Creative Side Projects Helped Me Grow and Evolve My Business

Creative Side Projects Helped Me Grow and Evolve My Business


Like numerous business homeowners, for the 1st 5 many years of finding my organization off floor, “founder” was my entire identification. My video creator platform, Sightworthy, took up all of my vitality as we went by an accelerator, deemed fundraising and in the long run decided to bootstrap, and grew to a lucrative firm doing work on internet marketing initiatives with the likes of Nike, Morgan Stanley, GSK, and Madewell. Though I had often deemed myself a multi-passionate imaginative, I did not really feel like I experienced time to dedicate to my other passions though also staying a prosperous entrepreneur.

But focusing solely on my organization was also draining. I observed myself routinely doing the job all hours of the working day, hustling to get the following sale for Sightworthy, and barreling in the direction of burnout mainly because of it. The reality that I experienced no resourceful strength left to do issues that lit me up was weighing on me.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, I could have applied the extra time lockdown gave us all to do the job extra on my business, as so several business owners did. But, not only did that not seem to be like the healthiest alternative, a new thought had sparked my inspiration.

It begun as a one-off video showcasing my cousin who’s an ER health practitioner conversing about some of the principles of COVID to enable halt the distribute of misinformation. The video clip went viral, and other female doctors of shade begun achieving out to me seeking to share their ordeals. I didn’t want to let the opportunity to capture this historic moment go, so I used the upcoming 14 months crowdfunding and making my first documentary telling the tales of six South Asian and Black woman ER physicians during the pandemic. One particular matter sooner or later led to another, and a output company joined on as govt producers to support me make the challenge greater than I could have ever imagined. (We’re now chatting to movie festivals, streaming expert services, South Asian-led models, and even health-related universities and universities about assisting us launch and distribute the film.)

Just before I realized it, I had this large facet challenge I was doing the job on whilst continuing to run Sightworthy at ordinary capacity—and I loved it. Rather than frustrating me, my aspect job reignited my artistic spark and adore for the function that I do, gave me new energy and ideas to provide back again into my client work, and remodeled how I think about employing my time proficiently. And, eventually, it aided me see prospects for how I could evolve my business to continue to be aligned with my “why.”

My aspect task gave me so substantially price that, as the documentary wound down, I begun operating on another concept: crafting a pilot for a Television set collection about 4 South Asian gals coming of age in NYC termed Lonely Lady. Even though the initial side hustle happened by incident, the next one has been much extra intentional—and I experienced already designed the railroad tracks to make it a lot easier to get the job done on a venture even though I labored on my business. In this article are some of the factors that have served me thrive at both equally in the previous handful of several years.

I Acquired My Business to a Steady Place Just before Starting up A little something Else

The initial several many years of developing Sightworthy, I could not even visualize owning time for a aspect task. My schedule and notice have been completely wrapped up in figuring out who our consumer was, how to make a sale, and commonly how to do each very little piece of my business for the first time. But, by the time the documentary started out gaining traction, a several issues experienced transformed.

For just one, my funds ended up in a truly excellent place. Not only experienced I created a financially rewarding organization, but a few particular investments had accomplished actually properly. My funds were these types of that I experienced plenty of for myself and my staff in the party that I desired to scale consumer get the job done again to target on other items.

But more than that, I experienced the business enterprise devices in position that I would not have to scale back again in buy to transform some of my attention somewhere else. We had observed products marketplace healthy and experienced impressive circumstance scientific studies and a powerful community that designed revenue a great deal less difficult. I had hired a excellent crew and figured out what operate I needed to do and what I could delegate. We had a ton of ongoing consumer get the job done and procedures for collaboration that created each personal challenge less of a elevate.

I never think it’s essential to achieve profitability ahead of looking at paying out time on a facet undertaking. But for me, it was practical to have some security in my business enterprise to have the place to appear up for air and shell out time on other matters.

