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John Morris

I'm a Developer at WishList products, creators of WishList Member, instructor for the WishList Member Certified Developers program, and creator of numerous WordPress plugins and PHP applications.

How to stay focused

I got this question from Tim:

“Staying focused and effective in business under extreme external pressure?”

When I asked what he meant by “extreme external pressure”, he said:

“[An] ex-wife who burned everything down. Ruined my closest business and personal relationships, and put me into complete financial ruin. With intent. So deep DEEP financial and personal stress has left me flailing and I am a month and a half into my first real opportunity for recovery. I feel a lack of clarity as to the best course of action to push my head above water for good. To focus on the work (which I am damn good at) instead of the stay alive struggle.”

Damn.

This one hits close to home for me.

My pain was dealing with feeling like I’d abandoned my oldest son when his mom and I got divorced coupled with this gnawing feeling inside of me that I was meant for more than pizza boy or telemarketer.

It’s hard to keep focused…

And, not let these things consume you.

But, here’s what I do.

I just keep saying, “Left”.

That might not make sense, at first, but let me tell you where it comes from. As you may know, I was in the Army for 10 years. And, during Basic Training, one of the final “events” before you graduate is a road march.

What they don’t tell you is it’s meant as a test of your mental toughness.

We’d done road marches before, but nothing like this.

We were up and marching before the sun came up and we marched long after the sun went back down. In full combat gear, 40-pound rucksack. At about hour 3, the straps from the rucksack started to feel like knives slicing into my shoulders.

By hour 5, I was arguing with myself about quitting…

And, getting recycled all the way back through the 9 weeks of Basic Training.

By hour 7, I didn’t even have the energy to do that.

At some point, my mind just stopped. All the false motivation, all the little “tricks” to get myself to keep moving, all the debating… it all just stopped. And, all that was left me and the next step I had to take.

Yes or no.

Yes or no.

Yes or no.

For hours.

And, what I did was I just kept saying “Left” every time my left foot hit the ground, just like we did when we marched in formation. “Left, left, left.” And, I just focused on that. That one next step.

And eventually, it ended. We rounded the corner to an open field.

There was a big bonfire waiting for us.

We took off all our gear.

And, celebrated because that was our last test.

And, that’s it. All you can do is focus on the very next step in front of you. People make the mistake of thinking focus is about will power. It’s not. It’s about motion. You take one step, the next one becomes more clear.

And another and another…

With each one, you become more focused.

Staying focused becomes more natural.

And before you know it, you’re sprinting.

So, you just gotta keep moving. Don’t think about everything that’s happened. None of that matters NOW. You have the hand you’ve been dealt, now you have to play it. Don’t think about the next 100 steps in front of you.

You don’t even know what most of those are.

And, they’ll change along the way.

What’s the best step you can take RIGHT NOW with the information you have.

And then, step.

NOW, what’s the next best step I can take?

And, the next… and, the next.

That’s how I live my life.

And that’s how I stay focused.

And, ignore everything else swirling around me.

And, it’s worked pretty damn well, so far.

So, there you go.

Take that for what it’s worth.

If you have a question, you’d like me to answer, just leave me a comment below and I’ll do my best to answer it.

And, of course, when it comes to web development, I’m here to help you take some of those steps with my training curriculum. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL… it’s all in there. And, you can access it for nothing over on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com

Later,

John

January 24, 2019

Freelance pricing perfectly explained in one story

This isn’t mine.

Credit to Jason Martin on Quora, but this story perfectly explains freelancing pricing and the “am I worth it” dilemma:

A company is building a product, with a lot of money invested in it, but it just isn’t working. So they hire an outside engineer to look over the design. The consultant comes to the office, looks at the schematics for about 20 minutes, and then asks the director of the project for a pencil.

The director taps his pockets, and realizes he doesn’t have one.

“No problem”, says the consultant, and he opens his briefcase, opens a new box of pencils, and sharpens one. He then takes the pencil and circles a small part of the design. “There is your problem”, he says, “the material you’ve chosen is too weak for a part this size. Use something sturdier.”

The advice works, and the product ships.

A month later, the consultant sends his bill, $50,000.

The director of the project is very surprised by the cost, so he sends a request to the consultant for an itemized list of expenses.

The consultant obliges:

1. Pencil – $0.99

2. Knowing where to put the mark: $49,999.01

The most costly thing in the world is ignorance. The most valuable is knowledge and the expertise to apply it.

Jason Martin, Quora.com

That’s it, my young Jedi.

If you’ve got the the chops to deliver, it don’t matter where you’re from, how experienced or inexperienced you are, how you grew up, what college you went to… do you “know where to put the mark” or not.

I was only a few years into my freelance career when I got tapped to build Platform University for Michael Hyatt. Same with Inc. Magazine and the stuff I did for Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Body.

That’s how it is in the freelance game.

And, if you CAN then you’re “worth” it.

And, you should charge what you’re worth.

And, don’t let anyone tell you different.

As for the figuring “what you’re worth” part… there’s a whole range of things that affect the perceived value of what you offer: perceived quality, supply and demand, competition, differentiation… on and on.

Also, it depends on your strategy.

How you plan to beat out your competition.

Position yourself in the market.

Etc.

