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Clients From Hell Podcast

The Clients From Hell podcast is equal parts humorous and helpful as it explores the modern life and times of creative professionals.
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Clients From Hell Podcast
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Aug 1, 2018

 

Whew! It's been a bit. We're back with the return of Ami Sanyal, a freelance photographer who recently upgraded his business to a full marketing and branding agency. 

This week, Kyle chats with Ami about how he's developed his business over the past ten years, outlining the decisions that brought him to a successful career today, and the key strategy that served him when starting out in 2008. Kyle and Ami also discover a shared piece of history that isn't that helpful, but is really cute anyway. 

 

Today's links: 

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Want to support the show?

This episode is brought to you by Easel.ly, an infographic design service that transforms raw data into clear, interesting images. You can see their work on Clients From Hell

Think you'd be a great fit for the show? Let me know at twitter.com/KCarCFH

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Jun 12, 2018

Matt Inglot's Tilted Pixel is a thriving web design business that Matt runs all by himself. That wasn't always the case - he used to run a small agency that took WAY too much of his time until he figured out how to make more money with less work.

Matt shares his strategy in this episode, telling you how to shift your efforts to securing clients that will keep you in steady income with less work. After all, if you're spending less time doing outreach, you have more time to make money!

This is a really useful talk! Definitely check it out. 

Today's links: 

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Want to support the show?

This episode is brought to you by Easel.ly, an infographic design service that transforms raw data into clear, interesting images. You can see their work on Clients From Hell

Think you'd be a great fit for the show? Let me know at twitter.com/KCarCFH

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

May 23, 2018

 

The Freelancer's Union is a non-profit that is dedicated to advocating for freelancers and solopreneurs everywhere, and Caitlin Pearce is its new executive director. She joins Kyle on todays episode to talk about the issues facing freelancers today, why so many people love to be their own bosses, and what we can do to make sure that the industry remains viable well into the future. 

Today's links: 

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Want to support the show?

This episode is brought to you by Easel.ly, an infographic design service that transforms raw data into clear, interesting images. You can see their work on Clients From Hell

Think you'd be a great fit for the show? Let me know at twitter.com/KCarCFH

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

May 8, 2018

 

Heidi Weinberg, AKA Sew Heidi, loves what she does. She's built a career as a freelance fashion designer, imagining and then making clothes that people LOVE to wear. 

However, she is also aware that there is a dark side to this industry, and this week she talks about the difference between freelancing and temping, how clients can take advantage of you when they know you're following your dream job, the gendered aspects of the fashion industry and how to ensure that you make what you're worth. 

Want to read Heidi's new book, The Ultimate Guide to Being a Freelance Fashion Designer for absolutely free? Head to sfdnetwork.com/hell for a free copy and a few other goodies that are useful for ALL freelancers!

Note: The Clients From Hell podcast has a new theme song: "You Are Little Scientists (Love, Oprah)" courtesy of the band Top Men. They are a band for loving. Check them out

Today's links: 

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Want to support the show?

This episode is brought to you by Easel.ly, an infographic design service that transforms raw data into clear, interesting images. You can see their work on Clients From Hell

Think you'd be a great fit for the show? Let me know at twitter.com/KCarCFH

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Apr 24, 2018

Plants are easy to take care of. If you feed them the right things and give them the right amount of water, they absolutely will grow and thrive. People, and by extension businesses, can be more tricky. 

Agricultural consultant Sarah Taber (and host of Farm to Taber!) is great with plants, but she's also learning how to be great with people too.  She talks to Kyle about why freelancing means paying attention to your clients and working with their emotional investments (even if you'd rather be doing anything else). 

Today's links: 

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Want to support the show?

