Before I start: I'm probably going to ramble a lot in this post. You've been warned. The past few months have been particularly challenging from a personal stand point. And just to be clear, nothing crazy happened, life is chugging along as usual, I'm healthy and there aren't any major issues I'm dealing with. So compared to a shit ton of other people out there my life is great.
Still, it has been tough.
I started working as a full-time freelancer back in 2012. I was 23. I had no idea what I was doing back then and I probably have no idea now either. But I did it anyway.
Coding websites for a living is fun, I'm not gonna lie. The web is an interesting world full of amazing people doing amazing things. And the opportunities are endless. Pretty much all the people I consider friends today I met them through the internet in one way or the other. And that's great, I love that and I couldn't be more grateful for all the interesting human connections I developed over the years.
At the same time I'm slowly realising that coding websites for clients (not all of them but a good 90% of them) is no longer rewarding. It's a job. I get money in exchange for a service and that's it. And don't get me wrong, that's ok. There's nothing wrong with that.
The problem is that I'm slowly getting consumed by this mindset. I open my computer in the morning, I see that there are 10 emails in my inbox and I think "let's hope those are not 10 new issues I'll have to deal with today".
That's not ok and it's not fun. I don't want that for my life. I'd love to spend my time helping people with their websites, help people who care about their sites which is why I love to help friends with their personal projects. Those are fun things to work on because the people involved care about the final product.
With clients that's not always the case. Because in the majority of cases a site is just a thing you need for your company like a business card or a new piece of equipment. And most of the time the site is pushed online and then forgotten. And that sucks.
Money and Side Projects
All this rant brings us to the issue of money and side projects. Side projects, by definition, are not business enterprises. I didn't start thegallery.io 4 years (2 months and 10 days) ago to make money. I wanted a place to collect websites I liked and that's why I coded that site. Could I add some shitty AD banner and earn something from it? Probably. Should I do it? Fuck no. Why? Because I care about the web and I care about you. You visit the site for a reason and that reason doesn't include getting served some crappy advertisement.
Last year I ran my weird gallery experiment to see if people were willing to contribute to the project and was pleasantly surprised by the results. There are some very kind folks out there and that is comforting in a way.
This year I decided to try something different. I'd love to have more time to spend to help people who can't afford to pay for a developer. I'd love to have more time to help people getting online to blog and to share what they do. It sucks that 95% of the sites I post on The Gallery are either portfolios or sites for companies with big budgets while there are hundreds of charities or small creators in all fields stuck with shitty old websites because they don't have the financial resources to hire a studio or a freelancer.
That's a problem I'd love to work ok. And that's only possible if I earn something in some other way. Which is why I set up a few different ways for people to contribute to this project of mine. I'd love to reach the point where if you have a charity that has no budget you can say to them "Reach out to that guy and he'll help you out even if you don't have a budget."
Does any of this make any sense? Probably not. Anyway, if just the thought of contributing to this endeavour crosses your mind, thank you. Really.
And, as always, if you want to reach out please do it at firstname.lastname@example.org. I love to chat with people via email.