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You Will Always Suck At What You Do, Until You Do This

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Your first 100 blog posts will mostly suck.

Your first 100 podcasts will mostly suck too.

Your first 100 talks will not be perfect.

Your first 100 videos will be nightmares.

 

Nobody can pick up a ball and become a pro basketball player overnight.

Nobody can pick up a pen, then write and win a Pulitzer Prize right away.

Nobody is interesting on their first interview.

Nobody will walk on the stage without saying a few things wrong.

Nobody learns how to walk after the first step.

 

We all suck in the beginning.

But…

Children can do what most adults fail to do.

We always think children are clueless. They need our guidance to figure out life. But they know things that most of us have forgotten.

We don’t become better by giving up. We keep trying.

Do babies stop trying to learn to walk after falling the first time? No, they keep trying

That is why everything seems to be possible when you were a child. There was no ego. You only see a finish line and you want to cross it.

I didn’t get a million views on my first blog post. My family said I am so bad at writing, they still don’t read anything I write to this day. But I still write. Because the worst case is the world will hate it.

If I don’t try, I will never find out what they think.

Because I cannot write, I read every top post about a topic before I write an article. Because I suck, I do things other people don’t.

 

I have hosted a minimum 500 chats before I had my first trending chat. There were nights where nobody showed up and I still asked the questions. I stayed in every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday to work while everyone else was out. People didn’t notice that. Before I created trends, I was a follower. I showed up until I figured it out. And I still show up to this day.

 

The smartest people are usually not the most successful people. They have big ego and always believe they deserve better.

The truth is no matter how smart you are.

WE ALL SUCK IN THE BEGINNING.

Most people give up right away.

A few people stick around until they get it right.

 

We suck and it is fine.

Because it is just the beginning.

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jtr
75 days ago
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Pricing Freelance Projects

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I wrote a Twitter thread about my experience, learning and knowledge on pricing projects as a freelancer.

Over the next 36 hours it’d gained tens of thousands of likes.

Here’s “Pricing freelancing projects. Everything I’ve learned. A thread.” eternalised in article form:

Pricing Strategies

Having one pricing strategy that you can apply to every real-world engagement is often a fallacy.

Learn these pricing methodologies:

  • Hourly billing
  • Daily billing
  • Retainers
  • Fixed-pricing
  • Value-based pricing

Understand their pros and cons.

Understand your circumstances.

Understand the project.

Choose appropriately.

You don’t have to use the same pricing methodology for every engagement.

  • Client 1: Day rate
  • Client 2: Fixed priced project
  • Client 3: Ongoing retainer

Use the strategy that fits the work best.

Hourly Billing

Charging by the hour doesn’t work in favour of freelancers.

If you need to use it to get started, stop using it as soon as you can.

Hourly billing is by far the worst pricing methodology to use for profit.

Hourly billing is by far the worst pricing methodology to use for efficiency.

Do you want to avoid:

  • Estimating every small task?
  • Filling out timesheets?
  • Sending tons of invoices?
  • Having to justify every time you go “over”?

Avoid hourly billing.

Daily Billing

There are two ways to bill daily:

1 day = 8 hours or 1 day = 1 day.

Always use the latter.

The former robs you of your autonomy.

If you want to raise your rates in future, when billing by the day, max out at selling 4 days per week to clients.

Give yourself time to grow your own business.

If you bill your client daily, you’re giving them a day’s work.

Nothing else.

It’s a rolling engagement for a reason.

Day rate can’t come with a guarantee of completion.

“Day rate” where you guarantee a set amount of logged hours is worse than billing hourly.

It’s billing hourly for less money.

Fixed-Pricing

Rules for fixed-price projects:

  1. Get a deposit
  2. Get a fixed scope
  3. To reduce the price you must reduce the scope
  4. Don’t use estimated days x day rate = price
  5. Add a minimum 20% contingency
  6. Price high enough to make a profit after you’ve paid yourself

Remember that when you give a fixed-price for a scope of work, you are guaranteeing completion.

