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Fridays Off: The BEST Way To Become A Full-Time Developer

He asked me this exact thing just two days ago.

In fact, 1000s of developers from all over the world, from every walk of life and in every kind of financial situation have asked me this exact same thing.

I love these guys.

They’re just like you and me.

Dads fighting to put food on the table without selling their soul to some boring 9-5.

Single moms scratching and clawing to give their kids a life as close to “normal” as they can hope for.

College kids… so optimistic and excited for their future.

I’ve experienced all of these things at one point or another in my life.

So, I know when they ask the question… it’s not just a question.

It’s THE question.

It’s the answer to the life they’re battling with right now.

Maybe the life YOU are battling with right now.

“I wish somebody would please just tell me what I need to learn to do this full-time! I’ll do whatever. I’m a hard-worker. I just need to know WHAT to do.”

I always sense a tinge of agony when somebody asks me this question. I remember it well.

It’s the question I battled with for several years when I first started learning web development.

And back then… there were no good answers.

That question kept me chained to my dead-end job at the local pizza joint.

Wasted 4 years of my life trying to learn the skills to do this full-time.

And made me give up several times.

Today, though, the answer is easy to find.

In fact, let me just give it to you.

Here’s exactly what you need to know to work full-time as a web developer:

  1. HTML 5: The bedrock of all web pages.
  2. CSS 3: The latest and greatest tricks for making stunning looking websites
  3. Javascript & jQuery: Essential for today’s interactive web
  4. PHP: The language every “big” website runs on. Crucial.
  5. MySQL: Robin to PHP’s Batman for creating interactive websites.
  6. Bootstrap: THE front-end web development framework.
  7. WordPress: Powers 26% of all websites. Must know.
  8. Mobile Apps: The mobile revolution is already here.

There it is. That’s the list.

“But wait… what about Node or Angular? And SASS and LESS? What about all the new stuff coming out?”

Look, that stuff is great… but it’s not necessary.

The list above is required. You HAVE to know how to do those things. The rest (right now) is just gravy. Learn it later.

Now, what if I told you that you could learn absolutely everything on that list for less than I spend on toilet paper each month (we do have 5 people in the house)?

Smart developers say, “where do I sign up?”.

Right here.

Check the list. Check the ratings. Check the number of students.

This is THE place to kick your boring 9-5 to the curb and start doing what you love for a living.

Unless you like your day job. Then ignore this post.

But, if you’re looking for a way out… or a way to never go there in the first place… here’s your ticket.

And, once you take control of your time and your money… if you wanna take Fridays off, you sure as hell can.

See you over there.

(You can see my full review of the course here.)

April 4, 2016

[LIVE Q&A] Do you believe in the myth of the full stack developer?

In this week’s WebDev Q&A, I answer questions on:

  • Do you believe in the myth of the full stack developer?
  • How do I process checkboxes using PHP?
  • How do I use PDO in my web pages?

Watch below:

Links mentioned in the video:

When you said specialization: Does it mean you don’t believe in the myth of “Full-Stack” developer?

Not necessarily. It’s more about how it’s applied and then marketed then the languages you know. I build membership sites. That’s how I market myself. In that, I use most of the “stack”… I’d just never market my services using the words “full stack”.

Also, marketing yourself as a freelancer is much different than getting hired by a company. I would use “full stack” when looking to get hired because companies hiring developers DO know what that phrase means.

How can I make the file insert all the check-box values selected in my form as an array into one column?

First you have to set up your HTML correctly. Here’s a code example:

https://gist.github.com/johnmorris/8197182

Once you have this done then you would write your PHP script to handle the resulting array. You could serialize it. Depending on your application that might be sufficient.

But, if you want to be able to perform searches on these values then you’d actually store them in a separate table (a relationships table) and associate them with whatever object you’re creating with this form. Here’s a tutorial on that:

How do you use PDO in your web pages?

It’s probably best to just watch this tutorial:

If you get value from this video, please consider sharing it with another developer or group who could benefit from it.

November 24, 2015

7 Steps to Make Money on Upwork

My first few months on Upwork (Elance) were a disaster. I wasted a lot of time bidding on dead-end or low-payout jobs, working with horrible clients and making much less than I wanted (read: needed).

About a year later, I was doing well enough to leave Upwork forever and get all my clients through repeat business, referrals and my own website… charging what I wanted and clients seeking me out.

I’m not special or overly smart. I just figured out how Upwork works and changed some simple things about my approach and it made all the difference.

