Episode 20: The Power of Side Projects, With Chris Spooner
This week we’re thrilled to have our first guest on the show; hugely influential design blogger Chris Spooner. Chris has built up his design blog SpoonGraphics over the past 10 years, and is the undisputed king of creative side projects. This episode we dig into how you can use your creativity to start fun, profitable side projects that you’re passionate about, as well as a host of other design and business related tips.
Show Notes for This Episode:
[1.30] Welcome to Chris Spooner!
[2.00] Chris has been running his blog SpoonGraphics for 10 years!
[2.50] How Chris has kept going with his blog for so long
[4.30] How Chris comes up with ideas for his tutorials
[6.30] Looking at Chris’s posting schedule
[8.00] Chris’s transition from a studio graphic designer to become a full-time blogger
[10.00] Ian remembers how Chris was fully booked on client work
[10.30] The blog acted as a safety net, to let Chris transition from a studio designer to a freelance designer
[13.00] How Chris found the initial inspiration to run a blog
[14.30] Dustin asks – did Chris have a master business plan?
[15.00] Tom helping Chris with his business and site
[16.30] Chris playing the long game by not covering his entire site in ads
[17.30] Respecting your audience and not being too intrusive
[19.00] Providing maximum value
[19.30] Chris is more relatable with his business than many people may realise
[20.30] Focusing on the enjoyment in what you do
[21.45] Don’t try to be the next Chris Spooner, but use him as an example for following what you love
[22.30] Looking at passion projects
[23.30] Ian recalls an older video of Chris’s, about giving away stuff for free
[24.30] Ian learnt from Chris to try mini-projects for 6 months and see what he likes
[25.40] Chris advocates always sharing stuff online, not just keeping it on your hard-drive
[27.00] Chris never knows which posts will do well. It’s more about putting out consistent quality, and then reacting to what performs well.
[28.45] Chris’s process for creating tutorials
[30.25] Chris is the king of side projects
[32.20] Lisa asks: what’s more popular – written or video tutorials?
[33.30] This podcast is a side project for us
[35.15] Tom asks about connecting with the wider design community
[37.30] Chris naturally loves to share his life in content
[39.30] Discussing his gaming Youtube channel
[42.30] Chris figures stuff out himself, rather than hiring out
[44.00] Whatever you’re putting out to teach others, there will be someone at a level below yours, who will find it helpful
[47.00] Your experience will always benefit you further down the line
[48.00] The power of just doing, and figured stuff out as you go
[50.00] There’s always new technologies, and new white space to explore for content and teaching
[54.30] Closing words of wisdom from Chris
[55.00] Having patience – Chris’s ventures all take 1-2 years to start getting traction
[56.00] The importance of injecting your personality into your projects
“A must for every creative freelancer (or those aspiring to freelance). Thank you for being so… honest! Such a wealth of information from people I admire who have ‘been there and done that’. Listening to the podcast every week feels like I’m among friends. Can’t wait for more episodes!” – AG_GD
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