Going back to the table for more money at this stage leaves a bad taste.

Fixed-price projects are highly beneficial to efficient freelancers.

If quality is retained.

Fixed-price terms are nearly always best.

Value-Based Pricing

Value-based pricing requires the most effort when making offers.

But you should still research your client when using other strategies.

How valuable will you be to them?

Value-based pricing TLDR version:

Your client’s average lead value = £500

You estimate that your work will get them 100 leads in year 1.

That’s £50,000 of value.

You give a price for your work based on a % of that figure.

If you can show the value, you can justify the price.

Retainers

Retainer agreements are a useful safety strategy.

Give preference to retainer engagements that sell your availability to deliver knowledge, not your labour.

Proposals

Don’t get tricked into sharing tons of project specific information in a proposal.

If you can’t write a proposal without research then you need a pre-project.

Discovery work has value and should come at a price.

Proposals > estimates.

Estimates

Estimates are never accurate.

Deposits

Get. A. Deposit.

Your Value

You can’t charge a premium if your individual value isn’t obvious.

Things that increase perceived value and thus project price:

  • The scarcity of your time (availability)
  • What you’ve done before (credibility)
  • The project price itself

Reducing your price means reducing your perceived value.

If you don’t also reduce scope.

Positioning

If you’re the most expensive option, and a prospect who cares can’t understand why, your positioning is off.

Price tells it’s own story, but it needs back up from credibility.

Availability

If you’re instantly available, expect to be asked to lower your price.

Risk

If it’s most risky for you to work with the client the price should be higher.

If it’s most risky for the client to work with you the price will be lower.

Price mirrors risk.

Negotiation

Never use your bottom line as your price.

Negotiate on terms, not price.

Safety Money

When a hard deadline is introduced to a fixed-price project, add 20%.

If you think there’s a chance you might kick yourself for not charging enough, it’ll probably happen during the project. Add 20%.

Things To Note

Some people will pick the cheapest price because it’s the cheapest.

Some people will pick the most expensive price because it’s the most expensive.

The way that pricing methodologies are received differs from country to country.

Be aware of this when making offers.

Sometimes pricing a freelancing project can be as simple as:

Freelancer: “I’m happy to do the work for this price”.

Client: “I’m happy to pay this price for the work completing”.

Summary

Pricing freelancing projects is tough.

There’s no one-size-fits-all solution.

Understand each method.

Have your preferences.

Be aware of your position.

Gauge what your clients are most likely to accept.

Apply the most appropriate strategy to get the job at a price you’re happy with.

Pricing Freelance Projects The Book

Pricing Freelance Projects Book

“Pricing Freelance Projects” is everything I’ve learned about pricing real-world freelance work plus more.

And it’ll be with you on 30th July 2020.

Secure your copy at the special pre-order price of just $19 by clicking the button below now!

Pre-Order Pricing Freelance Projects

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jtr
100 days ago
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Everybody else

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It’s natural to believe that everyone else is as confident, assured, long-term thinking and generous as you are on your very best day.

But that’s unlikely. Because everyone else is probably not having their best day at the same time.

Once we realize that the world around us is filled with people who are each wrestling with what we’re wrestling with (and more), compassion is a lot easier to find.

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jtr
121 days ago
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On current events

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It’s easy to say what a year, what a week.

But that’s a shortsighted, privileged point of view. I’m guilty of holding that occasional perspective. It’s moments like these that jolt me into recognizing the deeper reality.

What we’re seeing is the culmination of years – decades, generations, and centuries – of unjust treatment against black people, minorities, and other marginalized communities.

This country’s racist history is shameful, and so is its present.

Deep systemic racism + the militarization of police (both physically in terms of gear, and mentally in terms of mindset) is a powder keg. We’ve seen sparks before, now we’re seeing the explosion.

If you’re surprised, you’re not paying attention.

I don’t like the violence, but I get it. This is what happens when people are squeezed, compressed, and backed into a corner with no way out. For years, for generations. We’re all humans – if your lot in life was different you just might do the same.

