It is not something new for a business to pool their time and resources on some side projects that they had in their mind for a long time. This is not new because, time and time again, it has proven to be one of the best investments that a company makes in its history of financial decisions.
Take Slack for example. You might have heard about it, as it is probably one of the best team communication applications out there. It started as a simple communication tool for a group of game developers that wanted to communicate together.
Another great example of this is Instagram. That application was created when its founders, who also created Burbn (a location-based app for whiskey lovers), noticed that people loved sharing pictures of everything around them, and not just their cocktails.
These are some great examples, but they are not the only ideas that could’ve gotten any fame or glory. What about you? Don’t you have any “ideas” that you have had in your mind for a long time, but never dared to do something about them?
What if you’re just procrastinating due to the fear that it might fail, and in reality, that project could help you create a fortune?
Well, if making money is not your first thought while opting to develop a side project, you should know that they also uncover new interests for you and promote more divergent thinking that can take your life in a more unexpected direction.
See? Now you’re thinking about all of the side projects that you have had in your mind for a long time but didn’t have the motivation to act on them.
That’s why, in this article, we are going to talk about some critical elements of a successful side project that you can incorporate into yours, that will help you create the best version of the project that you had in your mind. Let’s begin.
5 Elements of a Successful Side Project
Here is a list of the 5 elements that we are going to talk about in this article.
- Your Project should sit between two Poles – “Skills You Want to build” and “Things you enjoy in Your Life”
- You should Always Treat Your Side Projects as Fun Experiments
- You should Pitch Your Ideas to Yourself
- Get Yourself Paid for Your Work
- Be Open to Failure
- Keep Your Day Job (For the Time Being)
Let’s take a look at all of them in detail and find out how all of them make a side project successful.
1. Your Project should sit between two Poles – “Skills You Want to build” and “Things you enjoy in Your Life”
It is no surprise that the first thing while doing anything professionally or personally is to make sure that you love that activity. And when you are performing a side project, you need to make sure that you love the activity and find meaning in it, on top of it helping you professionally and financially.
To better understand side projects, let’s take a look at what the design VP at Facebook, Julie Zhou has to say.
“A good litmus test is that side projects are typically productive, not consumptive. That’s not to say side projects have to be 100% focused on production.
For example, you may be interested in building an app, but not (yet) have the technical skills to do it. So step 1 would be to take an online course on app development. Then, throughout the course, you could work on the app, knowing it will take a while, but always with that goalkeeping, you motivated.”
2. You should Always Treat Your Side Projects as Fun Experiments
One thing that we all understand is that keeping your concentration and motivation intact in your main or paid gig is easy. Because you’re getting paid for it, right? And that can be a problem when it comes to side projects because that’s something you are doing for yourself and not for money.
But sometimes, it can all feel off-putting and you cannot achieve the mental energy needed to work on your side projects for longer periods. This is why you need to make sure that you treat all of your side projects as fun experiments.
This will help you retain your mental energy and you will enjoy the time in which you are working on your side projects. As the famous entrepreneur Paul Jarvis says:
“Experiments don’t “fail”—they simply prove or disprove a hypothesis. For example, despite my day job as a designer I had the hypothesis that I could also write an e-book. I then simply started writing. I didn’t focus on the outcome, how the book would be received or what others would think of it. I figured, “let’s give this a try”.”
You can also use some other techniques that Paul has to offer. They are:
- Focus on the task that you are currently performing and don’t think about the result
- You should break down the whole experiment into little chunks so that you can perform them easily and effectively
- You should experiment with many different ways because there are always many ways to do something right, but you have to choose the one that you like the most
- You should never create something and judge it at the same time
3. You should Pitch Your Ideas to Yourself
One major issue with side projects is that you don’t dare to go out in public and shout out the things that you are doing because you might think that people will ridicule it.
Successful creators in the industry say that if you want your side project to be more than a hobby, you need to learn to talk about it in public, and that doesn’t mean shouting out everything to the public through a megaphone.
It means that you need to build an element of trust within yourself about your project that it is not a silly little thing that you are working on. Instead, it is an incredible project in that you are dedicating your time and energy.
In order to get that trust, you need to go out and talk to people about your idea, first pitching it to yourself. This will help you find some like-minded people, which are going to be helpful to you as you go deep into the development process.
In his book called Show Your Work, the famous artist known as Austin Kleon notes the importance of sharing your work with the people around you or the whole world, even if it’s not “perfect”. He says,
“Artists love to trot out the tired line, “My work speaks for itself,” but the truth is, our work doesn’t speak for itself. Human beings want to know where things came from, how they were made, and who made them. The stories you tell about the work you do have a huge effect on how people feel and what they understand about your work, and how people feel and what they understand about your work effects how they value it.”
4. Get Yourself Paid for Your Work
One thing people need to understand is that, when you are putting your time and energy into creating something beautiful, you need to get paid. But not “getting paid” as in gangsters asking for money. Like, someone HAS TO PAY YOU because you did something.
No. You need to make sure that everyone knows the importance of the work that you are doing, and for that, you need to create value for someone through your product.
When the general public knows about the value of a certain project or a product, they will blindly throw money at it, but as an artist, you don’t “only“ think about money, you think about how your product is going to help the public. But hey, it doesn’t hurt getting paid, right? *wink wink*
5. Be Open to Failure
One major thing that is going to be beneficial for you in your personal and professional life is that you should always be open to failure.
Failure is one of the most important aspects of any project because you never know when it is going to hit, or if it is going to hit at all. The only thing that you need to keep in mind is that failure is not something permanent. You can always learn from it and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.
These were our top picks for the most crucial elements of your side projects. If you think that we missed something or if we mentioned something factually incorrect, write to us, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.