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freelancing tips

Why Most Developers Can’t Freelance

I saw this comment on that Clever Programmer video I mentioned yesterday:

“I think a lot of those people have the ‘impostor’ syndrome? I mean that they [think they] aren’t good at something ūüôā When they are. So if they charge more, they will feel bad or guilty. Other than that, marketing itself is also a big one ūüôā I changed my marketing and I got like boom a client there and here, instantly lol. It takes time to learn it though. It’s very specific.”

It IS very specific.

In fact, it’s a whole other skillset. One that’s almost the opposite of what being a developer takes. It’s not logical or rational or black and white. It’s an art, not a science. Which is why I think developers tend to struggle with it.

And, as a result, avoid freelancing like the plague.

I was fortunate to get thrown to the wolves early in life.

Working face-to-face sales…

And, so desperate I HAD to figure it out.

And, the thing that got hammered into me. The thing that once I really “got” it, I suddenly felt like I could sell anything to anybody… was that sales is a process. A very definite and repeatable process.

And, when you figure out the process for the thing you’re selling…

You can do it over and over and over…

And, it becomes almost effortless.

My first sales manager beat that into me.

And, I’m glad as hell he did.

Now, here’s the thing… selling your freelance services IS a process, as well. It’s a definite and repeatable process. And, once you understand it, you can do it client after client after client.

That doesn’t mean you’ll land EVERY client.

But, you’ll land them more often than not.

And, quickly have more people wanting to hire you than you can handle.

Then, you can charge more. Your freelance income not only goes up, but it’s a lot more stable. You feel a lot more confident and secure. And, you’ll have the freedom to do the things you want to do.

All you gotta do is learn the process.

In any case, there’s a process for doing all this, specifically, on Upwork, as well. I figured out one that worked great for me and got me more clients than I could ever handle. And, I’m willing to share it with you.

It’s inside my Upwork 101 course on SkillShare.

Just go here to start your 2-month no-cost trial: https://skl.sh/2hfGS0s

Take that course AND all my others.

Cancel anytime before the two months is up and never pay a penny.

Nothing to risk.

Anyhoo, I’ll see ya over there: https://skl.sh/2hfGS0s

Later,

John

June 25, 2018

Why Are the Best Developers Broke?

Was watching this video from Clever Programmer called, “Why Are the Best Coders Broke?” It’s about these coders he knows who’ve been coding for 20-30 years and only charge 30/hr.

Then, this other guy he knows…

Who’s been at it for just a couple years…

And, charges 150/hr.

So, what gives?

It’s what I always tell you. The freelance world is 100% different than the “tech job” world. That’s why you really shouldn’t take freelance advice from developers who’ve never actually freelanced (shocker, I know).

They just don’t get it.

At the end of day, clients don’t care.

You could’ve been coding 1000 years…

Don’t matter.

Can you deliver?

That’s the bottom line.

NOW… it works the other way, too. Clients also don’t really care if you’ve been coding for 30 days. Again, can you deliver? If you can… and you can demonstrate that in your marketing… Bob’s your uncle!

You’re set.

That should get you excited.

Because, you can get rolling with this as fast as you want to.

Just gotta buckle down, learn the tech…

And then, GO FOR IT!

Anyway, that’s where your favorite ranty uncle (that’s me) can help. I’ve got the coding training you need. But, also, the Upwork course that’ll show you how to turn those coding skills into a paycheck.

And, teach you how to demonstrate your skills in your marketing.

And, you can get it all for nada on SkillShare.

Just start the 2-month, no-cost trial here: https://www.skillshare.com/r/user/johnmorris

Take all my courses (especially Upwork 101).

Cancel anytime before the 2 month is up.

And, you’re all set.

Why not give it a try?

See ya over there,

John

June 24, 2018

How to Get Known (And Hired) When You’re New to Freelancing

There’s two things I did:

1. Start creating content. YouTube videos are the best, because people can get a good sense of who you are and what your personality is. But, written tutorials work, too. Answering questions on Quora, etc. Just be sure to create content for YOUR target client and NOT for other developers.

2. Local business meetup groups. As the tech person, you’ll be in high demand. Virtually every meeting I went to I had someone who asked me to take a look at a project. It can be a very quick way to get work without a ton of vetting.

And, when you’e ready to make your living as developer, get serious and up your skills by starting your 2-month FREE trial of SkillShare where you’ll not only get access to all my courses, but over 20,000 others on web design/developer, freelancing, graphic design and more. Get started here:¬†https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

May 30, 2018

What Are Good Projects to Have In Your Portfolio?

In my opinion, there really are no “one-size-fits-all” projects you can put in a portfolio that will suddenly make every client want to hire you.

It’s about relevance.

Clients want to see if you can build THEIR thing and don’t care too much about anything else. So, it comes down to specializing and making sure you have THOSE items in your portfolio.

THAT is what matters.

Notes

May 14, 2018

What Freelance Services You Should Offer and How Much You Should Charge

I see a lot of freelancers get tripped up at this stage. Thing is, the info is out there… it’s just a matter of finding it. Even something as obscure as “formatting kindle ebook” services… the data is there. So, in this video, I’m going to show you how to find it so you can figure out exactly what services to offer AND what you should charge for those services. If you get value from what I do, consider becoming a Patron. You’ll be helping me, but also get access to perks like all my current and future web development and freelancing course, access to all my source code, exclusive Patron-only videos, course and more. Learn more about becoming a patron here.

May 1, 2018

SCREW IT! Just Quit Your Day Job and Freelance

I got this comment from Sir Joelsuf on YouTube:

“I would actually say that might put someone at a disadvantage, especially since the temptation of giving up location independent income for returning to the 9-5 is really REALLY great. If you are committed to something like running your own business, I say that things will improve way quicker if you just burn the boats, quit that 9-5 and just get obsessed with it.”

“Freelancing/self employment is a lifestyle change not just a career change and that is why most just abandon it and go back to the 9-5 after a year or so instead of taking the 2-3 years of full dedication to actually become established. They aren’t patient or mentally tough enough.”

