I was recently trading a few emails with someone asking about working on projects you’re passionate about full-time. Thought it would be good to answer them publicly. Here we go:
#1 Have you found that you really can make a living just by working on projects that you’re interested in?
Sadly, no. I still do contract work to pay the bills. When I’m working on my stuff full-time, it’s on money I’ve saved up from clients. I someday hope to live solely off of income from my projects.
This has definitely cased a shift in my thinking for side projects. I now mainly focus on stuff that could make money instead of random things for fun. I still enjoy what I work on, but it’s a more focused approach.
#2 What do you think about trying to do contract work part time (to pay the bills) while working on your personal projects with your other time. Or do you think that personal project businesses require full attention?
This is what I do. I’m really bad at doing more than one thing at a time. I never book more than one client at a time anymore. It’s too stressful to manage everyone’s needs. If I do work on stuff on the side while I’m working on a client, it’s nights and weekends when I feel like it.
After I have enough saved up, I switch to my own projects full-time which is great. I have to treat it like work and do it no matter what. I have to work too hard to get this time so I respect it a lot.
#3 Have you found more success by putting all your effort into one larger project or splitting your time between many smaller projects
Regarding side projects, definitely. Focus is a good skill to have. Pouring all of your passion into one thing instead of a bunch of little things makes a huge difference.
This decision is somewhat motivated from wanting to optimize for future income. I still think I produce better work this way anyway.
If you want to ask something about whatever, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to get back to you. Hopefully these are helpful to some folks.