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EXECUTION Underdog - Attempt to earn €10k in 90 days [Journey]

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UnderdogStrategy

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For a series of reasons I need to earn €10k in 90 days.

As every journey that deserves respect, let's start with the story of my life: so, I was born...
Just kidding, I spare you that.

Strategy

Current assets:

  • Upwork profile with one 5-star review and “Rising Talent” badge
  • One real client project (full website, no upwork)
  • A bunch of “demo” websites for different niches
  • Skillset: web design, web development, Webflow, Figma, HTML/CSS/JS, SEO and I’m getting better at Google Ads (I get into it thanks to Andy Black’s course: MARKETPLACE - Andy's $15/mth Google Ads Bootcamp )

Time
I can realistically put 6 hours of pure focus (time blocking) every day, 7/7.
42hrs/week.



Activities

1. Upwork

Probably my best option.
As I mentioned, 5 star review and Rising Talent badge, hence there’s already something to work with.
With the only job I had I earned 1k in one week, that’s why I feel Upwork can make a good percentage of the results in this journey.

The current hire rate is 1 out of 40 proposals sent and had around 5 interviews so far.

Just finished Lex DeVille’s course: Advanced Upwork Proposals: Tips to 10X Client Responses Fast which I found very insightful. I'll try to apply the new knowledge to improve proposals and increase my chances to land new jobs.

Checking Upwork daily and sending around 3-5 meaningful proposals every day.

2.Web Design Leads with FB Ads
This is a quick operation.
Setting up a landing page like “Web Design for specific-niche” (leveraging the existing project and testimonial), creating FB Ads and targeting everyone who has that job title in their demographics.
Budget: up to €100 of ad spend
Time: 6 hours max


3. Lead Generation Agency: Google Ads Audits

I’m oriented towards building a local lead generation agency, so I want to start going in that direction as well.
This activity consists in finding people who are messing up with Google Ads and letting them know they’re wasting lots of money doing “X”.
I’ll then try to offer a free Audit and eventually a one month trial for management at a low fee.
I’ll start on Monday with 5-10 per day.


4. Lead Generation Agency: The Gift
Pick a niche, pick a city, if it seems exploitable, create a landing page and run the ads till I get some leads.
Try to outreach the related businesses offering the leads for free and open a conversation from there.
This activity is good because I can achieve real results and increase my confidence in selling this service.
It’s risky because I would have to invest some money upfront and no guarantees it’s going to work.



Last thoughts
I think achieving €10k/90 days is possible, but extremely difficult.
The biggest amount of money I’ve ever seen in 3 months has been around €3.5k ←three salaries from a 9 to 5 job.

It would be an extraordinary result and achieving something like that requires extraordinary actions, daily discipline and focus.

Lastly, gotta keep in check action faking and shiny objects syndrome.
I’ve been fooling myself for months. Doing stuff like rebuilding my own site 6 times and such.
I think a public diary might be helpful to stay on track.

Updating daily.
 

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UnderdogStrategy

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Day #1

Some bad stuff first.
I've completely f*cked up my schedule.
After weeks waking up at 6 AM I get back waking up at 11 AM. Gotta say I've been sick this week (not covid apparently) but it's not an excuse.

Good news.
Well, nice way to start this journey.
I got my second project on Upwork!
It's a small and short project (finished in a couple of hours) but I'm happy about it.
More five star reviews and soon I should get the Top Rated badge (hence, get more invitations and get hired more).

Other activities.
Getting organized to perform Google Ads audit and outreach from Monday.
 

UnderdogStrategy

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Day #2
Not much to report.

Upwork was desert, just sent one proposal.
Spent the rest of the day getting organized for Google Ads outreach and watching YT videos about it (...)
 

UnderdogStrategy

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Day #3
Hustling on Upwork all day.

Sent 6 proposals (it took me hours).
1 interview.
0 new job landed so far.

For one of this proposal I've invested 2 hours creating a demo (giving value upfront).
I've seen the the number of people interviewed for that job post increasing hours after I sent my proposal, but I've been completely ignored.
Honestly it sucks, I felt stupid and like two precious hours have been wasted.
But nevermind.


Upwork game self-analysis.
One of the reason why i lose jobs are my rates.
I set up a job post in my same niche to check out the competition.
I don't stand a chance (on price) against people bidding $8/hr or $12/hr.
Even people from USA or Europe have prices around $15/20 per hour.
My current minimum is $25/hr but I often bid around $40 if the client has a past history of hourly payments around 30 and so.