I never consider it’s required to arrive at profitability ahead of looking at paying out time on a aspect undertaking. But for me, it was practical to have some stability in my business enterprise to have the house to appear up for air and expend time on other things. – Aneri Shah, Founder of Sightworthy & Lonely Girl

I Selected a Side Job That Connected to My Larger “Why”

A little something that actually assisted me harmony my side project with my organization was the point that they had been so linked, and each taught me points that could add to the achievement of the other.

Clearly, they have been equally centered all around online video written content. The movie storytelling function I was carrying out for the documentary motivated some new best procedures for our promoting companions. I also uncovered a new potential consumer foundation of folks in the movie marketplace. Meanwhile, all the operate I had finished when contemplating fundraising for my enterprise designed crowdfunding the documentary truly feel considerably fewer complicated.

But, a lot more than that, they are each tied to a greater reason. Some thing I’ve extended tried using to press by my perform at Sightworthy is far more inclusivity in advertising, with a certain fondness for furthering South Asian representation. Operating on the documentary and the Tv set pilot has specified me even far more alternatives to inform South Asian tales that I may perhaps hardly ever get to explain to as a result of marketing do the job on your own. That “why” was sturdy ample that the facet job felt like it was contributing positively to each individual part of my everyday living, in a way that I really don’t consider would have been correct if I just selected a thing random.

I Located Ways to Be A lot more Intentional With My Time

The most astonishing factor about this full endeavor was how adding far more do the job to my plate ultimately created me a lot more economical.

In advance of I had another undertaking I cared so deeply about, it felt like I could fill up my complete working day with operate (and I was certainly headed in direction of burnout due to the fact of it). When I started off working on aspect assignments, I had to get definitely intentional on how much time I was spending on every single. I started off doing the job with a coach (the brilliant Amy Lombardo), who assisted me rapidly develop new productiveness habits like time blocking my days. I would get started by blocking off almost everything I necessary to do for the best revenue turbines in my small business, given that which is wherever the money was coming from, and then could see a clear photograph of how considerably time I realistically experienced for the facet task. That helped since I could simply say, “Well, I could be executing all this stuff for my side task, but I really don’t have time for that, so how do I organize accordingly?”

It also pushed me to get leaner and meaner in my organization: I used to say sure to each individual challenge that came our way, and now we’ve seriously honed in on the clientele that can provide recurring profits.

Of system, all of this was created a lot easier in the early days of the pandemic because my social calendar was absolutely vacant. Due to the fact matters commenced opening back again up, I have experienced to “sacrifice” some time for social outings in order to continue on perform on my side project—but to me it doesn’t definitely sense like a sacrifice because this function really feels like an act of support that is offering my lifestyle a lot more that means.

I’m Permitting My Facet Challenge Evolve My Business

This was not the unique intention, but as the scale of my aspect venture grew (alongside with my passion for it), I started contemplating severely about how all the distinct relocating sections and items could in good shape jointly into a new long term for my enterprise.

If, rather of supporting makes produce online video in an agile way, my new “why” is centering and celebrating South Asian women by media, how would the business evolve? Would we only perform with brand names that focus on that viewers? Would we grow to be a generation corporation that assists other individuals develop media centering South Asian stories? Or would I alternatively offer Sightworthy and put all of my power into producing my have operate below the Lonely Woman umbrella?

I do not know the respond to still, but it’s enjoyable to be able to brainstorm freely considering the fact that my small business is bootstrapped. And, no matter of the path I decide on, I have realized so significantly from my facet tasks that I think it’s likely to fork out off forever.

Based mostly on this experience, here’s my information for other founders: A facet task can be a facet task just for your very own achievement, and that can be enough. But giving on your own authorization to operate on a side undertaking can finally purpose as a little microcosm for you to take a look at items for your potential business enterprise, occupation, and daily life.

Centered on this working experience, here’s my guidance for other founders: A aspect undertaking can be a side challenge just for your personal success, and that can be enough. But providing yourself permission to do the job on a aspect project can in the long run functionality as a minimal microcosm for you to take a look at factors for your long run small business, profession, and daily life. – Aneri Shah, Founder of Sightworthy & Lonely Woman


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