Having a side project has many benefits. Creative work can ebb and flow, and let’s face it there are those time when work can get monotonous and boring. Side projects can be an outlet when those times arise.
You have complete creative freedom on your side projects. Client requirements and corporate bottom line can hinder creativity and cause work to be unfulfilling. Having a side project can rekindle creativity and help fulfill what’s missing from your regular work.
Side projects can be something all your own and can be unrelated from your regular work. My side projects usually consist of crafts, cosplay, paintings, and sculptural pieces.
They can also allow you to escape from the daily grind and clear your mind. Since I work in a tech field my side projects allow me to disconnect from technology.
Bored of your day job? Having the side project can stimulate creativity that can be funneled back into regular projects. It helps prevent burnout which makes for a happier employee.
Learn New Skills
Side projects can promote creativity and innovation. Get you out of your comfort zone and try new ideas that you might not normally. You may learn new skills you would otherwise may not learn with regular projects. These new developed skills and knowledge could help solve a problem on a project at work too.
Career Boost & Additional Income
Your side project could even make you some extra money and boost your career!
For additional income you can take on freelance clients (provided that your company allows it). Try selling your designs through online vendors. Or if your side project is a craft you could sell the items on Etsy or at art fairs.
You can also use your side project as a portfolio piece. With design restrictions not all client projects end up being a portfolio piece. But if it’s a side project you have the freedom to make it your own. Of course having an outstanding portfolio piece will lead to better career opportunities.
Having an ongoing side project gives you something interesting to talk about at social and networking events. Which then could open up to potential collaborate with others you might not normally work with.
Maybe the best thing about side projects for me, is that there are little to no deadlines. Having no deadline enables you to work on the project at your convenience. You don’t necessarily need to track your time either, although tracking time will help with estimating time on similar projects.
My fiancé says I have too many unfinished side projects as and that I need to complete them before starting new ones. So if you are like me and you find your projects are not getting finished try setting a self imposed schedule to get it done. Try not to procrastinate on them and only put them off only if it’s not benefiting you.
So whether your side project is for fun or for business, most importantly it should be something you enjoy!