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EXECUTION A journey to freedom from alarm clocks

Discussion in 'Progress/Execution Threads' started by journeyman, May 7, 2017.

  1. cwalto12
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    cwalto12 Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    42.5 hours of video on coding sounds extremely intimidating and overwhelming to me haha
     
  2. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Admin Post
    That's how I felt as well when I was deep into code...

    I felt it was creative for me, as well as providing me with a level of control with my software demands. Case in point: There's a ton of stuff I'd like to do here at the forum but I am handcuffed by the software. The only way to break that was to keep up with my coding skill. (Which I haven't.)
     
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  3. journeyman
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    journeyman Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Thank you for taking the time to write in my thread MJ. I appreciate it.

    I think there is definitely something about certain personalities that resonates with coding, which is essentially a way of staying in and solving problems alone . I know that some of my friends, even though they studied computer science, they absolutely hated it due to the isolation and lack of human interaction. In fact this is a current struggle of mine, that if I don't spend time dating and having some social interaction, it will make me less happy and soon less motivated. Would be super interesting to hear how you have maintained a balance with this, since I assumed from your books that you were developing all the time, pushing everything else to the side.

    In terms of control, I always try to keep in mind to maintain control as much as possible (or have a backup plan to relinguish control at a moment's notice if needed). It's interesting what you say about the forum, I would have thought that a pre-made forum library/platform would be fully customizable with add-on code or plugins.
     
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  4. drgregw
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    drgregw Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Too many free resources, it’s like going down the rabbit hole. So for a newbie this organization and guidance is very valuable.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  5. journeyman
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    journeyman Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Finally, after months of learning & coding, a bootstrapped, basic version of my web app is now live. Rewarding moment to have something tangible.

    I should note that I have been sidetracked and delayed because I undertook an unpaid coding project at a startup in order to hone my newly acquired skills. It's been great, I have learned a ton and I will have the opportunity to establish a paid, freelancer relationship with them soon.

    The servers and data access through an API will cost me ~100$ per month. Given that the service will be free until I acquire traffic I will have to suffer an unforeseen amount of time with just money feeding the idea but no revenue. Oh well, it could be worse, at least I can afford that much.

    Now to the next steps:
    Get traffic, get user's feedback and start coding the improvements. Find a designer to re-do the homepage and graphics because it could certainly be better presented.
     
  6. Gepi
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    Gepi In it to win it Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Great job! Would love to see the site once it's ready to share. Until then: keep going!
     
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  7. journeyman
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    journeyman Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Still working on the design, but the core functionality is there. It would be cool to hear if people find this useful.
    User feedback welcome:
    www.caniaffordthiscar.com
     
  8. journeyman
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    journeyman Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Time for a mind-dump. Update on the projects I am currently balancing;

    Web app:
    Every time I make a step forward with my web app, it's like I have to take another step backwards. Specifically, I was paying for the data for my website on a monthly basis. It didn't even occur to me that this was an unnecessary expense (+relying on someone else, violating control). Thankfully a friend indicated this to me and I realized that I should stop paying for data. Instead, I sat down and learned web scraping/crawling, so now I am almost ready to replace the data with my own. Added another valuable skill to my expanding web developing skills.

    Even though that's great and motivational, I struggle with the lack of immediate feedback. It's the kind of website that will take months or even years to acquire traffic and visibility and only then there will be an opportunity for some profit. I think now I understand exactly what MJ means by "desert of desertion".

    I keep thinking that for my first attempt at business I should have really gone with a paid product (physical or tech service). No better validation for an idea than someone else's money right? And it doesn't help that I keep generating business ideas, a lot of which could be very easily validated in this way. All I'd have to do is throw a website, drive traffic and see if people buy. It would take me a week. However I don't want to do that because I would be derailing from my primary idea and essentially chasing the next "shiny object".

    Web development freelancing:

    Since the contract in my daytime salaried job is going to finish in a few months, I want to use my newly acquired web dev skills as my basis of income, mainly because it can be location independent. Thus I am trying to improve my skills and land some paying small projects.

    Thus far:
    I have cold-emailed a startup founder and did some free backend work for them which was absolutely invaluable. I learned a ton. Unfortunately, right when I felt I established my credibility and it was a good time to pitch them a flexible schedule of paying me for small projects, they launched their service and they went off the grid, probably not needing any help with code anymore.

    After this, I cold-emailed a leading expert on Node.js and asked him to do something for him (again for free) so I can learn from the best, as an informal mentorship. He is happy to talk about this opportunity. Again though, at the moment I struggle with the idea of spending my very little free time doing free projects for someone else. On the other hand, I feel that I shouldn't refuse an opportunity like this. I will roll with it and see what can come out of it. Worst case scenario, I will have worked with a leader in the field and gained valuable experience. Best case scenario, I will land further paid opportunities with him, gain visibility and connections.

