Jackie Shiu: Managing Your Side Projects
Updated: Jan 7, 2019
Hi everyone! My names Jackie and I’m currently a 4th year student in GBDA. I’m excited to be writing for Creator Spaces and hopefully this post gets you excited about your current or potential side projects! For the past few years I’ve been creating content outside of school for my own YouTube channel, and just last year I started a food blog. A question I often get asked from friends and even employers is, how do I find time to work on these projects while still being a full-time student? With multiple assignments going on at school, working a full-time job during the summer, and going on exchange this past year, it’s not easy that’s for sure. However, I have never learned so much about myself through creating my own projects, and I think it’s important for students to find something they’re passionate about outside of school or work. I wanted to share with you some tips that have personally helped me run my own projects and hopefully they get you excited about creating!
My first tip is one that is obvious but often not given enough thought, and that’s to find something you’re passionate about. After having my YouTube channel go through some major rebranding, I decided that my next step was to start a food blog. I wanted to share more recipes with my viewers, and discuss topics outside of my YouTube channel. It was a daunting task starting a website. The amount of times I had attempted to start a blog and then given up after I realized it “was not for me”, is a bit ridiculous. There has to be probably a dozen domain names I registered, but never really committed to any of them. That’s why I knew that if I started my own website, I needed to put some real work into it, and build it up to be something I could be proud of. I knew that I was passionate about food, and my love for cooking is the reason why I have been consistent with my blog and YouTube channel after all this time. The projects you choose to pursue shouldn’t feel like a chore, it’s your chance to be creative and have fun! If you’re passionate about the work you produce, it’s easy to commit to it and put time into it on a regular basis.
Another tip is to dedicate a consistent time or day where you’re going to work on your project. When working with a YouTube network a few years ago, I remember I was given this piece of advice that I think all content creators find valuable. I treat my YouTube channel and blog like it’s a second job for me, which makes me feel more accountable for them. I decided that every Sunday I would publish a new video, and do bi weekly blog posts for my website, and it has now become routine for me. I set aside enough time to edit and publish my content and if I’m in a good mood, I like to do prerecord videos or write recipes well before publishing. By doing this, my followers can rely on me that there will always be new content every week, making my channel and website more reputable. Keep in mind, there are weeks where I’m not feeling the most inspired, so it’s okay to give yourself a break every once in a while. But when creativity hits you, act on it!
My last tip is to always be thinking about what your goals are for your project. This tip is especially important for those who are working on ongoing projects. Think beyond your current plans and ideas, and give some thought as to where you want to see your project down the line. When I started my YouTube channel, my plan wasn’t to turn it into a career and make a lot of money. All I wanted was a way to express myself, and find a way to keep myself busy when I wasn’t in school. After spending all this time working on my channel and seeing it grow, I realized that I needed to start taking my project more seriously. I began to set goals for myself and share my goals with the networks I chose to join. I knew I wanted to start collaborating and partnering with other creators and brands. A lot of the time I didn’t get the support I needed from my networks, and so I had to do a lot of the work myself. By giving myself realistic targets to hit, I was able to achieve these goals, and I still continuously set goals for the future. To ensure you don’t forget and actually stick to these objectives, write them down and set realistic deadlines. I find that once I write down what I want, I’m more inclined and motivated to get them done.
These are just a few tips that have led me to successfully balancing work, school, and my side projects all at once. It’s nice to take a break from work and school by having your own projects that give you full creative control. It can help you stand out when applying for jobs and it can give you a chance to learn something new about yourself. So creators, I hope you found these tips helpful and excited about your projects! Best of luck, and remember to be patient with yourself and have fun with it!
Jackie Shiu GBDA '18
Student, YouTuber, Blogger, Traveller
Jackie is currently in her final year of school studying Global Business and Digital Arts at the University of Waterloo. Being in a program where she encouraged to be creative while solving problems in both technology and business has made her a more well rounded individual. Working previously at several companies as a marketing intern and now looking to pursue a career in UX design at Amazon.com, Jackie has been exposed to a variety of different industries and fields of work.
Outside of work and school, Jackie enjoys cooking and runs a vegan food blog and YouTube channel where she develops new own content for her followers every week. With a growing audience and working with different networks, she has now turned her hobby into a part time job.