(This is in response to my advice about freelancing with a full-time job.)

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this.

Often, it’s positioned as the ONLY way to go out on your own:

“Burn the boats and sink or swim.”

Here’s the problem with that.

There are real-world consequences. Not everybody’s fresh out of college. Some of us have families and houses and responsibilities we have to meet. So, when we burn the boat, there are others who could drown¬†with us.

That’s not a risk I’m willing to take.

But, the bigger thing…

It’s just not necessary.

Some people see a lion in the woods and they come alive. The adrenaline starts pumping and they feel like they can take on the world. And, they slay the lion with their bare hands.¬†Some people, though…

FREEZE.

Like a deer in headlights.

And, the lion swiftly devours them.

The trick here isn’t a dogmatic¬†“this can only be done ONE way”…

It’s knowing yourself.

And, knowing the advantages and disadvantages. Freelancing WITH a full-time job has advantages (like money you can spend to outsource certain things) and disadvantages. Same with “burning the boats”.

Don’t get caught up in what others are doing.

Know YOU!

Then, be smart about how you transition.

And, if you want some help getting into freelancing, check out the free lessons from my Upwork 101 course at https://johnsfreetuts.com. It’ll show you my strategy for building your profile so you can get work from the start and grow your profile to become of the top freelancers on Upwork.

April 11, 2018

How Upwork stacks the deck against you

I get a lot of pushback when I talk about Upwork. A lot of developers think it’s anywhere between a flat-out scam or just completely worthless because all the jobs and clients suck and it’s impossible to get work…

And clients only hire 5/hour developers…

And, on and on.

I’ve heard it all.

Here’s the truth.

If you’re new to Upwork, the deck IS stacked against you. It’s true. The whole point of Upwork is to identify and surface the best freelancers to match with clients who need their services.

Now, here’s the thing…

Upwork doesn’t talk about how they do this anymore (that I can find).

But, they used to.

Back when it was Elance.

And, daddy figured that ish out…

And, I’m gonna give you the 411 on it.

Of course, things will have evolved, but the basic fundamentals of what they look at CAN’T change all that much. Because, what they’re attempting to do is the same… the best freelancer for an individual client’s project or search.

So, let’s talk about how it works.

Upwork looks at two things when matching clients with freelancer:

  1. Rank
  2. Relevance

Rank is what freelancers tend to think about most. Upwork uses your job history, Job Success Score, ratings, etc… a series of different factors to determine how “good” of a freelancer you are and what your Rank is.

The better you deliver…

The more satisfied your clients…

The higher your Rank…

The higher you’ll tend to show up in searches made by clients.

The problem for new freelancers is you don’t have ANY of this. You have no job history, no job success score, no ratings, no testimonials… none of it. Upwork’s entire machine for surfacing freelancers based on Rank is stacked against you.

Burying your profile 1000 pages deep.

So, clients never see you.

No job invites.

No hires.

No work.

No dolla dolla bills y’all.

And, it feels like… no way out.

But, there is.

The secret is in the 2nd part of how Upwork surfaces freelancers: Relevance. Because, so many (even good) freelancers on Upwork screw this up… it leaves a crack in the door for you to sneak your way in.

And, rank higher than you normally would in searches.

Higher than you really *should* based solely on Rank.

So, you DO show up in searches.

You DO get invites.

You DO get work.

Anyway, this is the “Master Strategy” I cover in Lesson 1 of my new Upwork 101 course on SkillShare. And, you can get it for FREE with the 2-month no-cost trial I can give you as a teacher there.

Here’s the link:

https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skupwork101

It’s not something that’s immediately obvious…

And, it’s counter-intuitive to how most freelancers think…

So, most never even think about it…

Or, get it wrong when they try to do it.

But, once you see it… it’ll be one of those “aha” moments.

And, suddenly become clear.

Anyway, go here to learn how to do it at no cost:

https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skupwork101

Later,

John

P.S. I also talk about it some more in Lesson 3 about writing your Title and Tags… if you want to find all the Relevance related material in the course. It starts about the 5:15 mark in Lesson 3.

November 8, 2017

I just got called on my Upwork BS

Got this from Zakir on a recent YouTube video:

“Why I have to sell myself each time I apply to job? I have top rated status with 96% so called bullshit. Clients come upwork on their last resort if they didn’t find anywhere and they don’t believe they will find. And that’s why they don’t bother to respond.”

Sigh.

Being a top rated freelancer with a good job success rate doesn’t somehow magically absolve you of needing to compete for work. You’re always gonna have to sell yourself and compete. Even outside freelance sites. You’re still competing… you just don’t see it so directly.

Let me make this more clear.

If I go on Upwork, into my client account…

And, search freelancers for the term: “wordpress”.

Probably a pretty common thing a client would do if they need somebody to work on their WordPress site. If I filter for freelancers who have a 90% job success rate or higher, guess what? 27 of the first 50 freelancers all have the “Top Rated” badge.

That’s just over 50%

If I remove that filter…

It’s still 19 of 50… so, 38%

Lots of freelancers on there have those designations.

You’re still gonna have to compete with them.

But, beyond that even…

Look, clients don’t undergo some sort of uber-logical decision-making process when hiring a freelancer. Buying decisions are emotional. So, they’re not gonna do a search and just pick the freelancers with the highest job success rate and the pretty little “Top Rated” badge.

They’re gonna look at your picture…

Skim your bio…

Read a few reviews…

Look at your portfolio…

All very quickly and just try to “get a feel” for you.

And, like it or not… they’ll make their decision to invite you based on that.

I’m simply trying to get you to give them a “good feel”…

(Ok, not like that, you perv!)

As for Upwork just being full of desperate clients…

That’s just so obviously false.

If I do the same “wordpress” search from my freelancer account, one of the first projects is from a client who has hired 92 times before. They’ve spent 30k+ on the site and have a 5-star rating from the freelancers they’ve worked with.

Sounds like Upwork is their FIRST resort, not their last.

And, another…

A client that’s spent 100k+ and has 4.98 rating.

Another that’s spend 80k+ and a 5-star rating..