Second reason, my portfolio sucks.
People around there probably wants to see fancy stuff that gives the "wow" effect.
I just do clean/minimalist/effective websites because I'm more oriented on results, so probably my portfolio just feel average and doesn't stand out.

I will keep pushing on sending proposals, at the end of the day I don't have much choice.
This week's goal is landing a mid-size project (between $500-$1000 minimum).
I can't control that, but I can keep sending meaningful proposals every day.

-----

I also got some ideas regarding how can i get a foot in the door in this market.

First, I can "buy" case studies running campaign for specific niches myself.
I would have to invest money upfront, but if I can generate leads and turn that into a Case Study I'll then have something to use to leverage people in that specific vertical.
And obviously I can try to sell or give away those leads.

Tomorrow I will take some time to get the Google Search Ads certification.
 

UnderdogStrategy

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Day #4
Woke up before 8am, in a matters of few day I'll be back into the 6am morning club.

Start to track time after long time I lost this precious habit.
Tracking time IS the #1 productivity hack.
You can't fool yourself at the end of the day, because it's everything written.
Did the 6 hours of time blocking as planned.

Upwork
6 proposals sent.
Got one invitation to interview, I replied but didn't hear back. Tomorrow I'll try to follow-up having the chat open.
0 job landed.

Local Lead Gen
Got Google Search Ads certification (whatever it might worth).

Tomorrow I'll start doing some market analysis.
I need to find a good niche to start produce leads for.


Keep moving forward.
 

UnderdogStrategy

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Day #5
Unproductive day.
Woke up between 6-7 am and been a zombie all day long.

Upwork was desert, just sent 2 proposals.
0 interview.
0 job landed.

Spent the rest of the time fighting with doubts about what I'm doing.
Not sleeping well always makes my mind weaker.
I'm not comfortable in seeking for PPC clients because I never had real results in PPC yet.
I need to get something to prove myself I can really add value to a business.



2.Web Design Leads with FB Ads
This is a quick operation.
Setting up a landing page like “Web Design for specific-niche” (leveraging the existing project and testimonial), creating FB Ads and targeting everyone who has that job title in their demographics.
Budget: up to €100 of ad spend
Time: 6 hours max
I called off this operation.
The reason is simple: I don't want to work with that niche.
I'll spare those money for a G-ads campaign.

Keep thinking how I can get into the PPC world and making money at the same time I asked myself: perhaps can I partner up with someone who's already in the field? What value can I bring to them (if any)?

With my current skillset I can create pretty good and conversion oriented Landing Pages.
Perhaps someone in PPC would benefit from outsourcing the landing page part to someone who speaks the same language?
I don't know yet. I'll explore the market thoughts about it talking to PPC people around the web.


Tomorrow I need to stick to the plan and having a campaign running by the end of the week.
 

UnderdogStrategy

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Day #6

6 new proposals sent on Upwork.
1 interview.
0 job landed.

I think I found a niche to play with on Google Ads.
CPC is quite good, €0.6, and volumes are promising.



Content Production
Due to the short-term nature of this journey I'm completely ignoring content production.
I believe it to be one of the most valuable activity I could do to get results in the long term.
Is it probably a big mistake? Keep asking myself this question.

Self-Analysis & Harsh Truth (probably Rant)
It sucks.
Almost one week is gone and I don't see any progress, nor the light at the end of the tunnel.
I'm not disciplined. I don't stick to my own plan. I get distracted continuously.
A health issues is getting worst day by day and making things awful: infact, i'm not working out since 2 weeks and working out was the only activity that helped me let the stress out, relax and clear my mind.

Am I giving all I have? No.
Not even the barely minimum.
6 proposals per day on Upwork? And what's that? Just a more action-oriented action faking i guess.

The truth is I don't like deal with people.
I fed myself up with business/freelancing success stories and only common pattern I found is being good with people, or at least talking to people.
99% of myself just want to avoid that part of the equation.
This is the real reason why I action fake.
This is why when I see a notification on my phone, instead of being excited, I deeply hope it's not an Upwork interview, cause I might have to talk with someone on the phone/videocall.
Yeah, that's what really happens in my mind.

I've never been that brilliant in socializing but I could manage it more or less.
After 6 months of no social interactions due to lock downs I feel very very uncomfortable, even more than before.

All of this to say I better spend my days emailing hundreds of people, contacting people on social media, wherever, the point is investing time in creating connection in any way possible. There's no grow inside this comfort zone.
All the rest is fooling myself.

