Why Side Projects Are Important (And How You Can Get Started)

Most of the startups will have stories to tell about their congested small rent room and the broken-legged tables on which they began their journey. It would have been embarrassing for most of such startups to call for the recruiters for interviews for such a company which did not even have enough space to work.

Such startups would have thought to themselves many times that their success will be a very far dream.

But, those startups which kept hope even in the worst situations believed that one day everything will be alright one. Every year in passing would have been about succession and accumulation. Struggles are part of this journey. But, your story would change in that one second when you decide to end up all these.

Will the story be good or bad? That is up to you and your destiny.

Every founder will have a history when he/she did not have a computer and went to the public internet cafe to check the emails. Very few used emails back then. It would have been the time of files and paper works.

They would have interned in a number of firms to learn or to decide what should they do. They would have even got a job earlier and would have had a different plan then. Even though they were not satisfied with the kind of work they do and the people who work around, they still cling to it to meet their daily expenses and to support their families.

They spend their early years at such firms just aiming the salary they would get.

One day, they would start thinking of quitting the job and doing something different. They would be fed with their present job and they would suffocate in their offices. At such suffocating situations, the urge to go on the different road would have snatched away their sleep.

After working for an industry for the past few years, when you start thinking about quitting, there will be many who would discourage you and put forth the list of years that will go worthless when you try to shift to another platform.

Yes, of course, the new platform will not be that familiar to you and you will have to spend the time to get along with it.

Finding your new realm is a crucial thing. You will have to search in a huge pile of areas to find the one that which you feel “is for you”. The area you choose has to be the one which remains untouched or the one that has huge opportunities that are missed by others.

Now, after finding an excellent space to put your foot, do a thorough research about the field. The more you are aware, there are more ways open for you. Your startup will be exclusively yours in the beginning.

You may have to do everything by yourself in the initial stages and your home may be your first office. Do whatever you can in your budget, like designing a website, starting social media accounts, registering your startup etc. On the whole, you would have to build your empire from scratch.

You also learn a lot while building your business. As said by great people, the experience is the best teacher.

You will get to learn a lot through the process of building your startup. If your project catches the attention of big fishes, you even get the opportunity to get hired by them in reputed companies.

This is the importance of side projects. This will give you great confidence too.

Until you build a business from scratch, you won’t be able to identify your own skills. You won’t realize that shifting from your comfort zone gives you great possibilities. You won’t understand want it was to cultivate your own experience. You don’t have to spend your lifetime in a career you are not satisfied with. Thousands of people go on with a career that they don’t like thinking that this is what life is. They do not want to take a chance. But, it is possible to design a career that you like. Side projects are very good decisions. They make people do a double-take. For side projects, people hire people, not paper.

Side projects will take you to different positions that you will love. They will take you to doors that will have remained closed otherwise. It gives you a supplemental income. It also gives you lessons that you would not get from a closed office environment. It expands your circle and takes you to people who are of your same taste. It will take you to heights where you feel complete satisfaction, which was once your dream. Only that, you should want yourself to take a chance and see where you want to be. You will be able to build your skills and see the wide opportunities that are open to you. Those which were not even thought about at the start of your career. Side projects also give you hope when no one exists for you. You will believe that constant reinvention is possible, even when you get older.

Starting a Side Project

Here are some steps that will help you to build your own side project.

You should pursue something that excites you. Think of things that give you joy. According to studies, curiosity is a marker for academic success. Also, if you know your income doesn’t depend on your project, you’ll have more fun with it. You’ll start to notice how this passion and new skill informs or augments what you’re doing in your professional life. Otherwise, it will take you in a different direction. It is certain that you will know where you start, but the joy comes from accepting the uncertainty of where you’ll end up.

Never go for big when what you need is to start small. You can explore yourself through small, fun assignments or hobbies. It can be baking a batch of cookies or learning how to write simple software programs. You need not build things that scale. Start with something we can bury ourselves in. It can be something that can’t yet be automated or turned into a process. You should keep in mind that the beginnings are always about exploration, depth, inefficiency, getting lost. You should allow that to happen because that’s where you find the greater truth and love in what you’re pursuing.

You can always new skills and strengthen your existing ones, be it from local continuing ed classes or online education.  Most online classes are affordable or free. There are many eminent and trustworthy personalities there to help you out. Podcasting tutorials, entrepreneur classes, email marketing, and SEM will also help you out.

You will have to go out of your way to connect with people in different departments and volunteer to help on projects where you have less experience. It can be considered as an informal apprenticeship. It will also help you to learn about analytics by sitting with an analyst, watching her run reports and synthesize data. You can even learn many things by helping someone else on his/her project.

For side projects, you will definitely need time. You will have to schedule your side project. You will have to block off time on your calendar and treat it like any other appointment.  You can energize yourself when you have to return to the daily grind by making time for your passion project.

There’s always something new to master, so you are never an expert. The mark of an advanced practitioner is one who goes back to a basics class to relearn the poses. Even if you consider pretty darn smart and talented, you should keep learning. Side projects allow you to grow more. It feels good to be hungry. because it will improve you. So, make sure that you never stop learning.

About The Author : Binu Mathew

Binu Mathew is the CEO of itmarkerz technologies. It has been catering to the custom software needs of SMEs in India and abroad since March 2011. Binu started his programming and freelance carrier at the age of 17. over around 13 years of experience in startups, startup visas around the globe, and Blogging. You can reach him on Twitter or LinkedIn