There ARE still people who believe the future of work is NOT freelance. Hard to believe, but it’s true. They’re the people who put air quotes around “work” when you say you work from home. And couldn’t tell you what Zoom is. They’ll also be the people asking you how you did it in a few years. Try to be nice. I experienced something similar when I told people, way back in 2004, that the internet would be the future of business. “The Yahoo chat thing? Bahaha. Okaaaay.” they scoffed. We know how that played out. Meanwhile, big companies see
Ever had a client you were just sure was going to hire you… never pull the trigger? Or, bid on a job on a freelance site and the client disappears without hiring anyone? Or, worse, you never even get those “bites” to begin with? I had an almost client once that did this. We went back and forth for almost a month. He asked me, genuinely, close to 50 or 60 different questions about my services. I got very frustrated. And, ultimately, he ended up NOT hiring me. It was incredibly annoying. But, it did make me take a hard
Been binge-watching the show Lucifer on Netflix. Before that, it was season 5 of Legends of Tomorrow, which had a hell-centric storyline. And, I noticed an interesting theme kept popping up in both. One that’s a splash of cold water for most freelancers. But, when done right equates to consistent, long-term success. It’s the idea of making a “deal with the devil”. It seems no matter how vile you are. No matter how much you personify evil and treachery and all the dirty misgivings we humans are capable of… there’s one thing that’s still strictly off limits. That even the
I once had a client who was reluctant to work with me because he’d previously worked with a developer on Upwork and caught that freelancer watching porn when he was supposed to be working and tracking time for the client. I’ve had clients whose freelancers took their money and never delivered on the project. I’ve had clients who’ve worked with different developers for up to two years to try and get their site built, paying thousands of dollars, and still had nothing to show for it. I could go on and on with the horror stories I’ve heard from clients.
“Yeah well that’s just your opinion, man.” Sure as hell is. Of course, I could be preaching to the choir here, but it seems like this time of year these questions always crop up. “Is said dumb thing from last year still dumb?” Yes it is. Incidentally, I came across an article that laid out the numbers and it’s horrifying. Check this out: “According to the College Board, the average cost of tuition and fees (fees may include the library, campus transportation, student government, and athletic facilities) for the 2016–2017 school year was 33,480 at private colleges, 9,650 for state
Of all the freelancing advice I hear the Instagurus throw around, this is by far the worst and most devasating. If you’ve ever heard this or worse believed it, go get a scrub brush and scour this out of your mind forever. It, without question, is hurting your business and costing you clients: “Freelancing is a numbers game” The idea being you just have to blast your name and your pitch out to as many people as possible and eventually you’ll get some clients trickling in. And that’s exactly what happens. Instead of a fire hose of new clients banging down
Another gem from the infamous Dan Kennedy: “Financial efficiency”. Sounds simple enough, but as Dan puts it… these two words are the “guarantor of business sustainability and wealth extraction”. Not views, retweets, Twitter followers, subscribers, etc. Why? Back to Dan: “If for no other reason, this is vital so that you can greatly outspend all competitors in investments in new customer acquisition and in customer retetention. This is the secret of growth.” “They are 4’5″ 98-pound weaklings trying to play pro football. You really don’t want to be that deficient little guy lined up across from a 6’3″, 340-pound, drooling,
“Change your math, change your business, change your life.” Those are the very first words in Dan Kennedy’s book, Almost Alchemy… which I’ve been reading lately. Highly recommended. In the section that quote precedes… He talks about the “den of thieves”… “media, agencies and related ‘professionals’” who were “engaged in a grand deception, if not outright criminal enterprise at the expense of deliberately confused clients.” There’s a similar thing that happens in our little freelancing world. If not intentional, still false and counterproductive. A “gaggle”, as Dan puts it, of experts out there who will lead you astray, in all
Towards the end of my deployment to Iraq, my first wife and I decided to get divorced. That’s a story for another day, but I suddenly found myself back in the dating world after four years of being off the market. Older. A young son. And, a lot more insecure given the divorce. So, I did what most introverts do when faced with a problem… I googled it. Makes me chuckle now, but this was the mid-2000s and the whole PUA (pick-up artist), online dating and “seduction” industry was booming online. And so, I found myself tumbling down the rabbit hole.
