Latest Posts

How long does it take to start making money on Upwork as a new freelancer?

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

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How do I know my skills are good enough to work as a freelance web developer?

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

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Top 5 Mistakes All Freelancers Should Avoid

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

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Use Fiverr to Create Your Freelance Service Offers

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

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You can’t neglect the VERY thing that is the solution to your “not enough time” problem

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.

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Where do I find the TIME to build my freelance business?

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

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Finding the Time to Build Your Freelance Business

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

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How to Start a Blog to Get More Freelance Clients

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

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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: 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/

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JMS393: How to Change Your Career to Development Later In Life

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/

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Moving Past Tutorials

Ever feel like you’re stuck in a endless cycle of tutorial-taking? Or, just too reliant on tutorials to get anything done. In this episode, I’ll show you how to permanently break free.

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How to stay focused when working from home

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

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JMS391: How to Start Your Own Business

Answering the common questions I get about starting a business. Biggest challenges, what made me finally go for it, what did I do to get profitable, managing my time early on, did I quit my job, etc.

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Landed a Junior Developer job in 3 months

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

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JMS390: The Future of Web Development

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/

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How to vertically center text in CSS Grid and Flexbox

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

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How to Style HTML Input Placeholders In CSS

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,

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How to get REPEAT clients the Inc. Magazine way

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

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2 ways to horizontally center a DIV in CSS

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

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New Native Lazy Loading Attribute for HTML img and iframe tags

Lazy loading your images just got a whole lot easier. If you’re not familiar, lazy-loading is the practice of delaying the load of certain content on a page until a user scrolls near it. If a user never scrolls, the content never loads. Page speed performance, mobile… good for all that. Currently, you’ll need JavaScript to do this. But, as of Chrome 75, that’s no longer necessary. A new attribute for <img> and <iframe> tags, loading” will be supported. Supported parameters are: lazy: good candidate for lazy loading. eager: not a good candidate for lazy loading. Load right away. auto:

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Are coding boot camps worth 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.”

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Winners vs losers in freelancing

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

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Degrees for developers are worthless

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

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The Instagram Hack

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

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Learning your first programming language… quickly

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

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Upwork’s network effects

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,

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The 80/20 rule of web development

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

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JMS389: I Grew My Business 500%

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.

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This is how I grew my business over 500%

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

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Walmart and the most important freelancing skill you can learn

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

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The fastest way to learn development

I’ve mentioned before… How PHP was my first language and it took me nearly five years to learn it to a point I could perform job-wise with it. Yeah, that was in the early 2000s when training resources were pretty much non-existent. But still… I made a lot of mistakes. And with the way things are now… You can’t afford to spend that much time learning a language. Hell, React is just 5 years old now. And, it’s all but taken over the JavaScript world. In any case, I learned my lesson with PHP and when it came time to

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The Al Bundy Method for selling your freelance services more easily

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,

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Why you’ll never make it as a developer

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

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What languages and frameworks to learn as a new developer

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

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What my dog taught me about making more as a freelancer

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

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How to price your freelance projects

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

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What tricks most NEW developers

When Lynda Weinman first started the site back in 1995, it was built to let her communicate with people who’d bought here book. By 2015, it was acquired by LinkedIn for 1.5 billion. Here’s the lesson for new and aspiring developers.

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How to start your web development career on a rock-solid foundation

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

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How to THINK like a developer

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

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Read this before another developer ruins your website

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

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Opening up Upwork this morning felt like winning the lottery

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

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Boring sales tactics that’ll get you more freelance clients

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

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How to triple what you charge per hour as a freelancer

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

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The prostitute principle

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…

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JMS388: Global Game Jam and Staying Focused In a World Full of Distractions

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.

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How to stay focused

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

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Freelance pricing perfectly explained in one story

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

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The simple secrets to high-paying freelance clients

What makes clients willing to pay $5,000, $10,000 even $20,000 and up for your services? Download and install my mobile app and I’ll show you. It’s free. Just click the button below:

Clients Like:

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WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING

Ray Edwards

I recommend John every chance I get. If every person I worked with were as committed to excellence, punctuality, value, and unquestionable integrity… the world would be a better place. Highest recommendation.

Jason Rumley

Jason Rumley

John has a habit of over-delivering on the expectations he sets up. That’s why he’s the best.

Thabo Motsoahae

John is one of the best instructors I have come across, I learned a lot from his online tutorials.

Lori Grant

John did an outstanding job on my project. I highly recommend him and look forward to working with him on future projects.

Bradley Smith

John and I have worked together on numerous projects. John is very quick and efficient and was a pleasure to work with.

Daniel Mohlendick

On the Freelancing on Upwork course: “This is by far the best course i have watched on Skillshare!! Thank you so much.”

Steve Dimmick

Steve Dimmick

John has provided expert knowledge and advice on multiple occasions that have helped me better serve my clients. John is a Rockstar!

Jim DeJonge

Jim DeJonge

John has a relaxed and engaging manner. His advice is solid and the explanations are well thought out.

Aaron Gott

Aaron Gott

John has a particular knack for the development and training of others.

Sukh Plaha

John is a fantastic and patient tutor, who is not just able to share knowledge and communicate it very effectively – but able to support one in applying it. However, I believe that John has a very rare ability to go further than just imparting knowledge and showing one how to apply it. He is able to innately provoke one’s curiosity when explaining and demonstrating concepts, to the extent that one can explore and unravel their own learning journey. Thanks very much John!

Andrew Malone

Andrew Malone

John Morris is exceptional in his ability to give focused insight into Freelancing and starting one’s business. His direct methods inspire confidence in his honesty.

Oliver Wainwright

Oliver Wainwright

I’m a fan. I have completed several of John’s courses. I find him very knowledgeable and he has a great delivery.