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EXECUTION Progress as a Freelance Writer/New Amz Seller [Daily]

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MaxKhalus

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Hey everyone,
Progress threads are back! The last one was in December 2020 and lasted nearly a year. This time, there's gonna be much more action going on, and there's no finish date.

Why?
Context:
Since January 2020, there's been a lot of testing with ideas and routines. While experimenting/learning, there's barely been any progress in my careers. Pretty much everything is the same from the last update I made on the previous thread.

But the only reason it must be now is because of the FTE I had last week.

I consider myself an underachiever because I hardly get motivated by fear/adversity. That's why all this time I've taken a relaxed approach. Maybe you relate: have you ever tried to plan/optimize something before you even started doing it? My biggest mistake was focusing on productivity, and thinking that I'll be successful just by making the right decisions.

So what was the FTE?
- Since February, a guy who fraudulently reported my Amazon listing got it blocked. The only way to fix this was to send the right legal documents with a reinstatement service. I dropped $1000, which was most of my savings
- Since February, I lost one client due to a lack of budget. This summer, the last one is taking a break too
- Last week, I spent most of my time procrastinating (since I wake up until I went to bed), hoping that things got fixed. They didn't, and while I was getting some minimal work, the whole situation was frustrating
- The legal agent sent the right document on March 31st. I waited until last week, and we got no replies. There was one week left to delete my (stranded) inventory
- Another guy who started at the same time I did didn't have that issue and has blown up in sales since January, $10K/mo. My product is equally good/better

So if they don't respond, I would lose my inventory, $6K-$10K wasted, which is like an entire year's work (not the most I can earn, but this was what I earned last year). With no clients, it may take a year to recover.

I prepared for the worst and tried to make sense of it. It turns out, had I been obsessed from the beginning, it would never have ended that way.

From that realization, I made it my priority to reach that state. When obsessed, you don't give an F about productivity. You're gonna work as much as you can, because you have that extreme sense of urgency.

I realized that my whole life was wrong. Because everything I believed about me or my dreams were built under that assumption: "I will somehow succeed one day." The reality is: Without obsession, I'm already set to failure. If I keep false expectations, I'm going to get 'scammed' or trapped. I couldn't make sense of my situation, so I committed to obsession (and learned how to create it). That's when I've felt the most alive (and happy).

It's not easy to research this topic, as almost every source you find will talk about it as something wrong that you should stop doing. Either way, this is what I found after researching for the last 4 days (by priority):
1. Create a strong sense of urgency
Urgency = Hunger (for success) You can create this by:

  • a. Reinforcing the risks of inaction and the opportunity cost (in my case, if Amazon didn't work out, I'd need to freelance for the whole 2021 just to get back to the same spot. waste a year of my 20s)
  • b. Reminding how many days/weeks are left for a key event (today, I'm 500 days from my 22nd birthday)
  • c. List all out-of-control events that can kill your success opportunity overnight
  • d. Increase the contrast between the present and your future self (that's why I'm starting this thread!)

2. Eliminate apathy
There's some emotion in being obsessed. Positive emotions reinforce actions while the negative ones create rejection (and reflexion). Too many negative events in a row cause frustration and lead to apathy as a defense tactic. I have to:
1. Increase my pain tolerance to prevent that from happening:

  • Take cold showers
  • Work out
  • Track your data and finances (I hate doing that)
  • Work in public places
  • Have others observing your work (that's why I'm starting this thread!)
  • Research complex topics
  • Send job proposals/join interviews
2. Prevent overstimulation (social media, coffee, random browsing)
3. Activate myself (lower body temperature, work out, eat dark-green vegetables, walk more often, drink more water, among other things)

3. Set bold goals
Daily goals that are 'bold' enough to be worth the effort. Such as:
- Doing something others don't
- Doing something for the first time
- Doing something with a self-imposed limitation for the challenge (skipping sleep, fasting, no phone...)
- Beating a work record
[...]
4. Create micro-events

Whenever there's a close event, I feel motivated to finish work before it happens (even if it's unrelated to work). I want there to always be 3+ close events, and if there aren't, I can invent them:
- Anniversaries
- Group events/calls
- Memorials (stuff I sacrificed or stop doing for work reasons)
[...]
5. Dominate your mind

Domination happens when an idea occupies all your mind. After I described my ideal live, I've placed visible reminders everywhere in my desk to always think about it.
There are other exercises that work, but I won't get into that to keep this thread short.

