The value of side projects

I’m constantly amazed by the people I know who are quietly creating at home while achieving brilliant things in their day jobs.

I’ve got friends building fashion businesses, volunteering, launching startups, telling stories through their photographs, home brewing and running micro businesses (you know who you are and that I am in awe of you).

I was probably a bit late to this creative party. In my twenties I was singularly focused on building my career. It wasn’t until I was in my thirties, had achieved my career goals (and was still feeling a niggling sense of still being unfulfilled) that I started to explore elsewhere. Now I see my side projects as a critical part of my professional practice and a key enabler of my success at work.

My current side projects include (in no particular order) illustrations of animals and abstracts (that I sometimes sell on Etsy), volunteering as an online community manager for Startup Adelaide, a little bit of mentoring, a short story project called Adelaide Stories (which I get to when I can), my professional blog (right here) and a couple of other ideas I am exploring.

Finding them was easier than I thought. I just went back to what I loved doing most as a child – drawing, inventing and writing stories – and started exploring from there.

Earlier this year I set myself another goal: writing an eBook. Again, I didn’t need it to change the world – I just wanted to produce something that might be useful to someone. On the weekend I went to (virtual) print and achieved a creative goal in the process. I also now know a lot more about eBooks, editing, Kindle publishing and cover design.Book cover image - 365 Content Ideas for any Business

None of my side projects will change the world. But they bring me so much value, allow my creative side a space to play, force me to keep learning and exploring what is possible and deliver me new ways of thinking that I take back to my workplace.

I am really interested in what everyone else is doing.

What are you quietly creating at night when you get home from work?

What do your side projects contribute to your professional practice?