WordCount – Freelancing in the Digital Age

By Michelle Vranizan Rafter

A little something on the side

with 3 comments

Is it just me, or does it seem like these days everybody’s got a job and a little something on the side?

Here in Portland, examples are everywhere:

I’ve got a couple side projects going too:

  • This blog and the annual blogathon connected with it
  • Helping with the above-mentioned media lab project
  • Writing website copy and other materials for a local church’s upcoming 50th anniversary celebration
  • A monthly Cub Scout pack newsletter
  • A high school auction catalog

The popularity of side projects could be an outgrowth of the Gig Economy Tina Brown so famously wrote about.

I think there’s more to it. People – including writers – take on side jobs or volunteer projects if they’re just starting out or want to switch careers as a way to get experience before a boss or editor would chance a paycheck on them. It’s a good way to put energy into something you’re passionate about but don’t make money from, or not enough to live on just yet.

I’ve used side projects to keep writing during a protracted hiatus from paid work, get myself back up once I started writing again full time and get to know the local writing scene. I’ve also used them to help my kids’ schools and other groups that require a certain number of volunteer hours a year; if I have to do something, I might as well do something I like and am good at, right?

Besides adding to what you know and possibly increasing your income, side projects can expand your work and social circles. As much as we all love Facebook and Twitter, it’s still nice to meet new people face to face.

So what’s your little something on the side?

3 Responses

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  1. I have an active wedding photography practice on the side– I shoot between 15-20 weddings a year. For a couple of years my daughter worked with me as my assistant and we had a great time.

    Jay Bryant

    June 18, 2009 at 8:03 pm

  2. Thanks Jay. For anyone else reading this, Jay was the Orange County Register’s photo editor while I worked there and is an accomplished photographer.


    Michelle Rafter

    June 19, 2009 at 1:30 pm

  3. […] Helpful Posts About Side Gigs: A Little Something on the Side, Finding the Perfect Part-Time Work, 50 Side Businesses You Can Start on Your Own, The #1 Untapped […]

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