We all dream of having complete creative control over our projects, but unless you are well-established, calling your own shots may be far down the road. That’s OK, though. You can have complete control by doing your own creative projects outside of your paid work. It will also help your career.

You may believe you don’t have the time, or perhaps don’t want to use your free time to work more. But you should take that opportunity. Why?

Keep your head in the game

Developing your writing, editing and design skills all requires regular (if not daily) practice. I always have a personal project (or two) going at the same time as my professional work. It helps keep my mind in the game and allows me to push my skills beyond what is normally required. As a freelancer, you are your business, so any work you create beyond normal assignments could be seen as both personal and professional development.

Push the boundaries completing creative projects

There’s no better place to try the things you’ve never tried before try the things you’ve never tried before than on your own project. You don’t always have the time to learn a new skill or the freedom to try something cutting edge on the job, so pushing yourself into new areas will give you the experience you need when you are called upon. When you work on your own projects, you have the freedom to experiment and keep your creative edge from getting dull.

Show your potential
Your own project is a great opportunity to prove that you can take something from concept to completion. No matter the size of your project, you will be making all the important decisions and developing the skills that could help you land more and better work. It’s one thing to excel at a given task, but it’s another to say you have the experience to see a project all the way through to the end.

Strengthen your standards
The same set of standards you set for yourself as a professional should carry over to your own projects. Your original work is just as important as the other work you do, so treat it with the same respect as any paid job. Then, once you are completing the same type of work for a project or assignment, it will be second nature.

Personal creative projects are a commitment well worth the effort. The new skills you learn by working on your own will help you in the day-to-day work at your job. Your skill set will grow, and it can open doors for promotion or more creative flexibility within your job.

Krista is a Creative Circle candidate, creative writer and content creator in Los Angeles. Her background includes news, marketing, copywriting and editing. If you are interested in working with Krista, please contact Creative Circle Los Angeles.