    All in all, the fact that I don't have a lot of disposable income and I spend pretty much every leftover hour I have on coding for free is annoying me. My social life has taken a hit due to the lack of time and money. I really enjoy it so I can do it easily, however it pains me that I receive nothing in return. I think I will soon need some sort of positive feedback loop otherwise I will risk burnout.
     
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  9. Lex DeVille
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    Lex DeVille CAUTION! I hurt people's feelings... Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Why not do Upwork? There's plenty of people who need your skill and you'll make money. You can get good referrals there too. The people already want to buy. It's not like Upwork clients aren't building real businesses. Plenty of millionaires you can learn from there while you make money.
     
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  10. journeyman
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    journeyman Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Appreciate your input Lex!
    I have tried to bid on some small projects on Upwork. Unsuccessfully, but admittedly I never made it my no1 priority and focus so that doesn't say much.

    Before I spend a lot of time on UpWork I think I need to establish my skills. I have no degree in web dev, no formal qualifications and more importantly, no code examples that I can share with potential clients.

    A big reason why I want to do this unpaid work is so that I can build a web dev profile with actual projects.

    Lastly, being 100% honest, I don't like what I have seen on Upwork. The budgets for projects are ridiculously low, at least for entry- and intermediate levels. There is no shortage of customers asking for a 300$ website that does everything, and also, no shortage of freelancers who will bid for this. It's hard for me to want to bid for a proposal when only a couple hours after it was posted it has 30 other proposals already.
    Excuses? Limiting beliefs? Possibly... But that's my reasoning up to now.
     
  11. journeyman
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    journeyman Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Update on what I have been up to :

    After replying to Lex's post, I realized that I should really give Upwork a decent chance. It's clear that my skills as a developer are not at the level I want, so what better than getting paid to learn through small projects? So I made it my goal to make at least 100$ before Christmas.

    I stumbled around for a while with no progress whatsoever. Then, I took @Lex DeVille 's course on Udemy and it was the most directly applicable course I have taken. Brilliant. Within a week, I'd booked a 50$ project and I was very excited.

    The project ended up taking a crazy amount of hours to be completed. Some of it was my fault for not executing properly, some was scope creep that I allowed in order to make the client happy. In the end, I got 5 stars and a great testimonial. Couldn't help but feel annoyed for doing what ended up taking the time of a 500$ project for 10% that money but it's a start!

    After that I expected things to get easier but this hasn't been the case. All my proposals are being ignored, so I will go back to re-study the material and I will invest even more time in writing the personalized proposal.

    If I achieve the 100$ before Christmas, I will then aim to make 1000$ before Easter and see whether this can be a sustainable source of income for me.
     
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  12. Lex DeVille
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    $100 before Christmas and $1,000 by Easter??
    You should hit $100 by Friday and $1,000 by next week.

    Thanks for taking the course.
    :)

    Post an example of a gig you applied to and didn't get hired for and also post the proposal you wrote for that gig. I'll show you what to improve. But I think you should also check your focus.

    @LightHouse has an accountability program that might be worth looking into. I suspect, for whatever reason, you don't want it bad enough yet. Maybe it's because you're comfortable, or maybe it's because you haven't clearly defined what "it" is for you. Not sure, but that's how it looks from an outsider's perspective.

    That sense of doubt or fear or whatever is holding you back...it's probably coming through in your proposals and scaring good clients away.
     
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  13. journeyman
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    journeyman Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Yes, it's very likely that some inner issue is holding me back, as I am still not very confident in my web dev skills. Plus, the cynic in me keeps thinking, every time I apply, that there is really no reason to choose me. Because of my extra attention towards the client? This is also true for at least a few of the 50 proposals he has received. I don't think this is illogical. If the deliverable is a full website, then sure, I can see the customer being won over by the most carefully crafted proposal. But for a cookie-cutter 100$ data extraction gig? The deliverable (spreadsheet) will be exactly the same no matter who he chooses, so it makes sense to go with the lower price.

    Also my focus is split, as I have a mentally challenging day job and then I need to work on my remaining free time on something also challenging, albeit different.

    Anyway. I will figure this out, sooner or later. Thank you for your offer to review my proposal, I wouldn't miss an opportunity like this!

    Here is one that I was quite optimistic about, as there were few proposal;

    Gig
    Ideal deliverable
    - List of all doggy daycare companies in Greater London, including names and addresses and website URL's
    - List of all doggy daycare companies in the United Kingdom outside of Greater London, including names and addresses and website URL's
    - List of all cattery companies in Greater London, including names and addresses and website URL's
    - List of all cattery companies in the United Kingdom outside of Greater London, including names and addresses and website URL's
    - List of all vets in Greater London, including names and addresses and website URL's
    - List of all vets in the United Kingdom outside of Greater London, including names and addresses and website URL's

    Please can you provide in a spreadsheet, microsoft excel?


    Proposal
    (First time client, so no name to be found)

    Hi there

    You need an excel spreadsheet with 3 different types of pet-related business in London and in the rest of the UK. Great. Data scraping from the web is something I can deliver as for my personal website I had to get more than 900,000 listings from another website.

