What are you working on—on the side?
Oh gosh! I have too many side projects. My “for the love” side project is called Making Care of Business, which is a collection of interviews with small business owners. The project started by me feeling isolated while working on my own eCommerce sites (Meshu, Monochōme and Gifpop!) and wanting to connect with other people who were going through the same processes. I wanted to know how other people dealt with customer service, shipping, supply chains—all of the important details that are too “boring” to talk about at conferences! Lucky for me, it turns out that there were other people who felt similarly isolated, so it’s been a great way to build a support network.
The eCommerce sites are my other “side projects,” which are all about creating custom one-off objects. Meshu (below top) is a jewelry company that creates generative designs based on the places you’ve been. Monochōme (below bottom) is a clothing and accessories site for all-over map prints, and Gifpop! makes lenticular prints from animated GIFs. All three of these projects have been a joy to work on—it’s amazing how excited and supportive customers can be when they’re part of the creation process!
How do you manage to work
on your side project(s)?
Honestly, it’s a struggle to keep up with all of it sometimes. I try to set aside two-ish days a week where I can take care of everything for a couple of hours. Most of the time I’m just keeping up with prior commitments—it’s much more difficult to find the time to build out new features or new ideas! I think my work follows a seasonal pattern, I tend to work less on my side projects for the first half of the year, and then ramp up substantially in the Fall and Winter. Due to the holiday shopping season, about 80% of my orders happen in November and December. It’s nice to take a break for the first half of the year!
Why have a side project?
For me, a side project is a chance to explore the topics that I’m interested in without having to make a major career shift. I’m fascinated with manufacturing, supply chains and the possiblity to customize the objects in our lives based on our experiences. I’m not sure if I would want to commit to these full-time, because I also value the larger problems that I get to work on with my day-job. So a side project is the best of both worlds—the freedom to explore your interests without having to rely on it as your sole source of income.
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Diptych courtesy of Rachel Binx.
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Read more about the joy of side projects.
This series, devoted to side projects, is delivered in association with Chicago creative agency 50,000feet—dedicated to helping brands and businesses soar.
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