During Lock-down I have really waded in on a ‘side-hustle’ type of project I started a few months ago. I thought I would share some details, give some thanks and say a few words about its success.
If you have a side-project, great to hear about it and keep going! Launch it, get it over the line, make it a thing soon!
If you work in digital or have a creative persona, it’s really good to have a side-hustle project. I realised I have some great friends who do this well and it really enhances their work and knowledge in the field they are in. Plus it’s fun and a good creative outlet.
It can also help you change careers, to beat the ‘not-proven’ barrier recruiters will put in your way, when you want to move into a new area.
Here are some examples from successful side-hustlers I know and love:
- a lawyer who also runs a Yoga brand called Stiff Guy Yoga
- a digital designer who makes cards and art for online platforms – PaperPaperUK
- a UX professional who writes Children’s poetry (he has a side-hustle portfolio!)
- a Web analyst who runs an amazing and tasty online bakery
A side-hustle usually makes use of some of your existing skills, but in an exciting and different way. Ideally it frees you up from the constraints of work to prove what else you can do.
It’s another side to your character that needs to express itself and be more than your day job. It’s freedom! It’s your mission and it’s fun! You just can’t help but do it.
What’s my side?
As someone interested in learning and training, I’ve had an idea for a while to take aspects of coaching and rewrite them into a more meaningful book or some sort of media, so more people can enjoy them. Ideally they should be available, when I’m not there, so I can crack on with my day job! (for now – at-least). I also used this as proof to crack a new career recently.
During Lock-down a few things joined up in my head. The grey cells aligned in a notebook I’ve been carrying round to coffee shops for a while. (Having a notebook is a good tip to getting your thoughts organised and you can keep any drawings, sticky notes and lists in one place.)
Thanks to some self-study (you sometimes need to skill-up) and then a commitment to write, produce and publish my first course ‘chunk’ I got to a really good place. I’ve landed a new role and speed-learned a load of skills and software on route. It’s been fun!
What happened next?
Hey presto, I suddenly had enough e-Learning content to finish a balanced portfolio to show a range of work. This got my through the door in the interview process and into a new role in L&D / e-learning. My side-hustle helped me break through and get what I wanted to achieve.
I also more ‘whole’ and congruent, like I’m closer to doing what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s pretty cosmic and feels like a real break-through. Changing job and industry is a good result and I feel confident I can do it – I’ve proved something to myself too.
One other learning from this was you don’t have to grow a whole forest for a side project, just a couple of trees is enough to show you can do something. However, you may also start something you want to continue with, maybe a business or a new long-term venture.
One of my inspirations was a skill-share course / short film by Andy J Pizza – Great name and he has some great insights on creative projects to help you get that big break. He’s an illustrator and designer, not a Pizza maker (last time I checked…).
It’s always good to do a little research and learn from others who’ve been willing to share their wisdom. I just got lucky when I found Andy’s course, but it helped frame my efforts with some great tips and context.
What do you learn from side-projects?
It’s not just the production that helps you move forward. It’s also the research. Finding your niche or platform is also a valuable quest that can be solved with a side-hustle project.
Look at all the tools, techniques and skills you need to do this. Some you will have, but be humble enough to admit you’ll need more and learn them using entry-level costs where possible.
There’s always teaching material around. Skill-Share and LinkedIn learning really helped me on my search, plus some great Podcasts I found to fill out my knowledge. Don’t be shy of using software on free trials either, that can open new doors quickly.
Life is short – so go do your super side project and beat the nay-sayers and recruiters to get what you want.