Why You Should Always Have Side Projects (Plus: The New Thing I’m Working On) 47

always be working on side projects

Life is meant to be spent working on things you believe in and are passionate about. That’s how you can be sure you’re doing your best at any moment, you know it’s worth it, are purpose-driven, help others and make a difference at the same time.

And although I’ve discussed why you should focus on just 1-3 skills in life and master them instead of jumping into new ones every few weeks or months, I’m also a believer in new projects.

We have only 24 hours in a day and it’s better to dedicate them to our main goals in life, the things that truly matter to us and what’s giving results.
But it’s equally important to always have a side project to work on, a new hobby to practice, a new field of expertise to explore, etc.

It doesn’t really matter if you fail, because you gain much more than you think.

Why Have Side Projects on Top of Everything You Already Do?

Here are the main reasons why a new project is always a great idea:

1. You get out of your comfort zone.

Working on something new means leaving behind what you already feel comfortable with, and challenging yourself.
It’s a great way to grow and improve yourself too.

And even if it doesn’t succeed, you’ll expand your horizons, will engage and optimize your creative mind, gain knowledge and experience and have something new to talk about.

2. You’re passionate.

If you start working on a new personal project, it means that you care about it, or are at least interested in it.
So dedicating time to it will bring joy to your days and will give you a sense of purpose.

3. You may make money.

If it’s a business on the side, it can take off sooner than you expect. It can even replace your current income and let you quit your job.

4. You build your personal brand.

Every new skill you develop, new project you try or content or product you create, becomes an addition to your portfolio. It makes you more interesting, useful and experienced.

5. You get to meet new like-minded people.

Getting familiar with the ins and outs of something you haven’t tried yet also means connecting with people in the industry – both experts and enthusiasts.

You can make new friends this way, partner up with someone, or join communities for support and inspiration.

I think these 5 reasons are more than enough to convince you that it’s absolutely worth investing time, energy and focus in something you’ve been thinking about for a long time but never actually started.

What Side Project Am I Working On?

Almost 300 articles on Let’s Reach Success later, and after having guest posts and some sponsored posts, together with the books I’ve published and offer in the book store and the freelance writing business I have, I now started working on a podcast.

I can’t say I’ve been putting it off. I’ve been listening to podcasts for a long time, but it was just a few weeks ago that I realized that there was nothing stopping me from giving it a try.

I’m a writer, and I always will be. But I’ve tried different things in the digital world that were out of my expertise, and they went well. In the worst case, I built new skills and learned new stuff. That’s always helpful.

Podcasting is just another way of presenting content online. And the only thing you need is a strong desire and having something to say.
I believe I have both.

Now, I did my research and know what I’ll need. It made me realize that I can handle the tech side of this project.
And because I’m all about taking action – no matter how small – I ordered a simple USB mic today. I’ve got Audacity installed (the free open source for audio recording and editing), and am ready to get out there with a few episodes and upload my podcast to iTunes in a couple of months.

All that is something I’m leaving for my free time, but that doesn’t mean I’m not ready to dedicate time to it almost daily.

I’m starting small. I’m ready to fail and am absolutely alright with the fact that this whole project may not be a success. So even if things don’t work out, even if I sound awful when recorded and have no listeners weeks or months after the show is on, I still won’t regret it and will then decide whether it’s worth to continue working on it or there’s better use of my time.

It will be harder for me than blogging, and will take more time. But I’m alright with that. I won’t let it distract me from my main online projects and how I’m currently making money. It will be a side hustle and I’m not starting it for the sake of money.

I’m doing it for a few reasons:

  • to get out of my digital comfort zone – I feel comfortable writing, so it’s time to add some discomfort;
  • I’ll reach new audiences – I may get new fans, or simply inspire a person or a few who wouldn’t have found me if it wasn’t for my podcast;
  • I become a host – that’s a new thing to add to my Twitter bio and portfolio. It immediately lets people see me in a different light. Some may take me more seriously because of my podcast;
  • it will be a good addition to the blog – The Let’s Reach Success Podcast sounds great. And offering a new type of content on the blog would be another way to boost traffic and gain new visitors;
  • I’m still doing what I love – it’s just another opportunity for me to do something connected to my passions – personal development and doing stuff online;
  • I’ll become more tech-savvy – I believe that in a few weeks I’ll know more about the equipment needed for podcasting, will get to work with a new software and online platforms and feel more comfortable producing and editing audio content;
  • I’ll be offering value – it will be for free so I’m still creating content and getting it out there for people to learn new things and stay motivated. I’m thus building information products and contributing to the world in general.

No matter what happens, I’ll be having fun and doing something I care about. And I believe stuff like that matters and usually ends well.

I may even get interested in the technology part soon, get better and learn more, and at least share my knowledge by writing how-to posts about podcasting.

What I want you to know is that if you’re in doubt about starting a new project, you should definitely do it.
And don’t listen to others as they have nothing to do with this. It’s your path to walk, and only you know what feels right and what’s worth focusing on.

