You could get a client today. Some people go on there and never get work. It’s really not about time, it’s about what you do. The freelancers who do the right things and put in the effort tend to get work. And those who go in feeling like Upwork owes them something and expect work to just fall in their lap… don’t. And, they rave about how Upwork is a “scam” or a “huge waste of time”. When I first started on Upwork, I made every mistake I rant about, today. I blasted out a bunch of bids, didn’t spend
This is kind of like those jokes: “Question What’s 2+3?” “Answer: Purple.” The real answer to this question is: Specialize. I know. “Huh?” My assumption, from the question, is that you’re thinking when you freelance you’ll just put yourself out there as a “freelance web developer” and be taking on any number of different projects. It’s really NOT the way to go. You want to specialize in something. Maybe, it’s building Joomla websites for non-profits. Or, landing pages in WordPress for online businesses. Or, custom coding plugins. Or membership sites from scratch. Clients think in “end results”. They don’t want
In my 15 years as a freelancer, I’ve made my share of mistakes. And, no doubt, you will, too. That’s just a part of playing the game. But, some mistakes are more harmful than others. And, while I know I can’t (and shouldn’t) keep you from making any mistakes. These ones, in particular, are ones you can skip learning “the hard way”. So, let my stumbles and setbacks be your lesson. These are, in my opinion, the top 5 mistakes freelancers should avoid. 1. Undervaluing and Undercharging for Your Work I did this a lot when I started. It was
Do you want to sell more and be able to charge more for your freelance services? Have you ever come across a product or service that just felt like it was made for you? You saw it and just HAD to have it? When you did, did you really need to be sold on it? Probably not. You knew you wanted it the instant you saw it. That’s no accident. A lot of time and research went into that. And, as a freelancer, the more irresistible the offer you put in front of potential clients, the more you’ll sell those
I hear this all the time from freelancers: John, I WANT to start a blog or I WANT to start making YouTube videos, but I’m so busy with my 9-5 job and my client work on the side… I just don’t have the time to promote my freelance services. This is cutting of your nose to spite your face. Promotion… Blogging. YouTube. Social media. That IS the solution to your time problem. Because, it’s how you’ll get MORE clients, higher-paying clients… and how you’ll be able to leave your 9-5 job. Which will free up an enormous amount of time.
Back when I was just a freelancing tadpole… I was working a 9-5 at a local pizza joint. I’d spend my days slinging pizza and my nights working on client projects and trying to build my freelance business. I had more than my share of “all-nighters” in those days. So, I can 100% relate to this question I got from Jan: “My problem is that I do not have much time to build my own website and so portfolio or blog as doing lots of clients work while having 9-5 job but I know it is dead important. I think
Back when ol’ JMO was just a freelancing tadpole… I was working a 9-5 at a local pizza joint. I’d spend my days slinging pizza and my nights working on client projects and trying to build my freelance business. I had more than my share of “all-nighters” in those days. So, I can 100% relate to this question I got from Jan: “My problem is that I do not have much time to build my own website and so portfolio or blog as doing lots of clients work while having 9-5 job but I know it is dead important. I
Start a blog to get more freelance clients? Why would I do that? To quote the infamous, Gary Vaynerchuck: Producing content is now the BASELINE for all brands and companies. It literally doesn’t matter what business you’re in, what industry you operate in, if you’re not producing content, you basically don’t exist. Of course, it’s not just his opinion. There are plenty of studies and statistics to back up the fact the content marketing is the most effective way to start getting clients and customers from scratch: 69% of people bought something because of a tweet 94% plan to make
Inspired by the great Jessica Chan’s post on Instagram. What are the non-tech skills you need to cultivate to go from good to great in web development? 4 of hers, three of mine.
8 things to look at and rework if you’ve been applying for developer jobs and can’t get hired.
This Reddit thread blew up over the weekend with lots of devs feeling the same way. Is that you? If so, here’s advice from the community and my own thoughts and how to deal with feeling burnt out and overwhelmed.