Let me tell you one more thing. I didn't report this.
But I said I would have posted for all the 90 days, no matter what, with honesty.
Even if this is gonna be an awful, shameful journey of daily failures.
Last Saturday I received my first inbound call. I didn't pick it up.
Figured it out later it was probably from the GMB account. I looked up at the number and it was someone with a never-heard-before profession (fb page and all). But it was an inbound lead.
Guess what? I didn't call back.
 

UnderdogStrategy

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Day #7
Every time i rant about something, things immediately get better.
I should rant more often lol

6 proposal sent.
5 interview.
2 jobs landed.

I think the crazy increase in conversion rate is due to changing the profile picture on Upwork.
Yeah, those details can make a huge difference.

Jobs are small and quick, which is good to build more review and connect with more people.

Rest of the day I didn't do that much.
Had a good talk with some forum members and I keep thinking about slim things down, pick one single project and focus 100% on it.

Tomorrow I'll be 100% on the Upwork jobs.
 

UnderdogStrategy

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DAY #8
Focused all day long on a Upwork project (small website design).
Completed and delivered, tomorrow I gotta go through the changes.

Wanted to start the second project as well but we need to figure out some access stuff so I'll start that project on Monday.

Didn't have the time to send new proposals.

Self-Analysis (without rant today lol)
When i have a job, I'm extremely focused.
I crank hours and hours of work without any distraction.

Was a good reminder. Often I say to myself I can't focus, but that's not true: I can and pretty well.

So the reality is that I'm unfocused when i have to work just for myself.
I need to translate this skill to my own personal activities.

"Let's see what happens"
^ this is the new "mindset" i want to adopt.
I have too many ideas but I don't execute enough.
"Let's see what happens" means focus on a specific task/process without trying to calculate the outcome upfront.
Be open, be curious. Just do it and see what comes out of that.
It's "buying data" rather than planning ahead without the data (which is a paradox).

Create a landing page offering a service targeting a very specific niche and reach out to hundreds of people in that specific niche. What is gonna happen?

Contact 100 biz which are losing money on stupid mistakes and offer advice for free. What is gonna happen?

---

Tomorrow I'll try to finalize one of these Upwork projects and send new proposals.
I'll chose ONE "let's see what happens" activity to carry out next week.
 

UnderdogStrategy

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Keep it up man! Interesting to see a change in your profile picture could bump your success rate up like that. Maybe its a result of your hustle with getting interviews.

Thanks.

For real, it was surprising.
It makes sense though, it's one of the first thing that people see and it has a huge impact in inspiring trustworthiness.

Perhaps was a lucky shot, let's see next week how it goes.
 

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Speed112

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Honestly it sucks, I felt stupid and like two precious hours have been wasted.

Try not to think like this. No time is wasted. You've at the very least practiced your proposal game which will improve your interview rate over time and increase the value of this groundwork.

One of the reason why i lose jobs are my rates.

If you truly believe this, then why are you in the same price range as all these people? Is that really such a big differentiating factor?

If you bid $40/hr and others bid $5/hr there needs to be a great reason why you're charging 8 times more.

Does your portfolio truly suck? Or is it pointing out a flaw in the market: most people focus on form over function. What if THEIR portfolios suck because they showcase design ability instead of practical ability?

I started off with $15/hr on oDesk writing copy many years ago. I slowly built that up to 25, then 40, then 60, 80. Eventually, I got to 150 and I deleted my account.

I came back years later and what did I do? Start at $15 again fighting for scraps with all the noobs? No, I started at $80 and I still ended up charging people ~150/hr due to charging flat fees. I got projects with 0 reviews, a crappy portfolio that is just text on an image, and really really good proposals. If I charged $30/hr I bet I would've been lost in the sea of competitors and would have had to work 10 times as hard to get those initial clients.

But I'm an expert.

Experts are in demand. I don't need to chase after clients. They should be the ones chasing after me. Giving off this vibe by half-assing certain parts (the ones that really don't matter) and doubling down on the ones that matter (what's in it for them) works just as well if not better than going hard in all areas of your outreach.

Yes, this goes against general advice, of starting off small, building up your client base, testimonials, case studies, then ramp up...

But who cares about that?

Can you offer someone thousands of dollars of value with a few hours of work? If so, then pricing yourself in the same range as the hordes of incompetents who waste people's time and spend dozens of hours building useless trash is probably inefficient.

Something to keep in mind, and probably to aim for when you've got more valuable things to do with your time than writing 2 hour long proposals for $100 projects.

In any case, awesome progress so far. You're definitely going the right way, so keep it up and things will snowball for sure.
 

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