Anybody can do this. If you’re struggling on Upwork or would simply like more from your effort, then study this page closely. I’m going to share what I learned.

Step #1: De-Mystify Upwork

Upwork seems to confuse a lot of freelancers. They think it’s this overtly complex system with convoluted goals and impossible for newbies to break into.

Not true.

Upwork’s goals are simple: connect the best clients with the best freelancers (for their project)… profit.

Trust is the most important currency on Upwork and every feature, algorithm and best practice is designed to increase the trust potential clients have in a) the freelancer they hire and b) as a result Upwork itself.

They want to be the go-to network for hiring the best freelancers.

So, the two most important things for you to focus on with Upwork is:

  1. Building your credibility
  2. Being relevant

You build your credibility by having a killer portfolio, looking professional in your photo, communicating fully and clearly in your bios and descriptions, taking relevant tests, having a long, successful job history, getting 5-star ratings, good client testimonials, etc.

There’s no trick or gimmick to get around this. You have to put in the work, wow your clients and do a good job.

You stay relevant by being a specialist instead of a jack-of-all-trades. This is the biggest mistake new freelancers make. They say, “I know HTML, CSS, JavaScript, PHP and MySQL”.

No kidding?

So, does every other freelance developer on Upwork. And frankly, most clients don’t even know what those languages really are or what they mean.

The words you use are critical. You should be saying things like…

“I specialize in building membership sites.”

“I’m a user-friendly forms expert”.

“I build the best e-commerce sites on the web.”

Those phrases are specific to the end result a client is after… and clients actually understand what they mean.

Once you get this about Upwork, you can start to see how you need to rework your profile and your entire strategy to maximize your opportunity to get hired. But, we’ll get more specific…

Step #2: Research and Craft Your Brand

Now that you know how Upwork operates, it should be obvious that the first thing you need to do is hone your pitch to attract and convince your most ideal clients.

That is, you need to know:

  1. What end result can I give my clients?
  2. Who wants that end result the most?
  3. What do they need to see to believe I can do it for them?

This takes research and a little bit of soul-searching. First you need to uncover your niche. Your niche is that perfect space in the market where you can do what you do best and others will pay you handsomely to do it for them.

You uncover that niche by accurately answering these questions:

  1. What do I love to do?
  2. That I’m great (or willing to work to be great) at?
  3. That others will pay me for?

If you’re honest with those questions, you will get a much clearer picture of the value you have to offer and exactly what you should be doing.

From there, you need to research your ideal client. Who are they? What is their life like? What are their hopes and dreams? What’s their ideal scenario? Where to they hang out online?

Everything you can uncover about them to know them intimately…. better than they know themselves.

So, you can accurately implement the last part which is to craft a brand that naturally appeals to your most ideal clients and messaging you know speaks to them and will convince them you are the man/woman for their job.

Step #3: Build Your Profile

Now armed with an attractive brand and loads of intel on your ideal clients, building your profile is a cinch.

  • You know how to get their attention.
  • You know exactly what your ideal clients want to hear.
  • You know exactly what matters to them.
  • You know exaclty how to speak to them.
  • You know exactly what portfolio items will appeal to them.
  • You know exactly what testimonials will influence them.
  • You know exactly what tests they’ll check for.

The keys here are simple:

  1. Fill out your entire profile in fine detail
  2. Make your entire profile relevant to the specific niche you’re targeting

You’d be surprised how many freelancers who contact me asking what’s wrong with their profile… and when I check it’s only half or three-quarters filled out.

Look at that from the client’s perspective. If you’ll half-ass your own profile what makes me think you won’t half-ass my project?

Also, be relevant. Everything on your profile should speak to the specific niche you’re targeting. If you’re a forms-builder… then the only items in your portfolio should be forms you’ve built.

Nothing less. Nothing more.

Step #4: Win Job Bids

A great profile will help you to show up in the search results when clients search for freelancers related to their project. And, you’ll get invites to bid on jobs as a result.

Also (especially at first) you’ll want to search for jobs pro-actively and bid on the ones relevant to what you do.

To win the bid, you need to do these things (in this order):

  1. Verify it’s a real job (unfortunately, there’s a lot of riff-raff)
  2. Get the attention of the job poster
  3. Get them to trust you
  4. Get them to decide for themselves you’re their best bet
  5. Get them to act now using scarcity
  6. Blow them away and make them never want to hire anyone else and say all kinds of great things about you

Before I get into the details of this… know this… the way you succeed on Upwork (or anywhere else) is through repeat business and referrals. So, 100x more important than the other 5… #6 is above is where 99.9% of your focus should be.