Just uploaded a new episode of the podcast. Here’s the breakdown: Ever getting overwhelmed with how fast things change in web development and the constant learning you have to do to keep up? Heard the horror stories of developers getting burned out and scared it’s gonna happen to you? In this episode, I’m going to show you how to develop a habit of lifetime learning, the strategies I use for learning new things quickly and painlessly and how to develop and maintain stamina when learning AND in your career. Give it a listen here: https://www.johnmorrisshow.com/jms394-how-to-develop-a-habit-of-lifetime-learning-without-getting-burned-out/
Just uploaded a new episode of the podcast. Here’s the breakdown: Changing (or thinking about changing) your career to development, but uncertain because you’re a bit older? Not sure how you to make the switch and still pay the bills? Unsure if you can even make it as a developer. In this episode, I’ll show you how I made the switch later in life — what you need to know skill-wise, how to build a resume, how to get interviews and how develop plan to manage your switch. Give it a listen here: https://www.johnmorrisshow.com/jms393-how-to-change-your-career-to-development-later-in-life/
I was perusing through this site called Dev.to. It’s an AMA (Ask Me Anything) site for developers and freelancers. And, I came across this one AMA: “Landed a Junior Front End Developer role in 3 months”. And, one of the questions caught my eye: “How did you stay motivated? And how did you handle the days where you may not have been so motivated?” And, the answer was great advice for freelancers and work-from-home folks: “I set a very strict schedule for myself, I had set hours every day that were for study and nothing else. Being self taught requires
I was trolling through the Dev.to AMA site… And, came across this one from a developer named Verity: “I landed a Junior Front End Developer role after 3 months of self study, Ask Me Anything!” And one of her answers caught my eye. She was asked: “Did you ever feel like you were jumping the gun and applying to jobs too early?” That’s a big one. I get the exact same question a lot. “When do I know enough to apply for a job?” Well, here was her answer: “I have a very ‘all or nothing’ type personality, and at
Just uploaded a new episode of the podcast. Here’s the breakdown: The future of web development is clear. You can choose one of 3 paths. And, if you’re not on the right one, FOR YOU, it’s going to be increasingly difficult to succeed. Fortunately, it’s all about self-awareness and is 100% within your control. It just comes down to knowing those 3 paths and which one is best suited to YOU. I’ll tell you how to figure that out in this episode. Give it a listen here: https://www.johnmorrisshow.com/jms390-the-future-of-web-development/
Take this simple HTML: And, some basic styling: It looks like this: Now, we want to center this text vertically. The first modern approach you can take is with flexbox. Just add these two lines to .parent: And, you get this: Simple. It’s very similar with CSS Grid: And, you can add as much text as you want and it’ll get vertically-centered properly. Like this: So, there you go. That said, if you want to go on learning even more HTML and CSS, check out my Website Template course on Skillshare. You’ll learn CSS Grid, CSS transitions, asynchronous requests in
Let’s start with the HTML: So, now we want to style the placeholders themselves. If you want to keep it simple, most modern browsers support this: You can use the ::placeholder pseudo-class like any other. For older browser support it looks like this: So, let’s look at a real-world example: A simple form. Nothing fancy, but notice the placeholder text for the required email field is a different color. This is one simple example of how you might use something like this. Here’s the full HTML: And, here’s the full CSS: So, there you go. Now, speaking of real-world examples,
Once upon a few years back… I was working on a project for Inc. Magazine. And, the guy I was working with, Lewis, was one of their Executive Directors and a very sharp guy. A bestselling author and spent his days rubbing elbows with multi-millionaires. At that point, I hadn’t yet worked with Michael Hyatt or Lewis Howes. So, it was surreal experience for me. Anyway, I learned a lot from him. One of the things I learned was a crazy effective way to manage large projects. As a young freelance developer, I’d never seen this before. But, it was
Let’s take this simple HTML structure: The first method involves some straight-forward CSS: Doesn’t get much simpler than that: And, if it this is all you need to do, you can probably stop here. But, sometimes what you’re actually trying to do is a little more complicated and you need some more flexibility. Enter CSS Grid: Here, we’re creating a grid with 1 column that fills the entire space of the parent DIV. Then, a child DIV with a 60% width. And, using justify-items to center the child DIV. This might seem like overkill for something this simple, but it
I recently got this comment on YouTube: “I want to focus primarily on web development because software is way more intense. Most of the bootcamps are entailed for web development and that is what I’m planning to enroll in the near future. Yes, bootcamps are expensive since accelerated learning, but at least I have the opportunity to do full stack along with cohort simulating how it is to actually work in a real workplace. I think that is way more beneficial than teaching myself alone. I am someone that needs to interact to get the feel of how to code.”
