How Side Projects Help You as a Freelancer

How Side Projects Help You as A Freelancer

As a freelancer, you are constantly giving your most creative ideas to your clients. Working on their ideas, goals, and businesses. Working on your side project can be creatively fulfilling and rewarding. Sometimes even, being more rewarding then you can possibly imagine. Here are just a few ways side projects can help you as a freelancer.

Side Projects Generate More Business

Back in 2014, Dale Johnson was working as a graphic designer in various corporate environments. Wanting to rekindle my love for drawing, I started a ‘doodle-a-day’ challenge, very common among artists on Instagram.

The doodles were often random, and just funny puns or interesting things I’d seen that day. For a whole year, I drew something and posted it on my Instagram.

I had no idea that commissioned illustration work would come of it. One of my doodles was a homage to a local wrap shop, depicting one of the wraps as a rap artist. The owner of the franchise saw my tagged tweet, loved it, and commissioned me to do a series of illustrations for all his stores.

I also ended up illustrating a children’s book, and an entire presentation for a best man’s speech, all from the growing popularity of my drawings online.

Side Projects Help You Learn New Skills

Bridget Sielicki founder of The Freelancing Mama has learned a ton of new skills with her side hustle. As a freelance writer for over 10 years, she has mastered the art of crafting content. But learning how to build, and market a website is a whole nother game. Starting a side project has helped Bridget learn these skills which can be applied to her clients.

A similar story for Milos of SEO Brainiac, who uses side projects as a way of testing new strategies. Some of these strategies are ones Milos isn’t comfortable using on a client as they are riskier. Milos is more aware of the possibilities and limitations of different tactics, which gives him more self-confidence in running campaigns for my clients

The Mental Health Game is Strong With Side Projects

Mental health is extremely important, especially in uncertain times. Not every client’s project is going to be something you are passionate about. Sometimes you will have to take work just to keep the lights on. That is where side projects come in. 

As Daniel Foley shared “having a side project that helps you engage with what you are passionate about, even if it is not for income, can be massively beneficial for your mental health and keep you in a positive headspace doing what you love.” 

Create Powerful Connections With Mentors

The old adage of it’s not what you know but who you know is true. Being connected with movers and shakers in your industry can be a massive challenge. Their time is extremely valuable and rarely will you be able to cut through the noise of their inbox. Unless you are smart like Jay Clouse who started the podcast Creative Elements.

Through the show, He’s been able to talk to some people who he really, really respect and admire: Seth Godin, James Clear, Vanessa Van Edwards, and many others.

This has also grown my online audience generally, which has led to new projects and new opportunities.

At the same time, it’s helped me create a few new skills (podcast production, storytelling, coordinating an editorial process with a team) that have made me a better freelancer too.

Generate Press Opportunities and Speaking Engagements

Stefan created the newsletter Remotely Inclined. Through this newsletter, Stefan has generated public speaking opportunities, been interviewed on podcasts and blogs. Built his own personal audience and grew his brand. All because of a simple side project.

Smoothing Out Cash Flow

Freelancing isn’t always a steady career, a random event completely outside of your control like a pandemic can take away a ton of revenue. Having a side project or blog can help smooth out cash flow.

Samiksha created Yummy Tummy Recipes and generates around 7000 monthly unique visitors. With this traffic, Samiksha has been able to generate an additional $500 a day through ad sense and affiliate marketing. 

If you are looking to start a similar project, you should follow along as I build This Unicorn Life. I’ve been documenting this process on Reddit.

Become a Resource for Others

Sometimes creating a side project isn’t so much about making more money or mental health, sometimes it’s simple to become a resource to others. It can be tough having aging ailing parents in the best of times, add to that a pandemic and you are full of peril and dread for your loved ones.

That is what happened for Rick, his side project whose stories about his thoughts and experiences relating to parental physical and mental health decline lead him to publish two books Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians and The Successful Caregiver’s Guide.

Niche books may not sound fancy but can be a fantastic resource for those individuals looking for an expert on that topic. 

Overall, if you are a freelancer, side projects can be a massive help. If you have ever thought about starting a side project, I hope this shows you various benefits.

If you have started a side project, leave a comment with what it is and how it’s helped you. 

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