October 3, 2016

Pride, Work and Necessity of Side Projects: Kate Hamilton, Founder of LoganSquarist

What are you working on—on the side?

LoganSquarist is a hyperlocal neighborhood website that covers neighborhood news, community information and events throughout the Logan Square, Chicago, neighborhood. In addition to covering the area with features, profiles, photo stories and more, we host a variety of events that bring neighbors together, including our free monthly Neighbor Meetups or our annual Taco Crawl.

Started in 2011, today the LoganSquarist organization is supported by a team of volunteer writers, photographers, events managers and marketers to provide this service to the area. Those volunteers come from all walks of life and share a passion for the neighborhood. Some are looking for career-growth opportunities, while others enjoy the neighborhood involvement.

In addition to news and events, the website has a neighborhood calendar where businesses and groups can add their events, a newsletter with a variety of frequency options and a neighborhood directory (a local phonebook if you will). We also have a variety of opportunities for businesses to take advantage of connecting with our dedicated community.

How do you manage to work on your side project(s)?

Much of my time spent on LoganSquarist happens in the evenings and weekends. As the publisher, I focus my time helping the team do what they need to by providing resources and support. I am also the business manager, so I work with businesses to identify mutually beneficial partnerships, advertising opportunities and more. Since we’re a primarily remote-based organization, I also ensure our online digital tools help us do our work, whether that’s our website or other collaboration tools, such as Wordpress, Facebook private Groups and Google Apps.

Why have a side project?

When I started LoganSquarist, I was working as a B2B journalist. At the time, I felt like I was missing an opportunity to hone my digital communication skills. I also had lived in Logan Square and it felt that in a matter of months, the neighborhood was changing and changing fast. I wanted an opportunity to stay connected to a place I loved and grow my skills. So I started a Twitter handle with that idea in mind. From there, the needs of the community dictated where we grew—starting with neighbor meetups and then a website, then volunteers that could cover more of the neighborhood and increase our contributions. What LoganSquarist has grown into today has been beyond my imagination. It’s been a very humbling and rewarding ride. It’s even helped me transition from journalism to digital marketing, and contributed to my personal professional success. I can’t imagine not being involved with this project. I often joke that I’m married to Logan Square! ツ

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Images courtesy of Kate Hamilton.

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Read more about the joy of side projects.

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