None of these clients seem desperate or to be using Upwork as a “last resort”. And, imagine if you landed a project with one of these clients and really impressed them. How much would work might you get in the future from just that one client?

So, I’m the one calling “BS” here.

These clients are there.

You just need to get over yourself…

And your “Top Rated” status…

And realize you gotta compete.

If not here, then out on the open web.

Nobody is going to give you the work.

You gotta go get it.

That said, there are ways you can stack the chips in your favor. Subtle tweaks you can make to your profile, your bids, your entire approach on Upwork… that will tip the scales in your favor and make it much easier to get hired and paid more for your work.

Not to mention be more appreciated and valued.

I show you all this in my Upwork 101 course which you can get FREE on SkillShare. Just sign up for the 2-month FREE trial… that’ll give you plenty of time to get through the course and then if you want, cancel before the trial is up. And VOILA… you got my course free.

Plus, my PHP 101 course is there, too.

Anyway, start the trial here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/skillshare

Later,

John

November 1, 2017

Like taking code from a baby

Remember that post a few days back

Where I said this:

“Especially considering I basically had to harass them to get paid each month for the work that I’d done (probably Bernie supporters… ya know).”

Heh.

Those of you who been round these parts a bit know how that went.

This is ONE of the responses I got:

“I am a supporter of Bernie Sanders. One od the few USA politicians I have respect for. Since John Morris really likes to throw around really stupid and insulting associations regarding Mr. Sanders, I do not want to have anything to do with John Morris or what he represents. I support democratic socialism of scandinavian type, Sweden, Finland, Norway and other civilised countries that really care for its citizens. I do not support nor like USA type of capitalism, it is horrible. So good riddance John Morris, the smart ass of web development, have fun under Trump.”

Like taking candy from a baby. (Ahem… I mean “redistributing”.)

See how easy that is?

I talk about this all the time… and whenever I send one of these I get loads of unsolicited “advice” from no-nothings about how I shouldn’t talk politics or make fun of this or that candidate.

I do it on purpose y’all.

I know it pisses people off.

That is the point.

And, you should be doing it, too.

Why?

Because… I know these people are a pain the arsimuss. They write big long paragraphs about stupid ish based on one wise-crack in an email I wrote. (I actually got a two paragrapher from another dude.) They say stupid ish like “capitalism is horrible” which means every time I sell something they’re going to have a hissy fit. And, they tend to be big on opinions but small on taking action… so they rarely ever get anything from my or anybody’s courses.

If this isn’t a clear case of “drama I don’t need”…

I don’t know what is.

I don’t want them as customers.

I don’t want them on my list.

I don’t want them anywhere near me.

They’re drama.

And, talking politics and throwing out wise-cracks like that… scares them off. Good! Good riddance. Go away. If you’re one and reading this right now… buzz off.I don’t want your money.

And, you should do the same with your clients…

Or when picking what jobs you want to apply for.

Don’t just sell your soul to make a buck. Have some standards.

Know what clients/employers you don’t want…

As much as you know the ones you do.

Anyway, that’s one of the greatest business lessons I ever learned…

If you can cut through all “be professional” B.S. you’ve been taught and see it.

Now, onto biznass…

So, apparently y’all are some freaky freaks… people are lovin’ the freak-bot course I mentioned the other day. Here it is again in cased you missed it. It’s actually a course on machine learning, a segment of AI.

And, like I said the other day…

This is one of the areas of our industry that is still wide open… where “noobs” can still make a real impact and a name for themselves. So, if you want to be on the cutting edge of our industry, this is it. Plus, the average salary is 120K per year. Not too shabby.

Anyway, there’s a whole course on this AI/Machine Learning stuff.

That will teach you machine learning so you can actually get involved and have that impact and make that name. It’s from a guy who did this for Amazon and IMDb, so knows what he’s doing.

Anyway, here’s the link: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/ai

Later,

John “Get Your Freak On” Morris

January 27, 2017

How to Beat the Upwork Algorithms

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[saf]

I got this question on YouTube the other day:

How do I create a client base outside of freelance networks?

Actually, I get this question a lot. And, usually, it comes from someone who’s about to send letters full of anthrax to the owners of Upwork (or Freelancer, Guru, etc) because they’ve tried everything and can’t get clients.

Let me tell you a story…

I often talk about what happened to me after I changed my approach on Elance and how I started sucking in clients like kids to a candy store. But, I talk less about what happened before.

That’s because it kind of sucked.

When I very very first got on Elance… I bombed.

I made all the mistakes I always tell you not to. I marketed myself as a “do-everything” web guy. I practically begged people to hire me. I had a terrible picture. My bio was about two sentences. I talked only about the languages I knew. And, I just sat there waiting for clients to land in my lap.

I’ll give you eight guesses what happened.

But, then I got lucky.

Several years before that, I’d uploaded a couple tutorials on YouTube and pretty much forgot about them. They got like 30 views initially… and since they didn’t instantly go viral, I had just moved on.

But, now several years later they were gaining traction.

I started noticing I was getting notifications from YouTube about comments… every other day or so. So, I decided to login and see what was up. To my shock, one of the videos now had over 10K views.

And, my channel was getting several thousand views per month.

Seemingly, out of nowhere.

So being the opportunistic little devil I am, I immediately started trying to figure out how I could use it. Eventually, I figured out how to push people through my website to my Elance profile. And, I never looked back.

Eventually, I went off Elance altogether.

And, just got all my clients through my website.

And, that’s the answer…

It doesn’t have to be YouTube, but you should absolutely be building up your audience outside of the freelance sites. Every serious business in the world is realizing this and starting to create content and build their audience.

Freelancers are no different.

It’s the cost of doing business.

Before the internet, the cost of doing business included buying a building, getting a big sign and advertising on the radio, newspaper, billboards, yada yada. Today, the cost of doing business is creating content.

As Gary Vaynerchuck says:

“If you’re not creating content online, you basically don’t exist.”

And be glad that’s all it is. You don’t need to go into debt 100K to start a business.