Anyway, I just released a new course on figuring out what services to offer as a freelancer and Lesson 6 is all-in on pricing. Factors you’ll want to consider, the three primary pricing strategies to consider, how to research it…

If you wanna get pricing “handled”…

So, you know exactly what services to offer and what to charge…

Give it a watch here: https://skl.sh/2RDQXZl

Just don’t do what most freelancers do and “wing it”. It makes everything else so much harder when you’re putting the wrong offer in front of the wrong people. Take just a bit of time and think this through and you’ll be glad you did.

Later,

John

January 21, 2019

The non-sensical rantings of a doomsday tech-er

The question is this:

“Is technology REALLY going to displace 375 million jobs?”

And, is it something we should really worry about?

Or much ado about nothing?

Maybe I AM crazy, but it seems so obvious to me. In any case, after the “response” (read: 10-page emails ranting at me about how I’m an idiot) I got from yesterday’s post on that exact question, I decided to dedicate this week’s podcast to it.

And, specifically, how I plan to not just survive but THRIVE through all of this.

Here’s the link if you’re interested: https://www.johnmorrisshow.com/jms387-will-automation-really-displace-387-million-jobs-by-2030/

Later,

John​​​​​​​

January 18, 2019

Automation will eliminate 375 million jobs by 2030

A storm is brewing.

I believe a lot of the people who are sitting back, living their comfy little lives are gonna have their world flipped upside down in the next 5- 10 years. They’re not prepared. Complacent. Ripe for the pickin’.

I think people grossly underestimate what’s happening.

We’re all frogs slowly boiling in the pot.

Technology changes so rapidly around us, we almost don’t notice.

Then, suddenly, everything we thought we knew vanishes and we’re left to try and pick up the pieces. Think about what’s happening with A.I. and robotics. How long before large swaths of our economies are simply wiped out?

It’s happening already. 

The auto industry in the U.S. has 127,000 industrial robots as of 2016. That’s predicted to explode in the coming years. The World Bank estimates that by 2030 75 to 375 million workers will be out of work due to automation and that 60% of occupations and 30% of jobs could be automated in that time.

But, that’s just one factor.

5G is coming.

VR is here and growing.

I don’t think people appreciate how fundamentally those things will change their day-to-day lives. Remote work for big companies is mildly tenable now. Imagine once your boss can harass you about the TPS reports on your VR headset.

“That’ll be greeeeeat!”

Of course, the short-sighted will snort.

But, there’s a whole string of Blockbuster’s Tower Records’ that say otherwise.

And, even if what I think is going to happen… doesn’t.

Who really questions that we’re in for a ton of disruption in the next 10-20 years? There’s no way around it. And, from it there will be winners and losers. The next Google and Amazon that go from their garage to multi-national corporations.

AND, the BlockBuster’s who go from dominant to dead.

This is the reality of the future we face.

All the more reason to stop relying on someone else for your livelihood. Some “tech-bro” CEO at your start-up or the stodgy old company President who can barely operate his email account.

Anyhoo, believe what you want.

I, for one, am going to continue you building my own little “empire”.

If you feel the same, freelancing is a perfect way to transition. Almost without question, whatever you’re doing now you could do as a freelancer… and probably make more. And, you wouldn’t have to re-learn an entirely new skillset.

You can leverage your current experience.

And, build your OWN business.

Instead of making someone else’s dreams come true.

But, like I said… believe what you want.

If you’re interested, I teach you what you need to know to methodically build your freelance business on solid ground… in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course. You can start taking it on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John

January 17, 2019

My freelancing baby daddy

I’ve easily made more benjamins as a result of following the great Ben Settle than any other “guru” or marketing expert out there. In fact, since I first listened to that podcast on that fateful day where I discovered him…

I’ve quadrupled… and am about to quintuple my income.

HE is why I email everyday.

HE is why I stopped hard teaching in these here posts.

HE is the one who cured me of my shiny object obsession.

If my business is my baby… then HE is it’s baby daddy. 

One of the many things he taught me is how to sell without feeling like a class A jack-wad or sounding like a cheesy infomercial. But wait… there’s more… yet, being MORE persuasive and getting BETTER results.

And, as I’ve said, the proof is in the pudding.

It frees you up to be aggressive.

And, be yourself.

And, just focus on making good s!@#.

And, let the chips fall where they may.

And, this stuff is DEADLY effective for freelancers. What I’ve found is most people are sick to death of all the bull-shizen and marketing-speak. They find it refreshing to have someone just be blunt and direct with them.

And, not beat around the George H.W. 

Of course, you’ll always have your jack-wagons.

And, your freebie leeches…

Who whine and moan because you stop letting them suck you dry of value.

Including the ones that’ll inevitably reply to this post.

But, the VAST majority appreciate it.

They respect you more.

Trust you faster.

And, are 10X more likely to buy what you’re peddling.

(And no… it’s not just “be a jack-arse”.)

Anyhoo, I share this approach to selling “elBenbo” taught me in the first few minutes of Lesson 6 in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course. Who knows? Maybe, it’ll completely shake up your approach and your business like it did me.

