Side Projects: How to Start (and Finish) One

Side Projects: How to Start (and Finish) One

So how do you choose just one -- and once you do, how do you make time to work on it, and see it through to the end? After all, when you put in long days or weeks at work, the last thing you want to do is, well, more work -- even if you have a remarkable idea. 6 Tips to Start (and Finish) a Side Project 1) Make sure the novelty isn't going to wear off. From what I’ve observed, it’s a common phenomenon among creative people, which makes it that much more difficult to actually finish a side project before you think of another one that’s, well, “shinier.” So to prevent that, we’ve established a few steps to follow: Make sure you’re really excited about the idea -- really excited. For one work week, schedule an hour each night to do research on the project. But never forget about your “day job” -- you know, the thing you were hired to do because of its ultimate impact on the product and customer. After all, it’s called a side project because it’s something you do on the side. If the project isn’t being carried out on behalf of your employer, then it’s best not to give it much, if any of your attention during work hours. Many times, employees are required to sign documents agreeing not to use company resources -- like computers or other supplies -- to work on anything other than the work they were hired to do, so it’s better to be safe than sorry, and work on your project during your own time. "Hold yourself accountable by telling other people about your project,” says HubSpot ‎Senior Marketing Manager Lindsay Kolowich.

How the Brain Processes Different Types of Content [Infographic]
4 Reasons You Should Avoid Saying Yes
Best Content Ideas for Small Business Owners
side-projects-compressor.jpg

It might be an unpopular opinion, but I do believe that having tons of great ideas isn’t always a good thing.

There just isn’t enough time in a single day to tackle all of them — let alone while also doing your day job. So how do you choose just one — and once you do, how do you make time to work on it, and see it through to the end?

That, my friends, is why we get search results like these:

side projects search results.png

We get it: Finishing a side project is really, really hard. After all, when you put in long days or weeks at work, the last thing you want to do is, well, more work — even if you have a remarkable idea.

But it’s not impossible. In fact, with a few changes to your outlook and approach to your side project, it might actually be what you had originally imagined — fun. That’s why we compiled this list of tips to complete those side projects that you’re determined to see through to the end.

6 Tips to Start (and Finish) a Side Project

1) Make sure the novelty isn’t going to wear off.

Many moons ago, I was having a career chat with my then-editor about some business ideas, when she introduced me to my favorite term: “shiny object syndrome.” I use it to describe my tendency to think of a great idea, jump into it with full force and excitement, and after a month or two … lose interest.

From what I’ve observed, it’s a common phenomenon among creative people, which makes it that much more difficult to actually finish a side project before you think of another one that’s, well, “shinier.” So to prevent that, we’ve established a few steps to follow:

  1. Make sure you’re really excited about the idea — really excited.
  2. Give it 10 days, and see if you’re still excited. If you are, proceed to the next step.
  3. Acknowledge just how difficult this project will be. How much time will it require? Are you actually going to be so excited about it that you still want to give it your attention after a terrible day at work?
  4. Give it a trial run. For one work week, schedule an hour each night to do research on the project.

If your responses to each step are pretty much affirmative, then that’s a good sign. Proceed — but not without caution.

2) Be respectful of your employer’s time.

Sometimes, your employer might encourage you to execute a side project on the company’s behalf. It might be an experiment with new types of blog content, or starting a branded podcast. But never forget about your “day job” — you know, the thing you were hired to do because of its ultimate impact on the product and customer.

In other words, even if the side project is something your manager signed off on, be respectful of the company’s time and resources. Here at HubSpot, we approach everything we do with a general formula:

customer > team > individual

If your instincts tell you that you…

COMMENTS

WORDPRESS: 0
DISQUS: 0