This episode is brought to you by Easel.ly, an infographic design service that transforms raw data into clear, interesting images. You can see their work on Clients From Hell

Want to get a shoutout for your services on the podcast? Get in touch: contact@clientsfromhell.net

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Apr 10, 2018

Working for yourself presents a number of rewards but it also presents hurdles. Jeanne Yocum's new book, The Self Employment Survival Guide draws on her thirty years of experience working for herself and lays down the rules you need to live by if you're going to make it on your own - including when you need to cut that client out of your life!

Today's links: 

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Want to support the show?

This episode is brought to you by Easel.ly, an infographic design service that transforms raw data into clear, interesting images. You can see their work on Clients From Hell

Want to get a shoutout for your services on the podcast? Get in touch: contact@clientsfromhell.net

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Mar 28, 2018

Today's guest Olga Mizrahi is a designer, a career keynote speaker, and recently, an expert and published author on the gig economy

The gig economy is absolutely the future, and while it represents enormous possibilities, there are also dangers. Olga chats with Kyle about what you need to do to be competitive in the gig economy, how to stand out and find a niche, and how to take care of yourself while doing it. 

Today's links: 

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Want to support the show?

This episode is brought to you by Easel.ly, an infographic design service that transforms raw data into clear, interesting images. You can see their work on Clients From Hell

Want to get a shoutout for your services on the podcast? Get in touch: contact@clientsfromhell.net

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Mar 14, 2018

Creative freelancers pursue these careers because, well, they're creative. But once you start doing creative work it can be hard to pursue your own interests and still get paid. 

Kristen Dullum and Alain Champagne of Creatures of The Night Design are two designers who do a really great job of balancing their pet projects while still making a living. In this episode, they share their strategies and struggles, and talk about why sometimes you absolutely SHOULD take up bronze work in your free time. 

Today's links: 

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Want to support the show?

This episode is brought to you by Easel.ly, an infographic design service that transforms raw data into clear, interesting images. You can see their work on Clients From Hell

Want to get a shoutout for your services on the podcast? Get in touch: contact@clientsfromhell.net

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Feb 28, 2018

Ami Sanyal is something of an inspiration to me. He's a successful consultant at a relatively young age, an anchor of the creative community, and someone whose basic goodness is clear just minutes after meeting him. 

One of Ami's major achievements is putting together a series of events for independent creative workers in Vancouver, BC. Today, he joins us to talk about the problem of "siloing" in freelance work, and why it's important to reach out to, and collaborate with, other freelancers. He also offers some great tips about how to get involved in your own creative community!

Today's links: 

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Want to support the show?

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Feb 6, 2018

Frequent guest Nick Disabato returns to the Clients From Hell Podcast! He's here to tell you why you should build value-based design into your design process, and share some tips about how to use metrics to measure your successes, make your clients happier, and get paid more. 

Today's links: 

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Want to support the show?

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Jan 16, 2018

Jon Jones is back! This week he shares his tips for building an income from digital products, and also shares his freelance origin story. HINT: it involves the bible. 

Today's links: 

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Want to support the show?

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immens

Jan 2, 2018

This week's guest is Jon Jones, the freelance creative outsourcing manager for the games industry who is frequently mistaken for the other, more violent Jon Jones! He's basically a bundle of mirth and insight, and it was a real treat to have him on the podcast.

Jon offers his first-hand experience on both sides of the freelancer/client divide, letting you know what you can do to keep that relationship healthy.

*does not actually contain mixed martial arts

Today's links: 

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Want to support the show?

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Also feel free to find us on Twitter @clientsfh and let us know what you think!

Dec 12, 2017

 

Wordpress developer, educator, host of How I Built It, and all around sweetheart joins Kyle on today's episode to talk about why he called out Clients From Hell, and how you should approach client education! He also talks about productization and why you should schedule creating a product in addition to your services!

It's a real corker. Give it a listen!

Today's links: 

 

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Want to support the show?

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Nov 28, 2017

Things are changing at Clients From Hell! Long time Editor in Chief and all-round superhero Bryce Bladon is moving on to new adventures and leaving us behind. But that's okay, because Bryce is chatting with new host Kyle Carpenter about why he's making the shift from a successful freelance career to a full time position with his favorite client, and when you should stop playing the field and get serious.