[...]

The daily update will look as follows:
2021-05-30 19_37_41-CONTRAST SHEET - Google Sheets.png

- The Benchmark is the future-self version I'm using for comparison. Between me and my perfect life, there's multiple versions I need to change to, not just one. The first one is about writing as much as I can and spend 2h in business (see My B.Time & Time Goal), while the last one is spending 100% of my time on Amazon research. Different benchmarks mean different goals.
- The metrics are Dollars Earned Today, Business Time (Amazon stuff), Gig Applications, and Total Balance. Each of these has a goal to compare with.
- CP stands for checkpoint, and there's 5 of them in my day. They show how much I've earned after each time period.

That's that. I have no idea of how well this is going to go. It starts tomorrow, and I'm preparing right now. It's time!
 
Last edited:

CruxisKnight

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Jan 7, 2021
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Hey everyone,
Progress threads are back! The last one was in December 2020 and lasted nearly a year. This time, there's gonna be much more action going on, and there's no finish date.

Why?
Context:
Since January 2020, there's been a lot of testing with ideas and routines. While experimenting/learning, there's barely been any progress in my careers. Pretty much everything is the same from the last update I made on the previous thread.

But the only reason it must be now is because of the FTE I had last week.

I consider myself an underachiever because I hardly get motivated by fear/adversity. That's why all this time I've taken a relaxed approach. Maybe you relate: have you ever tried to plan/optimize something before you even started doing it? My biggest mistake was focusing on productivity, and thinking that I'll be successful just by making the right decisions.

So what was the FTE?
- Since February, a guy who fraudulently reported my Amazon listing got it blocked. The only way to fix this was to send the right legal documents with a reinstatement service. I dropped $1000, which was most of my savings
- Since February, I lost one client due to a lack of budget. This summer, the last one is taking a break too
- Last week, I spent most of my time procrastinating (since I wake up until I went to bed), hoping that things got fixed. They didn't, and while I was getting some minimal work, the whole situation frustrating
- The legal agent sent the right document on March 31st. I waited until last week, and we got no replies. There was one week left to delete my (stranded) inventory
- Another guy who started at the same time I did didn't have that issue and has blown up in sales since January, $10K/mo. My product is equally good/better

So if they don't respond, I would lose my inventory, $6K-$10K wasted, which is like an entire year's work (not the most I can earn, but this was what I earned last year). With no clients, it may take a year to recover.

I prepared for the worst and tried to make sense of it. It turns out, had I been obsessed from the beginning, it would never have ended that way.

From that realization, I made it my priority to reach that state. When obsessed, you care about productivity. You're gonna work as much as you can, because you have an extreme sense of urgency.

I realized that my whole life was wrong. Because everything I believed about me or my dreams were built under that assumption: "I will somehow succeed one day." The reality is: Without obsession, I'm already set to failure. If I keep false expectations, I'm going to get 'scammed' or trapped. I couldn't make sense of my situation, so I committed to obsession (and learn how to create it). That's when I've felt the most alive (and happy).

It's not easy to research this topic, as almost every source you find will talk about it as something wrong that you should stop doing. Either way, this is what I found after researching for the last 4 days (by priority):
1. Create a strong sense of urgency
Urgency = Hunger (for success) You can create this by:

  • a. Reinforcing the risks of inaction and the opportunity cost (in my case, if Amazon didn't work out, I'd need to freelance for the whole 2021 just to get back to the same spot. waste a year of my 20s)
  • b. Reminding how many days/weeks are left for a key event (today, I'm 500 days from my 22nd birthday)
  • c. List all out-of-control events that can kill your success opportunity overnight
  • d. Increase the contrast between the present and your future self (that's why I'm starting this thread!)