Everything else is pointless unless you’re doing #6.

That said, clients do need to go through a fairly standard emotional process in order to hire you.

First, you need their attention. The key phrase here is: “stick out in a good way”. I’ve found the most fail-safe way to do that is to simply be overly helpful.

In my job bids… instead of telling them all the reasons I’m awesome and why they should hire me, I would just try and help them a little bit.

Give them info, point out anything I saw could be a problem with their bid (in a nice way), answer questions and so forth.

Yes… some clients would take advantage of me. But, the overwhelming majority ended up hiring me and I know I got more work than I would have had I not taken this approach.

This also happens to be how you get them to trust you and convince them you’re the best option as a freelancer. And, it’s simple. Just be helpful.

You have to think about clients beyond the one job they’re posting right this second. Don’t worry about getting that one job. Worry about winning the client over and establishing a relationship with them.

Then, you get all their jobs. I’d gladly give up the one job they’re posting right now for the 10 they’ll need help with down the road.

Take that mindset and it gets easy.

In order to get them to act now… simply “always be walking away”.  Always seem like you have one foot toward the door. The more you seem like you don’t care if you get the job… the more they’ll want you to take it.

It sounds backwards I know… but it’s true.

Of course, don’t overtly say you don’t want it or offend them… just don’t be overly eager. Of course, the best way to do that is to simply have a lots of work already so you’re genuinely not concerned if you get that one job or not… but you’ll get there.

Step #5: Make Your Clients Happy

I’ve mentioned this several times now. It’s that important. But, how?

Here’s the un-sexy dead simple way to ensure your clients are always happy:

  1. Do what you say you’re going to
  2. Talk to them

Brilliant stuff there, eh?

You’d be surprised how many freelancers (especially web developers) don’t do a great job of either one of these.

Here’s the secret to knocking these out of the park:

  1. Build things you’re really great at
  2. Have a step-by-step plan for how you build stuff
  3. Have a day-by-day schedule for how you’ll talk to the client

That is… pick a niche and ONLY build things related to that niche. So, if you identified your niche as “form-building”… don’t take on membership site projects.

If you do that, you’ll be building really similar things project after project. You’ll get really good at doing it AND you’ll be able to create a…

Delivery schedule. You’ll know exactly how long it takes you to build the project and what you’ll have done on what days. Write that down and give it to your clients when they hire you.

Then, since you know the key points in your delivery…  you’ll know the key points at which you need to communicate with the client. So you can build a…

Communication schedule. Write down exactly what days you’re going to communicate with your client about key points in the delivery. Give that to your clients AND actually communicate with them on those days.

Trust me… you do this and your clients will LOVE you.

Step #6: Get Traffic to Your Profile

This is my secret weapon. I have an emal list of over 24,000 subscribers, a YouTube channel that gets ~100,000 video views a month and has over 20,000 subscribers and a website that gets roughly 20,000+ visitors/month.

Any time I choose I can point all the traffic to my profile in order to get freelance work. And, it has nothing to do with Upwork’s “algorithms”.

I’ve worked hard to build that audience.

Point is… don’t rely on Upwork to bring you all your freelance work! Get out in your market and build your own audience and then leverage that audience to win on Upwork.

After a few months on Upwork, most of the work I got came from my own website… and I’d simply tell those people to hire me over on Upwork.

Those jobs still count toward my job history. Those 5-star ratings still counted. Those testimonials still showed on my profile. And, the more of all those I got… the better I ranked on Upwork.

So, bust your butt outside of Upwork to build an audience that then helps rank better inside Upwork.

Post YouTube videos, answer questions on Quora or StackOverflow, write articles on your blog, etc.

It’s the simplest way to outflank the Upwork algorithms that do reward higher rated freelancers. Just become a high rated freelancer without them.

Don’t have a blog yet? Yikes! You need to fix that first! But, don’t worry… click here to take my free tutorial on how to start a blog in 15 minutes or less and let’s get that fixed right now.

Step #7: Your Exit Strategy

All of this culminates with your exit from the wild world of Upwork. Look, Upwork is great and all but you’ll be miserable if you try to only get jobs from Upwork the rest of your career.

The competitive nature of freelance sites dictates that you’ll make less doing more.

Ultimately, you want to get off of Upwork and get all your clients through your own website.

