Ask the Readers: What Side Project(s) Are You Working On?

I’m a big believer in having side projects. In my opinion, it’s one of the best ways to grow yourself. I discussed the benefits in detail in this post (along with some tips to implement them), but here are the points:

  1. It gives you time to refresh your mind.
  2. It allows you to explore growth opportunities.
  3. It challenges you to be creative.

This blog, for instance, was a side project. I was a full-time graduate student at that time and I started this blog to explore English blogging (I already had a blog in Indonesian – my native language – back then). A few years down the road this blog allowed me to quit my day job.
At that point, this blog was no longer a side project. But I kept taking new side projects to expand my personal capacity. A more recent one was my iOS app business.
I’m always exploring new ideas for side projects and I believe you should too. I also believe that we can all learn from each other. So I’d like to ask you:
What side project(s) are you working on?
Giving us some additional tips will be even better 🙂
Please share your answer in the comments so that everyone can read it. Thanks!
Photo by striatic

29 Comments

  1. My main side projects:
    1. Aimforawesome.com – Hawaii focused site, just in case I ever go back there to live – I need something that’s already in motion.
    2. Writing fiction.
    3. Videos about living in Thailand at http://www.youtube.com/user/thaipulsedotcom
    My side projects give me a way to blow off steam, whether it’s negative energy or creative, positive energy. I feel like I have way too much going on in my mind to pigeonhole my focus into just one site or area.
    Aloha!
    Vern

  2. I have a personal blog & also a car seat review blog with affiliate links.
    I’m trying to figure out gardening in Arizona!
    Tip: Have a secure fence, automatic watering system & good soil.
    I always have many interests and tend to run after too many things when I would do better to put more focus in one area and master it.

  3. i am working on invoice bravo, an online invoicing system with automatic reminders for late payers. It is still in development and paypal integration is still under testing, however, the basic invoicing functionality is there.
    You or your readers can even sign up for testing if you want, it is completely free to do so.
    this is a project i am taking very seriously. I wanted to apply my enterprise software development experience to a project i can call my own and i am very satisfied. why hope is like you to grow it to the point to be able to quit my day job, and have a happy group of customers.
    your feedback would be appreciated.

  4. AppliedPDA.com – smartphone apps (iOS) development business
    TobogganHills.com – crowd sourced locations to go Tobogganing/sledding in winter.
    They are only “side” businesses because they aren’t generating enough revenue (yet).
    But also allow me to express my creativity in various forms (app design, blogging, etc.)
    I aim to make them more profitable this year so that I can devote more time to their success.
    Cheers.

    • I am working on a free newsletter for the older generation, to be read in the waiting room of Dr. offices, Hospitals and clinics. Information on aging, healthy eating and coping with a changing world.

  5. I recommend picking up side projects that support your main work or business. For example, I have a fiction WIP that doesn’t have anything to do with my non-fiction WIP, but writing it enriches my writing knowledge and skills, which I can apply to my book and blog about writing.

  6. One of the side projects that i’ve always challenged my mind with is learning foreign languages , as much as i can and find new websites to teach what i need. learning new things what ever it is ,challenges my mind , like painting ,hairdressing , sewing , making decorative things for home …. 🙂

  7. As i am a DJ/promoter/speaker in my real job my side job is doing a blog increasing the exposure and awareness of independent & undiscovered talent, which also follows they journey by bringing light to the underground and helps bridge the gap between mainstream and unsigned artists
    its an one stop shop for them to send to fans. On this one page they can see they links, videos, show schedules, etc…
    Tips helps keeps me to be creative, i get to follow my dreams, gets me to understand people lives, and make me know with out a struggle there no progress
    Neo2soul blog is full of the “U Factor”(underground, unreleased, upcoming, & under appreciated ) artists

  8. Thanks for sharing, everyone! Reading your comments above, I can summarize them into these lessons:
    1. Build it before you need it (from Vern’s comment)
    2. Don’t spread yourself too thin (from Elisabeth’s comment)
    3. Take advantage of your experience (from Adrian’s and Godfrey’s comment)
    4. Express your creativity (from Sebastian’s comments)
    5. Find a gap and fill it (from Ken’s comment)
    6. Pick a side project that supports your main work (from Dana’s comment)
    7. Use side projects to challenge your mind (from Hoda’s comment)

  9. I recently began assisting the UNM Dance Scholarship Program with social media. I’m an Alum of the program but switched to fitness for 10 years and UNM FoD invited me to the Board when I began blogging; it’s wonderful to both feed my passion for dance and volunteer for an amazing program.
    https://www.facebook.com/UNMFriendsofDance

  10. Hi Donald:
    As I was reading your post, I was already thinking about what my side project would be. I’ve had an idea for an iOS app, but I have no idea where to start with it. (I have a great idea for an app, but no programming experience) Then I read that you’ve created an iOS app! 🙂
    Can you share with us the process you used to bring your app to life?
    Thanks,
    -Patrick

    • Hi Patrick,
      What a coincidence 🙂 I’m a developer, so I simply taught myself how to program for iOS and then make my own apps.
      But I recently found a good book on iOS app business that doesn’t require programming experience. The title is App Empire. I recommend you read it.

