A side-setter is “someone who’s happy in his or her job but has successfully developed a side project”
Apparently that’s me. I can be counted as part of the growing number of side-setters out there. I’ve always liked the idea of having something other than work on the go. In fact I think it’s really important for people to have an interest, hobby, project, and pastime, call it what you will, outside of their regular work.
I’m lucky to have found a career in tourism that I really love. Showing people around London and helping to shape their experience of the city has been a passion of mine for over 12 years now. So I’m fortunate that tour guiding makes up most of my monthly income–most of the time. So it was a natural progression for me to start developing an app in the same field as a part time project. In fact the idea first came about from being out and about on the streets of the city. Inspiration hits you anywhere.
It was just a few short years ago that I was doing the 9 to 5 thing as millions do day in, day out. However, the issue was that I was socialising with the same bunch of people I worked with. Most weeks 3 to 4 evenings after clocking off it would be straight to the pub, several pints later a kebab on the way home. My health, relationships and attitude all suffered at this time. The breakthrough eventually coming when I started to volunteer in a children’s hospital radio station and do something useful and uplifting with my spare time.
Ever since then I’ve looked to be involved in various projects outside of my main day job with my current setup being no exception.
So where’s the ‘but’ I hear you ask. There’s always a but and it’s a good point to highlight the issues that a side-setter such as myself might face.
There are only so many hours that the day brings us to play with, that’s never going to change. So making the most of the time outside of regular work is a major issue. Time that can be easily taken up with family, food and relaxing, needs to give. In my case the guided tours are not full time so I can dedicate some of the week to the app business. The time split is something I’m yet to fully master.
There’s no escaping this, stuff costs money. My intention is that the project will become a form of passive income eventually but until it does the day job has to be the main focus. Knowing where the tipping point is so the project becomes the main use of my time is tricky but I’m working it out slowly.
In an ideal world my brain would have little partitions to keep projects, work etc. totally separated. Until I have that chip implanted I have to keep the discipline to focus on one thing at a time. It’s a struggle some weeks but I find scheduled time helps. Setting aside dedicated minutes or hours and removing other distractions is key. Having three email accounts open at once is not the way to go.
So over all it is an ongoing challenge but one which I relish and positively distance from my self-defeating booze and kebab days of the past.
So what is my side project?
The idea came when working out and about in the city. I’ve had questions about which public bus route visitors could take to see some of the city. Some of them were asking me if there is a circular route they could take to view the sights from the top deck. So the idea for Toursome came from a desire to make it easy to know which bus to take and tell people about the stuff they are passing. Think of it like the expensive tourist buses without the umm expense. The app is in Beta for iPhone, Android coming along shortly.
Download it from our website at www.tourso.me and sign up to our newsletter if you’re interested.
Over to you
Do you consider yourself a side-setter? What aspects of working on your side project to you struggle with?