10 ideas for a side project
A side project, simply put is a hobby or interest you work on, on the side. It might not be your main gig (like say a full time job or your undergrad course), but it’s a great way to work on what you love and pick up new skills. The best part is you have complete flexibility over what shape you want it to take – there’s no boss or teacher telling you what to do.
I’ve put together a list of 10 ideas for side projects that I hope comes in handy for anyone out there who’s looking to do just a little bit more with their time. I’ve skipped ideas related to coding and starting business ventures since they’re usually talked about really often.
#1 Keep at it: Take up a 30 day challenge
30 day challenges can be fun and engaging – the idea is to stick to one thing for 30 days. It’s not too significant if you do it for a day, but to do it for 30 days in continuation? That could be very interesting. Give up caffeine for a month. Or perhaps commit to writing a letter a day to 30 people in your life. Here are 100 other ideas.
#2 Get to the bottom of it: Explore what interests you
A great idea for a project is to study something that interests you. You can draw inspiration from things that are around you and explore them further. Are you interested in email marketing? How about signing up for 10 different apps and studying the first email these companies send you? You can evaluate them based on various criteria and look out for areas of improvement. Share your “research” as a PDF with the world, or maybe write a guest post on a blog. You could even send it to the companies as feedback.
#3 Keep the momentum going: Start a newsletter
If you have something to share, a newsletter is another great way to do it. It’s like having a blog but better, cause you have more flexibility and you know you have an audience already. (Cause you’re sending it directly to people, you know?) And for most things on this list, any interest can be moulded into a newsletter. If you’re into music, you can send out a bi-weekly newsletter with links to lesser known (but still amazing) songs that launched in that period.
On that note, I’m starting a monthly newsletter that will be focused on careers – how to navigate through the working life and kick ass while doing so. I’ll be putting together information from across the web for this and also get in touch with some cool people who’ve been there, done that. If that sounds interesting to you, please take a minute to sign up for it here. It’ll also be a great way to get to know some awesome folks and expand your network.
#4 Teach them how to fish: Become a consultant
Take a minute to answer this: What’s one thing people always ask you for help with?
Are you known for your cooking skills? Pick 5 friends of yours who can’t cook to save their life and teach them to cook one dish. Or five.
Are people always complimenting you for your driving skills? Take up the task of teaching people around you how to parallel park. (The Parallel Parking Project, anyone?)
And of course, you can document this if you wish to – how about a vlog on the journey?
#5 Write, right now: Start a blog of your own
There are just so many perks of blogging and it’s so easy to start a blog that I’ve gotta include it on the list even if it’s a super obvious one. If you’ve been toying with the idea for a while, just go for it already. And if you’ve been having trouble thinking of what to post, maybe you can combine the idea with one of the other side project ideas. Like using a blog to document your 30 day challenge, how you fared, what it taught you, and so on.
#6 Bring people together: Build a community
I personally love this idea for a side project. How exciting would it be to get people together based on one common interest or theme? If you’re a movie buff, start a Facebook page where you and your squad reviews the latest movie each week. Put together a group of people who love history as much as you and visit one place of historical significance each weekend.
Once you have your interest narrowed down on, invite your friends and ask them to invite their friends. Boom.
#7 Pour your heart into it: Write an ebook
A lot of us (myself included) harbour the desire to write a book one day. Till we work on that, an ebook is a relatively less daunting challenge to take up. Pick a topic that interests you and write an ebook of say, 35 pages on it. Or if you’re into fiction, weave a story into your ebook. Self publish it, put it on Amazon, and promote it the way you like.
#8 Don’t stop learning: Pick up a new skill
Say you ARE the friend from point #4 who can’t cook to save their life. Pick up learning how to cook as a side project and maybe challenge yourself to master one dish from each state in India. However skilled you consider yourself to be, there’s got to be a ton of things you don’t know (yet). It doesn’t even have to be something huge, like learning a new language. Maybe you can just learn how to play ONE song on the harmonica for starters. (Also there’s a resource out there on the internet for pretty much anything you might want to learn, so you have no excuse!)
#9 Shoot and upload: Start a YouTube channel
Another content centric idea, YouTube channels make for a great side project because you not only get to share ideas with the world through audio/video, it’s also a fantastic opportunity to learn many tools and softwares along the way. You don’t have to be perfect when you start out – a good enough camera, an idea that resonates with you and basic editing skills, are all that’s needed. In fact, YouTube makes this super easy with its YouTube Capture app.
#10 Raise your voice: Start a podcast series
Podcasts have been around for a while now, but I don’t see the playing ground to be too saturated in India. A podcast is basically an audio log of whatever it is that you want to share. They’ve become increasingly popular over the years because you listen to them while traveling, working out and so on. It’s also a great way to build a rapport with an audience!
You could start an interview series talking to one interesting person a week. Or a podcast summarizing and discussing all that happened in a particular sphere that week (for TV shows, maybe?)
You don’t need fancy equipment to begin with, just a recording device and a way for people to subscribe to it, like SoundCloud or iTunes.
Did I miss a great idea for a side project? Let me know in the comments below!
PS: I’m starting a monthly newsletter for career driven young professionals and college students. It’ll have a round up of resources from across the web, a way to expand your network and share the cool things you’ve been up to. If you’re game, sign up for it here.
Featured image: Negativespace.co