  11. Samantha Gallagher
    Samantha Gallagher

    My main job for quite awhile was mothering my two young sons. When my husband was killed on duty by a drunk driver, that job became even more difficult. As I concentrated on getting through day after day, I categorized the experiences I was going through so that I could one day write a book about it. Now, I have written the book!

  12. Hi Donald. I really like your idea for having something going on the side. For years I have tried and failed to get things up and running while trying to convince others to do the same. Mostly, people are too comfortable with their lives, thinking nothing will change if they keep their heads down. Many people are realizing that is no longer the case.
    For my side projects, I have a personal blog at http://BlueCapra.com that I have been writing at for about a year. It has allowed me to write about SEO, programming, and any other subject I am interested in, functioning mostly as an online resume and place to post projects and information. My recent project has been to get one of my links to show up for my name on Google. I have reached #3 but I am still striving for #1.
    My other side project is a laser engraving business, Book Worm Laser & Design at http://bookwormlaser.com. There, I write about books, laser engraving, business, etc. I create laser engraved items from wood, acrylic, aluminum, and whatever materials I can get my hands on. About 6 months ago, I started a video series, Can You Etch It, showing some of the more unique ideas for laser engraved items. I have over 25 videos on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/bookwormlaser) with a new one being uploaded almost every week.
    Thanks for reminding everyone of the importance of side projects. I hope this post has encouraged more people to get out there and start something on the side and let people know about it. Sure, there will be some failures but without failures, there is no success.

  13. I’m working on my blog! I’m also writing an HCG ebook to put up on my new website: hcg-diet-secrets.com as well as Amazon. I’m a real estate investor and have rental properties in the Florida Keys. And I work a full time job as a sales man for the largest pool distributor in the world!
    -RH

  14. I love all things creative. Side projects are a definite stress reliever!
    My all time favorite, however, is WRITING 🙂

  15. Thanks for another great post! I was happy to read about others that enjoy side projects! I enjoy gardening, rumba, but my real side project is writing. I have a novel and short story published on Smashwords.com and am at work on another (actually, several others). If you’re interested, you can download the free short story at https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/6322.

  16. I think having side projects is super important too, and I’ve always got something cooking on the back burner. Right now I’m working on creating an ebook, based on my experiences with starting my own freelance business. I get a ton of questions from people, so I figured I might as well share what I’ve learned. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

  17. One of my side projects is blogging on cooking, which is simple ones but very delicious local cuisine. I love it and I really cooked it before blogging. Sharing it with other people, is a kind of cool thing and happyness I can get.
    The other is a blog focused on local/municipal information, which can provide people/tourists useful information for travel and everyday life.

  18. Thanks for this post. I just came across your blog and I’m loving what I’m seeing.
    My wife and I started as a side project a blog called http://ILoveBeingHappilyMarried.com which also has a Facebook page that goes along with it http://Facebook.com/ILoveBeingHappilyMarried
    What began as a labor of love for my wife and I in our quest to discover other happily married couples worldwide has grown to over 16K fans on Facebook as of today and a beautiful community dedicated to “Spreading the Joy of Marriage.”
    Sometimes keeping the community going takes time and effort but ultimately it feels great to see how many happy people get to express the joy in their marriages thanks to the “side project” we created.
    Thank you again for LifeOptimizer.org – it is wonderful and I wish you the very best.

  19. My side project now is my new blog. However, I’m not sure if I consider this as a “side” project. I’m pouring all my heart into it after my day job. Making a plan to soon turn it into a main project.

  20. I completely agree. My side project is setting up a new website to help people completely new to fiction writing to finish their story. So I’d like to think that I’m helping them to complete their own project on the side!

  21. I’m working on art projects at the moment, as well as a book, which shall be called: ‘The Paranormal Kids’
    To see my art: http://caitlinkarasu.deviantart.com/
    And to read my story (It’s in drafts at the moment, so you can’t read it, but here’s the link anyways when it’ll be published): http://www.quotev.com/story/2201057/The-Paranormal-Kids/1/

  22. Hello, great topic! As my side project, I decided to take a theater class to challenge myself creatively and do something outside my usual comfort zone. I offer a recap of that experience, if you are interested, on my blog:
    http://circleoflifeblog.wordpress.com/2012/07/26/try-something-outside-your-comfort-zone/
    My husband likes to take photos and I am a writer, so we collaborated on a book. It is a first for both of us and a wonderful learning experience.
    Best to all,
    Patricia 🙂

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