This is another Reddit thread. The post is actually just a link to this quote: “If I do a job in 30 minutes, it’s because I spent 30 years learning how to do it in 30 minutes. You owe more for the years not the minutes.” This seems to be the quote du jour for freelancers right now. Eh. I appreciate the intent and it’s certainly better than being timid about your pricing and undervaluing yourself. But, it still leads you down the wrong path. That’s why I want to talk about this comment on the thread: “Yep, skill doesn’t
To the uninitiated, these kinds of posts will feel like dirty lumps of coal in their stockings. “What? No fizz? No bubble gum [email protected]#. No hype. No sizzle. Nothing to get me wet in the shorts! How DARE he!” But, to the savvy… They recognize the truth in them. Take this from Jerome: Very few people/”masters” are good at explaining the why. In my opinion it’s because either they have a high IQ but never figured out the why for themselves(laziness?) or it’s because their IQ is too low to actually get to that level of understanding. You have mastered
There’s no magic to this developer/freelancer/make my living writing code thing. Persistence. Hard work. Enthusiasm. All boring, “yeah, yeah I already know that” non-secrets to success. Yet, the very things most of those who are still struggling lack. And, those who make it… finally get right. Take this email I just got from Ryan: You might remember this story from a while back, I had been offered a promotion to a jr. dev role and by the end of the day I the offer was revoked. I had been working towards this goal for a couple years at this point
This one comes from Reddit. A back and forth on raising rates and negotiating rates with your client. This comment, in particular, is what I wanna rap about, today: “I really recommend this free ebook from the makers of Freshbooks, Breaking the Time Barrier, which is about how important it is as a freelancer to break away from the time model. If you’re only ever selling your time, you’ve set a fixed upper limit for earnings. Instead, realise that people hire you because you add value. If you add 1000 value to a company, through increased sales, reduced costs or
Another tale from client hell… So I got this client that required them to provide all there new graphics, to create a video on how to demonstrate how to use there new website. They kept informing me it needed to be done immediately, so I provided them the cuts as fast as possible even working over the weekends. When I gave him the video they said that one part the timing was off, so I asked them what’s the time code off so I can adjust the timing appropriately. Then they told me I have to come in to know
This is the “paradigm” shift most freelancers I work with have to make to take the next step in their income. This is from a freelance Unity developer: “This made my blood boil” He’s, of course, the freelancer in this conversation. I think a lot people would look at this and get angry or wonder how to respond, what to do so people don’t lowball you like this, etc. I see it completely differently. Imagine I had a brand new gadget I wanted to sell, the latest and greatest phone or tablet, let’s say. I could try and sell that
A freelance digital marketer asks: “Recently send out a quote to a prospective client and they said my quote was on the high side? How do I approach this nicely without giving too much discount? How do you price your services? I’m a digital marketer.” TLDR; Don’t give a discount. Let me give you an example… I once had a prospective client ask me to discount my price. Luckily, I’d been through the ringer a bit and was on my [email protected], so I told him no. He said okay, then asked me to justify my price to him. I told
A fledgling freelance photog writes: I am writing this because I can’t sleep atm. It’s almost a year ago that I made the jump to kickstart my dream as a freelance photographer. So I began, calling up the magazines and business I really wanted to work for and booked some small successes in the beginning. Then, I tried a new approach of offering small businesses a free shoot. I started to make as much personal work as I could and promote them on Instagram. I also started going to business meetings where (small) business owners would meet to network and chat. This went surprisingly well
A budding product designer asks: “…hourly pricing as opposed to value pricing? What pricing models have worked out best for you and why?” TLDR: value pricing. Full story… A few years back, I got hired by a well-known blogger to build his membership site. At the time, I was charging 75/hour. After the project was complete, I suddenly started getting emails from acolytes of his who wanted me to build them a similar kind of site. I ended up creating a fixed price project and charging 3K for it. Dozens of his followers bought the package. And, I made more
A fledgling freelancer writes: I pitched a non-profit organization my services to revamp their (dreadful) website, manage the site for them, and offered the option of additional content creation… a few weeks later the biz manager replied that the board approved hiring me as their webmaster at the rates I pitched. I offered to send her a list of questions for the board to look over and respond to… I send her the questions and wait a few days. Instead of emailing me directly, the biz manager forwards my email with the questions to the entire board and me with this note:
This one is a doozy: “I have a client who has been an amazing advocate for me. She has brought me in to do work for her, has publicly praised my work, and has given my name to a number of people who have reached out to her for recommendations. The problem is, I think she thinks that is good enough reason to not feel obligated to pay me… she has owed me money for two solid months. I’ve asked for it many times. I’ve told her personal things to explain why, I don’t just want the money owed. I
A young freelance padawan asks: “…One of my ‘anchor’ clients, that has consistently sent me 1,500-1,700 work/month for the past year has inexplicably dropped off the radar and is now ghosting me. I’m worried that this is the latest account that has decided to stop working with me and found someone for half the price on Upwork instead. There’s a definite pattern there. I would say that this is an unusual week except that it isn’t. There always seems to be some form of instability or another. I’ve managed to get through my first year of full time freelancing relatively
That’s an actual article on Hacker Noon. You might think this kind of thing gets my jimmies rustled. Au contraire! I love it. It might be the most glorious summation of crap ideas about Upwork, ever assembled. Here’s a few of my favorites… “There’s no such thing as ‘competition’ in freelancing. Can we agree on that? Every freelancer is unique. Every freelancer plays his or her own game. You set your own price that makes you happy and you bid. You DON’T compete!” Nope. We can’t agree. That’s like saying the 100-meter dash isn’t a competition, because every runner has
From a new freelancer: “I’ve hit the point where I’ve run out of ‘favours’ from my network. I mean, anyone that I personally know from my network that would benefit from my consultancy has made a purchasing decision – they’ve either engaged me or decided they don’t need to/can’t afford to. I’m now reliant on my own marketing and word of mouth from previous clients. I’m having a lot of trouble converting leads in to engagements. People are very interested in what I do, love to talk about it, often ask for a proposal, but very few convert in to
An astute Upworker posteth: “I’m not sure why everyone says don’t use a generic letter, because my ‘generic’ letter works great. But when I start seeing examples of other people’s ‘generic’ letters, I start to understand. Boilerplate text is good to have and useful, and my generic letter is pretty successful. Yes, I do some personalization for each one. But the key is: is your generic letter any good? I get lots of responses to something I consider generic and not hurting for work, so we need to steer away from telling people they shouldn’t have a standard cover letter
From a wise freelancer: “There’s something to be said for not burning bridges. Especially in freelance, all of my work has come through past relationships and word of mouth referrals. I left this employer in 2014 when they wouldn’t give me a raise I asked for. I made sure to leave on as positive terms as possible. They reached out to me this week to see if I can help them with several websites that had become so out-dated that upgrading them and applying security fixes would be very difficult and likely to cause issues. My Freelance hourly rate is
As some of you may know, my wife gave birth to our daughter, Remei Luxe, a few weeks back. And, even though she’s our third (my fourth), at 38 years old, it’s been an adjustment… and a lesson for those of you on your freelance grind. If I’m being honest, the first week or so after we got home from the hospital, I did nothing. The first week I was just euphoric and wanted to spend all my time with her. I forgot just how tiny they are when they’re first born. But, they start growing quickly. And, the long
I just got this email from Dan: “I’m starting to do really well in my freelancing career, and it’s mostly thanks to you. Just today, I reached a 100% job success score on Upwork. I just wanted to say thank you, and share my story with you. Read it if you’re interested, skip it if you want (I get it, it’s long), but either way I think you deserve to know how big of an impact you’ve had on my success. I just checked: I’ve been following you for over 3 years. I’m a mechanical engineer, and 3 years ago,
You’ve never seen this strategy before. And, for a minute, you’re going to think I’m crazy. But, trust me, this works and it’s the simplest way I know to make money on Upwork (or anywhere else for that matter). (BTW, if you also want to learn the more traditional approach to making money on Upwork, I have an article on that, too… here). This is a 3-part strategy. The first part is… 1. A Problem-Focused Title In the traditional approach, we focus on keywords. So, we might do something like “WooCommerce | WordPress eCommerce | WordPress”. In fact, you’ll find hundreds
Your portfolio will make or break you. It’s usually the first thing a client will look at and it’s the main thing they’ll use to decide whether to hire you or not. So, nailing it is critical. But, there’s a lot of variables: What all should I put in it? How many portfolio items should I have? How do I make it persuasive so clients hire me? So, that’s what I’m going to tackle in this article. I’m going to show you the six essentials your freelance portfolio must have if you want to get hired and paid more for
