Side projects, it seems just about everyone has one and the very least, they want one. It could be anything from startup a business to more of a side hustle such as being an Uber driver. Regardless, the common question always is “how do I find time for a side project?” Ultimately, the answer is discipline and dedication. But to really have discipline and dedication there are a few other dependents. First and foremost, you have to want a side project for yourself, not just to say you have one. I like to see side projects as a gateway drug to entrepreneurship. You want to experiment with it, learn something from it, learn something about yourself from it, and then maybe you will take it to the next level. It can become addicting, which also means it can become distracting. So you also need to decide if your side project will be just that or are you actually getting into a full-fledged business. If it is truly a side project that you are going after, then consider the following.
Time Is Money
Old news right? Old news but often forgotten. When you decide to start a side project the first task that you need to complete is to not only find the best time to work on it but also put work on a schedule. When you start a side project, you will find that schedules will consume your life. So if you are the type of person who is not used to working on a schedule then you may want to make an adjustment before you dive into your project.
If you are a night-owl then consider working on your project during night, likewise, if you are an early riser then consider working on it early in the morning. With that being said, do not let your side project take away from your rest, you will only burn yourself out by losing sleep over your project. It is also best to not like your project interfere with your career. If it is a true side project then this should not be an issue, if you find your project requiring you to work on the clock at your job then you may be venturing into a startup business as you are then working to create a replacement for your job. If you see that happening then it may be time to recalculate your goals and objectives.
Your Side Project Should Be A Solution
This applies to both starting a business and side projects, but for the sake of staying on topic it will be addressed as a side project. If you have no interest in knitting then don’t start a side project selling custom made sock-caps. You are then just wasting your time and will find yourself getting bummed about it. The best way to go about a side project is finding a problem in your life and then creating a solution, then perfecting the solution. I guarantee you that if you have a problem and need a solution, there are thousands (if not millions) of others in your exact same position. This is where the fact that an idea is not shit without an execution. Your idea is a solution to an issue of many others, but he or she he comes up with the best execution to bring their solution to market is the winner. So don’t be afraid to talk about your idea because it is the only way people will be able to relate, which brings up the next point.
Make It A Group Project
This can be very hit or miss as you are essentially creating business partners for your project. Having people get in on your side project is a step after group assignments in college but not quite a business partnership in the real world. Your project may require some type of skillset that you either do not have or do not have time to learn. This is where you can include friends and/or family on your project. You may need some type of bracket made and your friend Tim happens to operate CNC machines. You may then need that bracket welded to some type of fixture, your cousin Kirstin may be a welder and can knock it out for you. The best part, in most cases, they’ll be happy to assist you for free. In some cases they may want to be compensated by money, beer, or food. Whatever the case, remember to always at least offer some type of compensation as a courtesy.
This also opens the doors to find more solutions to additional problems that you did not think of because a task required a skillset which only someone with that skillset could determine the problem. For example, maybe you wanted to make your bracket out of cheap steel but your friend knew that would not be the best material to use and suggested a lightweight aluminum instead. Having a group together for your project allows you to bounce ideas off of each other to help you perfect the solution you have created.
It’s All Good
The last task to remember is that this is a side project, you are doing this for some type of personal gain as a person and not always as a way to create a monetary gain. Though, it is best that you try to make some type of extra income off of it so that you can truly value what you have created. But different strokes for different folks, on that topic. With your side project you should just remember to have fun, it’s as simple as that.
Also published on Medium.