2. Eliminate apathy
There's some emotion in being obsessed. Positive emotions reinforce actions while the negative ones create rejection (and reflexion). Too many negative events in a row cause frustration and lead to apathy as a defense tactic. I have to:
1. Increase my pain tolerance to prevent that from happening:

  • Take cold showers
  • Work out
  • Track your data and finances (I hate doing that)
  • Work in public places
  • Have others observing your work (that's why I'm starting this thread!)
  • Research complex topics
  • Send job proposals/join interviews
2. Prevent overstimulation (social media, coffee, random browsing)
3. Activate myself (lower body temperature, work out, eat dark-green vegetables, walk more often, drink more water, among other things)

3. Set bold goals
Daily goals that are 'bold' enough to be worth the effort. Such as:
- Doing something others don't
- Doing something for the first time
- Doing something with a self-imposed limitation for the challenge (skipping sleep, fasting, no phone...)
- Beating a work record
[...]
4. Create micro-events

Whenever there's a close event, I feel motivated to finish work before it happens (even if it's unrelated to work). I want there to always be 3+ close events, and if there aren't, I can invent them:
- Anniversaries
- Group events/calls
- Memorials (stuff I sacrificed or stop doing for work reasons)
[...]
5. Dominate your mind

Domination happens when an idea occupies all your mind. After I described my ideal live, I've placed visible reminders everywhere in my desk to always think about it.
There are other exercises that work, but I won't get into that to keep this thread short.

[...]

The daily update will look as follows:
View attachment 38203

- The Benchmark is the future-self version I'm using for comparison. Between me and my perfect life, there's multiple versions I need to change to, not just one. The first one is about writing as much as I can and spend 2h in business (see My B.Time & Time Goal), while the last one is spending 100% of my time on Amazon research. Different benchmarks mean different goals.
- The metrics are Dollars Earned Today, Business Time (Amazon stuff), Gig Applications, and Total Balance. Each of these has a goal to compare with.
- CP stands for checkpoint, and there's 5 of them in my day. They show how much I've earned after each time period.

That's that. I have no idea of how well this is going to go. It starts tomorrow, and I'm preparing right now. It's time!
Your FTE section brought some tears to my eyes. I know the feeling of the struggle and anxiety of going through those things, but mine was slightly different. A lot of hard work is internal and I learned you have to keep risk at bay but take risks at the same time so it is a balancing act. Much of progress is in the mind.
 

MaxKhalus

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Day 1:
2021-05-31 21_12_14-CONTRAST SHEET - Google Sheets.png

Feeling satisfied as I used all my time as I wanted. I did get the $66 within 90 minutes, so it's definitely not hard to improve.
I spent good time in business (Amazon FBA). I've been reviewing some content to plan the first launch (between tomorrow and Wednesday) after I ask the mentor a few questions.
I'll update on the total cashflow later as I'm still doing some numbers (paying off al debts).
 

MaxKhalus

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Day 2:
2021-06-01 13_26_51-CONTRAST SHEET - Google Sheets.png
I haven't ended the day yet, but I can already see where it's heading. And there might be more $0 days at any moment. What matters when things go wrong is to post those days. If I hide my failures, then I would be hiding from myself the chance to correct them.

As for today, I feel ridiculously exhausted. Before I have a damn thought, I've already wasted all my morning. I wasn't procrastinating, but doing what I'd normally do at super-low reaction time.

What could the problem be? I just checked my five conditions:
- Is it an urgency problem? No
- Is it a goal problem? No (I'm not skipping my product launch regardless)
- Is it an event problem? No
- Is it about mind domination? No
- Is it emotional? Apathy? Kinda, but the exhaustion isn't psychological

I slept the 8.5 hours and still woke up broken. I suspect it's physical exhaustion from working out with heavy weights (despite doing it for 7+ years). And another habit I just added is spending all my work time on a standing desk. Not physically used to all that.

It takes ridiculous effort just to reach my work desk, so I'm not even giving myself the chance to earn.