I support peaceful protests, I support the fight against racism, against oppression, and against injustice – wherever it hides.

There’s exceptionally hard work ahead. I recognize this work has been happening for years, often ignored or unappreciated by many people, including me. How frustrating it must be to work so hard, and see such little progress, on something so elemental.

Change will require a massive, sustained effort by millions over many years. A change in perspective, mindset, and approach. And that work will certainly be met with future setbacks, which is why change requires optimism, too (which is in short supply in moments like these). I hope we can find it, and support those who need it.

I’ll be working to educate myself, and break my own patterns of ignorance. This sense of urgency is, embarrassingly, new to me, so I have a lot to learn – which organizations to support, what books to read, what history to absorb, and who to listen to. I’m starting on that today. If you’re like me, I hope you’ll do the same.

-Jason Fried, CEO, Basecamp

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jtr
121 days ago
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★ No Mask, No Dice

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Josh Marshall, writing at Talking Points Memo, “Unpacking the Mask Debate”:

Here’s an [article] that is very current among mask skeptics. It’s a review by two bona-fide experts, Dr. Lisa M. Brosseau and Dr Margaret Sietsema, writing back on April 1st, a veritable lifetime ago in COVID19 terms. It was published by the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at The University of Minnesota.

The gist is that there’s little to no scientific evidence that masks are effective for the population at large and that what protection there might be is minimal at best. Additionally, they argue that mask-wearing may create a false sense of security that leads people to relax more effect mitigation strategies like distancing and hand washing. So the net effect of mask-wearing may actually be more infections rather than fewer.

If you read the report closely however a few points emerge.

First, it’s not evidence that masks are not effective — few studies really show this or demonstrate it in any clear way — but a lack of evidence for their efficacy. Second, they focus heavily on health care workers, both for available studies about what works and doesn’t and for the standards we should apply for efficacy. Finally, they take a very binary approach to efficacy. They work or they don’t.

As a vocal face mask proponent, I’ve heard something like the above counterargument from a small number of mask skeptics. Basically, the pro-mask argument is that there seems to be a lot of upside to widespread mask-wearing, and effectively no downside whatsoever beyond the initial “this feels weird” social awkwardness and physical discomfort. (Pro tip: Keep a tin of Altoids next to your masks.)

We’re waiting for peer-reviewed studies. In the meantime, early studies and anecdotal evidence from countries with established mask-wearing social norms suggest quite strongly that mask wearing is effective. And so if there are no downsides, there really is no argument against universal face mask wearing in public, especially indoors.

One segment of anti-mask crusaders are those who insist that the whole pandemic has been so profoundly overblown that it’s effectively a hoax. This is lunacy — there’s no point arguing with them. No surprise, some of them are flat-earthers too. But there are more than lunatics who are opposed to face masks.

The in-touch-with-reality anti-mask skeptics seem to have latched onto the idea that maybe there are downsides, that wearing a mask might somehow make it more likely that you’ll get infected — the “false sense of security” argument proposed in the article Marshall cites. That’s a plausible hypothesis, and the world is full of counterintuitive truths. E.g. the fact that one typically stays drier walking, rather than running, to shelter in a rainstorm — even though running decreases your exposure time to the rain, it so greatly increases the number of droplets that hit you that you wind up wetter. Maybe wearing a face mask in a pandemic is like running in the rain, the thinking goes, counterintuitively making things worse.

The problem for masks skeptics is there’s no data that suggests this might be the case. A plausible hypothesis is only the start of the scientific method. There is longstanding evidence in Asian countries with mask-wearing norms that, at the very least, face-mask-wearing causes no harm. As Marshall notes, if anything, as evidence comes in, masking-wearing appears to be even more effective than even proponents thought.


I’m old enough to recall when wearing seat belts became mandatory. Roughly speaking, these laws spread quickly from state to state, starting with New York in 1984 and becoming the rule rather than the exception within a decade. (“Live free or die” New Hampshire is the only remaining state that doesn’t require adults to wear a seat belt.)

