Somehow, I get paid to wear a Power Rangers costume and this is the story of how it happened.
There is an excitement that comes along with pursuing a side project because it’s the risk-free way of trying out a new idea. We pursue them to escape daily routine in the hopes it will hit big and become full-time.
Unfortunately, side projects aren’t held against any time frame because they are lottery tickets. An indefinite dream. This habit can stagnate our success because we never know when to quit one project and start a new one.
Wearing A Power Rangers Costume For A Few Months
About a year ago, I realized the effect of this problem when I was working on Startup Rangers, an advertising campaign in which I dressed up in a Power Rangers costume and charged companies to run around with their logo on my chest. I had put every minute of time outside of school into writing up proposals, cold-emailing prospects, and reaching out to press.
After three weeks of this, I had no clients and no press. Of course, this didn’t stop me and I continued pouring myself over Startup Rangers. Throughout the entire Fall, I generated about $1,750 in sales and landed one nice piece of press–nowhere near what I imagined Startup Rangers could’ve been.
Around the same time, I was working on self-publishing a book. But, because I put so much time into Startup Rangers, I didn’t devote a fraction of the time I needed toward the book and it failed. Startup Rangers stayed in a perpetual loop of optimism. I was always thinking, “I just need to put in a couple more days and I’ll hit it big.”
Looking back, I realized one fatal mistake that kept me from success: I never defined what a successful Startup Rangers campaign meant. Caught up in the excitement of living my childhood dream, I never defined the side project’s end. I had no idea what constituted success, didn’t understand where I was on that spectrum, and couldn’t let go.
The Only Way To Get Paid Is By Defining Your Side Project
Side projects are easy to start and hard to finish because they are there to fill your free time.
In order to be satisfied with a side project, you must set a specific time frame with goals. One goal might be to work on _______ for at most 3 months unless you have 10 paying customers by then. By defining your side project’s time frame, you can measure your progress objectively. That way, you can better decide when it’s time to move onto the next side project.
So, next time you are about to dip your toes into a new side project, set a time frame and a goal. Better define the project’s end. Otherwise, like your in-laws during the holidays, the project will overstay its welcome.
Previously, I set the time frame for Quick Theories – the weekly newsletter you are reading – at four months. But, I exceeded the goal I had set at 5,000 subscribers. Now, I am phasing it into a more full-time project.
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