Everyone has moments when they feel like they need a change in their life. Maybe you’ve been at your job for too long and feel stuck, or perhaps you’re just bored with the same old routine.
If you’re looking for a way to shake things up, consider starting a personal project. Personal projects can be a great way to improve your skills, learn new things, and explore your interests.
As an entrepreneur and photographer, my own career has been filled with personal projects. My livelihood depends on my ability to follow my curiosities, create a unique vision, and put the right pieces in place to see it through.
The Seattle 100 project is a prime example of how powerful personal projects can be. The Seattle 100 was an artistic vision, a compilation of images taken in one city, celebrating its artistic and cultural legacy. The idea expanded into a gallery exhibition, book, and traveling show with the same name.
Read on to find out how to get started on your project.
What Is A Personal Project?
Personal projects are about your curiosity, not your output. They’re about exploring what’s inside of you rather than getting famous or finding a job. If you’re looking for direction in life, try creating something on the side instead of working more hours at your 9-to-5.
A personal project can be anything—a book, a song, a youth activity center—basically anything that expresses your ideas or interests. It doesn’t have to be big; you could make a short film and release it online for all to see. Also, know that personal projects can take years, even decades, to grow and develop. Don’t expect instant gratification!
Ideally, although not necessarily, your project shouldn’t conflict or overlap with your career. That’s why you should only take on something that interests you instead of something that will further you in your professional life. This leaves space for exploration, experimentation, and creative growth without the pressure of impressing employers or clients.
How To Find Your Project
The power of personal projects comes from your ability to define who you are and what you want out of your life. Through personal projects, you’ll learn about your strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes. They’re a fantastic source of knowledge that will help you improve as an individual. Follow your curiosity, and discover your passion.
You should also look around for people who share these passions and ideas. For a while, I felt like I was the only one who felt inspired and motivated by photography, but there were plenty of people in my hometown and the surrounding areas who had similar curiosities and passions. Tapping into a community of like-minded individuals can propel your project to the next level. If you can’t find anyone to link up with in person, there are online and social media groups where you can find community.
Brainstorming, research, and experimentation are the key components to starting your project. Explore what you love. Look at other artists, photographers, writers, musicians, filmmakers for inspiration.
What Are The Benefits Of Taking On A Personal Project?
Besides learning about yourself, starting such a project can do wonders for your professional and personal lives. Let’s take a closer look at why it’s worth it to take on a personal project.
Personal projects aren’t just for creative types. Mental health can considerably deteriorate when exposed to monotony, stress, and burnout at work. Personal projects are perfect for recovering that mental wellbeing.
Everyone can benefit from taking on a personal project, whether you’re an artist or not. Pursuing your interests outside of work, helps you discover what makes you happy and comfortable.
Embellish Your Portfolio
Working on personal projects can strengthen your skills or give you a different perspective that could lead to new personal and professional opportunities elsewhere. If you’re an artist who wants to transition to something different, try starting a personal project in the area you want to work in.
For example, if you want to be hired as a fashion photographer, but work in commercial photography, take some time on the side to experiment with fashion photography. All you need is your camera, an exciting idea, and the rest will follow.
Get Noticed By Employers And Clients
Even if you don’t get hired, a project can help develop your skills. A personal project can show employers something they didn’t know about you before. What’s even better is that it reveals the passion and attention to detail you have for it.
Strengthen Your Faith in Yourself
It can be intimidating and challenging to work on a personal project. You’ll constantly second guess yourself, and it can be very easy to lose motivation and give up altogether.
However, the benefits of taking on such a project outweigh the costs when you stick with it and follow through. Your self confidence will increase when you accomplish what you set out to do. Suddenly all the time you spent working on it doesn’t seem so pointless after all.
Take The First Step: Learn
Once you’ve decided on a project, you’ll need to learn everything about it that you can. CreativeLive has several courses you can take to get started.
The 30 Days of Genius course, for example, features advice from me, as well as influential figures like:
- Richard Branson
- Mark Cuban
- Jared Leto
- Arianna Huffington
- Sir Mix-A-Lot
- Brené Brown
- And Many More!
Use their experience and insight to learn and grow. With the help of Creative Live, you can take the first step towards starting your own personal project.