So, you should absolutely, never ever, not in a million years… rely solely on a freelance site¬†to bring you all your clients.

That’s asking to go broke.

Thing is… leveraging your audience for your freelance business is simple:

  1. Figure out who your target audience is and what content they want
  2. Create the content and promote it like crazy on social media
  3. At the end of each piece of content, point them to your profile

(Pro tip: Don’t point them straight to your Upwork profile. Point them to a page on your site. At first, it can just be a redirect to your Upwork profile. But later when you want to “exit” Upwork, you can turn that page into a sales page. Mine, for example, is johnmorrisonline.com/hire. That was a redirect initially but now is a sales page. Now all those links from the initial content are still valid.)

Now, I think a lot of freelancers know this.

They know they need to be creating content.

But, they’re scared to put themselves out there.

Thing is… you don’t have to do YouTube videos like I do. You can do written tutorials, answer questions on StackOverflow or Quora. Then, find someone you trust and have them look your stuff over before you post it.

What you’ll find¬†is the web isn’t the big scary monster you imagined.

And when you do get some jack!@# who “know-it-alls” one of your posts… just block ’em. Hell… even if they’re right. You don’t have to entertain them. Just block them and move on. I do it all the time.

But, when you build a content-to-profile funnel like this…

Beating the algorithms on Upwork or whatever site is easy. You’re building your own job history, testimonials, rankings… without relying on the network. And then eventually, you’ll rank high enough that the network starts sending you clients…

And then it’s all over.

You ride off into the sunset… tell bossy boy to shove it and your life is yours.

You’re free… and because you built it… it’s secure.

Anyway, I know you might want a more detailed walkthrough of how to set all this up… because details do matter. That’s why I created Module 3 in my Lightning Responsive course which you can get as a supporter over on Patreon.

It’s the detailed step-by-step roadmap to freedom. Get it here:¬†https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon.

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, source code and exclusive courses on Patreon.

July 19, 2016

What Will They Say About You?

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[saf]

Legacy.

When I was in Iraq, I worked in a hospital. Whenever we had a “mass casualty” event, I would run up there and help out in whatever way I could. As you can probably imagine, I unfortunately saw a lot of people pass away.

More than I’d ever care to really think about.

That always stuck with me.

How fragile and brief this life really is. How quickly it can all be taken away from us. And, I’ve always tried to live my life as if today could be my last. Because, the truth is… it very well could be. Nothing is promised.

Then, there’s my parents.

I’ve watched them grow old with regret. My dad is an entrepreneur at heart… but never really could put all the pieces together. Every time, I see him I can see the pain of the missteps and missed opportunities in his eyes.

And my mom…

She just wanted to provide for my brothers and I. I think watching us suffer the way we did just killed her inside and she’s always has this look of “I’m sorry” in her eyes every time I see her.

It’s painful to watch.

Mark Zuckerberg founded Facebook out of his college dorm room. Apple famously started in a garage. Many of the giants of today were started from very humble beginnings yesterday.

That means there’s nothing stopping you from being one of the giants of tomorrow.

Whether that’s a giant for the whole world… or just for your kids and your spouse.

You are smart enough.

You are capable enough.

You do have what it takes.

But, the last thing you want is to grow old with regret. To look back and wonder, “what if”. The question you should be asking isn’t, “How do I make a buck¬†today”… which is what I get so often… but how will you be¬†remembered¬†tomorrow?

What will they say about you?

What will your legacy be?

Every day, the time just keeps ticking away and it won’t stop for anybody. What you need to build that legacy, as a coder, is a solid foundation of skill. And you need to get it fast so you can move on to building great things. Get that foundation in PHP fast here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/php

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, source code and exclusive courses on Patreon.

July 15, 2016

Read This Email Before Hillary Deletes It

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[saf]

I sent this out in an email the other day and I wanted to share it with you. But, BEWARE… read it before Hillary deletes it! ūüôā

So, alot of hub-bub here in the good ‘ol U.S. of A about Hillary Clinton.¬†Seems there’s two sets of rules… ones for the Clinton’s and ones for everybody else. That’s the word on the street anyway.

Funny because this is true about a lot of things.

For example…

In the US, the top 1% of Americans earn 19% of all income.

In Hollywood, the top actors always seem to get the best roles.

And, in my experience, the top freelancers tend to suck up most of the clients.

For example, if you go on Upwork in to the “web development” category there’s an agency, Mobiloitte Technologies, that’s clocked 63,866 hours of client services. The next closest on the front page is Ron Zvagelsky with 5,488 hours.

That’s how things tend to work.

Because… once you establish a certain threshold of credibility and authority, you stick out like a sore thumb as being more trustworthy, and you end up getting a disproportionate share of the clients.

It’s like how the 1st position in a Google search result¬†gets 33% of the clicks.

And, just like the Clinton’s, there’s often two sets of rules for those on top versus those struggling to claw their way up. Let me be straight. I’m not saying it’s right. But, it is reality. And, my job is to tell you the truth… not¬†opine about how I think it should be.

Now, don’t get me wrong.

Ronnie ain’t doing too shabby himself. 5488 hours clocked at 75/hr is 411,600. I think most freelancers would take that. But, freelancers with this kind of experience, job history and skillset just get treated differently.

They rarely have to go out and find work on their own.

Because, they come up at the top of most of the web development related searches you’ll do on Upwork… the clients just automatically flow to them.

They also don’t have to work hard to sell their services.

63,866 hours logged with a 93% job success rate speaks for itself. Potential clients see that and immediately trust them more.

And, the clients they work with will rarely give them a hard time.

Because, those clients know that these developers are uber-experienced, they know what they’re doing and when they speak… clients listen.

In fact, from my own experience…

I can tell you that after I worked with Michael Hyatt, my client experience changed dramatically. He’s not only really well-known but highly respected and trusted. So, having him on my resume brought an air of authority with it.

Client looked to me for guidance instead of always trying to boss me around.

My point is…

You shouldn’t necessarily be-grudge the fact that these two sets of rules exist (for developers anyway… feel free to be-grudge the Clinton’s all you want). Instead you should be focused on joining that elite group of developers.