You can start taking the course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John

January 15, 2019

Finding the perfect freelance clients

Back when little JMO was just a freelancing tadpole…

I made the mistake virtually every new freelancer does. That makes freelancing 10X harder than it has to be. Awful clients. Projects you hate. Getting paid pennies. It’s easy to see why so many people give up on it.

My mistake was taking any and every client I could.

I built a weird e-commerce app for a guy.

Jackin’ around with creating PDFs in PHP for another.

Hacking WordPress for yet another.

I didn’t enjoy any of it. So, I procrastinated HARD. Clients got pissed. I had to refund a couple, because I just couldn’t bring myself to finish. And, they weren’t paying me much to begin with.

It was miserable.

Then, I built a membership site for a guy.

And, I really enjoyed it. 

And, I decided to do only that… not out of some genius insight about marketing or freelancing. But, because I was just sick of doing all the other stuff. But, what I discovered is that the more I just built membership sites.

The less I procrastinated.

The more I got paid.

The easier getting clients became.

And, the happier I was.

It all went hand-in-hand.

That’s the trick. The first big step as a freelancer. Figuring out your niche. That “magic” elixir of what you love doing, that you’re good at, that others are willing to pay you to do for them. 

That’s when the freelance “dream” becomes real.

And, it take some thinking…

And, some experimenting.

Trust me, you’ll be 1000x happier as a freelancer if you spend some time figuring out what your niche is… instead of doing what most do, which is either just be a “generalist” who tries to be everything to everybody.

Or, focus only on the muney.

And, try to grunt your way through it.

In any case, once you figure out what your niche is, NOW you need to find those clients… who want exactly what you have to offer. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to consistently find your perfect clients on Upwork…

The largest freelancing platform on the planet.

The exact kinds of projects you want.

The exact budget.

The highest quality clients.

I show you the strategy I use to filter through all the trash on Upwork to find the diamonds in the rough… in lessons 4 and 5 of Module 3 in my Freelancing on Upwork course on SkillShare.

And, it’s more than applying a few search filters.

It’s an entire strategy for consistently finding the best projects at any given time. Since, there’s always so many projects in and out of Upwork.

Anyway, you can start taking the course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/upwork101/

Later,

John​​​​​​​

January 13, 2019

Dirty things I do on my computer

To hear my haters tell it, the things I do to run my business are “dirty”.

I email everyday. I sell my products in every one of those emails. I don’t care one iota about follower counts, open rates, click-throughs or any of the other fake stats most online business owners fool themselves with.

I don’t believe the customer is always right.

I tell my students when they’re being obtuse.

And, I’m never going to stop.

Like I said… dirty, dirty, dirty.

But, I believe something fundamentally. People abhor bullshit. At least, the people I want to work with. They’d rather someone shoot them straight then tap-dance around their feelings and insecurities.

Because, they know that’s the only way to get results.

And to be frank…

If that ain’t you…

Well, don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya.

I ain’t changin’, toots.

That and I have this “crazy” notion that, as an online business owner, it’s my JOB to promote my business on a daily basis. And, it’s my moral OBLIGATION to tell people about the products I have that will make their lives better.

And, if you truly believe in what YOU do. 

If you truly believe you can help others with your skills.

You, my friend, have the SAME obligation.

There’s a lesson in there about principles > tactics when it comes to business. One I learned from the great, Ben Settle. Take it for what it’s worth, but if you’re a freelancer or online business owner, I recommend taking heed.

My business changed dramatically when I did.

In any case, if you’re a freelancer (or want to be), you can learn more of these fundamentals in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course on SkillShare. Where to find clients, what services to offer, what to charge, persuading clients and more.

If you’re not a gimmick-hound…

Or bright, shiny object chaser…

And, just want someone to cut the bull-ski and tell you what to do.

This course is it.

Anyway, you can start taking the course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John

January 12, 2019

Surviving the chaos of technology

In the mid-2000s, I got put out of business.

The rise of database-driven websites and applications like WordPress and Joomla made what I did obsolete. I rapidly lost all my clients. And, I had to go back to working at pizza restaurant.

Disillusioned.

Confused.

And, believing I was “destined” to live my life this way.

That’s what the chaos of technology can do. And, it’s happening even faster, today, than it was then. So, how do you survive? More, how can you GUARANTEE you’ll thrive as everything swirls around you?

Can you?

Funny thing is…

It’s simpler now than it’s ever been.

Technology changes.

People don’t.

In any case, this is what I discuss in the latest episode of the John Morris Show. What you’ll hear isn’t gimmicks or flash. It won’t “sound” secksy. But, in the world we live in, today, it’s more effective than ever.

And, it’s dead simple.

Anyway, episode is here: https://www.johnmorrisshow.com/jms386-guaranteed-success-the-no-hype-way-to-ensure-you-succeed-in-business-and-in-life/

Give it a listen.

Later,

John​​​​​​​

January 11, 2019

The perfect freelance service to offer clients

The offer is crucial.

You can do everything else right, as a freelancer, but if you screw up the offer, you’ll have a miserable time getting clients because they simply don’t want what you have.

This is why I rag on the “generalist” web developer approach so much.

Most FREELANCE clients don’t want that. If they did, they’d hire an employee. They want a specialist to build them XYZ thing. That change in offer, alone, has helped 100s of freelancers I’ve taught.

Here’s a perfect example.