    For your needs, it seems like getting the data from a site that lists businesses, such as www.yell.com would be ideal. You need businesses that are NOT located in Greater London. Unfortunately these websites do not offer an exclusion filter, so here is what I suggest.

    You will receive one spreadsheet with all these businesses in Greater London area, and another spreadsheet with all the businesses in the UK. This will include the London ones as well, if you think that this is problematic, we can discuss about a way to correct this.

    These 2 spreadsheets as above can be ready within 3 days from the time of contract beginning. How does this sound?
    If it sounds good please let me know and we'll get started. Or if you have any other questions happy to help.

    Best
    journeyman
    Github profile : xxxxx
     
  14. Lex DeVille
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    You don't believe in yourself, and no client will believe in you until you do. You have to find a reason.

    Custom proposals do work for cookie-cutter gigs. In fact, they work best on those types of gigs. No matter what job the client offers or how easy it is, he's still looking for the best freelancer. Sometimes he's looking for the best freelancer for the price, and sometimes price doesn't matter.

    This client seems like a low-budget client for sure. You should skip stuff like this in the future. Apply to clients who have a budget that can realistically move you toward your bigger goal. Which is?

    The proposal is fair overall. It's a little long, but more detailed than most.

    Look at the client's style. He used short bullets. He's the kind of person who summarizes what he needs. The kind of person who doesn't spend time on details. He wants to hand the work over to someone competent for a low price and expects the job to get done right.

    1) The Basics
    Good that you started with "You." But look at the ratio of "you" to "I" statements in your first paragraph. The ratio should be 1:0 or greater, skewed toward you messages. So if you have 1 you-statement, then 1 me-statement is fine, but not 2 me-statements. If you have 2 you-statements, then 1 or 2 me-statements is fine, but not 3. Never more me than you in the first paragraph. Make sense?

    2) Cut the Second Paragraph
    This paragraph is a bunch of filler that talks too much about your process. The you-statement feels like you're telling him how to run his business. A better option here would be to mimic the client's style with a couple of bullet point questions:

    A couple questions to help me understand your needs:

    - Do you already pull data from certain websites like yell.com?
    - Do you have a way around exclusion filters on those websites?

    The other option is to delete this entire paragraph because you don't need it. The client doesn't need to know the "how" part of how you will get this done.

    3) Third Paragraph
    This paragraph is good, but why mention problems at all? If the client has a problem, he'll bring it up. Otherwise you've planted the word "problematic" in his brain. Focus more on what he gets and when he'll get it.

    "When you work with me you'll get clean spreadsheets with all of the info you asked for. I'll have them ready in 3 days, unless you need them faster."

    First I assumed the sale. Second, I focused on benefits with you-statements. Third, I made the time frame clear and direct and offered the product even faster. You don't have to do it faster if you don't want. The key is to get the client to respond. If you don't want to do it faster, but that's what the client wants, then don't accept the gig.

    4) Call to Action
    Give him a call to action based on the action you need him to take. You can't get started until the contract is offered, and you can't get a contract offered until the client replies. So your call to action should be to reply.

    "If any of that sounds good to you, reply and let's chat."
    "If any of that sounds good to you, reply for a quick call."


    Again, the proposal isn't bad. It's pretty custom. Just minor areas to improve. Apply to bigger better clients, even when the job is simple. The main thing holding you back is mindset issues showing up in the proposal.

    You said there's no reason to choose you. One reason is that the client gets on a call with you and likes your personality. Maybe he likes your face or your voice. Maybe he likes how you answered a question. Maybe he likes that you asked him questions. There's a million reasons that can set you apart from other freelancers. You just have to find the right one.
     
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  15. journeyman
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    journeyman Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Thanks for the tailored feedback Lex. +rep. It's amazing the kind of detail you infer from the client's writing style.

    Let me get back from a 3 day conference that is gonna keep me busy all day and I am going to put all your feedback into action. I will work on both mindset and technicalities and report back.
     
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  16. journeyman
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    journeyman Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    After about 20 proposals, patterns have started to emerge.
    All I have received back is one interview, which made clear that the task is disproportionately difficult for the money offered, so I withdrew the proposal.

    The vast majority of the rest have the following in common:
    The clients don't hire anyone for the job and often don't check back after the initial post (you can see when they interacted last with the job posting).

    This may suggest that it isn't something necessarily wrong with the proposal but rather that the client is not really looking to hire.
    Maybe just getting a quote? Even I have done this in the past, posted a job on Upwork just to see how much it'd actually cost.

    The other pattern is that most of them are new clients with no money spent. It makes sense that these don't make good clients. Lex's advanced course reaffirmed that. However my skillset is at a level where I can't really bid for the big projects and experienced clients.

    I think this needs to be apporached from a different angle. I will take a break from Upwork for a bit and I'll look for people from blogs/forums who use the same tech stack as I know and I will cold email them to see if they need any help.
     

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