Now, I talk all the time about the “outside factors” that affect this…

Things like how well you communicate, how reliable you are, how well you provide wisdom and guidance, etc. These things matter.

But, it’s also true that skill is at the center of it all.

I mean the refrigerator repairman can be the sweetest fella in the world, but if the chicken goes bad because he jacked it up… it ain’t gon’¬†matter.

So, let this weekend begin your journey into “Clinton territory”.

PHP represents 82% of all websites whose scripting language we know. PHP developers, on average make 87,000 per year (Indeed.com). And, in the time it’d take for you get through a montage of all the “untruths” Hillary told about her email server (~1 hour), there’s been 36 new PHP jobs posted to Upwork.

Why spend another day in the “little people” club of developers… or another moment stuck haggling through another one of your boss’ “brilliant” ideas…

Escape ye hither, my friend. Become a PHP Jedi:
https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/php

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, source code and exclusive courses on Patreon.

Photo by Gage Skidmore

July 13, 2016

The Truth About Freelance Web Design

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[saf]

Sam, a supporting listener on Patreon, sent me this video the other day and wanted to know what I thought:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-mP-yYlzps

Check out the video for the full story, but let me summarize what I think Mike Locke is ultimately saying:

  • Freelance income is not sustainable and scalable because you’re ultimately just trading time for money like a regular job
  • You shouldn’t focus on it as your end-all be-all for your career
  • Use it as supplement to a job and focus long term on building a product for residual income

Now, while I agree with a lot of what he says in the video and I appreciate what he’s trying to get you to do (which I think is good)… I have to say I disagree with some of his primary points.

The problems with freelancing aren’t freelancing itself… it’s how it’s used.

Let me give you an example.

Shortly after I built Michael Hyatt’s membership site, Platform University, as you might imagine I had a lot of people contacting me to build them a similar kind of site. In fact, so much so, that I came up with a new service offering called a “Clone”. And I sold it for three grand.

Building those sites took me between 4-6 hours.

Because I already had all the code. I wrote down an “implementation checklist” of exactly what steps to take to build the clone. And, I was clear with clients from the start that I was basically giving them the same site with colors and logos changed. No custom coding or any of that.

And they didn’t care. That’s what they wanted.

And, I built a lot of these.

So, if you look at what I made hourly it was somewhere between 500 and 750 per hour. When, my normal hourly rate was around 100 at the time. So, I was making five times my hourly rate on these projects.

And, clients couldn’t care less.

They weren’t paying me for my time.

They were paying me for access (to the code I already had). They were paying me for my expertise. And frankly, most of them were paying me for speed… because I could crank the site out so fast.

So, if you think of freelancing from a purely “hourly rate” standpoint…

Then, sure it’s just trading time for money like any old job. And, doing the math… you’ll probably find it hard to see how you can reach your income goals.

But dude!

If you don’t want to trade time for money… then don’t trade time for money. In fact, go to my “hire me” page right now (https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/hire). Do you see an hourly rate on there?

Nope.

I don’t even offer it.

When you start thinking of your services as more than just your time… and start thinking in terms of “end results” and offering them more as products… you can start to see how you can make the kind of income you’re after with freelancing.

And, you can see how easily it can scale.

This is why I harp on “end results” all the time.

You’ll make more money.

You’ll work less.

It’ll be easier to market.

It’ll be easier to deliver.

And (ninja s!@# here) if you choose, it’ll be easier to outsource or hire someone to do for you so you can rake in the dineros while you sit at the beach sipping on some rum and Coke.

Can you see what I’m saying?

Here’s one more example…

A few years back, I saw how big the responsive design thing was getting. So, I decided to throw my hat in the ring and I focused mainly on local small businesses. They were easy to sell and easy to make happy.

And, as I started building mobile responsive sites for local businesses…

I developed a PHP “framework” that let me do it faster and faster each time. In fact, by the time I had it fully developed I could go grab a bootstrap template and port it into my system in just a few hours.

Plug in some variables specific to that client and have their site out the door in less than a day. And, it’d be a major upgrade from their previous site.

Now, I know that won’t make you feel better than everyone else because you hand-code every site you build from scratch…

But, it will put food (lots) on the table.

Anyway, I put that framework and a full 3-module course up over on Patreon. It’s called Lightning Responsive and you can get it as a supporting listener here:https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon.

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, source code and exclusive courses on Patreon.

July 12, 2016

How He Got a PHP Job in 3 Months

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[saf]

I got this email over the weekend:

I have NO EXPERIENCE in PHP. I applied to a Job that said this: ‘Experience in PHP, MySQL, Ruby, or Haskell, and web languages such as CSS and HTML, are a plus.’¬†I only have basic experience in HTML5, CSS3, & Bootstrap3. No JS or PHP.¬†I met with the owner today. Showed him my website (ChrisSeanLife.com).

He liked my personality. Knows I’m not the best PHP developer but would like me to focus and grow in it.¬†I literally only made my website on Monday and made the finishing touches 20 minutes before my interview.¬†I got hired. And accepted an offer for $45k for the first 3 months.

If I do well (and I will! As I study your PHP Courses) It will go up to $60k a year!! And I have been only studying code for 3 Months while working full-time! I just went for it like you said, and I got hired. I would have never thought in the span of 3 months, I would double my paycheck and not have to live in Silicon Valley to do it.

Honestly, I’m not surprised.

I’ve said this time after time… what you need to know in order to get hired is likely much less than you think it is. In this case, it was simply a willingness to learn, an easy-to-work-with personality and some initiative.

He followed up by saying:

Like you said, i decided to focus on one thing. I focused on specializing in making one-page websites & bootstrap which is what the company needed.

He’s not the only one either.

I talk about my little brother all the time. He got hired as a Java Application Developer at IBM… and didn’t know Java. Still doesn’t really. As he puts it, “I can read it, but never really written any.

And, he makes six figures.