You do this in two ways:

  1. Transfer clients from Upwork to working with you directly
  2. Get enough clients directly you don’t need Upwork

I know Upwork has terms that say you can’t encourage clients you acquired on their site to work with you directly. But I also know that clients don’t care what Upwork wants and usually move to working with you directly anyway.

Also, if you’re following step #6 like you should… eventually, you’ll get enough clients through your own website that you won’t need Upwork. That’s what happened to me. It took about a year but after that I never looked back.

Moving Forward From Here…

There’s a lot in those seven steps… no doubt. So, where do you start? Here’s the first three things I recommend you do:

  1. Know yourself (what you love to do, what you’re great at)
  2. Know your client (what they want, how to find them)
  3. Start a blog (it takes time to get going so get started now)

If you do just those three things, you’ll be way ahead of 99% of freelancers out there and well on your way to a full-time income on (and off) Upwork.

November 18, 2015

13 Tips For Making Your Blog Posts More Interesting

The first blog post I ever wrote I didn’t publish for three days. I’d log in every day, open up the post and stare at the “Publish” button trying to work up the nerve to “just go for it”.

“What if no one reads it?”

“What if they do and think it’s terrible?”

“What if I misspelled something and get made fun of for it?”

Most of all, I was terrified people wouldn’t find it interesting and never come back. If you’ve ever had that same fear… don’t worry, we all have.

Since then, I’ve spent a ton of time figuring out how to make my blog posts as interesting as I can. I don’t claim to be perfect at it, but I’ve found a ton of good tips that have helped. Here’s 13 of them:

1. 4 Delightful Editing Tips to Make Your Words Dazzle and Dance

4 Delightful Editing Tips

Do you ever read back a draft of your writing and wonder what happened? Red-cheeked, you thought your draft was complete. You felt excited. Brimming with enthusiasm. You knew it … this was going to be superb. Probably your best-ever blog post. Yay!

You poured yourself a beer, feeling elated with your success. Any minor editing and proofreading could wait until the next day. But, the next day … you feel disappointed. Your writing sounds bland. Your sentences seem to stutter.

What can you do? Let’s explore four things:

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Still need to get started? Click here to learn how to start your blog in 15 minutes or less.

2. A Simple Strategy for Increasing Blog Post Ideas

Increasing Blog Post Ideas

When you first come up with an idea for your new blog, you can get filled up on a huge rush of adrenaline. You’re start off with a big enthusiastic bang, putting all the right pieces in the place so that your blog has the best chance at making it big. You have all these great ideas for blog posts and you turn into far more prolific a writer than you could have ever imagined.

And then, before you know it, the well runs dry.

You go from publishing multiple blog posts a day to having extended periods with no new posts at all. A week goes by. Then two weeks. Then even longer. Suddenly, the rabid posting activity on your blog has quieted down to near utter silence. And you wonder why your blog isn’t doing so well.

So, what can you do?

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3. Why You Need To Make Canva Your #1 Image Tool

Why You Need To Make Canva Your #1 Image Tool

Canva has been around for some years now but I only discovered it a few months ago and since then it has quickly become my go-to image and graphics tool and has saved me a lot of time asking our in-house designer to knock me up custom images for blog and social media posts.

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4. 51 Quick Hacks That Will Make You Write Attractive Headlines

51 Quick Hacks That Will Make You Write Attractive Headlines

The headline is the most important part of a blog post. Majority of people that see your posts will see the headlines only. Without a compelling headline not many will actually click to visit your article.

To attract visitors and draw them in you must write powerful, relevant and eye-catching headlines for your posts. Your headlines must be sharp, they must make people curious and prompt them to click on your link no matter the distractions and the competing choices in their news feeds.

If you achieve this your headlines will help your posts get more clicks, more shares and more engagement.

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5. How to Create Stunning Infographics for Your Blog Post

How to Create Stunning Infographics for Your Blog Post

As someone said, “A picture is worth more than 1000 words.” In the present scenario, a picture is a very good way to share and summarize your blog content. You can use chart, Information and text together to create an Infographic. Infographics are quite popular on Social-media sites & readers love it as it convey the message in an easy to understand format.

Most of the bloggers think that you need to be a highly skilled designer to create an infographic, which is not entirely true. These days there are many online Infographic maker sites are there to help users like you & me to create Infographics for our blog post. This is your handy guide to learn everything about designing Infographics for your blog even if you have not done it before.

