Rule #2: Study

As a teacher, I often have students who live below the average threshold of “Getting it.”

They just don’t understand a subject, what I’m teaching, or why it matters. Despite my attempts to rattle the noggin and inject wisdom, it often flops. A flacid failure to impart knowledge.

Every once in awhile though, a tenacious pupil rises from the crowd with sub-par understanding and a brutal attachment to rejection. They aren’t any good. But they keep trying.

From Religion, to Writing, to Gaming, these pupils may lack the ability that I have obtained from a mixture of practice and just being above average intelligence.

(Like we all are. (Seriously try to find one person who claims to have below average intelligence, we tend to think mightily about ourselves)).

Sometimes though I encounter that pupil after a couple years. And the M Night Shamaylan reveal is that Mr. Below Average has blossomed into a reputable source and sometimes even an expert in a field. A field that I was surprised they managed to care about at all, given the quality of assignments they produce.

The Religiously naive pupil now uses terms that I find myself ignorant of because when I was all high-horse about knowledge, I let myself get stagnant. I let myself feel as if I had arrived. And now they quote elegant about ancient dusty books and are fluent in Greek and Latin.

Meanwhile, Mr. Teacher is using google more and more these days just to get by.

This is My second Rule.

Study your industry a little bit each day.

There is this fascinating passage in the C.S. Lewis book Mere Christianity where Snior Lewis talks about love. Instead of using something remotely interesting, he turns to the thrilling journey of plants.

I’m sure his musings on gardens will eventually be rebooted as an action movie.

Ever the poetic genius, Lewis talks of how a nubile green thumb at first feels extreme excitement and immense highs at planting, nurturing, and cultivating a seed. Eventually though, that thrill subsides. Truth be told, Gardening isn’t necessarily all action. At least until the reboot.

Rather than action, the act of gardening requires large amounts of waiting. You watch the soil like a hound dog watching the Mailman. And then one day, BAM! Greenery sprouts. Elation. Joy. Accomplishment.

This is the first seedling. You celebrate, and feel as if you should throw a plant Shower for the new born.

Overtime though, once again, you find gardening becoming dull. Plants explode from the soil, only to grow sluggishly and die over minute details such as sun and water.

Yet talk to a master who has achieved perfection in any craft. Like an old married couple, they have a depth of fondness and understanding that few have ever seen for the mundane. They know the terms and culture of that hobby and can talk for hours about it.

An expert gardener may be able to tell you the latin names of plants, the growth patterns of bizarre sprouts, the joy of seeing this tree grow and this flower bloom.

It is in the depth of knowledge that love for the craft is born, and the beauty of the craft revealed.

Yet, no one was ever born an expert and most experts were forged in less than two decades. If you are serious about your industry. Start now. Pursue excellence. Read everything about it, the good, the bad, the terribly uniformed opinions. And openly learn.

You might find yourself a master of a craft, deeply in love with it, without ever realizing it was a lifetime of work. Because it was actually a joyful walk of love. Everything is new once.

This is my Second Rule.

Study your industry a little bit each day.

-Jake

Weekly Update #2

Man, I feel like Eminem before he goes on stage during 8 mile. Except, I would never throw up moms spaghetti, that’s just rude hood-rat behavior.

Milestones for the week:

First completed job. $100 in the bank.

I just submitted my first request to be paid. $100. I am far more proud of those dollars than I am of money earned doing manual labor in a steel mill in North Carolina or mowing lawns. It is in some ways, my first entrepanueral cash. My first time being paid as a self-employed freelance copywriter.

In a few hours, I will be a published Author. Or maybe Author is a bit stretching it… I did write a killer how-to article though!

Victory #1!!! WOOT!

Learning a ton from SSFU (Not a dirty acronym)

I’m currently taking a course on working on Upwork. It’s been great! It’s like looking into a mirror and seeing mustard all over my face. There is so much I can improve upon.

My writing has been consistent and often.

I have had writers block for three months. Freelance work has kicked that in the teeth. My workflow is productive, I am learning more about my craft, and my writing is improving! What What!

Hurdles for the week:

My professionalism needs a reboot.

I misread the instructions for an article bid, while being tested on my ability to read instructions. I sent a large article out to a client and eagerly awaited feedback. And I’m waiting to here back from a candidacy that looked really promising but might be a money/time hole.

I think some moments I feel so confident, other moments, I am in over my head.

It’s thrilling and yet, I’m learning so much about making sure you clarify expectations, ask questions, and keep learning. After all, reputation is a currency that freelancers trade in.

I need good clients.

So far I am bartering a lot of time for very little payback.

I need to be better at writing bids and winning proposals.

Well, this is embarrassing…

Marketting

Goals:

My Freelance goal for this month is to win one stellar long-term client and finish Secrets of a Six-Figure Upworker. I set this goal to be accomplished by April 18th. 

Thanks for reading! Track my journey with me and join along. What are your tips for finding success in my hurdles and achieving better milestones? Comment below!

