Being Free to Choose

Day 24 of 365 of my Daily Blogging challenge, first published on my blog

I really want to become independent, earn enough with my own company that I can be completely free of the choices I make, work on my schedule and have complete ownership of my output.

But there is freedom in building a company as a side project.

You don’t have the pressure of earning enough money, of knowing if you’ll get work tomorrow. You still have people to interact with at your day job while you develop your community. You can simply switch to a new idea if the one you’re currently working on does not take off.

You have complete choice over your side-project. Your only limitation is time.

I’m starting to realize that it is a very interesting position to be in. You can create your own product, and still work on interesting topics at your day job. I’m very lucky to work in a place where I can easily grow.

The goal in my life will be to always have two focuses: the main one taking most of the work day, and a secondary one for testing my ideas with no risk associated. The main focus does not always have to be a day job, but it should be what lets you make a living.

When you are trying to sell something, you’re in the best position if you don’t want to sell it. The premise here is the same. If you’re working on you side project, the less you’re pushing for it to work for external reasons like money, the best work you’ll be able to do and the higher chances you have to make something out of it.

That does not mean it will work without doing anything. It will be really hard. But the chances will be slightly improved.

Quality from freedom, success from quality, and freedom from success.

  1. 2

    I'm in a similar position, where I have a steady day job, but I'm working on a side project as well. The upsides you've already mentioned in your post, but there are downsides as well. Like you said, "the only limitation we have is time" is true, but there is a deeper limitation people like us have. We lack the motivation that people have when they see their money slowly trickling away as the months building the project go by. We lack the fire that is lit under people who know that if their project doesn't succeed, they're going to be in big trouble.

    1. 2

      That is true indeed. But this fire comes with those extra limitations which make it that you don't have a choice but to go all or nothing, while sometimes neglecting your family, health and all other parts of your life.

      I choose not to put my family in this kind of situation where they don't know if a project is going to work out and if the money will keep flowing in.

      I'm choosing safety for myself and my family. And a side project which may end up bringing some more safety nets is the best way to go for me, whether someone has a job or already has a main project.

      Thanks for your insights !

      1. 2

        I personally agree with that choice as I'm doing the same thing myself, however it boils down to different people have different mindsets. It takes a certain amount of guts to go all in, and with all the aforementioned motivations, I think that those people tend to succeed with their projects more often. Again, I'm not saying that it's necessarily a better approach seeing as most projects still end up failing, it's just different.

        1. 1

          That makes a lot of sense indeed !

          From some figures I remember though, it seemed to me that people who stayed in a job had a higher chance of success vs people who just quit to work only on their side project. I don't have the source of this, so take it with a grain of salt :)

          But it does come down to preferences indeed. If you can afford to quit, I think it's an experience by itself.

  2. 1

    It's true this position is more comfortable because you have your safety net in case your idea doesn't work out in the end. But having a side project you're more passionate about than your main occupation can be extremely frustrating, especially when you have less time and energy to focus on your side project. It really is a compromise between how quick you want it to work, if you want to make money (a living) out of it, and if your current main occupation still brings you satisfaction. But it's true that in the end, you're always free to change your mind and go from one position to another, and this freedom is priceless.

  3. 1

    Good points on both sides already listed. Definitely a choice either way. Which is best/right for you? depends

    1. 1

      What would be your preferred option ?

      1. 2

        I always go all in with everything I do. However, I've found it valuable to maintain 3 buckets.

        Family / Full-time work / Side project

        The second two are transient. If the side project moves to full-time or I get a different full-time job, for sanity's sake (or just for learning new skills), there's always something separate in the side project bucket.

        I make it work by always being focused when in any of those buckets. I can't work and do family stuff at the same time for example. Doesn't make sense for me... Some call it being "present"

        If the side project takes 2 hours/night, I'm not doing anything else during that time.

        If I'm on vacation with family, they get my attention. If I'm getting paid in $ or equity to do the full-time work, that's what I'm focused on 40-50 hr/wk.

        Sorry for the long reply. I suppose the last important thing is I don't see it as a choice. It's just who I am and it's served me well.

        1. 1

          Very happy for the long and detailed answer !

          That makes a lot of sense. You'll do your best work / be your best when you're totally focused on what you're doing. And you'll end up saving a lot of time and creating better quality.

          Thanks for taking the time

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