TIPS FOR EMBRACING YOUR SIDE PROJECT
1. Know your Reason
In this era of the multi-passionate entrepreneur, everyone and anyone has a side project. What’s crucial to uncover is your reason behind embracing one. Are you simply fulfilling a creative urge that’s not being met in your current job? Are you aiming to build this out into a full-time gig? Are you working on something you know may not make enough money to support you, but that you’ll regret on your deathbed if you don’t give it a shot? Have you been sitting on an idea for years and realise it’s now or never? Or, are you doing this because you think you “should”? Taking the time to reflect on why you’re doing this is essential for driving long-term commitment and contentment.
2. Start small
One of the biggest reasons people fail to start, or seriously commit to, their side project is the belief that they just don’t have the time. History is peppered with authors and artists who began, little by little, working on their craft. Publications we consume daily i.e. The Design Files (!) and Cool Hunting were both started “on the side” by creatives who wanted to document what was happening in their world at the time. Hal Elrod, author of The Miracle Morning, suggests taking just 10 minutes each morning to work on something you love such as creative writing. Isn’t starting small better than never starting at all?
3. Focus On Yourself
In addition to time, the dreaded ‘comparisonitis’ can be one of the biggest obstacles for people to overcome when looking to embrace a side project. As Baz Luhrmann wrote in his lyrics for the infamous Sunscreen Song, ‘Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind… the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself’. When it comes to your side project, focus on your own goals and subgoals rather than getting caught up in what you perceive you “should” be doing. For those needing more help with this, check out The Crossroads of Should and Must by artist Ella Luna.
4. Stay accountable
Like anything else we want to accomplish in life – good health, strong relationships – embracing the side project takes effort and time. Finding a way to stay accountable to your work (such as attending Side Project Sessions!) can be the difference between accomplishing your goals or simply dreaming about doing so.
5. Share your wins
Chances are someone or something has inspired you to embrace your own side project. Enable others to be inspired by what you have achieved (and what they could potentially achieve themselves) by sharing your wins. This may be speaking about it with friends and family, writing about it on social networks, putting yourself forward to be on a panel around the subject of your side project or even submitting the story behind how you started and what you have accomplished with your side project to media. By being brave enough to do this, we can encourage others to pursue their own creative side projects.
Fiona Killackey is a business consultant, author, and mentor for My Daily Business Coach. You can sign up to her weekly email full of small biz insights and tips here or purchase her new ebook, all about having a great business year here.