(Originally posted on TheFastlaneForumin 2015)
Warning. This Story Starts with Failure.
A few weeks ago I pulled back from publishing (progress on the Inside.). It was eating days, draining funds and not really progressing. That’s not the focus of this post, so I’ll just say I scaled back to unplug and regroup.
I kind of felt it coming, but it wasn’t until @tafy asked me where I wanted to be in 5 years that I had to face a harsh reality. A publishing company isn’t in my plan. It sucks because I already dumped thousands of hours & dollars into it. But it is what it is. (It’s not dead. Just not moving.)
Now What? Guess I’ll Freelance.
I’ll spare you the details, and cut to the chase. Tafy suggested writing copy to build funds so I can try again. So I headed out on my next great adventure and signed up on Odesk. No profile, no feedback, no hours billed. That was exactly 3 weeks ago.
Here’s my earnings this week.
That’s around $1,000 and I’ve pre-sold for another $2,000ish before 1 month is over.
Wondering How? I’ll Show You.
The mindset (for me) goes like this:
1. I will never give up, no matter how f*cking stupid I think I look every time I fail.
2. I will acknowledge my failure, learn from it, and move on.
3. I may hate the feedback others give, but I’ll consider it no matter what.
4. I will strive my hardest every damn day to solve problems and create value.
5. I will learn to accept others for who they are, even when I think I hate their guts. (Still working on this one.)
How This Translates to Money on Odesk (or anywhere).
If you Google, “How long does it take to get hired on Odesk?” you’ll hit pages of people whining about how it’s been months and they haven’t had a job.
You’ll see stuff like this:
– “Why won’t anyone hire me?”
– “I have all the skills the job asks for, wtf?”
– “I’ve done this for 20 years, have a Masters degree, but clients won’t even reply…”
– “I’ve filled out my profile, taken tons of tests, and sent out 50 applications. Nothing.”
– “I’ve listed every skill under the sun. I can do them all. Why can’t I get work?”
The thing is, all the skills and experience in the world don’t matter if the client reads me me me me me me.
My guess is 99% of freelancers send me focused applications. So, for those who send a you focused application the opportunities are limitless.
How to Send a You Focused Application when You don’t Know Anything About the Client.
This part is super easy, but you can’t be lazy. All you have to do is read their job listing. Everything you need to know is right there on the screen. Look for the company name. If it’s there, look them up. Find out what they do. Find out who their customer is. Don’t just solve the company’s problem. Solve the company’s customer’s problems.
Show how your skills (AKA product features) benefit them first.
Example: (client wants a new web site to increase traffic.)
Bad = “I have 10 years experience designing webpages. I have a Masters degree in web design. Hire me.”
Good = “Sounds like you need a design that increases site traffic. Cool, I can build an eye-popping site that makes customer navigation simple, and increases traffic 50% guaranteed. Oh, and I have 10 years of experience and a Masters to back it up.
Clients don’t care about your degree, and they don’t care about your experience. They care about what they care about, and if you don’t show em’ you care about the same, then you’re not getting sh*t.
It’s Not a Trick. It’s a Lifestyle.
Focus on their problems. Focus on giving. Focus on solving. Forget about money. When they say “give first and money follows” they actually mean that sh*t. I know it seems hard to believe, but I swear to god it’s true.
I get it… Freelance and jobs aren’t exactly Fastlane, and I’m not rich either. But I’m willing to bet everything on the fact this same lesson applies no matter what business you’re in. If you need money to start your real business, or if you’re just starting out, or even if you’ve been grinding for a long time…check your focus.
It’s changing everything for me.
I bet it will for you too.
Lex is your super villain freelance writing overlord! He’s trained 1,000’s of people to write for pay, and he’s on a mission to train hundreds of thousands more to Escape Corporate Prison and Build a Freelance Empire! You can check out his Freelance Courses here.