After I built Platform University for Michael Hyatt, I started to get a bunch of people contacting me to build them something similar. So, eventually, I added an official service to my services page called a “Clone”.

And, I sold a ton of these things.

In fact, these were the easiest money I made in my entire career. I had all the code already. So, they only took me a couple days to build. And, people were paying 3K+ for them (and, telling me I should charge MORE).

But, before I built that site for Michael…

I never would have thought of “Clone” as a service anyone would want. Nobody probably would have. But, at that moment in time, it was the perfect offer to a specific group of people.

And, I capitalized.

That’s how powerful “the right offer to the right people at the right time” is.

It will make or break you as a freelancer.

So, don’t just slap up some services you “think” people will want.

Research it.

Think about it.

Spend time on it.

Learnt the skill of crafting compelling offers.

It makes the rest of  your marketing way easier.

And, it will pay big dividends when you get it right.

Of course, one of the big things people ask me when I bring this up is “How?” How do I craft an offer? What do I research? What things am I looking for? How do I know when I’ve got it right?

There’s a litmus test I use.

A way to know when you have the perfect offer.

I used it as a freelancer.

I use it as a teacher.

It’s THE thing I use to decide what to offer and when… even now.

In any case, I teach you what it is and how to apply to your freelance services about 2 minutes into Lesson 3 in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course. If you wanna make sure you’re always hitting your freelance offers just right, give it a watch.

You can start taking the course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John​​​​​​​

January 10, 2019

You have to be lucky to succeed

I’m one of those a-holios who doesn’t believe in luck.

Chance?

Sure.

Luck.

Meh.

I think you make your luck by being disciplined and doing the right things. Then, chance tends to more often fall in your favor. But, it’s not some ethereal thing you either have or you don’t. It’s driven by how YOU behave.

If luck were a thing, I’d be f!@#ed!

Cuz, I ain’t never got none.

I got a childhood full of horrors to prove that.

Soooo, you can imagine how rustled my jim-jims were when I read this:

“Luck is still a factor tho. Can you imagine how homeless someone like Trump would be if his father never gave him that “‘small loan of a miwwion dollars?’”

And, no not because I give two flying f-bombs about ol’ T-dog.

It’s the attitude.

To sit around and cry about someone else’s life. And, become so fixated on it you inject it into random conversations that have nothing to do with that person. And, it actually starts to infect your thinking.

You start to actually believe this “luck” nonsense.

And, that it’s actually important.

And, that you have no control over it.

Where does it all lead? Most often, it leads to the “infected” sitting around, pissing and moaning about how “unlucky” they are and how all these other people “just got lucky” and if “I’d just gotten what they got…”

Wa wa wa!

Here’s my take…

I find successful people tend to be successful no matter their circumstances. And, unsuccessful people tend to make excuses no matter their circumstances. It comes down to deciding who you want to be.

So, who do YOU want to be?

In any case, take that for what it’s worth.

That’s my “get off my grass” old man rant for the day.

“Now listen here, sonny boy…”

(You know you just read that in old man voice! :D)

Of course, if you’re feeling motivated to take action based on this and web development or freelancing is your thing. Give the ol’ curricky (curriculum) a try. It’s a helluva dead simple way to actually make this happen.

And, you can get started with it on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/

Later,

John​​​​​​​

January 9, 2019

Systems and science

When little JMO was a wet-eared freelancer…

This was the thing that frustrated me the most. It was like someone was crushing me in a vise-grip. On one hand, you have to spend all your time attending to clients and delivering… while on the other working ON your business to get new clients.

And, it never seemed like I had enough time in the day.

Something always suffered.

Drove me nuts.

My problem, then, is I was just flying by the booty of my denims. I had no plan. No system. Nothing to rely on. I just got up each day and hoped. I’d frantically check my Upwork invites… nothing.

Website quote requests… nothing.

Twitter, Facebook, Youtube… nothing.

And, every day, I’d panic.

Now what?

And, I’d try to come up with some grand scheme to bring a flood of new clients into my freelance business. And, I just kept chasing shiny objects. A new platform or some “trick” some online marketer was peddling.

Day after day.

Until I finally got sick of it.

What I finally got through my thick skull is…

You need a system.

You’ve gotta spend the time upfront to build a step-by-step system for consistently bringing in new clients. No guessing. No hoping. No panicking every day. Just grinding it out. Set it up then run it.

And, that’s what I did.

And, ended up working on projects for Inc. Magazine.

And, Tim Ferriss.

Michael Hyatt and Lewis Howes.

It’s a system.

And, it’s science.

And, it works.

In fact, I’m convinced that once you set up a system like this and run it on a daily basis (mine takes me less than an hour each day), your long-term success is guaranteed. Short-term, things happen.

But, long-term, you can’t lose.

I’ve just seen it time and time again.

All kinds of people…

From all different walks of life…

From all over the world.

The system has worked for all of them.

In any case, this is what I teach you in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course. How to build a repeatable system for getting new clients. Creating a backlog of job invites and quote requests…

So, you have more control over your freelance business.

You can charge more.

Fire problem clients.

And, not have to worry where next month’s dough is coming from.