Change is scary, but if you have any tips for our new host, let him know at @Clientsfh or contact@clientsfromhell.net with the subject line: Podcast. 

Follow Bryce at:

 

Sep 5, 2017

There are a lot of freelancing, entrepreneur, and side-hustle expert out there, but few have earned their authority quite like Chris Guillebeau. He joins Bryce to discuss why there's no one-size-fits-all approach to freelancing and his advice for folks who want to get started. 

Chris is the host of Side Hustle School and bestselling author of The $100 Startup, The Happiness of Pursuit, and The Art of Non-Conformity. His new book, Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days, is on sale on September 29th, 2017.

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Side Hustle School: https://sidehustleschool.com/

Side Hustle: From Idea to Income in 27 Days: https://www.amazon.com/Side-Hustle-Idea-Income-Days/dp/1524758841

Aug 29, 2017

Convincing a client you can deliver an agency as a sole proprietor is difficult but incredibly valuable.

Laura Elizabeth of Client-Portal.io discusses how she does it, and the tools and techniques other freelancers can use to elevate their authority with clients. 

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Client Portal: https://client-portal.io/ 

Laura's article on onboarding clientshttps://doubleyourfreelancing.com/onboarding/ 

Lauren's Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurium 

Aug 8, 2017

Getting your client to live up to their side of your business relationship can be difficult and it's almost always necessary. But how do you do it? Whether it's the client delivering promised files, paying your rate, or them simply keeping their word, there's rarely an easy fix. 

James Rose of Content Snare has at least one solution – and a lot of quality advice. If you enjoyed what James had to say, he invites you to check out the Content Snare Facebook Group!

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Content Snarehttps://contentsnare.com

Content Snare's Facebook Grouphttps://contentsnare.com/group

James Rose on Twitter: https://twitter.com/_jimmyrose

Aug 1, 2017

The majority of the 10 million jobs created since 2005 have been freelance, temporary, or on-call opportunities. This is the gig economy – and a team at Stanford are developing a platform to source teams of freelancers in mere minutes. 

On today's episode, we discuss Stanford's 'flash organization' software, how it works, and what it means for the future of freelancing. 

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Topic via https://thehustle.co/

Sarah Kessler at The Quartz: https://qz.com/1027606/forget-the-on-demand-worker-stanford-researchers-built-an-entire-on-demand-organization/

Noam Scheiber at The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/business/economy/flash-organizations-labor.html

Taylor Kubota at Stanford News: http://news.stanford.edu/2017/05/10/software-creates-demand-flash-organizations/

 

Jul 25, 2017

Learn how to build a network and effectively market yourself – from someone who hates networking and marketing. 

 

In this episode, Bryce discusses:

- The dumb, terrible, not-so-good way people and businesses try to market themselves

- Why Bryce hates marketing (and how that lead him to becoming a marketing consultant)

- How you can meet and build a network (it's about making a personal connection)

- The simplest way to market your business (know your audience's problem before you try to solve)

- The principles behind good marketing

- The simplest, most effective marketing trick out there (spoiler: it's listening)

Jul 18, 2017

Do you know what it takes to get a good job? Most people look for jobs by shouting into the online abyss – but there's a better way. Freelancers are especially empowered to not only find work but to create it for themselves. 

 

In this episode, Bryce discusses:

- Why nobody knows how to find good work 

- The evolving model for employment and what that means for you

- Don't treat your portfolio as the only path to employment

- How to understand your prospects needs and how you can help (hint: listen to next week's episode)

- Don't wait for an open position; communicate to a prospect you understand their problem and how you can help

Jul 4, 2017
And maybe more importantly, who do your clients think you are? 
 
 
 
Here's the thing. When we talk about "personal brand" (gross), a lot of us forget that we're talking about who you are, and how you communicate that. 
 
