The Surprising Benefits to Having a Side Project

July 25, 2016

3:30 pm

In today’s economy, it can be hard to find fulfilment in just one job role. While many employees find themselves looking for financial stability to match the increased expenses of living in urban areas across the country, they still find themselves sacrificing other important elements that create long-lasting fulfilment in a job role.

But even if you find yourself taking a full-time job that doesn’t fulfill all of your needs, there’s no need to fret. More people in the workforce are increasingly taking on side projects. And not only are they good for generating another stream of income, but they can have other positive effects on your long-term career success and overall happiness.

Grant Ammons recently shared his thoughts on the life-changing benefits of side projects on Medium.

Increased Learning

For those whose full-time jobs are less-than-exciting, there’s less motivation to take on new tasks and learn something new. But with side projects, the opposite is true. Not only can you be motivated by the prospect of taking on a role that’s new and exciting for you, but you’re also adjusting to a new role with different expectations and requirements than what you’re used to.

With so many languages, skills, and techniques to learn for any given industry, side projects can provide a pressure-free environment to learn these skills at your own pace, and the freedom to apply them however you want.

They’re Great For Your Career

Side projects aren’t only for those looking to transition into a specific industry – they can also be beneficial for those who are perfectly happy where they are, but just want to gain new skills to help them get promoted and advance. The skills you take on with a side project can be a real resume booster – and employers always respond strongly to added experience than just passion alone.

And as Ammons writes in his post:

“If you’re an astute side-project-r, you will find yourself continually reaching off your shelf of built-up knowledge to help further along your company’s and team’s goals. You’ll get more recognition, responsibility, and, of course, more money. You’ll be regarded by your team as the Resident Expert. You’ll likely be promoted faster and have more opportunities down the line.”

Expand Your Comfort Zone

No matter what industry you choose to root your side project in, you’ll still be able to gain the benefit of an expanded network. As you meet and interact with others in your side project’s field, you can begin to expand your comfort zone and meet others whose interests will meet yours in ways that your primary job won’t do. And who knows – these connections may be beneficial down the line if you’re looking to be promoted or transition to your dream industry altogether.

Having a side hustle isn’t anything new in today’s job market. But even if you’re drawn to taking on a new side project out of curiosity or a passion to learn something new, you can find yourself gaining more skills than you expected.

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Cameron is a tech and culture journalist, comic book enthusiast, and lives near New York City. A graduate of Stockton University, she's using her words to shift the world of online journalism, one byline at a time. When she's not writing, she can be found reading sci-fi novels, collecting succulents, and planning her next obnoxious hair color. Cameron is an editorial fellow at Tech.Co. Send your tips to cameron@tech.co or tweet @BlkGirlManifest.

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