It is the fun part – said no one ever in humanity's history, when word "work" was involved. Most people connotate work with the commercial aspect of their operation. For me, work means just about any task, of which performance I could watch any progress. As progress is involved, it is always a fun part.
I tend to approach every challenge with the same engagement, no matter if it comes from my "because I can" (and seriously, this is my primary reason when I decide to spend my time and energy on something), or it comes from a partner or a client. I used to call my clients partners, but later about that.
There are many projects that I have done as a "lone wolf" (meaning I was responsible for the entire thing – from conceptual thinking, through implementation, to deployment to production environment). Still, there are also projects I have done as a part of a team or coordinating a team. I currently aim for fusion between these two approaches – I would like to work with people but solve problems at different layers of a more significant challenge and support "my" part of the organization with my knowledge, experience, and approach.
Due to the variety of experiences I have gathered and the roles I have been taking so far, I cannot categorize my activities in commercial/non-commercial. It turns out some activities get more commercial character when they out of nowhere turn out to bring some income. However, I can categorize them as activities, where I get the full freedom of choice regarding the concept and its technical approach (to predict the outcome accurately), and corporate projects. In the latter specific constraints exist, and some clients' conditions, rules, or culture must be considered.
When I get the freedom
Mostly it happens, that I need to take care of my freedom, which means that the majority of these full-freedom projects are mine and developed because: "I can," I am curious about something, I came up with some concept that seems promising (considering multiple conditions), or I needed something for another purpose, and it surprisingly evolved. This last kind of projects is fascinating, as, despite fine predictability regarding results according to initial assumptions and expectations, they seem to grow unexpectedly, yet organically. As the need mostly causes the project launch, the evolution gets triggered by redefined need, stimulated by chance (where the chance is that I already have something I could evolve).
There is always this minority of work, where corporate background partners limit themselves to one constraint – "it must do <you_name_it>." I still consider it a "full-freedom" project, as I value the freedom to choose a solution, not the freedom to choose a problem.
When your business sets the rules
I perform this other kind of work, where a partner has very well-defined needs. My cooperation with a certain type of organization requires me to follow their rules, code of conduct, philosophy, and business culture in general. I work well with such organizations, and I am happy to be part of their operation, but there is one "but"… I do not get pulled in. I respect and follow all of the partner's guidelines, organization's hierarchy, and roles, but internally / mentally, I need to keep myself away from that. Not getting pulled in gives me a whole different perspective. This perspective is my greatest value, and I use it in favor of the partner's business. That is not something you would want to lose. Or sell. You would use it.
I also have this thing – calling my clients (after all, they are all my clients, as I have worked in the B2B model only, so far) "partners." It is strongly related to my philosophy of doing business. I believe that there is no compromise in business – always, all the parties involved should be satisfied with the outcome. Despite the role given, I always look at the bigger picture to deliver the expected (or beyond expected) outcome. In today's technology-driven world, my delivery/outcome always means income for the partner. Partner’s income === my income. If you understand your client's business and how your work's quality affects it, you start to perceive business more like a symbiosis – a true partnership, where everyone wins. At least, that is how I choose to see it.