 
The good news? That means you can actually be you. 
 
Create content that matters to you, your audience, and your potential clients
 
Do NOT dilute who you are, or try to be who you think your audience wants you to be.
 
According to an Edelman study of 11,000 consumers, 92% of people want to do business with companies that share their values. And values aren't something you put on — they go deep. 
 
Clients want to work with people who share their values too. And think about it — don't you too?
 
Best-selling writer Jeff Goins calls these people his "tribe," while designer and author Paul Jarvis calls them his "rat people." That's not an insult - Paul loves rats, so when he finds the 1% of the population who feel the same way, he knows these are people he wants to connect with. That's incredibly powerful. 
 
Be human.
 
Transparency, openness, honesty, and authenticity are incredibly powerful currencies in the attention economy. They are how you build a relationship with people even if you’ve never met. That, and providing value with your content – but that value isn't always a 1-to-1 transaction.
 
In fact, not everything is transactional. Not everything is how-to. A lot of times, people are happy to share stories and interesting ideas.
 
 
Dan Harmon says "Find your voice, shout it from the rooftops, and keep doing it until the people looking for you find you." And he's right. 
 
 
Care. Be passionate. Give a shit.
 
Author, journalist, and psychology expert Charles Duhigg says one of the best ways to stand out is by indulging in your obsessive compulsive disorder.
 
He says "People who are successful are people who are not ashamed to say, I am super passionate and interested in X and I m going to indulge that. Yes, I'm a weirdo. But I m going to figure this out, and I'll figure out what I like about it, so that I can share it with you."
 
Essentially, what he's saying is "be a big fat dork about whatever tickles you." Ideally, this aligns with your freelancing career.
 
It’s your business – do it your way.
 
There are dozens of tactics and advice columns on the best way to approach your business, your marketing – whatever. It can often be worth your time to listen, but rarely is this advice iron clad.
 
Whether you're trying to find an audience, attract prospects, or just figure your personal business out, don't just assume you need to make x posts a day on every social media channel, or a portfolio that looks like your competition's. 
 
What you really need to do is know who you are. Know what matters to you. Chase what excites you and build from there. Look for like minded people. Reach out. Ask them questions. Listen. Genuinely get to know them. Strive to give more than you take. Leave things better than you found them. 
 
Reflect. Reiterate. Wear your past mistakes proudly and do better in the future.
 
If you simply keep your word and do what you say you'll do, you're head and shoulders above the rest.

Today's links: 

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Do you like the show? 

Or do you hate it? Are you totally lukewarm on it? Let us know what you think (and help us out) by doing a quick survey. We'll love you forever for it. 

> Help us out! Please? Please.

> Pretty please?

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Want to support the show?

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Jun 27, 2017

A recent survey of freelance workers done by AND CO showed that the pay gap exists even for the self-employed. On average, self-employed women make less than self-employed men. That's troubling information, given that freelancers are able to set their own wages. So what's happening here? What baggage are we bringing in to setting our own rates? 

Joining Bryce to discuss this important and delicate topic is Lauren Loria, a Michigan based commercial photographer that helps clients build their brands through visual imagery that reflects their business' personality.  

Today's links: 

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This episode is sponsored by AND.CO, the freelancer's resource! They offer great tools for freelancers, including curated job lists, time tracking and invoicing software, contracts, free guides and more! 

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Want to support the show?

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Also: do you love the podcast? Is there anything you'd like to see us change about it? Let us know by filling out this short survey!

Jun 20, 2017

Who do you think you are?

Everyone who works for themselves has wrestled some point over what title to use. Many start by using the title "freelance _______"—designer, writer, software developer, or whatever the case may be.

The words you use influence others’ perception of you.'

Today's links: 

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According to Andrew Newberg, M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman, words can literally change your brain. They argue that a single negative word can increase the activity in our amygdala (the fear center of the brain). This releases dozens of stress-producing hormones and neurotransmitters, which in turn interrupts our brains’ functioning. In other words, “angry words send alarm messages through the brain, and they partially shut down the logic-and-reasoning centers located in the frontal lobes."