Then, there’s Jen who sent me this awhile back:

I’m panicking here. I just got asked to come in for a “talk” about what programs I have worked with for a company that is looking to hire an independant web designer. Big company. I don’t feel I know enough. OMG.¬†I use too many “templates” when I work! it’s sad, but true.”

And, I told her:

Confidence is key.¬†You know what you know. If you don’t know an answer you just say I don’t know but this is my hunch and that’s something I’d be willing to figure out. They’re going to be after confidence, commitment and reliability.¬†They probably already have a good idea of what your technical skill is and wouldn’t have invited you in if they weren’t comfortable with it.

She got the job.

I could go on and on with examples.

You can do this… and you only need a small set of basic skills to get started. Again, understand what I’m saying. You absolutely should learn more as you go… but to get started, that list is short.

Chris proves it. Jen proves it. My little brother proves it.

To master those PHP skills the fast way, enroll in my new PHP 101 course here:https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/php

And, be sure to send me your “I got hired” email when you’re done.

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, source code and exclusive courses on Patreon.

June 27, 2016

Beware This Coding Career Killer

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[saf]

It’s interesting.

I bet if you told most new developers that it was going to take them a year to learn a language like PHP, they’d throw themselves on the floor into fits of rage and desperation… frantically repeating, “Not me. Not me. Not me.”

It just seems like too long for most.

Then, there’s this email I received from Seven the other day:

Hey John I just wanted to say thank you for all the emails you sent out and all the hard work that you continue to put in to help others. I really appreciate your concern for guys and girls who need a guidance in the world of web development. Just a few lines about me. I am a front end developer. I am working as a front end developer intern. I just got this position a week ago. I really like this coding stuff. I have only been learning to code by myself a year now. Anyways thank you for your tips and help. I greatly appreciate it.

One year… and landed himself and intern position.

Should he be disappointed or frustrated?

Hell no!

Let me frame the same question another way.

Let’s say you’re 25 years old. Or 30? Whatever.

What if I told you that one year from now you could acquire the skills to propel yourself down an entirely new career path?¬†That you’d love the hell out of what you did on a daily basis. You’d work on projects that mattered. You’d work with people who were like you and really got you. You’d make good money doing it. And, you’d have the whole rest of your life to do it.

Would that one year seem like such a big deal?

The point is…

Patience.

Like Gary Vaynerchuk says:

In early 2006, I started Wine Library TV. For 19 months, I did that show five days a week and nobody gave a s!@#. So when I get emails… which I get 50 of them a day from entrepreneurs who are like, ‘Hey. I know you always talk about patience. I’ve been doing this. It’s not working. Should I give up and do something else?’ I’ll email back and be like, ‘How long have you been doing it?’. They’ll say, ‘Oh. 4 months.’ And I’m like f!@# you. You want this to be your life and you’re giving up after 4 months? Are you out of your mind?

Now, here’s the real problem with being impatient.

I got started online way back in 2004. I was in Iraq. I was nearing the end of my tour and I was in the Army Reserves. So, when I got back home I’d be off active duty orders and have to find a civilian job.

My wife and I were getting divorced.

My dad had been diagnosed with cancer and diabetes while I was there, so I had used all my leave to go home and see him. I had about 3 days of leave left. So, I knew I’d be about a max of 3 or 4 days back from Iraq…

And, I had no job. No car. And, no place to live.

Honestly, I was terrified.

I remember the day I got released from Fort Riley and was officially done with my Iraq tour. I drove about 2 hours to my brother’s house. My mom and a few nieces and nephews were there.

When, I got there they’d made a bunch of cards for me.

I couldn’t handle it.

I went in the bathroom and just bawled for about an hour.

Then, I left.

Needless to say, I was very impatient.

And, I spent the next 5 or 6 years hopping from “opportunity” to “opportunity” online. I tried several different products and businesses. I jumped at every shiny object, course, tool… because I was desperate for a way out.

And frankly, it¬†wasn’t all that long ago that I got my s!@# together.

I forced myself to learn how to be patient. I blocked out all the noise and I focused in on what I wanted. Since then, things have turned 180. Now, I won’t say it was overnight or easy. Things have been tough and at times… slow.

But, I’m miles further than I was just spinning my wheels… being impatient.

Slow down!

Thing about what you really want 5 years, 10 years, 20 years from now. When you think in those terms… 1 year ain’t s!@#.

It’s a step in an overall strategy.

And, strategy requires discipline… patience.

Now, let me get a bit “weirder” for a second. I do some things on a daily basis that others might think¬†are strange to help me build up my patience. See, to me, it’s not something that happens. It’s like a muscle… you have to build it up.

And, you can.

Anyway, I just uploaded a PDF over on Patreon that steps through the exercises I do to build up my patience. It’s been one of the most powerful parts of transforming my life… and you can get it as a patron over on Patreon at any¬†level.

Get it here: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, source code and exclusive courses on Patreon.

June 23, 2016

What I Learned About Trust From a Door to Door Salesman

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[saf]

So, just the other day I had this Vault guy come to my door.

Vault, if you don’t know, is a home security service. They install door and window sensors, cameras, wifi locks… that kind of stuff. And, this guy was offering a free system¬†if I put their Vault sign in my yard.

Afterword, I looked it up and I guess their systems run nearly two grand.

So, this was a very appealing offer.

And, having been in the Army for 11 years and traveled around the world a bit… security is something I take serious. Anybody who knows me… knows I’m semi-paranoid about that stuff.

Anyway, I told him no.

Why?

Because I didn’t believe him.

Usually when someone shows up with an offer that sounds too good to be true… it is. I wondered what the catch was. How was I gonna get screwed?

Turns out, it’s totally legit.

My brother has Vault. I knew he had a system but not what. And, he got it through that very offer. Free system if they put out the yard sign.

The catch?

Of course, you have to do the monitoring fee which is like 50 bucks/month. Which I expected. And, you have to sign a 5-year contract. Again, totally expected… and nothing real shady about it. They gotta pay for the system somehow.

That’s a legit deal.

But, I said no.

There’s a lesson here for your web development career.

People are naturally skeptical. As they should be. And, if you want to get hired to write code for people… you have to address that skepticism head-on.