Anyway, you can get started with the course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

See ya over there,

John

January 8, 2019

5 freelance myths that keep you broke

There’s so much BAD advice out there when it comes to freelancing. It’s no wonder people keep falling victim to these stupid myths like, “Freelancing is a numbers game”. No the hell it’s not. Not if you don’t wanna be miserable.

Or, “anyone can freelance”.

Meh.

Maybe, that’s “technically” true because freelancing is a skill that just needs learned. But, that’s like saying “basketball is just a skill” so “anyone can be a pro”.

Yeah no.

Some people are just better suited to freelancing. And, it comes down to what you value most. If you don’t value certain things MOST, freelancing will always be an uphill battle for you. You’d be better off doing something else.

Wouldn’t you like to know that before you waste a bunch of time freelancing when it’s just not in your DNA?

But I digress…

Look, if you really, truly want to be a freelancer, you need to know… it’s getting more and more competitive. I’ve been doing this for 15 years and it’s never been this bad.

Yet…

There’s also more work out there than ever before. The trick is becoming one of those 1% of freelancers that suck up all the work and make all the money.

You see them everywhere.

Upwork. Freelancer.

#1 on Google.

It doesn’t seem fair.

That’s because it isn’t. But, if you want to earn your way into that exclusive group, you flat out CANNOT keep falling victim to the common myths and misconceptions that keep most freelancers broke.

It’s like trying to swim in a pool of piranhas with both hands tied behind your back.

In any case, I made a video where I obliterate five of the most common freelancing myths that keep people broke. Any ONE of these could be what’s holding you back right now.

But, fair warning.

This video is LONG.

And, I’m not gonna jump through hoops and juggle butcher knives to keep you entertained. So, if you need that to pay attention, this ain’t for you.

And, freelancing isn’t either.

Anyway, the video is here: https://freelancemyths.com/

There’s no email sign-up or anything like that.

Later,

John

January 7, 2019

Family as your first freelance client?

I was reading this Instagram post from @martin_lasek.

(I definitely recommend following him, BTW.)

And, his advice was to let family be your first client to help you get comfortable working with clients. And, one thing he said jumped out at me:

“Believe me the fact it‘s family doesn‘t make them an easier client it just makes it easier for you to enter the field of project management, delivering and actually finishing it.”

Man! Is that so true?

And, I’ve been back and forth on this.

Family CAN be a great first client.

And, it can help give you that jumpstart you need.

With something to put in your portfolio.

Experience.

Etc.

But, you really have to be careful. Because you can quickly ruin a relationship and get discouraged as a freelancer if you don’t do it right. So, I’ve developed some “rules” for working with family.

Follow these and you’ll get the experience and portfolio items you need…

Without making Thanksgiving dinner as uncomfortable as a giant in a clown car.

1. They’re a client.

Once you decide to work with a family member as a client… they’re a client. Throw ALL your expectations about how they’ll behave out the window.

Because THEY will.

At the end of the day, they want their thing built.

And, if you don’t deliver or mess it up.

They won’t like it.

So, treat them like any other client.

2. Scope, scope, scope… and then more scope.

The #1 issue you’ll face with family members as clients is scope creep. “Come on, bro!” “Really, sis? You can’t add just this one more thing?” “Come on, son. I did everything for YOU growing up.”

And on and on.

Families are masters of guilt-tripping each other.

They WILL do it to you.

So, take this as a challenge to learn how to manage scope creep.

Keep THEM on task and you’ll have no problem with regular clients.

3. Exit strategy.

What if things go to hell? Bring this up BEFORE you agree to work with them. Tell them this is your first time doing this. You might just screw it up. And, decide on how you’ll exit the agreement if things go wrong.

This will save your relationship with them.

It helps manage expectations.

And, gives both sides a way out.

It’s uncomfortable, but crucial.

So, there you go.

If you do those three things, at a minimum, you’ll be much more likely to have a good experience, learn a ton and build up your portfolio while working with someone you know and trust.

Oh and charge them.

Something.

It can be 10 bucks.

Doesn’t matter.

Make them pay.

You’ll thank me later. 😉

Of course, at some point, you’ll want to move into getting regular clients. A portfolio, experience… those will help a ton. But, you still have to learn the SKILL of getting clients.

Where to find them?

What to offer?

How much to charge?

Persuading them to hire you.

It’s a skill just like learning how to ride a bike or coding out a CSS grid. Once you learn it, you can USE it again and again to get you the clients you want. In any case, that’s what I teach you in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course.

The SKILL of freelancing.

Best part… you can take it without paying a purple nickel over on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John
P.S. Or if you prefer Patreon, you can find the course here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/beginners-guide-21994444

January 4, 2019

Big project managements lessons from building a tiny house

Do easy things WHEN they’re easy.

I’ve always been the “I’ll figure it out” type. It drives my wife nuts. She’s more of a planner. She likes to know how, when, where…

Every little detail.

Me? I usually just wing it.

I think a lot of developers are this way.

Goes back to the “smart” thing.

You KNOW you will figure whatever it is out.

BECAUSE, you’re smart.

So, meh…

Of course, I’ve had plenty of moments in my career that have slowly cured me of this. The project for Michael Hyatt was a big one. I was just gonna “figure out” the responsive stuff later.

Then, users started complaining and all eyeballs turned to me.

