Side projects: sharing, helping, connecting and much more
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Side projects: sharing, helping, connecting and much more

Translators are creative entrepreneurs. Creativity is often defined as the ability to see connections between things and use them to synthesize something new. Taking the source text, seeing the connections between grammar structures and the meanings of the words in two different languages and producing a new text in you target language — that’s what translators do. And like real creatives many of us have side projects.


Today’s post is all about passion projects — why we have them, how we make time for them in our busy lives and what benefits they can bring us. To give you a broader perspective on this subject I asked two of my colleagues to share their journeys with us. One of them is Tess Whitty, the creator of the Marketing Tips for Translators podcast, and the other one is Dmitry Kornyukhov, the person behind the new platform for translators, The Open Mic. I will also share what I’ve learned while working on my own small passion project — I Love Mondays newsletter for Russian-speaking creatives.


Let’s get started!




Everything is done for a reason. This applies to side projects, too. You probably don’t have to set concrete goals (although you might!), but you certainly need a clear answer to the question, why you want to devote part of your time to working on your project. Knowing your goals will help you stay motivated.


TW Goal



My goal was to unite the brightest minds of our profession and create a central stage where we can share our knowledge, promote best practices, educate our clients, encourage our fellow translators to follow their dreams and change this industry for the better one step at a time.

Dmitry Kornyukhov


I got serious about marketing my translation services a little over 6 months ago. This has been an eye-opening journey during which I’ve come across tons of useful and inspiring information. At some point I thought that it would be great to use my translation skills and share this information with those who don’t know English. That’s how my weekly newsletter appeared. Every week I send translations of articles written by coaches, marketing professionals, writers and other creative entrepreneurs to Russian-speaking creatives. The newsletter is called I Love Mondays because, well, I do love Mondays. I do what I love for a living, so the start of a new week is rather a reason to celebrate, than something to be sad about. I want to give people some tips and inspiration for pursuing their dreams.

Elena Tereshchenkova



Side projects don’t just give you a chance to enjoy the process of creation. They provide numerous opportunities to learn and develop new skills, as well as network with people in your industry and beyond. What can a side project give you?


I love interviewing other translators and industry professionals. It gives me a way to socialize and connect and then share the knowledge with others. It is a great break in the day from just typing on a keyboard. It is very rewarding also when I hear from the listeners that the podcast has helped them or that they enjoyed it.

Tess Whitty



First of all, it’s been a great opportunity to develop my skills. And I don’t mean just translation skills. Networking, communication, time-management and even web-design  — this is all involved in the project. Another benefit is that I can showcase I Love Mondays web-site as my online portfolio. But the best thing is the emails I get from my readers. It’s so good to know that I’m doing something that brings value to others.

Elena Tereshchenkova

Making the time


This is the most difficult part. We all have busy lives, so it takes some skill and determination to find those extra hours in your day.


Another thing that I always bear in mind is that I often fail to make the time for some important  things, if I’m afraid. It might be the fear of failure or the fear of judgment, or even the failure of success. The good news is that, as Paul Jarvis puts it, fear and failure can co-exist. But you have to see it for what it really is.


Once getting this out of the way, check out what helps Tess, Dmitry and me find the time for out side-projects.


To make time for my side project, or the podcast, I have to schedule it in and treat it like any of my other jobs. Since I enjoy it, it is not hard to make time for it, and it motivates me to translate better and more the rest of the time. I also learn a lot from the project.

Tess Whitty


Self-discipline, consistency and having a solid plan or a road map. I’ve noticed that The Open Mic changed the way I spend my free time between the projects. Now, instead of procrastinating or wasting my time on hobbies I can focus on something that is much more important. To make time for your side project you just have to be so passionate about it that you could just give up watching cat videos on YouTube in order to make room for it. I did it and I have no regrets. I still have time for my work and 2-3 hours a day for The Open Mic. It’s all about balance and knowing what you want to achieve and how you will get there. Once you know that – it’s execution time. Get rid of all the noise and time-wasting activities in your life (everyone has them) and you’ll be surprised how much free time you actually have.

