Balancing Paid Gigs With Passion Projects: Three Questions To Ask

Balancing Paid Gigs With Passion Projects: Three Questions to Ask

I like to write, and I like to make money. Sometimes, those two interests overlap. Most of the time, I find myself struggling to balance passion projects with paid work. When you're freelancing, it can be a challenge to decide which gigs are worth your time. A fellow freelancer recently offered a solution: ask yourself the following three questions to decide on a gig.

Photo by Sebastiaan ter Burg

If you're a creative freelancer lucky enough to have options, you can probably relate to the struggle: Do I accept high-paying corporate work, or fun, creative work that pays less? When deciding whether or not to accept a gig, ask yourself three questions:

  • Will I enjoy myself doing this work?
  • Will I learn something from the job?
  • Does it pay well?

If two out of the three have favourable answers, take the gig.

Of course, this isn't a tactic for everyone. If you're struggling to make ends meet, you might only be able to ask the "does it pay" question.

Also, this is just one freelancer's method — you may have different conditions. For example, you might not consider the job at all if doesn't reach a certain threshold. Or, you might have add another question: will this job help reach my career goals?

But overall, I thought this was a decent measure for picking freelance work to fill your schedule (if you're fortunate enough to have choices). Start with a few factors that are important to you. Decide how many of them a job must meet to be worth your time.


    Not a bad philosophy for any career stage really. If you are getting two out of three, think about staying.

    It isn't strictly the same situation, but I'm a freelance musician, and I often need to decide whether or not to perform in ensembles for unpaid (or low pay) gigs. The deciding question for me is this:
    If somebody who had never seen me or my work before came along to this performance, would I be happy that this was their first impression?

    If the gig or the ensemble doesn't meet my standards for professionalism or musical quality, then it's not publicity that I want, no matter how fun!

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