace for side projects. Use this to discover, buy & refurbish or sell your side projects. This is for side projects that exist in a form that can be viewed (like a website) or downloaded (like a mobile app, desktop app, plugin or extension), not for concepts or ideas.
An amazing community to help you start and grow a blog. 95% of resources are free. If you love writing, a lot of affiliate products are available at discounts for building a blog, growing an audience and making your living, doing what you love.
Photography as a side project.
If photography is your calling, you’d want to keep in touch with the tips, tricks, techniques and trends in photography through youtube channels like The Art of Photography.
Side projects for art and craft makers.
You may want to signup to Pinterest boards, if you haven’t already, to connect with fellow art makers and enjoy daily inspirations through fresh pins on craft and vintage goods ideas.
Online handmade marketplaces have made it easy for artists among us, to turn our hobbies into businesses. Most of the sites charge a percentage of the sale as a commission and some them charge a listing fee too. Here’s a list of marketplaces for the crafter in you, to make and sell vintage goods & craft supplies.
Bonanza — offers zero-effort webstores, automatically built from the seller’s marketplace account, and tools to create studio-quality photos.
Etsy — is an online marketplace for boutique entrepreneurs. The website lets you create an etsy shop: an online space where individuals can create and sell hand crafted retail items.
Artfire — is a craft and maker community to buy, sell and interact.
Shophandmade — lets you open a store for free. The sellers decide to pay how much ever they want to.
iCraftGifts — is for handmade art, crafts, and fashion creations. Items are reviewed prior to listing, and creators are provided constructive criticism when there is an opportunity for improvement.
DaWanda — is a place where designers and creative people can offer their one
of a kind and limited edition products for sale. Create your store, list your products, market them and more.
Silkfair — is both a market place and lets sellers create custom stores. Provides a host of tools to manage your shop and merchandise.
Time to start your own side project is Now!
Now put on your thinking cap to start your very own side project. What side project do you plan to start? What side project ideas would you like to share with the world?
-Originally posted in Dentmaker blog