Meanwhile, a positive word can strengthen areas in frontal lobes and promote cognitive function. They write "as our research has shown, the longer you concentrate on positive words, the more you begin to affect other areas of the brain. Functions in the parietal lobe start to change, which changes your perception of yourself and the people you interact with. A positive view of yourself will bias you toward seeing the good in others, whereas a negative self-image will include you toward suspicion and doubt. Over time the structure of your thalamus will also change in response to your conscious words, thoughts, and feelings, and we believe that the thalamic changes affect the way in which you perceive reality."

So what does that mean for us?

What’s your first thought when you hear the word "freelancer"? Do you picture a college kid working out of her parent’s basement? Most people perceive freelancers as in the lurch, between unemployment and their next ‘real’ job.

Many people who call themselves freelancers don’t exactly think of what they do as a business. But they should.

Clients too often see freelance arrangements as low-cost line items rather than strategic partnerships.

And that creates a power imbalance, with the client in charge—hardly an ideal situation for independent workers, especially those trying to start a business with the express purpose of gaining more freedom over their work.

When he first started out, Tim Dietrich described himself as a "freelance database consultant." But he soon realized that the "freelance" tag said more to clients about the structure of his business (process) than what he could actually do for them (results). Tim now introduces himself with this simple line, "I develop custom apps for businesses." Who would you want to work with more: Someone who tells you how they file their taxes or explains what they can do for your balance sheet?

Your livelihood doesn't depend on your own self-perception, but on how potential clients see you and your work.

Freelancers don't always see themselves as business owners because businesses have quarterly targets, revenue streams, and brand images to preserve. And clients expect that other businesses have systems and processes leading to consistent results. Don’t worry if you’re still working on systems and processes. It’s still okay to call yourself a business—which can in turn push you to build a workflow for yourself, set firmer goals, and increase your margins—just like an actual business.

 

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This episode is sponsored by AND.CO, the freelancer's resource! They offer great tools for freelancers, including curated job lists, time tracking and invoicing software, contracts, free guides and more! 

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Want to support the show?

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Also: do you love the podcast? Is there anything you'd like to see us change about it? Let us know by filling out this short survey!

Jun 13, 2017

If 'creativity' is a factor in your work, these ten rules will help you find success in your career. 

When we say success, we don't exclusively mean more clients, more work, or more freedom. We mean all of the above and more: success as a creative means personal and professional development because you are your business and your craft. 

This episode was heavily inspired by articles from:

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This episode is sponsored by AND.CO, the freelancer's resource! They offer great tools for freelancers, including curated job lists, time tracking and invoicing software, contracts, free guides and more! 

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10 Rules for Succeeding as a Creative Professional

  1. You’re on your own.
  • Blogs, teachers, webinars, courses, and classes can help you, but they’re not going to get things done for you. They’re there to refine your skills, give you ideas, or teach you the rules.
  • In almost every instance, they’re positioned in such a way that they’re giving you permission to get started by offering inspiration and addressing your concerns or fears.
  • In terms of creativity, it’s about you: what’s going on inside you, what’s going on around you, and how you manage the two.
  • Though you don’t necessarily have to follow their advice, you should listen to experts. You should follow them. You should consume content that excites you – but you shouldn’t be afraid to strike out on your own.

 

  1. Clients rarely know what they need.
  • Clients hire you because they don’t know exactly what they’re doing. Some clients may think they do, but that’s not exactly the same thing.
  • Listen to what a client says and take to heart what they recommend. They know their product or vision. It can even be worth attempting their version of things to see how it turns out. But then it’s up to you to add value.
  • “Adding value” is why clients will hire you. Show them something new or unexpected (in a good way) – this is how you communicate that your expertise requires more than a few clever mouse clicks.
  • The best client interaction is where you take a client’s vision and add colour.