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6. 5 Powerful And Stimulating Ways To Improve Your Blog Writing

5 Powerful And Stimulating Ways To Improve Your Blog Writing

Are you struggling to improve your blog writing? Want to captivate more readers to your blog?

With hundreds of thousands of blogs out there in the online space, it can be difficult for your blogging voice to be heard.

To encourage an audience towards your blog, it needs to be world class, professional, and highly beneficial to your readers.

Within this action packed blog post, you’re going to learn 5 powerful and epic tips and tricks to propel your blog writing, so not only does it entice new readers to your blog, but it will keep your readers on your blog for longer, which is crucial within any blog or website.

Create an epic blog for your readers with these simple but massive tips!

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7. Your Voice is Louder than Words: Interview with Todd Henry

Your Voice is Louder than Words: Interview with Todd Henry

Most creatives think finding their voice is as simple as digging it up in the backyard. But the reality is this process is shrouded in a lot more mystery.

My friend, Todd Henry believes your voice is developed in layers. It’s something you uncover and develop over time. Ultimately, it’s how your collective body of work speaks. It is louder than your words and bigger than a single event. I like that.

This week on The Portfolio Life, Todd and I talk about using your voice to create lasting impact. Listen in as we explore deep ideas like active patience, authenticity, and vision.

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Need help getting the first few visitors to you blog? I’m more than happy to help. Click here to see how I can help publicize your blog.

8. 11 Powerful Tools to Create Brilliant Content

11 Powerful Tools to Create Brilliant Content

There are so many factors that contribute to your blog’s success. SEO? Sure.

Having a good headline that will hook the readers into clicking on it? Check.

Having a website that is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but not to overbearing? Got that, too.

Social media presence? Ditto.

All of these are pretty much necessary, yet rendered completely useless if your blog is missing its most important ingredient: great content.

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9. How to write a blog post that your readers will love to read and share?

How to write a blog post that your readers will love to read and share

So you put your sweat and blood to write a blog post. You are so excited about the blog post.

You’ve done all the editing to polish your post and it reads great! Now you are extremely proud to click that Publish button and you do so.

You look forward to comments, shares and all sorts of social media interactions. That’s quite reasonable isn’t? – given that you’ve spent so much time and effort on it.

But that doesn’t seem to happen. Why is that? Why are your blog posts avoided by readers, even though you write them with all your heart?

Why do the blog posts of your peers do very well among their audience but yours fail to perform well.

Let’s discuss six tips to help you write blog posts that will get your readers to read and share!

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10. 9 Secrets To Write Interesting & Engaging Blog Content

9 Secrets To Write Interesting & Engaging Blog Content

Blogging has become hugely popular over the last few years. At first, it was just a hobby for teenagers, who created their blogs to tell about their lives and things they like. Nowadays blogging has grown into a profitable business. It seems practically everyone has their own blog, and the range of subjects these blogs cover is mind-boggling.

However, not all blog owners have noteworthy blogs. One of the quickest ways to make readers quit your blog in no time is miserable content. Below is a collection of powerful tips for writing unforgettable content that is not only interesting to write, but even more interesting to read.

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11. 7 Exercises to transform your blog from sloppy to savvy

7 Exercises to transform your blog from sloppy to savvy

The web is getting noisier by the minute and you have so much information put out there. People in fact have overwhelming amounts of information on any topic under the sun.

So even if you are running the best blog out there, the chances are you will go unnoticed by anyone.

But there’s good news. When you see a plateau in your earnings, or traffic, or your progress in general, there are certain things you can do to transform your blog.

The transformation is not only a nice thing to your blog and to your readers, but it is an uplifting thing for your business too.

And it is a mandatory thing to do. Here are 7 blogging exercises that will help transform your blog from sloppy to savvy.

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12. The Blogging Tactic No One Is Talking About: Optimizing the Past

The Blogging Tactic No One Is Talking About: Optimizing the Past

Nine months ago, I analyzed a report that would transform not only my role on the HubSpot blogging team, but also the whole blog’s editorial strategy. The results have been nothing short of eye-opening. And I’m not just talking about the findings from the report — I’m also talking about the business results we’ve generated from the shift we made in our blogging strategy because of those findings.

That shift is an ongoing internal project we call “historical optimization.” The goal? Update old blog content and generate more traffic and leads from it in the process.

Great for us, right? Hang on — it’s great for you, too. I’m writing about all this because any experienced blogger who’s tasked with growing and scaling the results they generate from their blog needs to know about it. The thing is, no one is really talking about it … yet.

