I've been lucky enough to find success as a freelance designer/developer for more than a decade now, but the road to bigger contracts and steady income has been paved with years of 80 hour work weeks (I think I must have gotten confused when I first read Tim Ferriss). The feelings of freedom and independence that this path originally provided me have slowly given way to an increasing sense of "stuckness." I originally learned how to do this stuff because I wanted to build things for myself, but the need to pay rent and eat and all the expenses of life took the front-seat. Even as I started earning enough that those expenses weren't a problem, the lure of larger contracts kept me grinding.
I've been telling myself for years that being a freelancer would allow me to work on my own projects "in-between" client jobs. But as my business grew, the truth is that I've been just as time-constrained as someone working a full-time job. Honestly, looking at the hours I work, I probably have even less free time than the average employee.
I've been working on my own little API product for a few months now, and finding it frustrating balancing client work with the thing I'm actually excited about. So yesterday I finally made the decision to take my own thing as seriously as I take other people's: I turned down a large client job in order to focus on shipping my side project.
Anyone who has worked as a freelancer knows how hard this can be - but WOW did it feel good. I had started to forget what it's like to feel genuinely excited about my work. This small act of self-commitment has been rejuvenating to say the least. If anyone is reading this feeling unsure about taking the plunge, I'm here to tell you that it's worth it. Even if it's only for your mental health, it's worth it.
Thanks for listening.