Now, that we’ve picked our freelance niche (article on that here if you haven’t done it, yet), it’s time to create, package and price our freelance services. This is another step that’s easy to just gloss over. But, let me ask you: Do you want to sell more of your services? And sell them more easily? Without guessing what your clients will pay a premium for? When I first started freelancing, this stuff was all foreign to me. My first attempt, I just offered up generic “web design” services. And, the response was… “crickets”. Nobody hired me. And, the more
When you decide to start freelancing, the very first thing you need to do is figure out your niche. If you’re like I was 15 years ago, you’ll have no idea what I mean by that. “What in the world is a niche? Why do I need one? Can’t I just ‘wing’ it?” That’s what we’re going to tackle in this article. By the time you’re done, you’ll know what a niche is, why it’s critical to success in freelancing and have yours all picked out and ready to move on to the next step. Here’s what we’re going to
Can I rant at you for just a quick second? Do you get as annoyed as I do at the “373 Billion Skills That’ll Get You Hired” articles? It’s like… that’s NOT what I’m asking and how the heck is that even useful? Sigh. Anyway, I understand this question as what skills do you NEED… which, yes of course, your “core” skillset is one of those. But, beyond THAT. So, if that’s what you’re after, that’s what this article is going to cover (By the way, if you are looking to figure out what core skills are best, instead of
When I first started freelancing, I got lucky. I happen to fall into one of the highest paying freelance jobs without actually researching it. But, the freelance space is way different than the “normal” job market. So, it’s important to know what freelance jobs pay the best. To break it down, the three highest paying freelances jobs are: legal services ($96 per hour), developer ($58 per hour) and IT security specialist ($51 per hour). And, here are some honorable mentions: Copywriter ($31 per hour) Online Marketer ($41 – $59 per hour) Graphic Designer ($35 per hour) SEO Specialist ($45 per
I had never even thought of this. Why would a freelance web developer need insurance? But, my older brother became an insurance agent and, during his initial training and certification, was taking classes on business insurance. That got him curious and he started asking me about it. I hadn’t realize how at-risk I actually was. So, I started doing some research on it and this is what I found. Do freelancers need insurance? Yes. In fact, depending on your situation, you may want to get up to three different types of insurance to cover your freelance business: General Liability Insurance,
Easily the most common question I get from aspiring freelance web developers is “how much can I expect to make if I go freelance?” I could tell you what I made or give you stories from other freelance developers, but I wanted to start with some hard numbers and realistic expectations. So, that said, how much can you make as a freelance web developer? $21 – $49 per hour. Which, if you work an average of 40 hours per week, is $43,680 – $101,920 per year. Now, let me show you where those numbers come from and some things you
Experience is a tricky word. What actually is experience? Working a job for 20 years, but being terrible at what you do… is technically experience, but is it valuable? Maybe I haven’t got my first client, yet… but I’ve built hundreds of websites on my own. Is that experience? I’d say so. So, it’s tricky… but, bottom line, how can you get a freelance job with no experience? You create experience. Don’t wait around for it to be handed to you. Create it. How Do You Create Experience? Let’s say you want to freelance as a developer. There are tons
Every single day, potential clients go online and search for freelancers to hire. Doesn’t matter what service you provide, what industry you’re in. Your clients are online and searching for someone who does what you do. So, how to do you show up in those searches? Can you imagine how your freelance business might change if you ranked #1 for a search that got 5,000 hits per month? Or 10,000? How many freelance jobs could you get just by ranking for a single high-traffic keyword? Well, it all starts with keyword research. Figuring out what words those potential clients actually
Content is one of my “Big 3” for getting new freelance clients. It’s also my preferred method because it can scale infinitely and it gives even brand new freelancers a shot at getting clients (one great piece of content can be all you need to get started). The problem is a lot of freelancers focus on the wrong things when creating content. They start to think of themselves as a blogger or a YouTuber or a podcaster. And, they start looking at what other bloggers, podcasters and YouTubers are doing and try to emulate that. The problem with that is
Freelance clients don’t think in terms of services. They think in terms of end results. Objects. Things. So, they don’t want graphic design, they want a logo. Or, a website. A mobile app, etc. Turning your services into products is called “productizing”. And, it’s the very first thing you need to do when you decide to become a freelancer. Of course, the question, then, is… WHAT “things”? Fortunately, most of that work has already been done for you. Fiverr pushes its freelancers to turn their services into tangible products. And, you can figure out what are the most popular products