Dmitry Kornyukhov


ET Time


Some final tips to get your own passion project off the ground


  • Choose something you feel strong about. This will help you stay on track and make time for your project.


  • Have a plan. It’s easier to take action when you know what needs to be done. You might have a huge idea that can feel intimidating. When you have a plan, all you need to think about is the next step.


  • Schedule in the work. Otherwise giving up watching cat videos on YouTube can become a bit too difficult.


  • Make your own deadlines. They are great motivators. One of the reasons my newsletter is called I Love Mondays is that this name has a built-in deadline. I can’t miss the it and send the email on Tuesday or Wednesday. Of course, there are other ways to set deadlines. Just let your target audience know when you post your content or plan to launch you new project.


  • Don’t get discouraged, if you don’t get the expected results right away. Things take time to evolve. If you show up and do the work, the rest will come. This is one of the things I like most about side projects: I do them mostly because I enjoy the process, and this makes me more patient.


Now over to you. Do you have a side project? Or maybe you have an idea for one? As always, I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!



  • Dmitry Kornyukhov

    25.11.2015 at 18:45 Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Elena and thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about The Open Mic and share my vision. It really means a lot to me! And wow! What a great honor to be interviewed side by side with the amazing Tess Whitty! I’m also subscribed to I Love Monday and I love I Love Mondays! 🙂 – This project is a real gem and a great way to start a week. I wish you all the best with this project and I hope it will take off!

    • Elena

      25.11.2015 at 19:06 Reply

      Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience! Working on this post turned out to be so much fun, that I’m already trying to come up with an idea for another one like this. 🙂

      I’m so glad you like I Love Mondays! I love every bit about it from contacting the authors and replying to readers’ email to tweaking the web-site. I also hope that it will take off, but on the one hand I’m taking my own advice and try not to rush things, and on the other hand I already feel that it’s a success, because I know that some of the articles brought value to the people who read them and that’s the whole point of the project. 🙂

  • Oliver Lawrence

    25.11.2015 at 20:07 Reply

    Ciao Elena, that’s a very elegant blog you’ve got here :).
    I love a side project; mine tend to be ideas for collaborative CPD ventures or business-development initiatives, at present. A creative sideline would be a great thing to do, but until I get my business to the place where I want it to be, I’ll struggle to find the time.
    Have any of your side-project translations led to interesting collaborations or even new clients?
    Best wishes

    • Elena

      25.11.2015 at 20:32 Reply

      Oh, thank you for the kind words, Oliver! 🙂

      I launched the project at the beginning of October, so it’s a little to early to say. Although one of the authors I contacted said he’s planning to translate his content into Russian and said he’ll be in touch. So, I guess, it can be counted as a lead.

      • Oliver Lawrence

        25.11.2015 at 20:40 Reply

        In a way, it’s like content marketing by the back door. And probably one of the best kinds of marketing. Everyone hates being sold to, or sold ‘at’, so marketing where you give something of real interest and value to your prospects, even if you aren’t thinking of them as such, could well be very effective. To say nothing of all the personal benefits, the CPD, etc., that goes into the process, too, as you’ve already mentioned.

        How did you select the recipients of your newsletter? And how did you get their ‘permission’, as Seth Godin terms it, to send your content to them?

        • Elena

          25.11.2015 at 21:11 Reply

          Yes, I agree. It can be regarded as a form of marketing and even networking. After all, you never know, the writers whose articles I translate might have friends who need translation services. 🙂

          As for the recipients that was the easy part. I made a web-site (the link is in the post, but it’s in Russian), where people can subscribe to the newsletter and then wrote about my idea on a couple of fora and on my pages on social networking websites. At the moment I have a small list of engaged subscribers and I’m focusing on getting everything perfect. I will start growing it more actively early next year.

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