Winners don’t sell themselves short. Winners don’t expect other people or platforms to do it for them. Winners don’t make excuses. They don’t whine and complain when Upwork changes its fee structure or starts charging to bid on jobs. They don’t immediately blame “crappy clients” when a project goes wrong or they don’t get hired. Not because these aren’t true. Sometimes they are. But, because they’re not productive. They weaken you as a competitor. Like a basketball player blaming their loss on the refs. The refs could’ve been terrible. Doesn’t matter. Win anyway. That’s what the greats do. That’s what
It’s a minimum of 4 years of your life. Very little of which you’ll actually learn how to code. The stuff you do learn will almost certainly be outdated. And, for your trouble, you’re going to fork over 5-6 figures for a piece of paper. And, that’s IF you actually graduate. And, don’t get sucked into the bottomless pit of parties and alcohol. But, but, John… you’ll learn computer science at college. Great. Take one of the many computer science courses you’ll find on online… many for less than 100 buqs. And, learn your precious computer science concepts. No need
Stories. They seem weird, but they’re one of the most powerful tools you can use to sell your services on Instagram, because they accomplish two of the most important priorities when marketing any product or service. Top of mind awareness Attention. Top of mind is why all these big brands spend bajillions every year running what are, if you think about it, weird ads. Ads that don’t directly sell their services. The funny Old Spice commercials. Or, Coke and their never-ending “fizz” commercials. On and on. It’s to keep reminding you about them and to associate their brand with positive
When I played high school basketball… And, I wanted to become a better shooter… my coach and I spent hours analyzing film of the best shooters at the time. Hand placement, elbow position, follow-through, on and on. Breaking them down. Figuring out WHY they were so good. You start to see trends. When I first started learning copywriting… one of the pieces of advice I got was to take an ad I knew worked well and write it out by hand myself. It helped embed the flow of a good ad into your muscle memory. And, again, you start to
The concept is pretty simple (from Investopedia): “The network effect is a phenomenon wherein increased numbers of people or participants improve the value of a good or service.” The internet. Social media. They all operate on this idea of network effects. Both across the platform AND for individual users. So, as Facebook’s user base grows, Facebook becomes more valuable. But, also, as YOUR individual friend’s list grows, Facebook becomes more valuable TO YOU. Save those few “friends” you’d rather not follow, of course. 😀 Thing is… Freelancing platforms have network effects, as well. So, the more freelancers on a platform,
I once did this YouTube video. It was called the “Exact PHP Skills You Need to Learn to Get Paid to Code.” The idea was there’s all these things you think you need to learn or you get told by some ranting know-it-all that you need to learn… But, in reality… You only use a small fraction of those skills on a regular basis. So, I made a list of the things you’ll use most often as a PHP developer. The things that make up 90% of the coding I do. Variables, arrays, loops… That sort of thing. It’s been
When it comes to freelance marketing, this is the most important thing I can teach you. It’s not sexy or flashy. In fact, it’s a lot of hard work. But, it’s the one thing I know I can rely on year after year, no matter the scenario. And since I started doing it, my business has grown over 500%. So, take it for what it’s worth to you.
Question: “What are you doing TODAY to market your freelance business?” If you can’t answer… Or, the answer is a little vague… Or, something you’re still figuring out… Whatever income woes you might be experiencing, I can point you to the culprit. The reality is: no marketing = no business. This is the simplest, yet most effective, “freelance marketing” advice I can give you: Do it daily. Let me give you an example… People often get horrified when they find out that I mail my mailing list on a daily basis. Sure, I miss some days here and there, but
Sam Walton started in the first Walmart in Rogers, Arkansas. If you look, today, the population is about 66,000… but back then it was just 5,700. And, he did this despite the prevailing wisdom at the time that a mass retailer needed to be started in a big city, otherwise it would fail. But, Walton actually listened to his customers. He knew that consumers in rural areas often bought in larger quantities because they had larger families and took fewer trips to the store. The result is, of course, the largest retailer on the planet, today. Listening to your customers/clients
I used to sell shoes. Was damn good at it, too. In fact, I made it through the company’s 18-month manager training program in just over 9 months. In my first store, as a manager, I was the #3 selling manager in one of the smallest stores in the chain. And, I broke several store sales records along the way. Anyway, we had this thing we did. Out of Al Bundy’s bag of “tricks” if you will. Let me give you an example. “This is an XYZ Brand shoe. You’ll notice the high quality leather upper. The better the leather,
I was watching this YouTube video the other day. Guy was a home-builder and he was talking about siding… some of the stuff he does to insulate and protect homes. And, when you look at his stuff, the finished product, it’s obvious… guy knows what he’s doing. The homes look amazing. The videos are really good. He has several hundred thousand subscribers. It all seemed amazing. And then, you check the comments… What a horror show. 300 response threads of people arguing over what he said at 5:18. Or, one-liners like “Idiot”. Several hundred comments and there were maybe a
One of Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Effective People” is: “Begin with the end in mind.” When you do, what you need to do now becomes much more clear. It’s the same with your web development career. A lot of people ask me what languages they should learn and what order they should learn them in. The real answer is: I don’t know. That depends on your end. Here’s what I mean. If you want to work at Google, for example, Golang might be something you wanted to learn since it’s developed by Google. If you want to work at