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13. 11 Free Blogging Tools to Help You Identify and Understand Your Audience

11 Free Blogging Tools to Help You Identify and Understand Your Audience

Your blog has to reach those who’ve barely heard of you and need convincing that you’re the right provider of a solution for them (i.e. the vast majority of your website visitors).

And in order to develop a better quality signal to search engines, you have to create the right content for your visitors – and this content is most likely going to benefit from the support of a blog behind it.

But wait! What is the Number One thing you have to do before typing a letter? Identify your audience.

Your blogging will be wasted if you are not a) writing up solutions to your potential and returning visitors’ problems, and b) writing it in style that reflects your audience. Luckily, there are a ton of free resources out there to get you started on your research to write the best, most targeted blog posts you possibly can!

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Wait, wait wait… this is too much!

Feeling overwhelmed? It’s okay… together these are a lot to take in. Instead of doing that, though, I recommend you bookmark this post and tackle these one at a time.

You can’t suddenly implement 100 different ideas at once. Instead, use these as a guideline to constantly improve your blog in the coming weeks, months and years.

November 11, 2015

7 Smart Productivity Tips For Freelancers

I hate Facebook. Seriously. But, I love it. I get to keep in touch with all the most important people in my life… but it can so easily suck away my day.

Email, YouTube (oh god!), Clash of Clans (insert demon face)… as a freelancer my time and income are intimately linked.

And, if I blow a day watching 50 Cent interviews on YouTube or building the “perfect” base on CoC… I lose money.

Here’s seven of the best productivity tips and resources I’ve found to STOP me from doing this day after day (after day):

5 Apps To Boost Your Productivity As a Freelancer

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While being accountable for your own productivity is a daunting task, in this day and age, it’s totally manageable. For those of us with untraditional careers, there are plenty of resources available to keep us motivated and organized. After all, as the good people at Apple told us numerous times in the year 2010, “there’s an app for that.”

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How to Organize Your Writing Workplace for Better Productivity

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This problem is not new, and everyone looks for tips and tricks on better blogging, reads guides, searches for inspiration, etc. But do they realize the decision they seek is right in their backyard? It’s all about writing workplace organization.

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10 Productivity Apps Every Freelancer Needs

hand-apple-iphone-smartphone

In today’s digitally powered world, online tools abound that can address a great many of the typical freelancer’s productivity, workflow, organizational, and intellectual needs. A well-curated selection of apps, websites, and software provides additional arrows in your creative quiver—not to mention sanity.

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Productivity for Freelancers: The one key to doubling Your free time and Your income!

kaboompics.com_Car key in hand

Do you want to get more done in a single day than most freelancers do in a week? If you struggle with productivity – as most freelancers do – the steps laid out here could easily do this for you. Turning you into a productivity machine.

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Ten Productivity Tools Every Freelancer Must Know About

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It may not be a walk in the park, particularly if you’re just starting out, but freelancing becomes bearably easy if you’re equipped with the right tools to do the right jobs. Just like plumbers have their own special tools to take the edge off usually backbreaking and challenging work, so do freelancers. Below are ten of such tools:

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Productivity Tips for Freelance Web Designers

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Today we are sharing tips and guidelines that will increase the productivity of a web designing freelancer. In order to become a successful and reliable freelancer, it consist of consistency and determination.

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31 Marketing & Productivity Tools That Every Freelance Graphic Designer Should Use

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In order to help you allocate more time to your creative designs, we’ve created a list of useful tools that many small businesses are already using. We hope that you’ll use them too and save time in order to optimize your creative performance.

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Now, you (and me) have no excuses. Do me a favor and share this with someone you know needs it.

Yeah, it may rob them of a day of watching those awesome totally inappropriate Thug Life videos on Facebook… but it may just help put a few more benjamins in their back pocket. (And, I’d love you forever too of course.)

November 4, 2015

How to Position Yourself to Get More Freelance Jobs

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I was recently asked: “How do I fill out my profile on sites like Elance and oDesk? How do I fill them out in a way that’s honest but more impressive than leaving them blank?”

Here’s the simplest way I can put this…

Your unique situation can and SHOULD be positioned to highlight your advantages. For example, when I started looking to get hired for freelance IT jobs I was completely self-taught and I believed that was a disadvantage.

I believed coders who had gone to school were in a better position than me and would have an easier time convincing clients to hire them.

