If you didn’t already know, I work for Sandhills Development, LLC, formerly Pippins Pages, LLC. This is the parent company for dope shit like Easy Digital Downloads, AffiliateWP, Restrict Content Pro, and more.
I spend most of my time on Easy Digital Downloads since that was my initial focus when I was hired back in 2014. I do plan to be more involved with the other projects in the future.
Anyway, before I was hired, I spent most of my time freelancing web development and working on my personal projects, Build WP Yourself and Volatyl Themes. You could consider freelancing my day job and the aforementioned projects my hobby. I call them hobbies based solely on the amount of revenue they generated. Had they been the primary breadwinners, I’d probably change my tone.
I bring them up now because I don’t do much work on them anymore. I quit freelancing when I got hired because I genuinely hated it. That was a one-for-one swap. I had no reason to stop working with my other projects, though. I still had a “9 to 5,” conceptually. So they could easily remain my “5 to 9” projects. They didn’t.
Honestly, I know why they didn’t. It’s because of how into Easy Digital Downloads I am. You see, it’s not just one particular job to me. It’s a few jobs wrapped into one. You can’t state my job title without using commas. I’m a support technician, designer, developer, and much more. Because of that, I’ve managed to replace freelancing with one or two elements of my job while the other job related responsibilities have been competing with the projects in my “5 to 9” space.
If the support workload is enough to dominate a full work day, when do I redesign the Easy Digital Downloads website? Those two responsibilities, believe it or not, are totally separate professions. So working for Easy Digital Downloads quickly put me in the mindset that even though I was working for one overall project, there was still a primary vs. secondary dynamic. Even more, the additional responsibilities like a full redesign were not given to me. I saw the neds and pursued it myself. That’s an important detail.
I’ve been with the company for over a year and a half at this point. It’s been wonderful and shaky at the same damn time. Wonderful because I didn’t even know I was skilled enough to be part of the team when I was first offered the job. Shaky because we have a small team and every one of us feels the effects of our growing pains considering the company’s consistent growth.
Though I felt some type of way not too long ago, I’m here for the long haul as long as I can see the value. My negative feelings were rooted in the idea that I had abandoned my own work to do work that may or may not add to my personal skill set and pay off in the future. I’ve always known that wasn’t the case but sometimes you need a reminder.
That reminder has been delivered and is now starting to blur the line between what is mine to dedicate my free time to and what is not. If I redesign our site in my free time, for example, am I taking time away from my other personal projects or am I working on my own project still? Remember, I wasn’t even asked to do that.
Is Easy Digital Downloads my project? That’s a hard question to answer for a complex thinker like me. According to paperwork, no. It is not my project. Do I have reason to believe it could eventually be my project? Yes, absolutely. If I have confidence in the latter, is it smarter for me to get a head start on improving my project in my free time or should I push that urge to the side and only focus on my personal projects?
See! Thin line.
My gut tells me to work like crazy on Easy Digital Downloads. It tells me that I will be perfectly fine giving it my all for the time being. Some will say there is no room for faith in business, and I totally get that.
I don’t have all the answers. I can say that this dilemma literally forces me to think from a short-term goal perspective as opposed to a mid-term goal perspective. I can’t talk about three years from now when I am unclear on what will be my primary focus at that time. And trust me, I’m a three-years-from-now type of guy.
So, yea… there’s a thin line and man is it confusing. Enjoy your day.