So if you decide to start working on something on the side soon, here are some tips on how to do it:

1. Do your research.

Read about it first. At least a little so that you get the general idea. As there may be something connected to the project which you won’t enjoy.
It’s better to know it now than to realize it when you’ve already invested weeks of your time.

2. Start small.

That’s super important. Just like it is with building a new habit, so it is with new projects and goals.
This way you won’t feel overwhelmed and won’t have to adapt to a big change.

3. Take the first action today.

Just like I invested a small amount of money in a microphone, so can you do something small today. It’s important as it helps you start the whole journey. Also, action breeds action and tomorrow you’ll take a second step like that.

Otherwise, your project will be left behind, together will all the other ideas you never acted upon.
Don’t let that happen.

Moreover, don’t put it off for a long time. Today is the best day to start. If not, there’s a chance that soon this will become just another item on your list you’ll want to postpone for later.

4. Commit to it.

If you’re going to spend just a little time every now and then, it’s probably not worth it.

In my case, for example, I’ll need to be consistent with producing episodes, even if it’s twice a month. That means putting it before other things sometimes so that I can stick to my goal.

So what do you think? Do you have a side project like that? And how does The Let’s Reach Success Podcasts sound?

See also:

Why make time for personal projects

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How I Finally Managed to Focus and Got to Work without Putting It Off 30

How I Finally Managed to Focus and Got to Work without Putting It Off

Here are the things that helped me find focus and finally get to work:

Tip #1 Write it down.

When I say write it down I mean that whatever you want to do on the day or even the night before for the following day. Simply write exactly down what you want to do/achieve. This simple tip alone is almost like flicking a switch in your brain to do it.

Simply writing down your goals and your plans not only makes you think about the goals and the steps that you need to do to achieve them. Sometimes this can be a great way to realize exactly what you want and get you thinking of things you perhaps hadn’t thought of prior.

Not only this but there have been countless studies done showing that writing something down with greatly improve the chances of it coming to fruition than not writing it down at all.

The great thing about this is that it can be literally applied to many areas of like. You can write down your long-term goals or you can write down what you plan to do for the next day.

I, personally, do it every night after I am long finished with my work for that day. I set aside 5-10 minutes for writing down what I want to do tomorrow. The act itself cements it in your brain.

This is also a great way to help with procrastination. It’s almost like holding yourself accountable for it which I will get into more in my next point.

Tip #2 Hold yourself accountable.

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Holding yourself accountable to an overall goal or target can be an excellent way to actually push yourself to that point where you get to work consistently.

For example, let’s say I want to lose some weight and be on a particular diet to achieve that goal. Telling your friends and family that you are doing it makes you more accountable than doing it alone.

Your friends/family will often follow up with you about your progress. This is a constant kick up your ass to keep working towards your goal. Also, doing things like posting it on Facebook or somewhere where people can engage with you and follow your progress is great.

Ideally, having an accountability partner would be the best option for this.

An accountability partner and you would usually be moving towards the same goal and would constantly encourage each other to get to work. Most importantly, you two will be accountable for your actions!

A great way to find such like-minded people is through social media. For example when I work on my blog FlipFlopsandAppleSauce, I have a artner that is also running a blog. We both set goals on how often we publish content to hold each other accountable. It works extremely well.

Tip #3 Don’t be focused on results.

Don’t put pressure on yourself if you aren’t achieving your goals as quickly as you want.

Let’s say you have an online business and you want to make $1000 a month in profit. Instead of focusing on how much money you are currently making, look at what steps you need to take to get to that $1000. The more of these you take, the sooner you will get there.

Tip #4 Concentrate on today.

 

Some people are always thinking of long-term objectives. That’s not a problem, but you should always try to break down your goals into smaller, easier steps. Then, dedicate each day to working towards completing these steps.

Not only does that make things simpler and easier to manage, but it also puts less stress and pressure on you in the long run and will undoubtedly save you lots of time.

Tip #5 Let it become a habit.

Once you get into a routine, doing some of the more tedious things won’t be as much of a problem. Because at the beginning, you had to make a more conscious effort to make them happen. But once something becomes a habit through use of constant repetition, it becomes 10 times easier to do it.

After doing something consistently for 20 days in a row, it will start to become a habit.

So, if you are doing something that you don’t enjoy 100% to work towards your goal, it would be a great idea to challenge yourself for 3 weeks. Make it a habit, because, beyond that initial 3 weeks, things should only become easier.

#Tip 6 Think goals, not hours.

Some people say ‘I want to work 5 hours on this today’. In my opinion, this is not a solid mentality to have.

People who work with that in mind tend to draw out what they are working out to achieve that time target, which usually isn’t helpful at all. Not only that, but it lowers overall productivity.

I like to set steps that I want to do on that exact day. I have a clearer target that isn’t limited or restricted by time in this case.

Also, once you have finished what you set out to do for that day, you feel a great sense of accomplishment. Which for me, is an amazing feeling that keeps me coming back for more!

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David Gray is an entrepreneur that loves marketing. This “career” path allows him the freedom that he truly craves in his life.