I have been known to take on a few side projects. I spend most of my time running my freelance design business, but I manage to carve out a small amount of time for other interests. Over the years I’ve come to see the benefits to having side projects, and I thought I would share them with you. Acquire New Skills
Taking on a new challenge can teach you new skills, and those can be used later to bolster your freelance services. I like to think of it like cross-training.
When I launched Frictionless a year ago to sell products and books, I started with a free PDF manifesto. Learning the process for creating and delivering that document has equipped me to help a number of clients do the same thing.
Temper Your Expectations
Taking on a side project that involves your passion, your ideas and sometimes even your money means buying into risk. The fact is, you could fail. Horribly.
It’s easy for us to be optimistic, and while I’m not advocating complete pessimism, I am suggesting a more realistic outlook. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. Managing a side project full of personal risk teaches us to refine our expectations.
Find New Tools
Whenever I tackle a new side project, I end up having to find new tools to get the job done. Sometimes it’s an app, and sometimes it’s a service or product or system. Whatever it is, it’s a relief when I find it.
Now better equipped, I have a more complete list of options and hints to pass on to my clients. What’s that? You need a solution to selling digital goods? You would like to sell your own paperback book? You have a massive email list to manage? My side projects have equipped me to help with those challenges.
Side projects aren’t all roses and puppy dogs, but they certainly leave us better off when it’s all said and done. Learn from your exploration, and turn it into an asset.