How Personal Side Projects Can Shape Your Business

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Today I’m chatting about how personal side projects can shape your business and how I think they can be a huge asset to your business no matter what stage you are in. This is a hot topic in the design and entrepreneurial spaces right now, and for good reason! More and more people are implementing personal side projects into their business plan and I’m about to break down several reasons why introducing these types of projects aids so many businesses.


They can help you build a portfolio

This is especially awesome if you are just starting out and don’t have a ton of client work coming in yet! Personal side projects can help you build a portfolio faster and you’ll be able to promote these projects that feel very inline with what you actually want to create. This also allows you to tailor or curate your portfolio to show projects that fit a certain style that you want to book more of in the future. If you aren’t comfortable sharing personal projects on your website portfolio just yet, use these projects on Instagram to show what you are working on and as a way of showing potential clients what you can create for them!


They can help you find your style

One of the BEST things about personal side projects is that you don’t have to filter this work through a client. Instead, you are creating what YOU want. This also gives you the freedom to try out a bunch of different styles and see what speaks to you. You may find out that you have an ideal niche or industry that you love creating for that you didn’t even think of before. Chances are, you’ll start to see your own style develop the more you create for yourself. My style really came to life after creating moodboards for the blog for several years. I saw a shift around the 2 year mark with this moodboard. The more you create, the better your work will become, and you’ll be able to look back at some point and see exactly when your style started to take shape.


They can attract dream clients

When you create something you love, that feels true to you, and it resonates with someone else, then you are attracting your ideal dream clients! Once you find your style and you have examples of that for people to recognize you by, you’ll have more inquires saying things like “I love everything you do.” and “I want your exact style.” Take this opportunity with your personal projects to design for platforms and types of clients that you want to work with because people will be drawn to you when they see what you can create for them. No one has to know it was a personal project unless you tell them, but even still, I’ve never had a client that was turned off by the fact that I was creating for fun and learning new skills to be able to offer that service for them in the future.


They can teach you a new skill

Again, this is an opportunity to try something new without the pressure to perform for a client. You can continue to play, explore and learn while also sharing the process on your website and social media. Any skill you pick up along the way will allow you to offer new services and will inevitably benefit clients in the future. Skills I’ve learned from personal side projects include: font making (both desktop and web fonts), digital painting, coding websites from scratch, and podcasting!


They can help you pivot your business

I’m positive you didn’t start your business in order to feel stuck in projects or work that you don’t love or don’t care about. If you start feel burdened by work, or burnt out, trying a personal project can help you feel unstuck and re-inspired. Look for a new industry to create for, or a new service you’ve always wanted to offer, or maybe even just a skill you’d like to learn, and create just for fun with no pressure and see what happens! This can help you pivot your business towards these new clients or services and may even introduce you to an entire new branch of your business.


They can give you something to work on during a slow season

We all have slow seasons and they can be BRUTAL for both your emotional and creative wellbeing. If you don’t have a ton of client work right now, personal projects can give you something to focus on, help you to continue building your portfolio, give you things to share on social media, and help you feel purposeful in your business! You’ll continue to hone your skills even when client work isn’t coming in. This ALWAYS pays off in the long run because continuing to show up and show what you can do for potential clients is the best way to get people interested in your services!


They can turn into passive income

I know this isn’t for everyone because not everyone desires to have a shop attached to your business. BUT, now once you’ve created something you are really proud of, see if there’s a way to market it to potential clients! Some of mu semi-custom brands in my shop started out as personal projects, as did some of my theme ideas. If you have a completed project, chances are there is something within that project that a potential client would be interested in purchasing! This is especially important if you notice that a personal project is getting a lot of positive feedback from potential clients every time you show it off! This can also allow you to work with a wider range of clients since you can now have a variety of entry points and price points for people to buy/work with you.


They can become your calling card

You may be surprised by the things that really resonate with people. Personal side projects don’t have to be overly complicated and in fact, some of the best personal projects are things that come really naturally or easily to you. Those are usually the ones that you can create a lot of and become known for! Something simple for you to make can really amazing potential clients so don’t sleep on the skills that you have or the abilities that you are bringing to the table. If you are having fun creating it and it comes easily to you, then you should have no problem doing more of it! Before you know it, people will start recognizing you and seeking you out because of your personal side projects!

Posts & interviews mentioned in this episode:

Creating a Course for Your Service Based Business with Wayfarer Design Studio

My Journey to Running My Own Business

5 Common Types of Burnout, How to Spot Them & Ways to Combat Them

Starting a Design Business and Marketing with TikTok with Duende Design Co

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