Someone in my family once said that education is a lifelong pursuit. While some may see my side projects as overkill, I've always seen it as a way to continue learning to develop my craft and hard skills within the creative industry. Additionally, it's nice to enjoy the simple nature of being able to create something from nothing. Learning is out there for the taking if you want it bad enough.
I've taken time, researched, sent emails, had coffee meet-ups, watched hours of videos, taken courses, failed repeatedly, and continue to push in efforts to not just hopefully inspire others one day but also surprise myself at every push. Design is a job first and foremost and will remain that way. But never forget that if you care enough, it can be fun at times.