I took my dog to the vet to get spayed the other day. The week prior when I called, I got a masterclass in selling your services. As I explained what I needed, one of the first things they asked me was, “Is it a stray?” Our dog, Marley, is. A neighbor rescued her, but wasn’t able to take care of her, so we took her from him. Because of that, the animal clinic gave us 40 bucks off. That’s lesson #1. The hook. When I called I was just gathering information. I was going to call a couple clinics
Another common question I get, this time from Gary: “Sir, I’m a self taught web developer with no job experience. My question about freelancing is how to price a website? For example do I need to let the client pay for the hosting website and etc.” Perceived quality. Note the emphasis on perceived. Here’s the analogy I use. Imagine you need to get a medical procedure done. So, you go to the nearest clinic. As you pull up, you notice the clinic is in a sketchy part of town. The parking lot is cracked and littered with trash. The clinic’s
Two terms you’ll want to write down for today. First one: Skill-Stacking. You know this, but probably haven’t thought of it this way. A lot of developers ask me what they should learn. The real answer: ALL of it. The more skills you stack in your arsenal, the more valuable you’ll be to employers. And, more importantly, the more adaptable you’ll be when [email protected]# changes. And, [email protected]# changes… a lot. You shouldn’t be stingy about what you learn in the beginning. Learn it all. Stack, stack, stack. Second term: Credibility-Stacking. This one I don’t think near as many people think
What makes a developer truly a developer? I’ll give you my answer in a second. But think about that as you read this… So, I got this email question from Mike: “I’m stuck at a beginner level. I’ve followed tons of tutorials and did a 3 month full time web dev boot camp. But I cant seem to get past the hurdle of being able to write a program myself. I consistently fail interview tests as my programming logic skills are low. I seem to be stuck at this beginner level. I need to learn how to think like a
That’s the headline. Of the most effective services sales page I ever ran. In fact, I ran it for years on my site before I whittled down to just one client. It’s easily brought in tens of 1000s of the greenbacks for me. I don’t care what kind of web development you do… This should be your headline. It grabs the reader by the eyeballs… And, forces them to read. Because, it’s every client’s worst nightmare. It’s like a car wreck, they can’t NOT look. And, it works no matter what kind of services you offer. Of course, you gotta
You’ve got a decision to make. What kind of person are you going to be? Person A: Or person B: I can tell you who’s going to get further in life. Who’s going to have more success as a freelancer. Who’s going to actually create the life they imagine for themselves. The funny thing about this is if you look at Miro… He very easily could’ve devolved into the same piss-poor attitude as Terry. He tried Upwork. And, his first attempt didn’t work out. He could have very easily just given up and became a troll who hunted down every Upwork video
My older brother was an insurance agent. If you don’t know, insurance is an uber-competitive industry because it has such huge profit margins. So, these people are dialed in when it comes to sales and getting new clients. I learned a ton from watching my him. For example… When he first started, his trainer had him write up a list of all the people he knew. He started with about 50 on his list. But, after some pushing and prodding, he got it up to about 300. Then, he had him write letter to those people… Letting them know he
Right after I built Platform University for Michael Hyatt. He has a massive following online. And, a bunch of his acolytes wanted a membership site just like his. Well, turns out I was 1 of 2 people in the world that could build it for them. And, the other guy wasn’t taking clients. So, I started getting a ton of quote requests for a “clone” of his site. I charged 3K a piece for these sites. But, I’d written the WordPress theme from scratch, myself. So, I had all the code. I knew exactly how to tweak it and set
This guy I know… Ahem… Once told me that veteran prostitutes demand their money upfront. Because they’ve learned the hard way that once a client gets what they want, they’re a lot more likely to walk away without paying. And, there’s not a lot they can do. Sound familiar? Oddly enough, I’ve never had a client flake like that. I guess growing up like I did, I always had that “[email protected]#$ better have my money” mentality. So, I came up with a system for getting paid that ensured I got mine… But, didn’t require the client to pay 100% upfront…
Do you know about the Global Game Jam? It’s a challenge/event to create games in one weekend in hundreds of locations worldwide. Anyway, chat about that and how to stay laser-focused in a world full of distractions and chaos. Specifically, that focus is NOT about discipline or will power and the 3 things you need to do to stay focused no matter what’s happening around you.
I got this question from Tim: “Staying focused and effective in business under extreme external pressure?” When I asked what he meant by “extreme external pressure”, he said: “[An] ex-wife who burned everything down. Ruined my closest business and personal relationships, and put me into complete financial ruin. With intent. So deep DEEP financial and personal stress has left me flailing and I am a month and a half into my first real opportunity for recovery. I feel a lack of clarity as to the best course of action to push my head above water for good. To focus on
This isn’t mine. Credit to Jason Martin on Quora, but this story perfectly explains freelancing pricing and the “am I worth it” dilemma: A company is building a product, with a lot of money invested in it, but it just isn’t working. So they hire an outside engineer to look over the design. The consultant comes to the office, looks at the schematics for about 20 minutes, and then asks the director of the project for a pencil. The director taps his pockets, and realizes he doesn’t have one. “No problem”, says the consultant, and he opens his briefcase, opens a
The simple secrets to high-paying freelance clients
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