Getting Started on Side Projects
I love working on side projects. To me, a side project is a work that you create just because you want to see it exist in the world. It's not what you're supposed to do or is trendy to do. It may or may not ever become your day job. It may or may not ever pay for itself or your bills. But it is an effort that, if treated as a serious, worthwhile endeavor can be the most fulfilling thing you do with your time. Most recently, I created 100 Days of Childhood Memories
, a self-published book funded through Kickstarter. Previously: Career Coffee
, Singapore Scholarship Guide
, taught a Skillshare class called “How to land a job at a startup even if you can't code”, ran a Kickstarter on handmade thank you cards
This talk planted the seed in my head that I could do side projects. If there were a founder of the side project movement, Tina Roth Eisenberg (aka Swiss Miss) would be it. She talks about why she does side projects and describes a wonderful range of them: Tattly (temporary tattoos), Teuxdeux (a beautifully designed to-do app), Studiomates (coworking space) - just to name a few.
If you are looking for a way to start a side project, I highly recommend doing a 100 Day Project. Pick a creative act that you will do for 100 days. The premise is broad enough that you can pick any topic you like, but narrow enough to automatically give you project structure. This is the premise that inspired me to do “100 Days of Childhood Memories”.
If fear is preventing you from shipping or even starting, this is good advice on how to get yourself to experiment productively.
A really cool space for independent creators in New York City. This page lists projects that community members are working on. The projects are varied, original and often amazing.
She challenged herself to ship 25 projects in 52 weeks. She didn't quite hit the goal, but she's launched many projects with meaningful impact.
Brainpickings might be one of the coolest side projects to ever evolve into not just a full time job for Maria Popova, but also a highly influential corner of joyful learning on the internet.
It feels funny to call out a specific, obscure project when there are thousands of side projects out there, but the Alinea Project strikes me as having all the elements of a great side project. He is a technical visual effects guy by day, but he spent years cooking and photographing every single recipe from the Alinea cookbook. Then he ran a very successful Kickstarter at >$42K to publish his book. Then someone made a documentary about his project. And in it he tells the story of how he once got invited by Grant Achatz to go cook in the Alinea kitchen. !!! Sometimes a side project can lead to extraordinarily cool experiences.