Why I’m Saying No To Client Work

The idea of doing work for “clients” predates my career as a programmer. I was doing desktop publishing work for clients back in college. I wasn’t necessarily in business, I was just a poor college student always on the lookout for some cash.
So when I quit my job and started working for myself back in 1996, it was natural for me to look for “contracts.” And I found them, especially after my first book on programming was published.
So I have been doing client work ever since. Sometimes it has been a minor part of my work, sometimes a major part. At two points in the last 12 years I even expanded my company with employees specifically set aside to do only client work.
But during the entire 12 years, I have also been saying: “Soon, I will stop doing client work.”
I guess I’m enough of a creative individual that I really want to be creating my own content, not developing someone else’s. No matter how cool or challenging a contract seems when I first take it on, it always ends up being very uninteresting by the time I’m halfway done. The client, of course, wants their job done and done right. I just want to move on.
There is also a business side to the whole thing. When you do client work, you get paid cash for your time. Trading time for money. But developing my own content can continue to pay off years after the effort. For instance, games I have made for my free online games site GameScene.com back in 1996 are still earning ad revenue today. The books I have written still create royalties. I hope the same is true in the long run for the Mac videos that I’m making.
So, once agian, I’m declaring an end to client work. But I mean it this time. I have one client project that I am working on right now. I have a few clients that come back to me from time-to-time for updates. My plan is to finish everything up and declare independence from client work by the end of the year. Definitely.

Posted on September 3, 2008 at 11:19 am by Gary Rosenzweig · Permalink
In: General

2 Responses

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  1. Written by T Bonez
    on 9/3/2008 at 1:50 pm
    Permalink

    I’m with you. I rode the desktop publishing horse a long way for dozens of clients before I was fortunate to sell that biz and reconfigure my work life to be a creative content developer. Much happier now!

    It does take patience and dedication to invest in the creative revenue stream career, but the long-term benefits include both independence and sanity. With clients, neither of those is part of the package.

    Here’s to living by our creative wits! Good luck with the plan.
    TBonez

  2. Written by gamedesigner
    on 9/11/2008 at 4:39 am
    Permalink

    hear hear!

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