Making time to create side projects

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Client work is appealing and incredibly addictive. There seems to be some type of magnetic force drawing you to take on more client work. The feeling of ‘just one more’ or ‘what if I lose a client’ becomes too much. Saying no can be one of the hardest things in your self employed/freelance career. But by saying YES to everything are you reducing the free hours you have in a week to be creative and build your empire?

Working on the web in the digital space gives you a platform to create side projects. Whether that’s an affiliate business, buying domain names, drop selling products or perhaps a blog like this one. There should be an end goal with everything you do and a reason why you do it.

This blog doesn’t directly make me money but there’s a certain value it’s creating and an end goal. Whether that’s acting as a perception piece for my freelance work; search engine exposure or other subliminal values attributed to the visibility it creates. Ironically by blogging it’s perhaps delivering more enquiries for my freelancing services!

Focusing purely on client work is a one dimensional approach to your self employed lifestyle. For me there’s nothing better than driving sales via a product or earning money outside of your billable or employed time.

My side projects initially started from nothing and for a considerable amount of time were making me less money than a 16 year old would get on their first Saturday job at the local bakery. I also tried A LOT of side projects until one stuck. My poor wife had to nod and agree to every idea I had. I did all this while working full time; sneaking an hour in when I could (4am club) and just getting started.

But finally one worked. I invested money into a number of educational websites, grew the traffic & now my side project contributes to over 50% of my income on a monthly basis. These side projects were the platform for me taking the plunge into self employment.

Whether you are a freelancer, working full time or perhaps a full time parent I encourage you to make time for a side project. You’re an awesome illustrator? Start selling your icons on GraphicsRiver, You grow clients businesses via SEO? Build your own website.

Side projects can create lifestyles, dreams and and fulfil aspirations. Because of my side projects I’ve been able to see my daughter over the past 4 months more than any father I know. They’ve helped create a sense of freedom, slashed my commute and given me happiness in my work, and personal life that I haven’t had before.

Eleven shitty projects & one which worked.

I urge you to get started today. As Jason Fried says in the fantastic Rework

“What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.”
― Jason Fried, Rework

Other reasons to start a side project:
: You can make money when you are not working.
: Safety blanket. Contracts & employment can be taken from you at any time!
: Side projects become businesses
: They are fulfilling
: They make you unique
: They are your own
: They can be what you want them to be

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