There is no doubt that I put far more effort and time into client projects than my own. After all, they're the ones who are paying my mortgage. Without my clients, I wouldn't be where I am today. However, I also have a ton of projects on my plate that are purely for my own interests. And I just can't seem to pull together the same energy when it comes to my own projects as I do with that of client work.
Why is that?
I think most of it has to do with the fact that I don't make nearly as much money with my own projects as I do with my clients. I'm paid by clients for results, which I can usually easily achieve. But who pays me for my project results? The $1.00 per day I make from AdSense? The occasional sale from an affiliate? The $0.72 I made last month on Amazon?
That pales in comparison to how much I make as a freelancer. In fact, it's literally thousands of percentage points lower to work on my own projects as opposed to client work.
The bottom line is that I didn't put nearly the same amount of effort at the beginning building up my side-project brands as I do for clients. Not only do I kind of suck at self-promotion, but I am quite easy to divert when I'm not focused on clients.
The end result is a handful of blogs and YouTube channels that grow at an exceptionally slow pace.
Identifying the Issues
When I owned the Iliff Computer Center, I was intently focused. I put in 100 hours per week, had staff to pay, and was bringing in six figures to a company based in a town with a population of 250. Needless to say, I was doing some great things back in the day.
Even when I owned the liquor store, it was the size of a closet, but it was still experiencing monthly growth.
So, why do I have such a hard time building up that kind of success for myself as a writer/blogger/YouTuber? I suppose it might have a bit to do with what I went through in 2016. And if you're curious, I wrote about it in my book, A Freelancer's Tale.
Was it such as traumatic experience that I am hesitant about putting myself out there again? Or, is it more related to sheer laziness? I don't know if I'm that lazy nowadays, but I am exceptionally tired all the time.
If I put in the same level of effort today as I did for the computer center, I would probably have my warehouse and business offices already.
Treating Personal Projects as a Business
Perhaps the best way to think of my personal projects is that of a business. Essentially, I already run a business as a sole proprietor for my writing career. Maybe if I get into the mindset that all of my other projects are related to some kind of business, I'll be able to convince myself that I need to put in the same amount of effort as I do for paying clients.
But that's the rub, really. I do very well for paying clients. And making a few dollars per day isn't really something that tempts me to care. And yes, I'm well aware that if I did put in even a fraction of the same effort, I'd make far more than just a handful of cash each month.
In reality, I was debating on starting up an entirely new business this morning, complete with setting up a C-Corp for this venture. It's a bit on the extreme side, but I wonder just how much it would fuel effort if it's all related to a corporation. To be honest, it really doesn't cost much to incorporate a business here in Colorado.
Regardless of whether I decide to incorporate or not, I need to start viewing my other projects as an entirely separate business. Instead of just "side projects," viewing them as business elements would add a heightened level of priority every day.
Now, not everyone needs to view their blogs, YouTube channels, or novels as a business platform. For me, though, it might just be what I need to get everything growing at a stable and improved pace.
To be successful in anything, you need to find something that works to keep you in the right mindset. What works for one person, may not work the same for another. Through trial and error, you can find those methods that propel you forward and reach greater levels of success.
Sure, it might take a bit of time before you find your groove. But as long as you don't give up on your dreams and aspirations, you'll eventually find something that just seems to click perfectly for you.
Something's Gotta Change
Without a doubt, something's gotta change in my life if I want all of the things I'm running to develop into something bigger. Sure, every blog has grown year-over-year, but the growth has been extremely low.
By treating them as either separate businesses or part of a larger corporation, I might get into a different mindset about what needs to be done without really worrying about pay.
And if you think about it, demonstrating I can manage my own projects only supports my professional career. I can always show the numbers and highlight what I can do for a client, especially if I have full creative control.
Instead of "side projects," let's view them as "brands."
About the Creator
I am the owner and operator of several blogs including WriterSanctuary.com. As a freelance writer since 2012, I have covered a range of topics and completed over 8,000 projects for clients. Follow me @WriterSanctuary on Twitter.