I'll make the workouts lighter. That should fix it. Meanwhile, I'll get the business ready to go, see how I can recover muscles faster, and wait for this to wear off.
 

MaxKhalus

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Day 3!
2021-06-02 22_04_50-CONTRAST SHEET - Google Sheets.png
It's only 44, but it feels totally different from yesterday. All the exhaustion effects are gone, and it's much easier to enjoy the journey now.

Another game changer has been the concept of "isolated work." It means to terminate all distractions/interruptions so that you have a large chunk of uninterrupted time. I don't know why I didn't do it sooner.

I have mixed feelings about the e-com business. CPR Giveaways are super-low (80 for main keyword), so it should be super-easy to rank. My concern is:
- Entry Rule: Anybody can do it, so there may be another 4 guys launching with the same target. I must either target higher or arrive earlier.
- Amazon is giving an error when creating PPC campaigns. Good news is, the product can launch without them
- I don't know why my listing title hasn't updated yet. No big deal, but it's delaying things

Productivity wise, I need to find a way to cut off preparation time. The f***ing morning routine took 6 hours, which is unacceptable.
 

MaxKhalus

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Tomorrow updating twice. I'm not skipping sleep for an update
 

MaxKhalus

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Day 7 (and everything else from day 4):
2021-06-06 18_21_40-CONTRAST SHEET - Google Sheets.png
Let's address freelance writing first.
- First problem got solved. The morning routine takes around <3hs now (which means getting done everything of the day: workout, breakfast, cleaning, check Amazon/messages, cold shower...)
- Another problem arised. There was a lot of resistance in working because I focused on the wrong thing (results).

I then reflected and realized that I work for a particular feeling. Either:
1. Work to increase my pain resistance, prevent apathy, and increase obsession/excitement (or)
2. Work for the happiness (fulfillment)

As for 2, I've found the discomfort of work lasts about as long as a cold shower. After that, there is happiness because there's an expectation that work's gonna get done. For me, happiness has always based on future expectations. That's how I just learned that success has no destination (Although you need good results).

So everyday, I write down why I work, and I keep it visible to remember it.


Also, I tried a challenge today. Besides targetting $200, I set the goal to make money after every checkpoint:
- All of the five blocks must have different dollar amounts
- It doesn't matter how low it is, but it can't be zero

Just like that, I broke this last 4-day decline.


As for Amazon, it got about 0 sales so far, 8 yesterday, 2 the day before, and 3 before that. Sundays are a bit worrying for the low volume.

It really gives me bad feelings that a business customer bought my product. The last time that happened, I got the IP claim and got 'banned' for 3+ months. I hope I'm wrong about that.

Other insecurities are:
- Whether I'll be able to sell at my target price, since I'm selling at almost half the price for the launch (and almost no advertising)
- How to get more reviews to protect against 1-stars (got 37 5-stars so far)
- How to earn more to restore the inventory

I'll be making these questions in a group call within an hour.
 

AveSatana

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You’ve set a great foundation, now keep it going. Lots of great self-reflection.

Keep the line taut and always stick to the morning routine.
 

alfosua

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I like your idea to document your work. Because I'm a coder, I will try to do it in Twitch. I don't think I could write some many self-reflectionsxd
 

MaxKhalus

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I like your idea to document your work. Because I'm a coder, I will try to do it in Twitch. I don't think I could write some many self-reflectionsxd
You’ve set a great foundation, now keep it going. Lots of great self-reflection.

Keep the line taut and always stick to the morning routine.
Wow thx. The reflections arent necessary, but I just feel bad when showing bad results AND not doing anything to fix it.

*Haven't tried documenting on Twitch. For coding, makes sense
 

AveSatana

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Wow thx. The reflections arent necessary, but I just feel bad when showing bad results AND not doing anything to fix it.
The biggest benefit of being self-aware is that you can zero in on tendencies you have and notice things, especially when it’s a pattern.

May even be things you know but didn’t realize how big they are. e.g. not liking talking to clients / being uncomfortable with it leading to action-faking and wasting time with busywork to avoid it, and then never really getting around to it at all.
 

