How Wealthy Developers REALLY Succeed

You know, I’ve spent a lot of time teaching coders technical skills. How to upload files using PHP, how to create website templates, how to hack, twist and mold WordPress to your will, and so on.

In fact, the entire site over at LearnPHP.co is about exactly this when it comes to PHP. I have an entire category on this site called Code Snippets where I do exactly that. All of my YouTube videos do the exact same thing.

But, to be honest, I’ve never really talked much about what it REALLY takes to be successful as a developer. Because, while all that technical mumbo-jumbo is cool… none of it REALLY matters.

Yes, you need to know how to do those things… but those things aren’t what MATTER most when it comes to determining the successful from the unsuccessful. Any monkey can learn to code.

And, there’s 1000s of coders out there who can do all those “cool” things who struggle to get by day after day. People “who can code” are a dime a dozen.

What’s rare is a “Coder”. An artist. Someone who has a point of view about what/how/why they code. Someone who’s so passionate about what they do they’ll not just tell you no but “hell no” when you ask them to do something that they feel violates their art.

So…

You WANT to be one of these coders. Because you’ll make more money. Because you’ll be more appreciated. Because you’ll be happier.

What do you need to do to get there? Here’s some things I’ve picked up from the successful coders (and artists in general) I’ve been around… things I try to integrate into my work:

Be a Picky Bitch

This is my slang way of saying “have a point of view”. I see so many coders who don’t really care about the code they write. Their standard for their code is “it works”. They’ll bend to the will of any client no matter how asinine the request is.

The successful coders I know don’t do this. Meeting them… you might even think, “Man, that guy/girl is a whiny picky bitch”.

Yep. They have a point of view and own it. But, most good artists do.

My guess is if you happen to be around when Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel and told him to use red instead of blue… you’d have been thrown out in a fiery rage.

Why? Because he, and only he, knew what his art was. He knew what his perspective was and he was going to express it his way regardless of what you might think of it.

All the successful coders I know are this way. Hell, all the successful anybodys I know are this way.

My boss, Stu McLaren, is this way. I don’t know how many times I’ve been working on a project with him and at some point told my wife, “Man, he’s a picky bitch”. 🙂

But, you know what… he’s almost always right. And, the stuff he does works. Because, he has a point of view based on years of practical experience and he’s willing to stand up for it.

And, in the long run… I appreciate it. I wouldn’t want to work with anyone else.

So, don’t be afraid of being a picky bitch. Be proud of it. Own it. Because, it’s based on your point of view… your art. And, in the long run, people will appreciate you for it.

Be a Megamind

For coders specifically, I believe the single most important skill you can ever develop is the ability to mentally abstract. I believe that how well you can mentally abstract is inextricably linked to how good your applications will be.

For your applications to get better, you have to get better at abstraction.

If you think about, ultimately that’s what coding is. You’re taking a specific instance of something and abstracting it out into functional code that will work across instances. The bigger your application becomes (i.e. the more it “does”) the more abstraction is required.

All the successful coders I know are wizards at this. They have this uncanny ability to simultaneously hold the full scope of their applications in their mind and focus on the fine details of any individual part.

The best example I have of what it’s like is a mind-map. If you’ve ever done any mind-mapping, you’ll know the power of it is in the ability to get a large-scope view of an entire idea while simultaneously having the fine details of any particular part available at a moment’s notice.

This is what good coders can do.

Of course, the big question is “how do you get better at it”. The answer is you code. You try building bigger and bigger applications and have the ability to keep going when you look back on old code and want to puke.

You’ll never really be completely happy with your code… ever. Especially old code. But, to others, it will seem elegant. It’s kind of like an artist who’s never fully satisfied with a particular painting (that’s why he/she keeps painting)… but to others, the painting is gorgeous.

You just have to keep coding and pushing yourself… and you’ll necessarily get better at abstracting.

Be Like a Dog on a Bone

That is, be tenacious. As a coder, you have to have a dogged persistence with details. You have to care about every last minute detail. For you, “good enough” can never be good enough.

All the successful coders I know are bloodhounds when it comes to details. They iterate over and over and over their code. They labor to make sure every character is where they think it should be at that time.

That’s not to say that they’re perfectionists that never ship. On the contrary. Good coders ship early and often… before they’re ready. But, they’re never done. You’ll find them up late at night working through a 10-line block of code to make sure it’s perfect.

