Starting a side project could be the action that turns a stagnant career into something far more enjoyable, or even direct you to a new job that you’re truly passionate about. The idea of starting a side project can be a daunting one, but the benefits of actually following through could be endless!
We’ve all at some point in our lives had an idea for a piece of content, a project or even a business. But the problem is, we make too many excuses to not execute, to not give it a go when there is every chance that this side project could reinvigorate your career. Even if the idea doesn’t take off to the elusive heights that you dream of, just starting out on the process of pursuing a side project could have untold benefits for your day-to-day career.
Of all of the possible benefits of starting a side project, the one that immediately stands out is that those who pursue side projects have the advantage of continued improvement and becoming more well rounded. It’s easy in our day-to-day job to become well versed in one particular skill, and in turn disregard the benefits of continuous learning. But the skills it requires to develop a website, start a business or pursue a hobby professionally can open you up to an entirely new realm of learning opportunities. Whether that’s in building an online presence, marketing within a niche, making new professional contacts or team working, the benefit.
Unlike in your day-to-day job where you’re the expert in one area of your business, taking on a side project forces you to take the initiative to figure things out for yourself. Not only does doing this allow you to learn new things, but you can use the experience of figuring out challenging new things and apply it to your regular career. There are very few jobs in the world where an ability to adapt would not be an asset to the business. When taking on a side project of your own, you’re usually a team of one, which means that anything you don’t know how to do, you can either pay someone else to do it or learn to do so yourself. Regardless of how succesful your side project ends up being, just the process of having to adapt will make you far more self-sufficient than you were before.
When you’re feeling unmotivated and burned out with your day-to-day, there can be few things worse than having to attend conferences or networking events for something that your passion is dying out for. On the other hand, the side project forces you to create your own network, but rather than dread attending conferences and making small talk, you’ll find that you actively seek out events and get excited about the opportunity to learn more and meet others with similar interests. And because you want to partake in this networking, you’ll realize an abundance of benefits. You’ll be more confident in communicating, get better at building relationships and even find your organizational skills improved as you have to manage the extra time effectively.
Most people are not in charge of their day-to-day work, and that’s not a problem because very few people are their own boss. One of the many benefits of embarking on a side project is that you have to take full responsibility for the success of it. There will be no one pushing you for results, no one checking your progress, when something goes wrong it will be your problem to fix. Not only will this allow you to develop various problem solving and technical skills, but most importantly it will develop valuable leadership skills that are applicable to almost any career.
As soon as you consider pursuing a side project, the very first excuse you’ll come up with is that you don’t have the time. If you’re already in a challenging career that takes a lot out of you, finding time in your already busy schedule will be the hardest part. Whilst it can be challenging, there is always more time in the day. The first way you can free up a few hours is to identify the things you do each day that add nothing of real value to your life. For example, could you spend less time on YouTube, or stop putting the TV on as soon as you get home from work? You’d be surprised at all the time you accumulate by cutting out needless distractions.
By getting this far, you’re certainly not far from realizing the benefits of taking on a side project. Now take the first step, find some time to kick it off and you’ll be ahead of 99% of people who never even try!