Advice on Side Projects

“Think big – it might not make you a fortune or change the world, but there’s no harm in making that the aim”

Nick Asbury, Copywriter

I’ve never really liked the term ‘side projects’. I think of them as central to what I do, not just in terms of being creatively rewarding, but also building a career. 

I once spent six months blogging about ‘Mr’ shops for a project called Mr Blog. There was no way of monetising that project, but it didn’t cost anything either. And it led to a nice project for Little Chef – the agency got in touch having read Mr Blog, having no idea my day job was as a copywriter. A lot of good things in your career happen by serendipity, and personal projects give serendipity a chance to happen.

When I first went freelance, I remember sitting down and trying to think of a self-promotional idea, but nothing really came of it. Self-promotion is the wrong place to start – it leads you down quite predictable paths. 

Eventually, I found ideas happened more naturally, through thinking around the work I was doing. Through working with designers, it led me to think about a written equivalent of Pantone, which became Pentone. Through reading poetry and writing corporate copy, I ended up merging the two into Corpoetics. And through playing with proverbs and channelling my inner grumpy bastard, I ended up doing Disappointments Diary, which eventually became a source of income, through selling it ourselves and later finding a publisher. 

My advice would be not to think about doing a self-promotional idea – think about what’s interesting and worth saying. And think big – it might not make you a fortune or change the world, but there’s no harm in making that the aim. And finally, remember the idea is about 5% of the job – the rest is the process of making it happen, which is usually difficult and stressful. But consider that a creative challenge in itself – think laterally about ways to make it happen. 

Nick Asbury is a Cheshire-based design and brand writer, and founder of Asbury & Asbury.

Posted 24 March 2017 Collection: Side Projects
Disciplines: Graphic Design

Side Projects

scroll to top arrow-up
share

Lecture in Progress is made possible with the support of the following brand partners

Lecture in Progress is now Creative Lives in Progress...

Take me to the new homepage
Take me to this article