The very first thing you need to do to start freelancing is figure out what services you’re going to offer. And, not just: “Oh, I wanna be a graphic designer”. That’s not good enough and getting freelance jobs will always be harder if you only go this far. That’s because most clients don’t want a service. They want a logo. Or a website. Or a 1,000 word article. Clients think in end results. Objects. Tangible “things” they’re going to get from the service. So, when you position your services that way from the start, they make more sense to potential
What if you could just know what the most popular jobs on any given freelance site were, so you knew what to do to get started freelancing? Well you can. And, in this post, I’m going to show you how to do it. What we need is a tool called Ubersuggest. It’s from a guy named Neil Patel. He’s a “website traffic” guy and it’s free to use. So, click on over there. In the big search bar you see there, type the URL of the freelance site you want to check. We’ll start with Upwork: When the results load,
Stack the deck. Let me tell you my up and down story with this. I’m an extremist. When I have a new idea, I latch onto it, go all-in on it until I get bored and then I move onto the next thing. And, when I first got online 15 years ago, there was a lot to learn. So, I just ran from thing to thing. First, it was hard-core, direct response web pages to sell my services. Then, Google Adwords, then blogging, “viral marketing”, MySpace, YouTube, content marketing, social media.. on and on and on. What I’ve learned through
In 15 years of freelancing, I’ve had more than my fair share of dry spells. They can be nerve-wracking and get you questioning yourself. But, through all that, here I am all these years later still freelancing full-time from home. So, what do I do when works dries up? 1. Don’t Panic Let’s be honest… this is the hardest part. No matter how confident you are in your skills or your client-getting process, when the works slows, we all begin to question ourselves. That ball in the pit of your stomach. “Is this the end?” “Am I headed back to
I’ve been a freelance web developer for just over 15 years. I’ve also taught over 11,000 students about freelancing and web development. In this post, I’m going to share with what I’ve learned through all the about becoming a freelance web developer. Here’s what we’ll be covering: Is freelancing right for you? Figure out your service offerings 3 ways to get clients Deliver your services like a pro Scale your freelance business Let’s jump in: Step #1: Is freelancing right for you? Yes. This is a step. Freelancing has become one of “those things” now. Like college and technology, it’s
Freelancer.com, Fiverr, LinkedIn, TopTal, Guru, PeoplePerHour, Indeed for remote jobs (have to set location to remote): Google can be a good place to look, as well: Look for industry-specific job boards. For example, Dribbble is a website dedicated to graphic designers and they have their own job board with listings for remote jobs: And then, let me give you one last one (more for getting freelance work)… local business meetup groups. These can be crazy effective. I was in two for almost two years until I moved to a really small town. Each one met once a month. And, every
Everywhere. There’s no one place that’s going to be a magic bullet. The trick is promoting your stuff on a bunch of different places and that adding up to something significant. Blogging, YouTube, podcasting, Quora, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram… You get the point. Of course, just blasting out a link to your Fiverr gigs isn’t going to get much attention and will likely get you banned or blocked in a lot of places. So, what you need is what’s called “2-step marketing”. This comes from direct mail advertising. Instead of sending a long-form sales letter to a bunch of people via
Hey everyone! To celebrate the launch of my new course(content2clients.com), Skillshare has given me a free 1-year membership to their site (normally $99) that I can give away to ONE of you. So, I’m running a contest over on Instagram.⠀ If you’re not familiar with Skillshare, they’re an online learning platform similar to Udemy or Lynda. But, with Skillshare, you pay a monthly fee and get access to all of their courses. It’s like the “Netflix for learning”.⠀⠀Anyway, if you win this contest, you’ll get a full year of membership which gives you access to all the courses on the platform
My latest course, Turn Content Into Clients, is now live. Here’s the details on what’s in it: When I first started freelancing, I had no idea how to get clients. No plan for how to grow my business. I didn’t know what worked and what didn’t. I took any client I could get, worked on projects I had no passion for, worked with clients I couldn’t stand and was terrified month to month: “Where will the clients come from?” “Will I make enough to pay my bills?” “Will it always be this stressful?” And then, I discovered content marketing. And,
I remember this feeling. Early on in my freelancing career (way back in 20–… well, I won’t say how long ago that was :D) with no idea how to do any of this. The anxious feeling in my gut. The thoughts of failure and embarrassment swirling in my head. And, I ended up just guessing. And, I paid for it. So, let me save you from that. You start with research… When freelancing… And, I want to highlight that, because it’s different than when applying for a job at a company. So, when freelancing, you start by doing research. It’s
The simple secrets to high-paying freelance clients
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