The golden cage of ‘side projects’

Most of us realise that having a job, whether as a freelancer or not, is trading time for money. We spend an amount of time delivering (hopefully) value to a business, and in return, we receive money or a salary. You can work more hours, ask for a raise or just charge a higher rate, but in the end, this business model of trading time is pretty limited. Soon enough, you’ll run out of time or out of a healthy body to do that work. You might end up incapacitated… it does make sense to start some side projects to have additional sources of income. But…

Just remember: you can easily create a golden cage for yourself of work work work.

Before you scream ‘side projects’ consider this first

Creating additional revenue streams has downsides. Don’t kid yourself with the illusion that you can have a passive income just like that. Everything takes time and effort. Maybe you need to create something to sell, lease or licence. Perhaps even learn a new skill first. Or you need to promote your offering because you have no audience that will buy anything you create.

And don’t forget that communities and courses need to be activated and updated constantly and require a lot of support.

How much time – and energy – are you willing to spend on it? Time that takes you away from other things in life. Look at the trade-off. Are you happy to say “NO!” to everything else when you say “YES!” to this venture? If so, you’ll need to start with the numbers.

  • What does it cost to create, maintain, support and promote your offering?
  • How much of it do you have to sell to break even?
  • Or to start making money?
  • What are the options to grow?
  • Do you need to work harder (and can you?) or are there other ways?
  • Is there room to slow down and spend less time on it (yes, can it become ‘passive‘?), or is the revenue always dependent on your personal efforts?

Think about it. Consider all the trade-offs and run the numbers and see if it still makes sense to start in the first place. If it still makes sense to start, then also take a moment to think about how long you are willing to offer, support and promote this venture. Don’t just start because you think it’s fun and just because you can.

People will start to count on or depend on your offering. You can’t just stop and abandon your work because you get sick of it. When you start, you also have to carry the responsibility of carrying it through for a reasonable time.

Me; I dislike having to prepare parcels and make post-office runs daily for my physical products. But I have to because people paid in advance and I promised to deliver in a timely fashion.

It sounds a bit ungrateful, but success can bite you in the ass if you are not careful. You can outsource work, of course, but keep running the numbers. You might end up with marginal gains from a whole lot of effort.

Don’t set a trap for yourself. You might end up just working harder. Creating a solid cage of work work work. All work and no play? That is no way!

Thanks for reading. You are amazing, you know that, right?!