And, once it is… they’ll move onto the next 10 lines.

Of course, a lot of that passion comes from having a point of view. When you have a point of view, you know exactly how you want something to look and function… and you won’t rest until it looks and functions how you want.

And, once it does…  you’ll find ways to make it better.

This is the kind of tenacious attitude all good coders I know have.

You just can’t be afraid to be a little OCD. Don’t worry. You’re not weird. We’re all that way. If you can’t sleep in the middle of the night, because a certain piece of code you want to fix is driving you nuts… you’re on the right track.

At the end of the day, this is the kind of tenacity and passion your clients will appreciate.

What Else?

These are a few of the biggest pieces of the puzzle I’ve identified… but by no means is this list exhaustive. I plan to add to it as I see fit. But, what characteristics have you seen in successful coders? How are they different from the coders you see struggle? How have you tried to implement those skills in your coding?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

(photo by Ludovic Toinel)

Who else wants to build a thriving freelance business?

I’ve helped 39,413 other freelancers start and grow thriving freelance businesses. Are you next? Subscribe to my Freelance Secrets newsletter and I’ll show you how.

You might also like

Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn
Reddit
Pinterest
John Morris

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.

Who else wants to build a thriving freelance business?

I’ve helped 39,413 other freelancers start and grow thriving freelance businesses. Are you next? Subscribe to my Freelance Secrets newsletter and I’ll show you how.

Success Stories

Ready to add your name here?

Tim Covello

Tim Covello

75 SEO and website clients now. My income went from sub zero to over 6K just last month. Tracking 10K for next month. Seriously, you changed my life.

Michael Phoenix

Michael Phoenix

By the way, just hit 95K for the year. I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve taught me. You’ve changed my life. Thank you!

Stephanie Korski

Stephanie Korski

I started this 3 days ago, following John’s suggestions, and I gained the Upwork Rising Talent badge in less than 2 days. I have a call with my first potential client tomorrow. Thanks, John!

Jithin Veedu

Jithin Veedu

John is the man! I followed his steps and I am flooded with interviews in a week. I got into two Talent clouds. The very next day, I got an invitation from the talent specialists from Upwork and a lot more. I wanna shout out, he is the best in this. Thanks John for helping me out!

Divyendra Singh Jadoun

Divyendra Singh Jadoun

After viewing John’s course, I made an Upwork account and it got approved the same day. Amazingly, I got my first job the very same day, I couldn’t believe it, I thought maybe I got it by coincidence. Anyways I completed the job and received my first earnings. Then, after two days, I got another job and within a week I got 3 jobs and completed them successfully. All the things he says seem to be minute but have a very great impact on your freelancing career.

Sarah Mui

Sarah Mui

I’ve been in an existential crisis for the last week about what the heck I’m doing as a business owner. Even though I’ve been a business for about a year, I’m constantly trying to think of how to prune and refine services. This was very personable and enjoyable to watch. Usually, business courses like this are dry and hard to get through…. repeating the same things over and over again. This was a breath of fresh air. THANK YOU.

Waqas Abdul Majeed

Waqas Abdul Majeed

I’ve definitely learnt so much in 2.5 hours than I’d learn watching different videos online on Youtube and reading tons of articles on the web. John has a natural way of teaching, where he is passionately diving in the topics and he makes it very easy to grasp — someone who wants you to really start running your business well by learning about the right tools and implement them in your online business. I will definitely share with many of the people I know who have been struggling for so long, I did find my answers and I’m sure will do too.

Scott Plude

Scott Plude

I have been following John Morris for several years now. His instruction ranges from beginner to advanced, to CEO-level guidance. I have referred friends and clients to John, and have encouraged my own daughter to pay attention to what he says. All of his teachings create wealth for me (and happiness for my clients!) I can’t speak highly enough about John, his name is well known in my home.

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!

Mohamed Misrab

Misrab Mohamed

John has been the most important person in my freelance career ever since I started. Without him, I would have taken 10 or 20 years more to reach the position I am at now (Level 2 seller on Fiverr and Top Rated on Upwork).

Who else wants to build a thriving freelance business?

I’ve helped 39,413 other freelancers start and grow thriving freelance businesses. Are you next? Subscribe to my Freelance Secrets newsletter and I’ll show you how.