So this forced me to settle for a number at which I'm happy with my income and I can have a clear goal for that year - once that is achieved other things come in to play.
This seems basic and maybe it's just me but I never really had an idea of what I wanted to make, what is "enough" - I would just say yes to any opportunity that came my way which paid more and kept plowing forward - but there is a limit to how much you can do and it's hard to guess it before you reach it so I ended up pulling all nighters and working through weekends more than once. Now that I have my limit it's actually pretty easy to reach with ~210 regular work days according to my current rates for a really easygoing client - this leaves me with plenty of time for other stuff - if I find a better paying client I just work less for that year - I like this model.
Maybe I should describe it better - it is a special tax model - you pay a flat fee if you make less than X and that flat fee turns out to be ~5%. When you cross this threshold you no longer qualify for this model at all - you have to convert to standard taxation - I would need to increase my revenue by 20% just to break even and the extra hassle of doing that would mean that I need to increase it by 30% (at least) to be wroth it.
So in my situation it just turned out to be a good limit where if I negotiate 10% more I just convert that money = free time for other stuff. I don't plan to stay below this limit forever (in fact next year I plan to go over) but the concept of having a target income goal and then letting the rest of your time go to personal life is really good for work life balance IMO.
The thing that's interesting though, is on the consulting side, as my rates and overall project cost have increased, the time investment to close a sale has also gone up. Meanwhile, if you go for a more expensive & specialized skillset, there's also a time investment on the marketing & outreach front.
Basically, in my experience, there's a small handful of people who've managed to carve out a niche where they can work low hours and make a high hourly rate, but they're few and far between, and investing in passive income streams is really the way to go.
That said, I _really hate_ managing rental properties instead of slinging code, but in terms of dollar per hour there's no comparison.
They seem to be the loud minority on here though. I guess if you get a sweet gig like that, you will find lots of time to post on HN. I know I'd brag about it too if I was in that situation.