That wasn’t fun.

But, a recent one… I think a DEFINITIVE one…

Was with this house.

We had to trench in the water and electric lines. And, there’s a pole and a water meter both about 150 feet from our house. Problem was… we didn’t do it until halfway through the project.

Because, we weren’t sure where we were going to put the bathroom.

Which is where all those lines would come IN the house.

So, by that time the house was half built…

And, we couldn’t trench underneath it.

And, we needed to.

So, we had to do that part by hand.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever dug a 2-foot trench into the rock-laden Missouri ground in the middle of winter… but, if you want a test of your manhood…

Anyway, it took us about as long to do that 10-foot section of trench…

As it did the other 150 feet we could do with the trencher.

Had we planned better and made some decisions earlier…

That 10-foot stretch of trench would have been easy.

But, we MADE it hard.

Since then, I’ve been on a “how can we make this easy” kick.

Point is…

Yes! You are smart.

You can and WILL figure whatever it is out.

But, everything doesn’t have to be hard.

Apply that intelligence to do some pre-planning.

And, ask “how can I make this easy?”

I don’t make promises a lot.

But, this I can promise you…

You DO that with your projects…

Your life WILL get easier.

And, a lot less stressful.

Speaking of making things easier…

Same goes for learning web development and freelancing. You don’t have to make it hard by going it alone. There’s plenty of help out there to teach you what you need to know to make a damn good living doing this.

And yep!

I think my training curriculum is one of the better ways to do that because I work hard to go beyond the surface of just “what to do”… whether it’s learning a language or setting up an Upwork profile… and teach you WHY.

So, you’re empowered.

And because you can get started with the curriculum for NOTHING over on my FREE tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com

But, whether it’s my curriculum or someone else’s…

You don’t have to go it alone.

Find a good teacher.

And, dig in.

And, make it happen.

In any case, take all that for what it’s worth.

Later,

John

January 3, 2019

The hardest lesson I learned in 14 years as freelance developer

I’ve always been smarter than most of the people I know.

It might sound arrogant, but it’s just something I’ve always known. I was constantly told how smart I was growing up. All the things I’d do with my life because I was smart. How “easy” I’d have it.

After a while, I started to believe it.

And, I began to believe that “being smart” meant I was destined to be successful.

That, one day, it’d just happen.

By 28, it hadn’t happened.

And, I remember I would sit there and stew over it. “How can all these dumb people be so successful? I’m so much smarter than all of them and here I am broke. What is wrong with me?”

Man, what an arrogant prick!

But, I remember the night I broke.

It was in a New York City hotel. 

It was for a mastermind that I felt like I had played a big part in making happen. And, I’d watched a client of mine profit off it while I played errand boy all day. I felt like such a chump.

Which IS an extremely jaded view of what actually happened.

But, that’s how I felt at the time.

And, to make matter worse…

I had to go to THAT client, like even more of a chump, and ask for an advance on my per diem for that trip. Because, I was so broke, my wife and kids were out of food and had no money to eat.

It was like everything hit me at once.

I couldn’t help it.

I just started crying uncontrollably.

That was the day I said, “Enough is enough.”

That I was going to stop WAITING for “it” to happen.

And, I was going to MAKE it happen.

I was going to stop sitting around whining about “I’m so smart, why can’t I make it?” And, I started valuing hard work, persistence and patience over intelligence.

And, when I started doing that…

That’s when things started happening.

I came across this quote, recently, that really sums it up for me:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Calvin Coolidge

Man, that hits hard, doesn’t it?

If you’re someone who’s always thought of yourself as smart… and that your intelligence would carry the day. To realize, it won’t… necessarily.

That it’s possible to be super smart and a complete failure.

More than possible… it’s common.

My point is this…

How smart you are isn’t as important as you think it is.

It took me an emotional breakdown in a hotel, 1000 miles from home (while my wife and kids went hungry) to get that through my thick skull.

Please, please, please…

Don’t let it get to that point for YOU.

As we roll into 2019…

Make a commitment to MAKE “it” happen.

To forget about how smart you are.

And, embrace persistence and hard work.

Don’t wait around for your life to happen.

Or, assume “I’m smart, so one day…”

It won’t.

In any case, if you’re a freelancer or web developer, I’m here to help. To take my 14+ years of doing this and pass what I’ve learned onto you. So, you don’t have to go through what I did.

And, that’s what my training curriculum does.

HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP, MySQL, freelancing and more.

And, you can access it ALL without paying  a single penny on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com

But, whatever you do…

Make 2019 the year you MAKE this happen.

Later,

John

P.S. If you prefer Patreon, you can get access to all my courses, plus even more “unofficial” tutorials and videos here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon.

January 2, 2019

If you want friends, be unsuccessful

Just read this tweet from Ed Latimore (former heavyweight boxer):

Groan at that if you want, but it’s true.

For me, one of the major turning points in my life and career is when I stopped seeking out friends and instead sought “allies”. An ally of mine, Michael Skye, taught me this. And, it can be life-changing.

A friend is someone who comforts and consoles you.

They excuse and justify your shortcomings for you.

They’re rationalize your failures.

They’re good to have in your life.

You need that, sometimes.

But, if that’s ALL you have.

You have no one to hold you accountable to your best self.