But, I quickly found out that clients were often MORE impressed with someone who was self-taught and so I began using that to my advantage.

I would highlight that I was self-taught and I learned by working on REAL projects (instead of fake scenarios in some college “lab”).

And guess what… it works!

Since then I’ve come to understand that whatever situation you’re in… you can position it to your advantage. It’s “all about how you tell the story”… and it’s your job to tell YOUR story and not worry about anyone else’s.

So, how can you tell your story in a way that is compelling… that highlights your unique skills, qualifications and experiences?

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Photo by: Kat Ter Haar

August 6, 2014

The Most Important Freelance Job Getting Activity You’re Not Doing

Most web designers don’t this. Most web designers think it’s dumb or not necessary. Most web designers roll their eyes when I bring it up.

Most web designers are also BROKE.

There’s one single thing I’ve done that most other web designers don’t do (or don’t do that well) that brings me 99% of my freelance jobs…

And, in this video I’ll show you what it is (and how to do it RIGHT):

photo by: Dan Moyle

July 28, 2014

2014 Trends That Could Make You Obsolete, Should You Use Code Frameworks, and How to Attract High-Paying Clients Using Content

Segment 1: Web Design Trends You Need to Watch Out For (2:56)

Several years ago when the “Web 2.0” movement hit, I lost my entire freelance business because I didn’t actually know how to code. I had been using MS FrontPage to build static HTML web sites for clients.

And the move to dynamic database-driven web sites killed me.

That taught me to pay close attention to web trends and to break them down to understand the larger motivations at work. So, I could begin to predict trends and stay ahead of the curve.

In this segment, I break down 8 of the hottest web design trends in 2014 and show you the larger forces at work… so you can begin to predict what’s going to happen and adapt your business accordingly so you don’t get destroyed like I did.
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May 5, 2014

How to Get Hired on Elance and oDesk

Why You’re Not Getting Hired on Elance and oDesk

When I first started out on Elance, I really had no clue what I was doing. In fact, I was pretty nervous about the whole thing. I had this sinking feeling that nobody was going to hire me and I’d quit the whole thing feeling like a failure (and maybe give up on coding for good).

And, at first… that’s exactly what happened.

The first few freelance jobs I bid on I got undercut by another developer willing to do the work for a price so low it made me question if I’d be able to every make any money as a freelance coder.

And it really burned me!

It made me angry that a potential client was willing to give control of a huge chunk of their business (and livelihood)… to the lowest bidder. It just seemed so stupid.

Then, a friend of mine (another coder who was killing it on Elance) showed me what he was doing and how he was able to get clients to hire him over and over… even though he was often the highest bid on the project.

And, he laid out a 3-step plan for me to kill it (like he was) on Elance. Here’s what it looked like:
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May 2, 2014

Be Remarkable… Or Don’t Be a Coder

remarkable(adj): worthy of attention; unlikely or surprising; likely to be noticed

It was Iraq 2005 and there was a girl I liked. Problem was… so did every other guy. In fact, you could say she was overloaded with guys trying to get her attention. She was gorgeous… as you can see from this picture:

sonja

And, she had an intriguing personality. She was the kind of person everybody just wanted to get to know. So, it was no surprise every guy was “after” her.

And, I was stuck.

I wanted to get to get her attention. I wanted to impress her. I wanted to get her to like me. But so did everybody else. And, so I kept trying to figure out…

How do I stand out?
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April 24, 2014

Separation of Concerns, MVC, and How to Get Started as a Freelance Coder

Build Better Websites Using a Separation of Concerns

Easily one of the biggest mistakes new coders make… inter-mingling content, presentation, and behavior… making it a nightmare to maintain and update your code. In the first segment of this episode of the John Morris Show, I reveal how to avoid that whole mess by building your websites using a “separation of concerns”.

What is MVC? How Do I Use It?

I get this question every day. MVC has become a buzzword in the developer community and many developers have been told they need to build their applications this way… but don’t know what it is or how to do it.

In the 2nd segment of this episode, I answer those questions and show you how to start building your applications using the MVC pattern.

How Do I Start Getting Freelance Clients?
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April 22, 2014

Why Does Coding Take Forever to Learn? You’re Making THIS Mistake

This cost me 4 years of my life…

4 years I could have been doing what I loved for a living…

4 years I could have been living well instead of struggling to make ends meet…

4 years further down the road to success I could be right now…

I regret those 4 years every day of my life because the mistake I was making is SO easy to solve… and it was a mistake I didn’t have to make.

