You must start a side project.

Side projects come with an opportunity to collaborate with peers and showcase your proof of work.

You must start a side project.

Anything we do other than our “main” job gets referred to as a side hustle/project. The irony is that getting started with that ‘side’ hustle/project takes more effort, time, and energy.

Side projects have always been a part of my life. From learning a different language to working as an intern in a different field like finance - side projects have been my thing.

“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.” ― Roy T. Bennett

I strongly believe in the above-mentioned quote. If you are someone who always focuses on the main job/project and barely starts anything new on the side, this is the push you need to do something about it.

You already know how much communication skills are important and those skills are built on multiple failed trials - important to push one towards a successful path. This is the most likable and appreciated advantage one gets when they start something on the side.

Side projects come with an opportunity to collaborate with peers. Anything that involves a collaboration between a different set of intellectual individuals should be considered an opportunity.

I am here to convince you to start a side project so let’s understand why you should start a side project.

Why side project?

When you decide to dedicate your energy toward a side project, you sharpen your three kinds of skillset - Soft skills, technical skills/project specific, and emotional skills. It’s a bonus that you get for the time, and effort dedicated to the work.

Let’s understand all of them one by one.

Soft Skills

  1. Critical thinking - You become your manager and that gives you a vision to think like a boss, critically and logically.
  2. Teamwork - You try to try out a few new things which might need the assistance of different people and give you an option to collaborate with different peers.
  3. Communication skills - You learn to listen and speak in a way that can take you to places.
  4. Work/Team Management - You become your boss means you are a leader and you are a follower as well. You play multiple roles and hence learn multiple skills.
  5. Time Management - This is one of the important skills for living a balanced life and once, you start hustling on the side, you start learning how to use your time efficiently.

Technical Skills

This is going to be more focused on people working in tech. Side projects became a thing because somewhere some kids decided to try out things on their own and developed Facebook, Reddit, etc.

Some curious kids have done everything from making money by making simple websites while being in school to finding bugs in well-developed & famous apps - I know some of them and they are an inspiration for me.

Why you should start a side project if you are from tech?

  1. Helps you enormously in improving your core skills - You can explore and try whatever new technology you want while working on your side projects: gives an absolute bonus to be on the top of your game.
  2. Freedom to decide who can use it - Maybe you are not a fan of criticism or any kind of feedback for that matter so, your side project gives you the right to choose who can use the product.
  3. Get feedback - Maybe you thrive on getting criticism, then you should start a side project, and you get a chance to showcase your skills.
  4. Build from scratch - Building a product from the scratch gives a boost to self-confidence and skills - it’s proof that one has multiple skill sets and can pull off something this huge.
  5. Creativity - Side projects give you a chance to go crazy with the idea, to be your most creative version, and to go extra with your designs and features that too without deadlines.
  6. A benefit to your career - You get projects to showcase in your portfolio for new opportunities.

Also, for that, now you don’t have to share multiple links, Peerlist is your one-stop. You can integrate your work from different platforms like Github, dribble, hashnode, etc.

Emotional Skills:

  1. Passion for a 9-5 job: Once you start your side project, your main job becomes a relatively easy and fun task - it starts feeling like an opportunity to explore many other things on the side while not worrying about money.
  2. Helps in reducing your stress: You will always have something to do which automatically makes stress the least important thing.
  3. Helps in avoiding burnout: If you are excited about one part of your life, you will automatically notice a change in other aspects of your life.
  4. Knowing yourself: You will learn about your weaknesses and strengths. You might get a different realization and change your whole career dynamic.
  5. Fun quotient: You get to do something you love that adds a fun quotient to your life.
  6. Contribution to the open-source community: You get a chance to help people. An open-source community is the most selfless community and helpful to almost every other developer. You get ownership of your work when you contribute.

Your side projects are an option you choose to give back to the community.

Bonus 1#

Financial Gains:

Most of the side projects end up giving you one or another kind of financial gain - maybe some kind of future freelance client or some kind of sponsorship. Yes, you can get opportunities to work as a full-time professional as well.

How can you start a side project?

One line solution to this question - Talk To People Who Work On Side Projects.

Fun fact: Like Apple and Facebook, Peerlist also started as a side project - check out how Peerlist started.