How much time do you devote to your own projects compared to those that actually pay you?
This is a relatively new issue for me. I noticed last year that as my freelance work picked up, I had less time/creative energy for my own personal projects (my main blog and other new sites).
The obvious positive was that more freelance work led to more guaranteed income. More income leads to more savings, less debt, and more flexibility. The only setback is that you’re always busy working on projects for someone else. A catch 22 at its finest.
When you work on your own projects, there are absolutely no guarantees. You can hit it big or you can fail hard. I’ve dumped months into projects only to fail and fall hard on my head. I’ve also risked time/creative energy and had it pay off. This is the risk that all freelancers/entrepreneurs take.
Let’s look at what needs to be considered here as a freelancer…
What pays your bills?
I live in the real world. Your bills have to be paid first. You have to cover your rent, work on your debt, eat, and build up a cushion. This is why I chose to ramp up the freelance writing gigs until I was comfortable with my finances.
I knew that my bills needed to be paid. I will never ever suggest that you quit a job if you don’t have an income. I enjoy some risks. Not insane risks that could bring you straight to the poor house, or homeless.
I personally ended up scaling back on the freelance work once I had reached my savings target. I then focused my energy on my own projects.
If you’re in a similar boat, I suggest that you cover your expenses first, dent your debt, and positively impact your finances.
This also leads to the next hot topic…
What keeps you going when you know you should be sleeping?
The problem (or good thing) with work that motivates you is that it makes it difficult to sleep at night. As an aspiring entrepreneur this has likely happened to you many times in the past. You try to sleep, but your creative juices start to flow. You can’t stop brainstorming. You want to work on this new project forever. The only problem is that it doesn’t pay you any money.
What do you do? This is a challenging position for freelancers. In my case, working on my own projects has caused me to sleep less and scramble at times to complete freelancing assignments.
Pay your bills first. Channel your creativity next.
My solution is a modest one:
- Pay your bills first.
- Use this security to work on your other projects that really keep you up late at night.
That’s my take on balancing your creative projects vs work that pays you. Have you guys had to deal with any similar issues?