How to Start a Side Project – Ideas and Resources

How to start a side project?
How to start a side project?

As Adam Grant puts it in his book Originals, the entrepreneurs who hedged their bets by starting their companies while keeping their day jobs were 33% less likely to fail than those who quit their day jobs to start their business.

Side projects to the rescue

Whether you are a startup co-founder, small business owner, a full-time employee or a freelancer, a side project can mean a lot to you.

If you are stuck with progression or feeling lost at some point in your journey, a side project could be an amazing lifeboat for your distress calls.

A side project was touted as a distractor in yesteryear workplaces. But today side projects are in the spotlight, for their ability to add a fresh perspective to your dreams.

Else to fuel your employer’s growth. What’s more? There are tonnes of side projects making it big today. 

What side project do I start?

Depending on where you are in your personal and professional journey, side projects can take the form of a whole lot things.

A side project can range from a blog to a small product. It could be a newsletter, a magazine, a work of art, or a podcast.

May be something as simple as a facebook page, or a social media channel.

So, a side project can be anything that creates value to your target users.

You awe your customers or users through your side project. As a result, they come looking for your main one.

Better still, you discover a totally new niche for yourself that you abandon your main vocation altogether, now that your side project has hit it mainstream :).

What can a side project mean to you?

If you are in a day job and your side project is a phenomenal success, it probably means that you are on a road to freedom.

So you can define your own schedules and call your shots as an entrepreneur. 

You don’t have to be an all-or-nothing-entrepreneur for the starts.

What this means is, you’ve found your calling, without actually risking it all.

You’ve hedged your risk sufficiently while still succeeding on your deeper aspirations.

Are you are a full-time employee, determined to get your employer to scale new horizons?
A side project can be an amazing little experiment, that you want to help your employer with.

Google began its famous 20% rule, where the employees could spend 20% of their time experimenting with projects that excited them. The result was a more creative 80%.

Done right, the side project can mean a new niche, new segment, or new customers. A side project can throw some new insights to help take your employer to new heights!

Are you are a hobbyist, looking at just making a side gig, or an additional income stream out of your creative talents? Side projects fit your bill too.

How do I start my side project?

Read, read, read stuff in your chosen (side) field. Be informed – a cliche for sure, but worth the reminder. Read up the success stories in your field.

Follow ideas, follow resources that will help you get there. A lot of folks have tried, tested and worked it out for themselves.

Follow people and learn from them. Explore, experiment and evolve.

Also remember that your side project is a low risk, pure love based endeavor with an output.

Set yourself some goals, but don’t pressurize yourself with deadlines. It is a creative pursuit, so productivity should matter lesser than creativity.

Online – web or app based side projects

Tons of resources exist today to start an online web or app based side project. You can pick up the tech skills online for free too.

If you are non-tech, some DIY websites let you build your own app or site for a few bucks, with a drag and drop interface. Here are some triggers to launch yourself on your side path.

r/SideProject 

A subreddit for side projects. A good hangout for ideas, resources, feedback and marketing for your side project.

This is also a place to get or share tips and inspiration to work on new projects.

SideProjectors 

A marketplace for side projects. Use this to discover, buy & refurbish or sell your side projects.

This is for side projects that exist in a form that can be viewed or downloaded. For example, a website. Like a mobile app, desktop app, plugin or an extension – not for concepts or ideas.

Live Your Legend

An amazing community to help you start and grow a blog. 95% of resources are free. If you love writing, a lot of affiliate products are available at discounts for building a blog, growing an audience and making your living, doing what you love.

Photography as a side project.

If photography is your calling, you’d want to keep in touch with the tips, tricks, techniques and trends in photography through youtube channels like 

For the shutterbugs amongst us to exhibit and sell our very best shots, photography marketplaces like Alamy, ShutterstockiStock PhotoFotolia and Dreamstime and many more exist. 

Side projects for art and craft makers.

You may want to signup to Pinterest boards, if you haven’t already,  to connect with fellow art makers and enjoy daily inspirations through fresh pins on craft and vintage goods ideas.

Online handmade marketplaces have made it easy for artists among us, to turn our hobbies into businesses. Most of the sites charge a percentage of the sale as a commission and some them charge a listing fee too. Here’s a list of marketplaces for the crafter in you, to make and sell vintage goods & craft supplies.

Bonanza – offers zero-effort webstores, automatically built from the seller’s marketplace account, and tools to create studio-quality photos.

Etsy – is an online marketplace for boutique entrepreneurs. The website lets you create an Etsy shop: an online space where individuals can create and sell hand crafted retail items.

Artfire – is a craft and maker community to buy, sell and interact.

Shophandmade – lets you open a store for free. The sellers decide to pay how much ever they want to. 

iCraftGifts – is for handmade art, crafts, and fashion creations. Items are reviewed prior to listing, and creators are provided constructive criticism when there is an opportunity for improvement.

DaWanda – is a place where designers and creative people can offer their one of a kind and limited edition products for sale. Create your store, list your products, market them and more.

Silkfair – is both a market place and lets sellers create custom stores. Provides a host of tools to manage your shop and merchandise.

Handmade at Amazon – is for invited artisans to sell their unique, handcrafted goods. Applications are reviewed thoroughly according to the guidelines provided by Amazon.

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How to start a side project
How to start a side project

Time to start your own side project is Now!

Now put on your thinking cap to start your very own side project. What side project do you plan to start? What side project ideas would you like to share with the world?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links via Amazon that lets the author earn a small commission when you make a purchase, that is required to keep the site content free. Thank you!

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40 Comments

  1. Awesome resources!! Aside from blogging, I started an instagram fan account for hiking as a side project over a year ago, and although it’s done pretty well for itself, I’d like to bring it up a few levels. I’ll definitely be checking out the subreddit page. I think that’ll help a lot. In the meantime, if you’re curious, check out @hiking_is_magical.

  2. I liked this post overall, though I am not sure how much I agree that productivity shouldn’t matter as much in a side project. Especially when your side project deals with something like opening up a store or fulfilling stuff for other people I think productivity should matter a good deal so you can get more done for those who work with you. I feel like creativity and productivity can go hand-in-hand.

  3. Thank you for the reminder about the Google rule. I have often felt guilty about my side project – like I should ONLY be spending time on my “job” at work 24/7, 7 days a week. You are right that it draws more creativity out of a person when they are involved in something that sparks their passion!

  4. toughcookiemommy

    I think a lot of people are sometimes at a loss for how to start a project that they have an idea about. You really provide them with some great ideas to get that project off the ground.

  5. Ever since I remember I always had a side project! Eventually it turned into a blogging job! I guess it was too boring for me to work 9 to 5 so here you go – my life has completely changed thanks to my “side gig”

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