When people sign up to do something, the vast majority of them want to make a success of it. Nobody joins a new company thinking they want to fail and do a terrible job.
When you start working for yourself, this is definitely not your goal. You want everything you do to be the best in the industry. Maybe you think you are the best. Maybe it’s true.
However, when you let the fearful authority that has control over you (bosses, managers or clients) change your work into something that you don’t want to do, you’ll find the quality of your work slipping. This isn’t just bad for that project, but for your career.
When you say you worked on a project that isn’t regarded as great work, you are pinning your name to something that isn’t worthy of respect, and you will lose future business. You will become mediocre, and mediocre doesn’t pay.
This is why you have to be willing and ready to say no to work when you have an outside authority who wants you to be mediocre. This can be really hard, especially if your boss or client is paying your bills.
I’m not saying you always have to dump bad clients who prevent you from doing your best work. You may need that income to live on, but if you feel like you’re not doing work that inspires you and others, it might be your chance to stop accepting mediocre.