Side Projects: The Story So Far

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About 18 months ago I read a blog by Do Lectures founder David Hieatt on the subject of ‘Side Projects’ little knowing that it would kick-start my own side project.

“For side projects read ‘Labours of Love’. You know those ideas that just won’t go away. That little idea in the back of your head that just keeps bugging you. That keeps gnawing away at you in your quiet moments. Well, that idea just wants you to commit some time to it. It wants to make its way in the world.”

Despite the fact that David pitches the ‘slow success’ of side projects in opposition to the ‘fast failure’ of entrepreneurship I found almost the reverse; that side projects are a great way to engage people who don’t consider themselves to be entrepreneurs in a useful discussion about entrepreneurship.

The ‘E-word’ can be marmite to a lot of people; I work in entrepreneurship education, so I know how divisive a word it can be. For some it’s too commercial, for some it’s too brave, for others it feels like an exclusive or elite club to which they do not belong or do not want to belong. However, for me, entrepreneurship is simply about making ideas happen – and everyone can be entrepreneurial even if they never found a start-up.

Side Projects as a concept have helped me engage with dozens of people who were making their ideas happen, often as hobbies, but who had that ‘gnawing’ feeling that it could be bigger, better, and potentially transformational.

In the last year or so I’ve interviewed 10 side project pioneers about their projects for this blog. I even came up with a model for what made for a good project! I’ve also given a TED talk about what I’ve learned. But I’m not done yet – it’s still gnawing at me!

So over the next few weeks and months I’m going to launch a whole new ‘season’ of side project stories and see where it takes me!

2 thoughts on “Side Projects: The Story So Far

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