Hi! I’m Claire, a part-time creative + crocheter living and working in Toronto. I’ve had quite a few side projects over the years that have mostly been a way for me to express my creativity (and lowkey just see if I can do it). Hence, also being the creator of Sideknit, a literal titled side hustle, for made-to-order crochet beanies and bucket hats.
Side projects have always been a way for me to try something new, make it my own, and have fun with. Whether I’ve been in school full time, or now working full time, I’ve always been drawn to keeping my creative side flowing. In the past year, I found that I had a lot less time to pursue other passions while working, but decided to pick crochet back up as a way to get creative in what free time I did have. Fast forward a few months later, and Sideknit has become a really fun outlet for me to pick up a lot of extra hobbies I’d forgotten I loved.
Much easier said than done, it is always daunting to start any new project (especially sharing it online) and I’m always filled with a lot (I can’t stress this enough, a LOT) of doubt: What if I can’t do this? What if it’s not good enough? What if it doesn’t turn out the way I’m expecting it to? But there are a few things I’ve realized since starting Sideknit that I’m hoping might help in your journey to start, manage, and believe in that side project you’ve been thinking of:
Just do it
A lot of time can be spent worrying if you’re ready, if the project is good enough, if you’re good enough etc. but what’s the worst that can happen? You may get to learn a new skill or refine existing skills, you might find something you love to do, you may find you actually don’t have the capacity to do it. It doesn’t need to be the next big thing, or your only source of income - I think it’s really amazing when we can just accept that we’re doing something because we love it rather than expecting it to go viral.
Keep it chill
I have to tell myself this a lot. In the beginning I was having a lot of stress, mostly about Sideknit’s social media or if our Etsy looked “professional enough”, but at the end of the day, a side project is meant for you to have fun, be creative, and connect with people that also enjoy similar hobbies! The less you care about what other people are thinking, and instead use that time spent learning/creating/do-ing, the better!
Sharing is caring
PLEASE share your ideas with your friends! I always hate doing this because I also hate advice, but your friends are a great resource to test out the beginning of your project and typically boosts your motivation to keep trying. Once I started sharing more with my friends, I had a lot of amazing feedback and people were very willing to model, buy, and support. And there’s no harm in plugging your project outside of your immediate circle - you’d be surprised at who has similar hobbies/interests, or are even just curious to know more!
The moment it becomes a chore, take a break
This is meant to be a side project and in my experience they don’t always last forever. Use your project as a way to de-stress, do something you love, or try something new - not another avenue of stress to add to your already busy schedule (we don’t need to glorify the “hustle”). Don’t be afraid to take a break, the project will be waiting for you when you’re ready, or if you’re ready to stop - no one is stopping you other than yourself - and that’s ok!
You can check out Claire's beautiful Etsy store here.