If you are working for someone else on a project that seems doomed you will at least give it your all because someone is paying you to do it. But it’s hard to keep up the enthusiasm on a self funded project when you have no idea if it will pay anything at all. You can tell yourself over and over again that it is all a learning experience, but when it comes to throwing yourself upon a small part of the project a little voice in your head says, ‘don’t waste too much time on it as this whole thing may well sink like a stone’.
But with graphics you can always spend a bit more time. There is always more you can do, things you can tweak or redesign. Likewise with programming. You can always spend another week making the interface better. You can always spend more time on a cut scene.
We are not just learning to make games we are learning to project manage ourselves and our resources.