That’s what an ally is. An ally doesn’t accept you for who you are, but sees you for what you could be, what you WANT to be. And, they hold you accountable to continually seeking and honoring your best self.

They push you.

Challenge you.

And, don’t make excuses for you.

When you fail and seek their comfort…

They give you none.

Instead they ask, “Now what?”

And, I’ll just say this. If you want to be successful and actually achieve the things you want in life, you NEED allies in your life. In fact, the more I’ve invited allies into mine, the more successful I’ve become.

So, while you’re thinking about 2019…

And, all the things you want to accomplish…

Make “more allies” one of them.

That one resolution, alone, can help you achieve all the others.

In any case, that’s how I see my role for you. I’m not your friend. I’m your ally. Which is why I hammer away at the excuses and the bullshit. I won’t let you off the hook. I won’t rationalize your shortcomings or failures.

I see you for what you could be.

And, I’ll continue to do so for as long as you listen.

Anyway, if starting a freelancing or web development career is in your plans for 2019 plans, I really do believe my curriculum is one great way to make that happen. My freelancing courses are top-ranked on SkillShare.

And, my web development courses the same.

And, you can get started with them without paying a single penny on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com

But, fair warning…

There’s no hand-holding.

I will challenge you throughout.

If you’re ready to take that challenge and make 2019 happen…

Let’s get started: https://johnsfreetuts.com

Later,

John

P.S. If you prefer Patreon, you can get access to all the same course, plus all my unofficial courses and tutorials there. Learn more about that here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

January 1, 2019

If you want to actually KEEP your New Year’s resolutions

Can we just skip this whole New Year’s resolution charade this year?
I sit back and watch it every year.

And, it’s the dumbest thing we do.

“Hey here’s this list of things I know I’m never gonna do, but it’s this number on a made-up calendar, so hey…. why not pretend I’m actually gonna have the motivation and commitment to stick with it?”

I don’t know, maybe I’m just a grinch.

But, it’s so silly.

That said, let me extend an olive branch.

I DO think it’s possible to keep New Year’s resolutions.

To use the natural motivation you get this time of year and parlay that into actually meeting goals and changing your life. You CAN do that… but NOT if you do it the way you always have and never followed through.

You’re not going to suddenly have extra will power this year.

You have to change how you do it.

In my experience, there are 3 big mistakes people make when setting their New Year’s resolutions that makes it more of a “wish list” (they can brag about on Fakebook) than something they actually plan on doing.

  1. Setting result-oriented goals
  2. Expecting perfection
  3. Sharing their resolutions

So, what ends up happening is you set a goal like “I’m gonna lose 20 pounds”, you make an elaborate plan to reach your goal and you go on Fakebook and tell everyone what you’ve “decided”.

The problem is you think you’ve actually done something.

All your friends say “Yay! and “So proud!”

And, it’s like simply “deciding” is actually DOING.

It’s not.

Then, as the REALITY of eating right and working out sets in…

You realize, “This is gonna be hard.”

And, most people give up.

And, it happens year after year after year.

If there’s one thing you can do this year to give you a fighting chance of actually keeping your New Year’s resolutions… dont’ share them. With anyone. Don’t give yourself that social cred until you actually earn it.

If you can’t do that…

I mean hey, it’s your life….

You can do what you want.

But, if you share your resolutions, you won’t keep ’em.

That I know.

In any case, there’s a reason I no longer set New Year’s resolutions. It’s because I spend the rest of the year planning and goal-setting and chasing what I want. This time of year is no different.

So, there’s no point.

And, a few years back, I developed a system for managing my short and long-term goals that’s been incredibly effective for me. It lets me run a business, homeschool my kids and build my “forever” house.

Without getting overwhelmed.

Or stressed out.

Or, constantly dealing with procrastination.

I have no idea if it’ll work for you, but if you want to learn it, I reveal it in my NO B.S. Guide to Get More Done class over on SkillShare. Best part is you can take the course without paying a single penny.

All the details on that are here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/nobs

Later,

John

December 29, 2018

My biggest regret

I think about my death quite a bit.

Probably more than is healthy.

I think nearly dying when I was 8 years old did something to me, because as far back as I can remember I’ve felt this way. And, the biggest thing I think about is…

Regret.

In my head, I want to regret nothing.

But, 37 years on this planet has taught me…

Nothing ever works out exactly how you want.

So, what I fixate on is…

WHAT will I regret on my death bed?

It’ll be something.

Will it eat me alive inside because it’s something ultra-important? Or, will I be able to shrug it off because of everything else I accomplished?

I don’t know.

But, that’s what gets me outta bed every day.

I guess that’s why when I was 21, I walked away from the most promising career I had. I’d just been promoted to manage my own retail store. I was good at it… really good. It paid well. And, there was lots of opportunity for growth and advancement.

I was on a fast-track to everything you’d think I wanted.

But, for me, it was a no-brainer.

I COULDN’T do it another day.

That vision of me on my death bed haunted me.

“Is this really what you wanna do with your life?”

“A  shoe salesman?”

“Is THIS what you’ll be proud of the day you die?”

“Don’t you want more?”

I did.

And so, I walked away.

The journey from there to here has been a long one.

It’s been hard.