MaxKhalus

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The biggest benefit of being self-aware is that you can zero in on tendencies you have and notice things, especially when it’s a pattern.

May even be things you know but didn’t realize how big they are. e.g. not liking talking to clients / being uncomfortable with it leading to action-faking and wasting time with busywork to avoid it, and then never really getting around to it at all.
Agree. That's actually my only big regret in life so far. Not being openminded enough to question myself.
When I realize I made a mistake, the only thing I'm frustrated is: "Why did it take me that long to find out?"

Thankfully, I'm correcting this when regularly getting out of the comfort zone. Literally, there are habits I follow just to train that part.
 

MaxKhalus

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Day 8-9: 2021-06-08 13_32_28-CONTRAST SHEET - Google Sheets.png

Addressing the 8th day first (9th row):
I spent the day mostly on discovery work. That means researching future articles and brainstorming ideas for a second potential client. It's 'invisible' work that makes earning possible later.


Between day 8 and 9, there was a birthday last night, which today is affecting my sleep. Hence the bad result.

Now, I don't see it right to waste the whole day just for being physically exhausted. But I still have one more card up my sleeve: habit momentum.

I abandoned this technique a month ago because of how slow it was progressing. But for situations like these, it can really help.:

According to James Clear, we fall to the level of our systems. So what I did last month was setting a daily target I saw myself achieving without difficulty (e.g., 500 words). I'd do it first thing in the morning and then be free to do anything for the rest of the day. When done for long enough, your minimum load increases.

So I'm still going all in with freelance writing. But for the days I'm mentally useless, I'll follow the habit method instead.

For what I've seen, this happens to me whenever:
a. I'm sore from working out too intensely
b. I skipped sleep (I rarely do <9hs)

So I do my best to avoid that state.

As for business...

Pretty proud with how it's going so far. I raised the price by $5, so I'm not very confident of what's gonna happen today. And there's still the chance of getting banned again by a competitor. If it keeps selling well for the next todays, that will bring more security.

By this time, the product is already on the first 30 positions (page 1) for most keywords, main one included. But the launch doesn't end until Friday or so.

Let's keep updated.

2021-06-08 13_51_35-WhatsApp.png(These sales have no profits yet)
 

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MaxKhalus

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2021-06-10 21_03_32-CONTRAST SHEET - Google Sheets.pngAs for today, I forgot about marking the milestones. But still got one of the best days so far, although it's not at $200 yet.

As for the 2 business hours, there wasn't much to do and I spent most of my time on the writing instead.
Here's what the launch looks like right now:
2021-06-10 21_47_56-WhatsApp.png
Again, all at a loss.

As for today's results ($40 writing), I've found a curious effect. When I skip coffee (and other minor things), it's super-hard to fall for distractions. As if the big distractions were linked to the small ones.

For a long time, I wanted to quit coffee because it creates sleep/health issues. I still drank a cup a day because I believed it increased my productivity. Well, it's been 6 months and I've earned less in all these months combined than in December 2020 alone. Enough proof for me.

So today I gave up on it for real. And almost magically, all the other distractions had no effect on me. Social media, videogames, mindless browsing, it all ceased after making that small decision. That's how I've learned:

The brain uses previous decisions to justify the next ones.


I'll leave it there for now.
 

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MaxKhalus

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Hey guys, it's kinda late here. Updating from the phone so there won't be spreadsheet today.

The summary is:
- Made $55 from 1.5k words ($30 before 3pm)
- Sales are picking up
- The listing now ranks for top 10 for six keywords, one of which is the main one with 40k+ searches per month.

Screenshot_20210611-223420_Amazon Seller.jpg

But don't get too excited. Profits are still minimal and there's no guarantee it will sell at the target price.

Advertising costs are doing well too. Will need to slow down as there's <240 units available.

No funds to restock yet, and it should sell at a rate of 7-10 to be on the way to success.

