I recently came across an interesting quote by Laurence Lee: “The world does not pay for what a person knows. But it pays for what a person does with what he knows.”
This quote, I believe, contains a profound lesson. It emphasizes the importance of real-world application rather than mere knowledge. It’s not enough just to know something; it’s the application of that knowledge that counts.
That’s one reason why I’m an advocate of having side projects. Why? Because having side projects can help you explore the application of new things. Furthermore, as you will see below, it’s also a good way to build multiple income streams.
Here are four steps that you need to take:
1. Keep upgrading your knowledge.
You can only apply what you know. So the first thing to do is to keep upgrading your knowledge. Make your self-education a priority. Don’t be satisfied with where you are. That way you can see new possibilities.
2. Think about possible side projects.
While continuing to build your knowledge, ask yourself: what are the possible side projects? What exciting things can you experiment with?
Of course you can’t take too many projects at once, so take just one (or a few, at the most) of them. The project you take should be one that’s both exciting and doable given your current resources.
3. Learn from real-world feedback.
Nothing can teach you better than being in the real world, so take your project there. Launch the blog, publish the app, self-publish the book. And don’t wait until everything is perfect before you do that. Make it just good enough, put it out there, and learn from the feedback. Real-world feedback can point you to the right direction.
4. Adopt promising side projects as your main projects.
If you find a side project that’s promising, you might want to make it one of your main projects. It could then become a new income stream for you. This blog, for instance, was a side project of mine that later became a main project.
This four-step approach allows you to apply your knowledge without putting too much burden on yourself. After all, what you do is only a side project, so it’s okay to fail. And, since you do something that excites you, you will have fun anyway.
Furthermore, it allows you to build multiple income streams. In my case, those streams actually free up my time (since I no longer need a day job) to experiment even more.
Photo by Bigstock