One of the most common concepts you’re likely to come across if you follow personal finance is the “side hustle”. Side hustles are creative ways of generating money that can supplement your main income, in many instances for the purpose of helping pay down debt and accelerating the path to financial freedom. In fact, quite often, the blogs that talk about different types of extra income streams are side hustles themselves as the author attempts to build a following and leverage their writing skills into paid freelance work in the future. In this regard, this blog is no exception. However, even if the purpose has little to do with creating extra income, having a side project comes with many benefits that almost everyone can take advantage of. Here are 5 of the biggest in my opinion.
The process of coming up with an idea and then taking action to create something that didn’t previously exist generates a level of excitement in the creator, even if the project is only a website or a short story. Too often people settle into thinking that what surrounds them today is all there will ever be. Once you begin to flesh out minor details in your mind and then put them to paper your ideas start to snowball. As the momentum builds, the project becomes more interesting and more important to the creator, which frequently yields a better end product.
The excitement that results from starting your own side project can provide motivation to keep the project going, especially once you tell others about it who will likely ask you for updates on your progress. Oftentimes, the realization that you’ve created something new and alleviated the boredom that might have helped birth your idea can lead to renewed energy and motivation in other areas of your life that you might have given up on or allowed to stall.
- Unknown Upside/Network Effects
For obvious reasons, side projects are almost always centered on something the creator is passionate about, or at least interested in. As a result, it isn’t uncommon for these projects to find some level of success and garner a following, if only from the creator’s friends and family initially. Interest in your project can spread through word of mouth, and even if ultimately unsuccessful, the experience should help to grow your network which can be leveraged for the next project or lead to opportunities within your current industry. With any luck, however, your project may find a larger audience than you initially expected as people tend to want to help those who are working on something because they want to rather than they have to.
- Total Control
There is a significant difference between being part of a team project or carrying out tasks handed down by your boss and having your own side project where you are 100% in control. Having final say on something certainly can be empowering in the sense that all ideas are open to fully explore, nothing is dismissed unless you decide against it. In a typical work environment, when someone suggests an idea and it is shot down by a superior, there can be a tendency to not speak up when you have your next idea. But when you are running the show, no one tells you your idea is bad before it has a chance to be implemented. Instead, feedback comes from your audience after implementation, and ideas end up being proven worthwhile or not based on the response they get in the wild. While that might sound intimidating to some, it holds great value if you are potentially considering making your side project into something more serious. Consider this feedback to be free market testing and embrace it.
One of the best takeaways from any side project, regardless of whether you consider it be a success or not, is the feeling of hope it can instill in you. Creating something from scratch has enormous value. Many times our daily jobs involve carrying out a task that, if we quit or were fired, would simply be carried out by a replacement the next time around. But when you create something from scratch it wouldn’t exist without you. There is a tremendous sense of hope and confidence in that, which almost always stays with you as you move on from that side project to whatever is next. In the future when you encounter a situation where the options aren’t to your liking, you will at least consider the possibility that you could create what you are looking for. Everything that exists today isn’t all there ever will be, and knowing that can help improve your outlook on the future in all areas of life.