The paradox of choice as an indie

We live in an era of seemingly infinite opportunities and possibilities, but this can make us all frustrated that we’re not capitalising all of the time.

The paradox of choice as an indie
Lately I’ve felt frustrated.
I shouldn’t be. I’ve been making good progress with freelance work, enjoying my ‘day job’ more and managing good consistent income. But I also want to be growing my side projects, for the future.
In reality it’s incredibly hard to do both.
I realise this is a bit like a paradox of choice. We live in an era of seemingly infinite opportunities and possibilities. This can make us all frustrated that we’re not capitalising all of the time, or make it hard to decide what to work on, and know if we’re on the right track.
 
We live in an era of seemingly infinite opportunities and possibilities. This can make us all frustrated that we’re not capitalising all of the time.
 
When you’re an ‘indie’ - either working as a freelancer, or building things as a solopreneur or indie creator - that feeling can be especially strong at times. After all, we’re independent, so why can’t we just achieve everything we want?
In reality we’re still all experiencing constraints of some kind which mean we can’t do everything (time, money, opportunity, skills) and this doesn’t always match up with the appearance of freedom in our heads.
 
Even though we’re ‘indie’, we’re all experiencing constraints of some kind (time, money, opportunity, skills).
 
Sometimes I wonder why I feel frustated, being long-term freelance. I haven’t had a full-time job for nearly 20 years. Why haven’t I “got a handle” on this yet?
It’s never that simple. What you learn with age is that life and work aren’t linear like that. Everything doesn’t just slowly get better with time and effort – that’s a misconception you can experience when younger. In reality, the market changes. Your interests change. The tools change. The opportunities change. Your financial situation can change. Very few things stay the same and you have to keep adapting.
A good example is software. I’ve had to learn new software tools multiple times in my career. I’m currently using a whole new tool stack compared with 3 years ago (prior to that I’d been using mostly Adobe for about 20 years, but since 2020 I’ve transitioned to Figma and Webflow).
So what does it takes to keep the frustration at bay, or at least the FOMO feeling?
When I feel this way I’ve learned that it needs some patience, a bit of faith, and the understanding that you’re running your own race.
 
There is no way of knowing if you’re on the ‘right’ path, or if you’re missing out on something.
 
There is no way of knowing if you’re on the ‘right’ path, or if you’re missing out on something. Just keep an eye on what’s important to you at any given time – whether that’s income, autonomy, free time or something else. And if you’re pursuing side projects, take a long term view. Rarely do these things get successful, quickly.
 
 
 

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