Being on top 10 for main keyword is the biggest achievement, although I have no idea if I can maintain that. I also upgraded the picture to make it stand out, and I'll raise the price by $1 every other day
 

MaxKhalus

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Let's go with that update, starting with disclaimers:
1. No, nothing is going wrong. I've been earning more on freelancing than before, selling on Amazon more than before. I simply didn't share it
2. This void happened because I'm unhappy with how things have been going. Even though it's all 'good,' it's not nearly good enough to be called success. And it may cost me my youth if I don't change things. This update shows what I'm gonna change.

Now, the current situation.

The business is doing like this:
2021-06-20 10_26_24-WhatsApp.png
Which doesn't look great after looking at this:
2021-06-20 08_37_24-FBA Manager.png
Note: We are at $25. Last day's low sales is because I've raised the price to $26. I got into this product assuming it would reach the average of $36

More over, I asked this to the mentor:
2021-06-20 10_09_26-FBA Manager.png

I have no clue of what's gonna happen nor what to do. But we're probably not reaching the ideal conditions.

Moving on to freelance writing.

I've got 700-1000 words per day consistently (25$-35$) until lately, because the business uncertainty isn't helping my focus.

I like to mentally prepare for the worst beforehand, and this is what it looks like:
Case 3. It doesn't sell well. I may restock and get $5000 in debt, and I currently have no clients. Almost $0 income after I finish the current group.

It's not hard to see where this is going if I don't change. Those sales graphs show fake success.

I'm tired of not having the control I want, nor the money to fund this properly. If the bad scenario happens, I'll regret spending my last three years for this. So I'm going to change.

It turns out that freelancing is the solution, not the burden.


All this time I've worked as a freelancing, I've underestimated what I can earn that way. The truth is, freelancers can earn as much as money as in Amazon, six plus figures, especially with my skills. I just never took it seriously.

Because of it, it's taking forever to succeed with Amazon. So I'm changing my approach.

I've decided that I'm gonna be a professional freelancer (at least until after the first year of ecommerce success), either on writing or web design. That may mean that everyday for years, I'll work <1h to make big money, working longer at the beginning. And I like the idea because:
- It earns more than enough and it's better than Amazon
- I've become a great communicator in business after writing for three years
- Writing everyday forces me to learn new things about business/finance. It pays me to learn, which is invaluable

I've always looked at freelancing as something to escape from. Now, the approach will be the contrary, because I'm selling myself for less. 3.5 cents per word when the industry's standard is 10. I believe @Fox already told me this in another post long time ago.

Amazon may be the solution to passive income. But when it comes to money making, freelance wins all the time. That's what I'm going to do. And higher earnings will allow me to give Amazon the time and money it deserves. It's not okay to spend 1.5 years and $6000 to launch a bad product.

So it's high time to review the Upwork success guide made by @Lex DeVille.
 
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Fox

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I've decided that I'm gonna be a professional freelancer for life, either on writing or web design. That may mean that everyday for years, I'll work <1h to make big money, working longer at the beginning. And I like the idea because:
- It earns more than enough and it's better than Amazon
- I've become a great communicator in business after writing for three years
- Writing everyday forces me to learn new things about business/finance. It pays me to learn, which is invaluable

I've always looked at freelancing as something to escape from. Now, the approach will be the contrary, because I'm selling myself for less. 3.5 cents per word when the industry's standard is 10. I believe @Fox already told me this in another post long time ago.

Amazon may be the solution to passive income. But when it comes to money making, freelance wins all the time. That's what I'm going to do. And higher earnings will allow me to give Amazon the time and money it deserves. It's not okay to spend 1.5 years and $6000 to launch a bad product.

So it's high time to review the Upwork success guide made by @Lex DeVille.

I don't think freelancing is going to be where you want to be "forever" but ya quite possibly it can help for now.

Id suggest to be open to making improvements on both sides - see if you can make a lot more freelancing and also see if you can get the ecommerce back on track - either with that product or another.

As you improve with freelancing you should see more skills to help with ecommerce - it should work nicely together. Especially if you can boost income on the front end too.

Hope things go well!
 

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