Are side projects good or bad when you already own a business?

Hugo P.
22 replies
Some would say that sides are a good way not to put all your eggs in the same basket ; and other that it's represent a risk to defocus... What do you say guys? 🤔 I'm puzzled, but I would say that it's good for creativity and to discover new markets/products/tech/topics/people...


I believe that side project are always good. You learn something new, you have more revenues, you meet new people and solve new problems. It's always a good experience to take. You just need to find the right balance with your main project/product.
Max Kamyshev
@jacquelinclem you're right mate, but when you spend 110% of your time to grow your project then another focus can kill your young project. But you always have to be opened for new ideas and be in the loop what's going on in your market and other industries!
Donny Wals
Side projects are a way to study and learn. If some of these projects generate revenue, great. If not, it's a learning investment. I'd say side projects are _especially_ good when you own a business because you can carve out time in your regular schedule to work on the project (and study which you probably should do regularly anyway)
Jenny Nicholson
I don't own my own business, but as an employee side projects keep me sane and current on my skills. I tend to work on them at times when my day-to-day work isn't giving me as much creative momentum as I'd like, so a good side project gives me something to get excited about.
Hugo P.
@missjenny Yes, totally agree! It seems to be a good comprise between, security and "adventure" in a way ;)
Grace Park
At Disney, side projects helped me expand my perspectives and skills. It built out my experiences, created awesome relationships and so much more. It made me realize how important community is for movement forward in anything you work on. Side projects at Nuleep turned into real programs. One project became a focal program that supported career discovery and skills growth for 1000+ underrepresented students in 6 months. Also, it is a looot of work to do a side projects so being able to timebox and project manage efficiently is important.
Hugo P.
@grace_nuleep Wow, great experience here... How did you managed to organize your time?
its a good way to gain additional skills in your interest, and passion where your main proj may not have. Its a little like what you said about not putting all the eggs in the same basket. This is the age where if you only have one revenue stream, you will not survive. Make use of it!
Sune B. Thorsen
Side projects can be great, but, what do you do if both businesses suddenly experience great growth and you don't have time for both? That's a very real issue you may run into. So prepare for it beforehand as well as you can :) Also, don't trick yourself into thinking that side-projects aren't "work". That's a fast-track for stress in my experience. You do need some time away from both your main business and your side projects to just relax and do nothing.
Creating content :) Some of the best Creators/YouTubers were already business owners that have created content intially for marketing and/or product tutorials. As they grew a library and then eventually an audience, the content became monetized unlocking a second source of revenue. For a several, the Creator/YouTube side outgrew the original business and became the main one.
Mukhtar Mohamoud
I echo the comments here, It's definitely a good thing, if and ONLY if you have the time and mental capacity for it. Otherwise it might be wiser to spend the time with family and hobbies (hobbies can also be side projects that help you stay sane)!
Madeleine Kirchof
Agreed^^ Regularly evaluate it to make sure it's an addition to your happiness, wealth, learning journey, or skill box -- make sure it doesn't become a drain to any of the above. Be sure you have the confidence to know when to nix it if you need to!
Hugo P.
@madeleine_kirchof Totally agree with you! Even if it can be hard task to assess the impact it has on everything you mentioned... Go some tips?
Madeleine Kirchof
@hugo_pochet1 Yes! Journal and track this - it's easy to do by pen or in your phone in Notes. Similar to pros / cons -- as soon as cons outweigh the pros, it's time to move on :)
Hunter Peress
If you ever feel stale or like you are in a rut, side projects are so important. They don't have to be in the same space as your business. If your business is digital, doing an analogue side-project can be very therapeutic. I recently found an interesting rusted piece of metal on the ground and spent a few days grinding and polishing it.
Max Kamyshev
It depends on how your business works. If you spend 100 hours per week to grow your company, any side project can kill your business. On the other side. If your business processes flow smooth and revenue grows - this is great time to build new business and get more experience that will help you to make existing project more competitive! @hugo_pochet1
From a business perspective, there are pros and cons. If you have engaging side projects with new technologies, it is always useful to learn something new. An amusing tricky side project can prevent your team from burning out as well. On the other hand, you should be careful and make sure none of the side projects delay your main projects from key clients.
Mark Magnacca
Focus is key but so is surviving if you are in a start up and who knows where it may lead.
Abhishek Singh
No I don't think they would be bad in all cases, but that depends on the stage of the Startup and how well staffed it is. For a <10 person startup, everyone is hustling and donning multiple hats all the time and it will be surprising for a Founding team member to have a dedicated side hustle. For a late stage company with over 100 employees, those kind of things are relatively easier to manage. It often gives the Founding team more perspectives and keeps them away from micro-managing, so everyone could be happy in this case.
Stephane Ibos
Focus is key. But so is having a scalable business that doesn't require you to work 23h/day after a while. I am all for side projects - be it for founders or team members. But it's always a matter of having your priorities straight and in order. Get your main thing on track solidly first, then if done properly you will have again the luxury of time (some of it at least ;-p) and you can engage in other projects. At any time, my key is always to focus on what matters the most, and take care as a priority about what is essential.