I recall a similar sort of opposition to these laws as we see now with mandatory face masks. Opposition to compulsory seat belt laws always seemed crazy to me, because the evidence was so overwhelming that seat belts save lives and greatly reduce injuries that it was clearly worth making an exception to the principle, widely held in America, that the government generally shouldn’t tell people what to do. But crazy or not, opposition there was. “Fuck you, I don’t want to wear one, it’s a free country.” Word for word, the same sentiment then about seat belts as now about face masks.

One of the arguments against compulsory seat-belt-wearing was that sometimes wearing a seat belt makes things worse. “What if I’m in an accident and my seat belt gets jammed, trapping me in a burning car?” “I read about a guy who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and he walked away from a terrible accident because he was thrown out of the car before it was totaled.*”

I don’t agree with it, but to some degree I get it: What right does a government that sells you lottery tickets have to tell you that your odds are better if you’re wearing a seat belt?

But there’s a fundamental difference between wearing a seat belt in a car and wearing a face mask in a store. A seat belt really only protects the wearer. There are tangential arguments that society as a whole benefits from fewer car crash deaths and injuries, but the primary reason we have laws requiring you to wear a seat belt is to protect you from harm. Face mask requirements aren’t like that. They’re more like laws banning smoking in restaurants and making drunk driving a serious crime — they protect us all from harm.

From earlier in my childhood, I recall ubiquitous signs at the entrances of stores and restaurants: “No shirt, no shoes, no service.” There were variants, but that exact phrasing was common. I always considered those signs so strange, as I couldn’t imagine why anyone would even want to go into a store or restaurant without a shirt or shoes, let alone need a sign telling them that doing so was not permitted, but I figured it must have been a problem with hippies or something. (There were a lot of old people complaining about hippies long after there were any hippies left to complain about.)

Basically, other than poolside or at a beach, anyone who wants to go into a public establishment barefoot or shirtless is an asshole. It seems pretty clear that the people today angrily objecting to mandatory face masks aren’t really concerned with the epidemiological efficacy of masks. They’re concerned with asserting their perceived entitlement to be an asshole. You don’t need to hang a “No assholes allowed” sign to enforce it as a rule.

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jtr
154 days ago
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steingart
160 days ago
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Of course he’s right, but he’s such a pompous ass about it.
Princeton, NJ

Apple Is Reopening Over 100 US Retail Stores This Week, Most With Curbside or Storefront Service Only

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Michael Steeber, reporting for 9to5Mac:

While individual US state guidance varies, you can generally expect to be required to wear a mask and pass a temperature check to enter an Apple Store for the foreseeable future. The ability to browse is limited, with Apple emphasizing online sales and in-store support.

We recently analyzed the COVID-19 response of more than two dozen top retailers in comparison to Apple’s procedures. The new safety guidelines Apple has enforced for the protection of employees and customers are among the most stringent in the industry and have proven successful at reopenings around the world.

Josh Centers, writing at The Prepared last month, proposed The Apple Store Index as an indication of where it’s actually safe to reopen retail establishments, and to what degree.

And Apple is choosing to burn millions, possibly billions of dollars in cash to keep people safe. Because as much as closing its stores is costing the company, a pile of dead employees and customers will cost even more. And Apple, being a wildly successful business even in the worst economic conditions, can withstand a lot more pressure to re-open than any politician. While many governors are having their arms figuratively twisted by President Trump and angry protestors, no one will be calling for Tim Cook’s head until at least Apple’s Q2 earnings report, due on April 30, 2020. Even then, years of strong performance under Cook and his prior experience in dealing with shareholder uprisings will insulate him for a long time.

So for that reason, no matter what my governor says, I won’t consider stepping into a crowd until Apple gives the all-clear.

It’s worth noting that Apple’s retail reopenings in China have gone well.

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jtr
154 days ago
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"Josh Centers, writing at The Prepared last month, proposed The Apple Store Index as an indication of where it’s actually safe to reopen retail establishments, and to what degree."
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joelowrance
155 days ago
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Curbside service? The fire codes along those curbs will change multiple times before any service happens.
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