 

  1. Different is more important than “better.”
  • Better and different are often treated like synonyms in creative fields.
  • Better means you’re following someone else’s path. This isn’t an inherently bad thing, but it’s how derivative and repetitive trends occur. You’re unlikely to outpace that trailblazer, and as a result, you end up looking like a cheap imitation.
  • However, taking someone else’s path and tweaking it to your style, tastes, or needs – making it “better” in a way that matters to you, either as the audience or the artist – is how you start to succeed. And it’s also how you and your work gets better.
  • Competing on outright skill is like competing on price. It’s a global economy. Someone out there is going to better or cheaper than you.
    • If you do something in a way that’s distinctly yours, you have no competition.
  • Being different is more important than being better.

 

  1. Compete on value, not price.
  • Competing on price in a creative field is a bad idea unless you live somewhere with an exceptionally low cost of living. Instead, focus on delivering value.
  • Value can come in many forms, like better than the competition, a standout style, an offering more tailored to the client’s unique needs – whatever. Clients tend to care most about avoiding risk and saving time and money; your value should speak to these points in some capacity, but don’t stress a perfect one-to-one translation.
  • If you deliver value and you can communicate this to prospects, you should charge more.

 

  1. You need to be challenged.
  • If you’re not pushing your skills or expertise, you’re not improving. You’re probably stagnating.
  • An easy job isn’t a bad job, but it’s the jobs where I had to meet tough deadlines and big challenges that have pushed my career forward in terms of skills, impact, and clients.

 

  1. You are what (and who) you surround yourself with.
  • If you want to be better at what you do, seek out those you think are better than you. From colleagues to clients, always shoot high.
  • Follow your inspirations and consume everything they do.
  • Chase your ‘mentors’ and critically examine what they put out. If you can, reach out.
  • Find your community and create a place within it.

 

  1. Always know why you make your decisions.
  • Whether you’re a writer, a photographer, a designer, or a developer, you need to be able to communicate your work beyond “I like the way it looks.”
  • Being able to explain why you made a creative decision is how you communicate your expertise to a client. Explaining why this design is better than that one is how you establish yourself as an authority.
  • Explaining yourself in terms that matter to your client is huge. Whether it’s a visual vocabulary or a grasp of grammar, explaining the worth of your work is how you get hired, rehired, and referred.

 

  1. Embrace failure.
  • Trying to avoid mistakes is paralyzing. Don’t let the possibility of a mistake prevent you from acting.
  • Don’t try to avoid failure. Aim to recover and learn from it.
  • Whether it’s in creative or business terms, you need to be willing to act, fail, and try again. Looking at your failure, assessing what went wrong, and trying again (and again, and again) is everything.
  • Getting out there to do stuff is everything. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn’t work, change it. Quickly.

 

  1. Less is more.
  • Trying to be everything to everyone is a great way to be nothing to no one.
  • Whatever your creative pursuit, simple is good. Remove clutter and distraction.
  • Whatever your business, a niche is good. Add specificity and purpose. Tell one story and tell it well.

 

  1. You need to do the work.
  • Daydreaming about what you can do is fun, but don’t confuse it with doing the actual work.
  • If you feel crummy about what you’re making, that’s fine. Try a new approach. Fail at something new and exciting. Throw the spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.
  • If you’re not producing, you’re not a professional – you’re a poser.
  • Likewise, if you spend every day writing, taking photos, or working on your designs, you’re not an aspiring anything. You are what you’re doing.

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Want to support the show?

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

Jun 6, 2017

How you position yourself is crucial to your career. Philip Morgan joins Bryce to discuss how freelancers – particular freelance developers – can find success by specializing.

Links from today's show:

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This episode is sponsored by AND.CO, the freelancer's resource! They offer great tools for freelancers, including curated job lists, time tracking and invoicing software, contracts, free guides and more! 

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Want to support the show?

Leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or recommend us to a friend. It helps immensely.

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