The Den of Thieves Conspiring Against Your Freelance Success


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“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 kinds of ways, when it comes to getting clients and growing your freelance business. And, the grandest deception of all is metrics that don’t matter.

You see it everywhere with social media.

Views, likes, retweets, shares, engagement.

On and on it goes.

Of course, none of those things will actually move the needle in your freelance business or put the green stuff in your wallet. They might make you feel good. They might make you look important.

But, they won’t pay the bills.

And, be sure to laugh hysterically in the face of anyone that tells you there’s a direct link between more views, likes and shares… and actual dollars and cents into your business. There sometimes can be.

But, it isn’t a guarantee.

In fact, I often see the opposite.

Lower views, likes and shares leading to more sales.

And that, my padawan, is the math that matters. The metrics you should be paying attention to. How many sales did this video, blog post, email, Instagram selfie, tweet, business meeting etc… generate?


At least, if you’re serious about making freelance work for you, growing your business and living the lifestyle you want to live. Everything else is irrelevant. That said, here’s where the well-meaning will make a tragic mistake.

Recognizing the truth in what I just said…

They’ll confidently set off to move the needle with their interactions and begin pounding their network and their social media channels with hard-nose sales pitches. Heh! I respect it. 

But, it won’t work.

Customers, clients… they’re too savvy for that. The average person sees nearly 5,000 ads per day (compared to just 500 per day in the 70s). Do you really think you can craft “that one perfect sales tweet” that they haven’t seen yet?

Not likely.

The trick is to meet them where they’re at. To give them what they want in a way that still helps you fulfill your business goals. And, of course, this is where the second biggest mistake happens.

Going all-in on “value”.

“I’ll just give everything away. They’ll see how generous I am and how much I know and they’ll hire me.” That doesn’t work, either. The secret sauce is finding that fine balance. The best way I’ve heard it put is:

“A well-defined problem, halfway solved.”

Even the infamous Gary Vaynerchuk, who advises going “all-in” and “giving everything away”… actually watch him. Most of his content is not actually a full picture. It’s little tidbits of solutions.

Well-defined problems, solved halfway.

In any case, there’s a process for achieving this. Something I’ve honed over the last 15 years as a freelancer, helping me to work with clients like Inc. Magazine, Lewis Howes, Tim Ferriss and others.

It’s what I teach in my Turn Content Into Clients course. If you’re looking for a systematic way to grow your freelance business not based on luck or hope that doesn’t require a big network or a bunch of money, this is it.

You can get free access to the course on Skillshare. All the details on the course and how to get free access are here:



P.S. More info on the Skillshare offer is here: if you have questions.

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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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