How Side Projects Can Turn Your Business Into an Empire

If you’ve been following my writing here at, you’ll know I think niches are increasingly important. They’re disrupting how people used to treat media by killing fads, they allow a business to expand their social media impact through adding verticals, and they’ve turned into an essential way to start a blog.

Of course, niches have always been important in business: They offer a way for a company to establish their presence before they begin expanding into other branches. Amazon was originally an online bookstore. Now they’re an online everything store that makes its own TV shows. Thanks to the growing importance of niches, your own business can use the power of side-niches to pull in attention in a new way. Here’s how.

Traditional Marketing Methods Are Failing

Native advertising, social media advertising, the ever-dreaded banner ad, and even those ironic ads that try to convince you that they’re cool, too: They’re all failing. Instead, your company needs to offer something of inherent value, ideally for free. Once people enjoy this side project, they’ll become aware of your company. And that’s the ultimate goal of advertising.

Each side-project can target a different aspect of your niche.

Side Projects Grow Your Core Business

Lauren Holliday, founder of freelance marketplace Freelanship, is the person to talk to about the benefit of side projects: She not only explains the principles at work in her recent Medium post, but she includes 11 different types of side projects that can do the trick. Here’s her take on it, via Medium:

“Side-project marketing is simply giving something valuable away for free that is related to your core business. For example, HubSpot’s core offering is marketing automation software for inbound marketers. What else do inbound marketers need to do? Well, they need to complete buyer personas; therefore, HubSpot created a free tool, called Make My Persona.”

Eleven Types to Consider

Holliday explores each of these in depth, so check out her article to determine if your business could dovetail with one of these options:

Competitive Analysis
Curated Examples
Learning Paths

Once you’ve built up enough side projects, you’ll have an empire of entertaining services and content… each of which will point back to your core business, sending a wave of naturally interested potential clients your way.

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Written by:
Adam is a writer at and has worked as a tech writer, blogger and copy editor for more than a decade. He was a Forbes Contributor on the publishing industry, for which he was named a Digital Book World 2018 award finalist. His work has appeared in publications including Popular Mechanics and IDG Connect, and his art history book on 1970s sci-fi, 'Worlds Beyond Time,' is out from Abrams Books in July 2023. In the meantime, he's hunting down the latest news on VPNs, POS systems, and the future of tech.
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