In this episode of the John Morris Show, I’m going to share with you what that mistake, why almost EVERY coder makes it, and how to quickly get over it.
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April 14, 2014

Have You Lost Your Passion for Coding?

Ever felt unmotivated or uninspired while working on a project?

You felt it at first… you were super excited to get started… you felt like you could take on the world…

Then, about halfway through it was ALL gone.

No passion. No inspiration. No motivation.

It happens for a reason.

It’s not chance or luck. It’s not a fluke… or even something you necessarily did wrong.

And, there IS a way to fix it.
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April 7, 2014

These 5 steps fast-track your coding career

One of the biggest mistakes I think coders make is getting so caught up in the technical side of their coding career that they lose track of all the other (often MORE important) aspects of being a successful coder.

I know I did.

In fact, for the longest time I held this completely erroneous belief that talent trumped everything. That all I needed to worry about was being talented and I’d be good.

WRONG!

Because of that I couldn’t figure out why I started to lose out on client after client and constantly get underbid by coders who I KNEW were less talented.

Couldn’t my potential clients see?

Well, things got bad enough that I eventually had to swallow my pride and figure it out. And, as I did I began to realize that your technical talent is only one very small part of being successful as a freelance coder.

Eventually, I discovered what I call “The 5 Stages of Coding Career Development“… and man did my life change.
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March 31, 2014

I Was Lost and Didn’t Know What to Do Next…

A few years ago, I was really lost in my coding career. I had spent so much time mastering the technical aspects of coding that I never gave any thought to my career as a whole.

And as I was becoming more and more comfortable with the technical side, I began to wonder…

What’s next?

Where do I go from there and how do I get there?

As I searched for answers, I discovered what I call the 5 stages of coding career development.
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March 27, 2014

How to Set Yourself Apart and Get Clients to Chase You

Several years ago, I was in a really tough spot with my freelance coding business. I kept getting undercut by low bidders on Elance and oDesk and it was hurting my family financially.

Then, I discovered a little-known strategy for branding yourself as a coder.

Now, I turn down more work than I accept, clients gladly pay my fees and, I’ve left the Elance bidding wars behind forever.

In this episode, I share that same strategy with you and show you how you can implement it in your freelancing business.
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March 24, 2014

How I Get Clients to Chase Me

Notes:

  1. Here’s the link to Michael Hyatt’s FREE Platform Revolution Series: http://j.mp/1gaFYwX
  2. The transcript of this video is posted below for your reference

As coders, we all want more money…

We all want more freedom… to NOT be chained to our computers 24/7… to work with clients we like and care about… to be able to travel and spend time with our families…

And, we all want to have more impact… to work on projects that really matter… that make people’s lives better… and to be able to turn down projects that make our skin crawl…

The problem?

All the competition!

Anyone who’s ever been on Elance or oDesk or any of the other freelance sites knows just how bad the bidding wars can get.

And, how frustrating it can be to watch the project you really wanted to get snatched away by someone willing to do it for a ridiculously low price.

And to know full well that coder will probably never deliver on that project… and certainly not with the kind of quality you would have.

But, when you’re one face among a sea of other me-too coders… there’s no way for a potential client to know any better.

To them, there’s very little difference between everyone bidding on their project… and when left with that uncertainty… they always go with the lowest cost… because it’s the lowest risk.

If you want to build the kind of trust in advance that your ideal client will need to be willing to invest more money in you… you need to set yourself apart.

In fact, you need to set yourself apart in 3 very specific ways:
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March 19, 2014

Why YOUR Freelance Jobs are Getting Outsourced to Someone Who’ll Do It Cheaper

The answer: You’re not branding yourself effectively. If you were, your potential clients would never hire another developer just because they’re cheaper.

As business guru, Tom Peters, puts it:

“All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”

Of course, the big question is… how do you brand yourself effectively and fix your “outsourcing problem”?
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January 28, 2014

Justin Bieber Should Learn How to Code

Apparently, the Biebs was arrested this morning in Miami for drag racing and driving under the influence. If you’ve paid even a little attention, you know this has been coming for awhile now.

I don’t really hate on the kid too much because I understand he’s a kid with a lot of money and a lot of fame… and I wonder what kind of decisions I’d have made at that age with that money and that fame.

Probably not great ones.

But, it does make me think dude should learn how to code!

Why?

Here’s a few reasons why:
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January 23, 2014