I just started planning a workshop to offer with a friend and colleague, and during our planning conversation the other day I spoke about how – by working on planning this workshop – I was breaking my “rule” about the type of work that I take on right now. I’ve been pretty clear for some time that the work I want to engage in with clients should be one of: a) instructional/learning design work, b) process facilitation work, or c) teaching people about facilitation/teaching – either f2f or online. This workshop that we’re developing is not in one of those categories, yet it still is something that I very much want to do.

This instance of my own “rule breaking” made me think of the articles I’ve read about the importance of working on “personal projects” when working as a solo-preneur. If this term is new to you, personal projects are really just projects that no client is asking us to work on but are born out of our own creative needs and wants. They’re work that we do on the side of our regular paid “gigs”. Personal projects are meant to feed our souls and give us opportunities to do work outside of the boxes that either we or others sometimes can paint ourselves into.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve “painted myself into” a pretty great box, because I love my work! I’m happy with my box full of three areas; the box is pretty big. But still my need for creativity, variety and – perhaps not surprising – control over the outcome, is strong and needs to be fed. And so we are creating this workshop…a personal project for both my friend and I.

If you’re interested in reading more about the “why” of personal projects, this blog post from an artist sums it up quite nicely.