Side project can just give you a lot of fun, but it can also change your life completely. See what side projects are, why they are worth doing and how to approach them.
Surely you have dreamed more than once about how fun it would be to become famous and memorable. In your mind, you scored goals like Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, or Lewandowski, sang with Adelle’s voice or you made movies better than Tarantino. How did they come this far?
As a rule, we only know a small part of their path. We see flashes and awards, we learn about success only when it happens. But what happened before? After all, they are humans like me and you. So do we also have a chance to drink such cream in the future?
Take, for example, John Grisham.
He was an influential writer with notable achievements, including commercial ones. To date, he has sold over 60 million copies of his books. He is one of the elite three authors who sold 2 million copies of the first edition (along with J.K. Rowling and Tom Clancy). His novel “The Pelican Brief” was bought over 11 million times in 1992 just in the United States.
As you read this, you probably see the author who spent his days creating his works in peace. A cigarette in his mouth and a mug of coffee on his desk. You think that it couldn’t be you. You, unfortunately, have a job, studies, children, clients, or a house you have to care about.
If only I had the freedom of Grisham…
But let’s take a closer look. Grisham graduated in law in 1981. Later, he worked in his profession, while engaging in political activities. He also began to write.
He made his debut in 1988 with the thriller “A Time to Kill”, which was released in 5,000 copies. It motivated him to work on the next book. He released “The Firm” in 1991. It turned out to be a bestseller.
Only then did he decide to quit his full-time job and devote himself to writing. Before that, even though he wrote two novels with thousands of copies, books were one of the many things he did. He divided his time into working for clients, working in a democratic party, membership in the Mississippi state parliament, and writing.
He had neither more time nor more freedom than most of us. Instead, he had something that 90% of the people do not: his side project. He had good reason to believe that he will make a career in his profession, but he still wanted to write after hours.
I’m not saying that everyone can and should become a great writer, athlete, or businessman. However, I am convinced that everyone should have at least one side project. In this post, I will tell you why. And I will advise you on how to go about it.
What is a side project anyway?
The name itself says a lot. These are activities, passions, or goals that we deal with by the way, after hours. On the side of our primary business or job.
The side project will be:
- a blog about running written in the evenings by a bank employee,
- amateur fiction film shot by a psychology student,
- culinary workshops organized by a kindergarten employee,
Everything that we do not do daily, full-time. Something we don’t make money on, or we earn so little that it would not be enough for our maintenance.
These are things often loosely related to our current profession, but not necessary. For example, programmers frequently create applications after working hours, but J.K. Rowling wrote “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone“, working as a teacher.
What’s the difference between a side project and a hobby?
A side project is something between a mere passion and a professional endeavor. Unlike hobbies (such as fishing, collecting stamps, or reading comics), a side project leads to the creation of a specific value and has a measurable result. It can be a book, a film, an application, or a conference.
A good project should lead to making a specific thing and gaining knowledge and experience. It has a clear, tangible purpose.
Why is it worth having a side project?
For as long as I can remember, I have always conducted additional projects. While studying in high school, I was writing a book and learning how to write. While studying, I worked part-time as a financial adviser. Finally decided to use my writing skills and financial knowledge to start my project.
Side projects changed my life and became part of me. Still, working as a writer, I run my side projects.
As a rule, we are afraid to “break up” our time and attention to carry out extra things. It seems to us that when we study, we should only do that. If we’re working, it’s only until 5:00 PM. After that time we want to relax. In this way, we get rid of really valuable opportunities.
It is the perfect opportunity to learn something. Instead of just starting to learn HTML, create a website for a city shelter. Instead of just learning to play the guitar, you can plan a charity concert with your participation in a year. I certainly don’t need to tell you how it will positively influence your motivation.
You can convert anything into this type of project. If you want to develop in some field, this is the perfect opportunity to create something specific and tangible. It sounds much better than long hours with your nose in the books.
You can plan your project, but you can never anticipate all the effects and side effects that it will cause. The best thing, however, is that the vast majority of these will be positive effects.
Doors that you never thought will open before you. You will meet new amazing people, and gain experiences that will be useful to you when you least expect it. In extreme cases, this side project will turn from a small initiative created after hours into your way of life.
As I mentioned, the side project creates something concrete and tangible. Thanks to it, you put something into practice, you can show it further, sell it, give it to someone, etc.
It will be perfect if you want to, for example, complete your CV, complete your portfolio or test your business ideas. Such a project gives specific, measurable effects that you can verify, but also convert into an exact value.
How to start with a side project?
Have I convinced you to get on with your side project? Or maybe you already run one and want to improve it? See what to look for.
Define the goal
I have already mentioned that a side project has a specific goal that it aims to achieve. Instead of just taking photos, you decide to take one photo every day for a year. Instead of learning drawing, decide to organize your exhibition next year.
You always can turn a unique idea into a goal. It will boost your motivation and simplify the process of achieving it.
Don’t plan too much
There will be plenty of benefits. However, you cannot plan every single detail. You never know where your project will lead you, so it is not worth analyzing and planning too much. Expect nothing, assume nothing. Do your job and see what comes out of it.
Look for fun
Live up, experiment, and find fun in it all. It can’t be a project that you force yourself to do. It is supposed to be a pleasant springboard from everyday problems and responsibilities. Do what you want, make your dreams come true, and don’t limit yourself.
Set a specific time for your side project
The fact that it is a loose, additional, and low-priority project does not mean that you should disregard it. On the contrary – due to low commitment, consistency and regularity are even more important. Set a specific time or moment when you will devote yourself to additional activities.
It does not matter if it will be an hour in the evening, the entire weekend, or the first Saturday of the month – book the date and stick to it.
Do not rush
Don’t expect any results right away. The sum of many small steps will affect your success. It takes time. You have to be patient. Don’t give up too soon. This is why a specific goal and fun are so important. They motivate to act in the long term.
Ready to start?
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