And, scary.

And, I’ve questioned it, at times.

But, it’s been 1000% WORTH it.

In any case, I don’t yet know what my biggest regret will be. I’ve got plenty of good candidates. But, I get up every day, busting my butt, to ensure whatever it is, it’ll pale in comparison to everything else I’ve accomplished. 

That’s MY motivation.

And, hopefully, this gives you some motivation, too.

To dig deeper into your learning.

Or, finally put yourself out there to get paid.

Or, grind for that promotion.

Whatever it is.

Don’t let “not making a living as a developer”…

Be YOUR biggest regret.

In any case, I’ve got a whole curriculum to help you make it happen. From HTML and CSS, jQuery, PHP, MySQL, freelancing and more. If you’re ready to grind, THIS is, in my not-so-humble- opinion the best place to start.

And, you can do it without paying a penny on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com

Later,

John

December 28, 2018

It’s not Upwork. It’s YOU!

So, I got this comment on a video today:

“Sir, I am new on upwork. I’m submitting proposals from 6 months, but no one is accepting my proposal.”

And, I gotta be straight up with you…

I get this a lot.

And, it never makes sense to me.

If you try ANYTHING for 6 months and it’s not working… it’s way beyond time to re-think and re-strategize. Whatever you’re doing isn’t working. And, it’s not Upwork… it’s you. Which, nobody wants to hear…

But, it’s true.

In any case, what I wanna do today is give 3 big things to check…

If you’ve been on Upwork and aren’t getting the results you want.

First thing I’d do is get a client account.

It’s such a good research tool, because you can search the keywords for your niche and see exactly who you’re competing against. What’s in their portfolio? How’d they write their profile overview? What’s their job history.

In any battle, “knowing your enemy” is paramount.

Same with competition in a marketplace.

Plus, you can get ideas for what to put in your profile.

Next, the “big three” to check on your own profile are: 1) your portfolio, 2) your profile picture and 3) your profile overview. Whenever I’m asked to look at profiles from struggling Upworkers…

It’s always a problem with 1 or more of these.

I think the portfolio is obvious.

It needs to be great.

Key thing here is don’t just put everything you have in there. Only put your best stuff because you never know what someone will click on. So, you want to ensure it’s your best work no matter what they look at.

I think the profile picture gets overlooked quite a bit.

Remember, when a client does a search, they’re going to see your profile listed next to everyone you’re competing against. And, your profile pictures is likely to be the first thing they look at. So, it’s your first impression.

Make it count!

The final check is your bidding strategy.

Too often, I see freelancers bid on anything and everything on Upwork. Like a kid in a candy store, they want EVERYTHING. You need to be disciplined. Focus on a particular service you’re offering.

Build your profile around that service alone.

And, ONLY bid on those jobs.

Your success rate should go up from just that alone.

Anyway, those are the big three to check. Get those in line and you should start seeing results on Upwork. That said, if you want me to walk you through exactly what to do… from building your profile to bidding on jobs…

What to say.

Where to find the best clients.

Etc.

Then, start taking my Freelancing on Upwork course on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/upwork101/

I walk you step-by-step through everything.

Later,

John​​​​​​​

December 21, 2018

How to Get Freelance Clients to Pay You More

I got this question on a video of mine:

“So how do you get the to pay for your larger fee vs the guy who will do it for 300.”

I get this a lot.

The “low-baller” problem.

So, what I wanna share with you, today, is a dead simple way for not only dealing with low-ballers, but also be able to raise your freelances fees at will… and, not have clients think twice about it.

And, it starts with a simple change in how you think about.

Why do people buy a Rolex watch when a Timex tells time just the same?

Why buy a nice car when your Yugo will “get you from A to B” just the same?

If you need a mechanic, do you choose the lowest price with no regard for quality?

People pay more for stuff all the time. YOU probably pay more for certain things regularly and don’t even realize. Do you buy Coke brand soda… or do you get the generic “Cola”. Why?

People don’t buy on price alone.

Regularly.

The thing YOU have to do is to establish yourself as a “product” worth investing more in. Because everything else equal (quality, service, etc)… YES! A potential client will go with the lowest price.

You haven’t give them a reason not to.

Your job is to give them reasons to spend more with you.

Think about it this way…

If you need a medical procedure and you came across a doctor’s office. Out front, the office has a beat up old sign, half broken off. The parking lot was all cracked and crumbling. The front door had a crack in it.

And, it just looked like a seedy place…

But, they had the lowest price…

Would you get your procedure there?

Why not?

THAT is your answer.

You have to make your “office” look pristine, clean and new to potential clients.

AND…

Position your competition as the “seedy office” with the cracked front door.

That’s your job as the marketer of your freelance business.

You do THAT…

And, you do it well…

Clients will pick you over the “guy who’ll do it for 300”.

And, they ‘ll happily pay you more when you raise your prices.

That’s the WHAT to do.

For the HOW… well, that’s what I teach you in my Beginner’s Guide to Freelance course. It’s all about positioning, marketing and establishing yourself as an authority in your niche so clients see you as that sparkling new “office” they can trust.

You can get started with the course for nothing over on my free tutorial site here: https://johnsfreetuts.com/freelance

Later,

John​​​​​​​

December 20, 2018