Boy did I kick the coder’s nest

Dang Gina!

The response to yesterday’s message has been crazy. My phone was literally blowing up with emails and tweets and YouTube comaments till like 5 in the morning this morning. That’s ish’s still goin’ actually.

What’s cool is how many people got it.

Cynical ol’ me…

That part surprised me.

But lots of you did.

In fact, some of you… you devious little sneaks… went to the original video I mentioned, found old dude’s comment and… uh… had a “chat” with him about it. Which I probably shouldn’t say… but I will… that was awesome.

One of those comments, though, was interesting:

“free stuff is for those who are never grateful nor thankful for the individual who put in the hard work in providing it for those in need.”

Now, this isn’t exactly how I’d say it…

And, we need to avoid superlatives like “all” free stuff…

But, there’s something to be said here about respecting other people’s artistry, whatever it is, and how it relates to having respect for your OWN. I often find that developers who are loathe to pay for other people’s services having trouble when it comes time to charge for their own.

And that’s what I wanna talk about today.

Because this is really the point, isn’t it?

Take my little brother.

He’s working with a client in Oregon right now. I can’t actually say who, but hmmmmm… big corporate client. In Oregon. Who could that be? I don’t know maybe I should… Just Do It.

Anyway, he was telling me about this 47-buq steak he bought himself. Now, when he told me that… I told him he was crazy. That he’d better get a… well I can’t say what I told him he should have got with a steak for 47 buqs… but sufficed to say I thought he was crazy.

But then he told me why…

You see, and you may have heard this…

But my brothers and I grew up real poor. Not the ” Oh, I can’t get the latest XBox” poor… the “I haven’t eaten for three days, I’m gonna steal this apple” poor. I’m not proud of it, but when you’re 10 and haven’t eaten for three or four days… it’ll shock you what you find yourself capable of.

Anyway, growing up in that environment…

You internalize a lot of bad ideas.

And you usually end up with a horrible relationship to money.

Money is ultimately about giving to get…

Giving value to get money.

But when you grow up that poor, you tend to focus more on the getting part and less on the giving part. It becomes more about “schemes” than honest work because you feel like you don’t and you never will DESERVE it.

It’s like when my wife and I bought our last car. It’s a pretty nice car. It’s a minivan… but it’s got the DVD players, all electric everything… all that stuff… but I always just feel weird doing that stuff. Like I don’t belong.

And that’s the crux of this.

It’s also why my little brother bought that 47-buq steak.

He’s on a mission to obliterate those bad ideas within himself. To internalize that he DOES deserve it. I mean I told him a 20-buq steak is probably good enough, but whatever. It’s his money.

But that’s really the deeper point here, isn’t it?

The specific idea of wasting time to “save” money that old dude had in his comments is bad. But it’s more than that. It’s deeper and more insidious. It’s about how we relate to money.

All these bad ideas we’ve internalized…

And we don’t even know it.

I mean, how many of you even cringe just a bit when I say that word…


Honestly, I still cringe a bit saying it.

But why?

Should it really be that awkward to say or hear?

Money. Money. Money.

Now here’s the important part of all this. See, it’s not something you can just brush off. Because, at some point, you’re going to start asking people to give you money for your web work… and all of these seemingly little issues will come to the surface… and eff with your head.

They’ll cause you just do everything for free for the first few years you start doing web design. Me.

They’ll cause you to charge almost nothing when you do actually start charging. Me.

They’ll cause you to bail on your first two real clients, not because you can’t do the work, but because the whole thing just freaks you out. Me.

And all sorts of other craziness.

Anyway, my point in all this…

When you reach the point where you understand the value, for YOU, in paying someone else for their service… you’ll understand why someone would pay you for yours.

You’ll have that respect for artistry…

Including your own…

And it changes everything.

So take that for what you will.

Aight, onto biznass…

We’re slowly creeping toward the end of the Udemy 10-buq deal I’ve been mentioning. If you wanna fast-track that initial learning curve you gotta get through when leaning how to code, this is as good an opportunity as any.

That and a good first step in changing your relationship to money.

Link is



P.S. Watch the video version of this message here:

Listen to the audio version here:

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John Morris


I’m a 15-year veteran of freelance web development. I’ve worked with bestselling authors and average Joe’s next door. These days, I focus on helping other freelancers build their freelance business and their lifestyles.

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