Why you should stop moonlighting

A couple days ago I was listening to the Design Life podcast where they share why they stopped freelancing and how that's impacted their lives. (Episode 134) This was a really relevant talk for me as I stopped freelancing in the early part of May, and I have to say I also identified with a lot of the reasons they listed for why they stopped and why they are glad they did.

Until May, I had been pursuing freelance work at a pretty good pace for the past year. My goal was to be serving two clients a month and continue that on as long as I could. I did this for about a year and a half while hitting my goal. But man did it suck. It sucked away my free time, as well as my evenings after my family went to bed. It sucked away my passion, and in many ways left me feeling burnt out. It also added unneeded stress to my life because I didn't need those clients, what I needed was to focus on building my work through my day job, and that brings me to my two ways you can stop freelancing and how it will help you be a better designer.

1. Prioritize Your Day Job

Disclaimer. If you don't have a day job where you can design things, then this isn't a great path for you. But if you do, spend more time thinking about how you can make that work better. If you need to diversify your work, start a side project that targets the very thing you want to get better at doing.

2. Find a job that grows your skills

Part of my reason for all of my freelance work is because my previous job didn't offer me much in terms of variety or a true chance to design new things. But don't let that stop you from finding opportunities to continue to grow and serve that employer while you spend your extra time not freelancing to work on designing and building out your portfolio.

3. Make time to recharge

Slowing down has only helped me as a designer. Once I know that I'm not stressing about hitting deadlines for three different companies, I can rest much easier at night. I can wake up without worrying about getting work done before going to work. And most importantly, I can spend time with my family and not have work in the back of my head. For me, this freedom from stress has helped me be more focused on the work I do throughout the day, and when I get home I make every effort to focus on my family and myself.

4. Start A Side Project

Often times the jobs we pick up on the side are not really things we want to be doing anyway. When it's just about the money though, you don't mind fulfilling that need. However, when you take away the need to make cash you can concentrate on making something you love to make. So get out there and start a stupid side project and focus more on creating things you are passionate about and make you feel better about your skills or work.

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