Let me give you an example…

The other day, I had a guy on YouTube ask me to look at his Upwork profile and let him know what to change. Now, the real answer to that question is everything… but there was one part that really stuck out:

rp1

Now, first off…

Notice how this fits what I almost always say about developer profiles on Upwork. He starts by listing what language he knows. 90% of clients are already gone at that point. They just don’t care that much about that stuff.

But… let me stay on track here. ūüôā

Towards the bottom, he talks about working hard to satisfy his clients… and his loyalty and effort, etc. Trying to make a pitch on why someone should hire him.

We could talk about if that’s stuff even worth putting on there…

But, the larger point is… saying it means nothing. People don’t believe you. You could say “I’m the baddest coder on the planet”… nobody would care.

You have to PROVE it.

And, this is what so¬†many developers are missing when it comes to marketing themselves. Proof. You’re loyal? Prove it. You’re reliable? Prove it. You know XYZ skills? Prove it.

Every single claim you make needs to be backed by hard evidence.

Otherwise, clients will just gloss over it.

You just sound like one of the millions of other developers spouting off about how great they are. The truly good ones… can prove it.

Think of your client’s natural skepticism as a rock that you have to chip away at piece by piece with your proof… until eventually it just crumbles into dust.

And then, you can sell yourself.

Funny thing is…

When you only say things you can prove… you’ll notice the things you say tend to shrink. But, that’s okay. That’s how it should be.

You only need a handful of sales points… that people actually believe.

What’s likely missing from your pitch isn’t more sales speak… it’s more evidence.

So, you build badass-looking contact forms? Prove it. Show me your portfolio full of those contact forms.

You’re a PHP genius? Prove it. Show me your test scores or accolades.

You’re reliable? Show me a testimonial of a client saying that.

Proof! That’s what matters.

Let me give you one last example:

oneworldtradecenter

This is a picture I took from one of the top floors of One World Trade Center tower in New York City. I was in the Inc. Magazine offices.

I was there for a mastermind of some of the top internet marketers on the planet.

Little old me… sitting “courtside” for an exclusive meeting of some of the best business minds on the planet.

What’s this proof of?

The power of  PHP.

I got there because I’d built a website for an Executive Director at Inc. at the time. And, he asked specifically for me to be there. So, I was flown out… hotel paid for. Meals paid for. And free attendance at this event (while they all paid).

And, knowing PHP was the whole reason why.

The same opportunities are open to you. Just gotta learn PHP. And, this is the easiest way to do so, in my opinion: https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/php

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, source code and exclusive courses on Patreon.

June 21, 2016

WRONG About Pure Coders and The Future of Web Development?

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[saf]

Well, well well…

A few of you think ol’ JMO¬†was wrong in a recent¬†episode of the John Morris Show. (How dare you!)

Here’s the link to that episode¬†for a refresher:
https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/96

But, the gist of it was that you CAN start taking clients even if you only know HTML & CSS… and I was also kind enough to explain how to do it.

Now, I also off-hand mentioned that most clients don’t care much about languages or if you use dev tools. And, they don’t!¬†Maybe 1 in 1000 clients will really care that you’re using PHP or HTML or whatever languages you use.

Most won’t… not really.

Well, that sent¬†the kids into a frenzy. Here’s some of the pushback I got:

Many clients care about what are developer skills. Even freelancing websites give weight to skill tests. Probably, if a freelancer has rich portfolio or large number of clients then they can ignore skills but then that freelancer never think about this question.

And this one:

Pure coders will always get the top 20% of clients. Saying that a pure coder doesn’t necessarily think about how something is used is very incorrect. As a software engineer it is what I mainly think about!

So, did I mislead you?

I think I thoroughly debunked these objections in the¬†episode above, but, real quick…

Clients do care about skills (note I actually said languages not skills) but ONLY in the context of: “Will said skill lead to said developer getting me the end result I’m after?”… which was my point.

Most clients won’t even really know what PHP or MySQL or whatever is…

Let alone care that much about it.

The point being… you can take clients if you can deliver end results. The languages don’t really matter. And, if you use a tool like WordPress or a good site-builder… ultimately clients don’t really care, either.

And look, I’m not trying to be a a-hole here.

I just see so many new developers who have all these mental road-blocks of what they think they’re “supposed to” do… often put there by other know-it-all developers… that stop them from chasing their career dream.

Stop it!

Don’t listen to the know-it-alls. You can do this… and probably a lot sooner than you think. Just trust your instincts and go for it.

Anyway, give the episode a listen for the full takedown.

P.S. Also… consider becoming a supporting listener of the show at https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon. You help keep the episodes free for those who genuinely can’t afford dev training and you get a bunch of dope perks like freelance templates, exclusive courses and more.

P.P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 5, 2016

Can I Get Freelance Clients Even If I Only Know HTML and CSS?

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[saf]

I always have to hold myself back because I know I’ll lose them.

But, it’s just in my DNA. ūüôā

This actually happened just the other day. I was at one of the local business meetup groups I belong to and was approached (again) about working on a website for one of the members.

And my gut “nerd” instinct is to go full geek on them.

But, you never go full geek.

I got about two sentences into my verbal nerd-bomb and saw their eyes starting to glaze over. And, I caught myself… reigned it in and got back to sprekin ze English.

I’ve said this probably 100 times.

Clients do not understand or care about our nerd-speak. Saying HTML, CSS, PHP, etc… to them is like saying “zaploot”, “waawaaru” and “eeepoof”…

Huh?

It’s gibberish.

They don’t get it… they don’t care.

What they do care about is the end result they’re after.

The membership site. The contact form. The sales page. The opt-in form. The business website. The e-commerce site.

That is how they think.

So, can you take clients only knowing HTML and CSS? Or JavaScript? Or PHP? Or whatever?

That’s not the question to ask.

The question to ask is…

Can you deliver a specific end result people want?

If yes, then yes you can take clients for that specific end result?

And you should market yourself appropriately.

Now, here’s the crazier thing…

Clients don’t even care how you deliver that end result. Not really. I said a few podcast episodes ago that I believe the future of site-building for people like you and me will be less about code and more about tools.

There will always be a place for coders. And, there will always be value in knowing how to code. But, I think more and more the pure coders will migrate toward tool-building and site builders like you and I will migrate toward tool-using.

So, it’s likely you don’t even need to know HTML and CSS to get clients!

You just need to know how to use certain tools to deliver the end result.

Matter of fact, I know really successful “developers” who do just that. Now, I’m not encouraging to not learn how to code. What I’m saying is in almost every case you can start taking clients sooner than you think.

Speaking of tools, yesterday I just released another “epic” freelance template over on Patreon. This one is for YOU. It’s based on my 12-Step Freelance Profile Template and uses WordPress and the Layers theme.

No coding required.

And, it’s all pre-built for you. You just fill in the blanks.

You can get it as a supporting listener of the show over on Patreon at the “Freelance Template” level. Go here to grab it:¬†https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon.

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

June 2, 2016

The Most Powerful 2-Letter Word In Web Development

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[saf]

If I had a nickel for every time some random person sent me this:

“Hey John. Send me your Skype ID and let’s chat.”

Or…

“Hey John. Here’s my code. Can you fix it?”

Or…

“Hey John. Send me some clients.”

I’d be sitting on a beach somewhere, slurping a tall rum and coke, listening to some old-school hip-hop.

My answer to all of these: NO.

A few years ago, I was on the verge of giving up freelancing and web development all together. Funny thing was… it wasn’t because I was lacking for work or income. It was the opposite.

I had more than I could handle.

And by the end of that year, I was waaaaay burnt out. I ended up taking a 2-3 month sabbatical. I told all my current clients that I wasn’t taking any new work from them. I stopped taking new clients.

And, I just crashed.

What I hadn’t yet learned was how to say: NO.

I bring this up because at some point in your career, NO… will become the most important word in your vocabulary.

And, so many people struggle with it.

Hell, my wife still has a hard time saying NO to friends and family. I’ve noticed my kids struggle with as they get it older. I mean, I had a hard time with it.

But, you’ve got to do it.

Because the NOs YOU are going to say will be hard ones. Saying NO to a $3,000 project because it’s not a good fit. Or because you already have too much work. Or because the client seems like trouble.

Trust me, that is HARD to do.

But you need to do it. Otherwise, you’ll end up like I did. Overworked, overwhelmed and on the verge of throwing it all away.

And, that’d be bad.

Now, let me give you a little tip on HOW to learn to do this.

Of course, start saying no to little things now. Doesn’t even have to be related to web development. The more practice, the better.

But, the real trick is to learn how to say NO without giving any reason.

Just NO… and that’s it.

It’s harder than you think. Because, often times, the “askers” will expect a reason. They’ll kind of look at you like, “why”. Cause. That’s why.

Try it… and see how uncomfortable it can be.

But, if you can get good at that… you’ll have a good foundation for later when you need to say NO to one thing so you can say YES to another… that’s a better fit.

As always, I want to give a shout out to supporting listeners of the John Morris Show on Patreon. I appreciate all the support you’ve been giving and I love chatting with you all over on Patreon. So, again… thank you!

If you’d like to learn more about becoming a supporting listener, you can visit:¬†https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

May 24, 2016

On Upwork’s Pricing Change

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[saf]

Nobody owes you anything.

Period.

If you haven’t heard, Upwork just changed the fees it charges to freelancers. It moved from a flat fee of 10% to a “sliding fee structure” like this:

  1. First $500 of lifetime client earnings Р20%
  2. $500+ up to $10,000 – 10%
  3. $10,000+ – 5%

And boy oh boy did the kids get angry!

Check out some of these comments:

“go hang yourself. I hope all your people leave and you are dead.”

“U evil. Stahp.”

“This is the worst policy any market place have ever taken.”

“Moderate your greed. (Even God has commented on this move)”

“Stop this greed.”

The most sane comment of them all (even though this person probably doesn’t quite realize what they’re saying) was this one:

“Time to collect personal clients!”

Ya think?

Funny thing is… everybody who has asked me about this only told me Upwork raised their fee to 20%. They conveniently forgot to mention the rest of the fee structure. Hmmmm. Should tell you something about their approach.

Like I said, nobody owes you anything.

Upwork offers a service for freelancers and clients and they’re absolutely within their right to change their pricing… even if it were terrible.

You don’t like it… don’t use it. No sympathy from me.

Thing is, though… it’s not terrible. At least not for me.

When¬†I was on Upwork if this had been in place… the majority of my revenue would have quickly crossed into the 10% range.¬†So, they got an extra 50 bucks per project. Meh. If that’s what they need to stay in business… so be it.

You should actually be excited about this.

If you’ve been listening to anything I’ve been saying… this should be welcome news. Why?

Because, it seems clearly aimed at the lowballers.

The developers that go around just lowballing project after project, giving terrible service (so the lifetime earnings with that client never break $500) and moving on to the next sucker they can lure in with their low price.

Bye Felicia!

If those people are angry and “vow” to leave Upwork… GOOD! Hell, I might even jump back on there if they really do.

But they won’t.

That’s because they don’t have anywhere else to go. They don’t have a long-term mindset, so they’re not building a real freelance business. And, they’ll¬†find life “off” the freelance site is even less forgiving.

I tell you this all the time…

Go get your own clients. Do NOT rely on Upwork or whatever other site to bring you all your business. Because when they make changes… it hits you hard. You are at their mercy. Why do that?

Anyway, there’s a way out of all of this. I teach it in Module 3 of my course, Lightning ¬†Responsive. I show you how to build an actual freelance business… not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, whine-when-Upwork-changes wannabe business. Get that way out as a supporting listener on Patreon here:

https://www.johnmorrisonline.com/patreon

P.S. If you liked the show, give it a like and share with the communities and people you think will benefit. And, you can always find all my tutorials, podcast episodes and more on johnmorrisonline.com, @jpmorris on Twitter and youtube.com/johnmorrisvideo.

May 23, 2016