-Jake

Edit: For those who have seen that awful picture above of the $100 bill. It is pixelated because I used snipping tool and loaded up a picture into the featured image category without realizing that it doesn’t go to the main page but merely stays on the articles I publish. My mistake! Next time, put a picture in the article to snag attention and use a featured image that is relevent and interesting. Instead of improving on errors like this, I keep them as a testament to the changes this blog will go through in time. #Smallwins

 

Rule #1: Deadlines

Last night I hastily messaged a client. I hadn’t begun work on the project (It had been 72 hours since winning the bid) and I was so nervous I would lose them. This made me realize something very simple…

When I accepted the terms, I didn’t ask what the deadline would be. I hastily thought, “Oh, I’ll bang this paper out in no time!”

Yet without a deadline, drift begins to happen, the natural work flow of putting priorities first causes you to put things that are simple, last.

I considered pulling an all-nighter, cranking it out, and sending it to him. But then I realized… don’t be a fool! Just ask about a deadline, everyone loves honesty, and it is important to know so that you aren’t wasting all this time stressed out.

So I got a quick response. I have four more days.

No more stress. But I could’ve avoided a bunch of stress if I asked what the deadline was.

Rule #1

Always set a tangible deadline that is reasonable, imminent, and obtainable.

This is my first guiding rule for any project.

-Jake

List Of Things I Can’t Do Yet

I am new to this. I am new to making a blog that isn’t cut from a good wordpress theme and some pictures. Over time I hope to change this list and learn.

Things I can’t do Yet/Haven’t fixed Yet

  • SEO
  • WordPress Programming
  • HTML
  • Photoshop
  • Change the title photo to something meaningful
  • A decent about section
  • Post Consistency
  • Save a post to repost later
  • Plugins
  • Buy a domain
  • Choose a Host
  • Affiliate Marketing
  • Sales Techniques
  • Excercise
  • Produce lot’s of Dosh (That’s Cash Money for those in the know)
  • YouTube Channel
  • eBook
  • Finish a book
  • Podcast
  • Set Up WordPress for Social Media Sharing
  • Set up Subscriber plugin (Give me a few posts before I even share this to the universe…)

Things I Can Do

  • Write Decent
  • Write Great
  • Make like 4 jokes
  • Bible Stuff
  • Raise Cats

This list will hopefully change as I learn and grow. When I do learn I’ll share. When I fail, I’ll share too. GOD SPEED.

Weekly Update#1: So it begins…

So it’s my first week on the job! WOOT! WOOT! Job you say?

Well let’s time travel…

*Zapping Noises*

Two weeks ago I realized I need more money to invest so I can make more money so I don’t have to sell my soul to Chipotle. No offense to Chipotle. It just pays well and is hiring. I have a job, but I’m locked into a salary.

This means if I show up early. I earn the same. If I leave early. I earn the same. Sometimes I work outrageous hours, others times I have breaks. Regardless of whether it’s  good or bad, there is one thing that I am reminded of…

The employee is slave to the employer.

They can dictate my hours, what I do when I am sick, cut off funds to feed my family, give funds if I do a good job. It’s not bad. Some people LOVE the 9-6 grind and feel successful. Yet I’ve always been somewhat discouraged by it.

So after years. We’re talking decades on decades like snacks be on snacks. I came to this place where I realized… I have hit terminal velocity. I can’t go any faster where I am at. There needs to be a change.

Then on the gossip rag that I occasionally gander at called Facebook that a friend of mine had arrived. A fancy website, a copywriting career, and shillings in the bank. This was all obtained by following the advice of freelance legend and occasional podcaster Danny Margulies from Freelance To Win.

I’m a pretty suspicious guy. Not like, I’m going to rob you, rather, “Oh man, I don’t trust no nobody ’round ‘ere.”

I don’t normally buy courses. So I didn’t. Instead I read every blog Danny had made, listened to podcasts, and heard about Upwork.

Now Upwork is a place where the Wild West of Freelancing has been moved to the even Wilder West of the internet. Without getting into a diatribe about the glory of Upwork (Not a Sponsor) I was intrigued.

So I joined. I started bidding. Nothing happened. Then I remembered the words of Danny, which are misquoted below for your pleasure,

“To become the best at a field young grasshopper, study your industry everyday. Dude.”

Suddenly dots connected like a constellation, except this one actually looked like something (I often think our ancestors had crap visual acuity but very good imaginations to make a couple of lines look like a lion).

I can Freelance. So I started my journey. Normally updates won’t be this long, because you use a smartphone and stopped reading about thirty lines ago. Regardless, I started on Upwork.

I had an awful profile, an awful proposal system, no good skills at closing, but after reading about my industry I just closed my first bid. 1 Article of 2000 words for $100.

CHA! CHING!

So this week, I started learning, I’ll write about what I’m learning, Upwork, how to not suck, but that’s in due time.

Oh, and I bought the course.

Challenge: Pick something you are good at… Now pick two more things… would people pay to learn, read, or see that thing? Always good food for thought! Comment yours below!

Edit: This blog was originally called, Update #1: Maybe these will be weekly. I intentionally changed it to be a weekly update structure to bring this blog in line with my other posts. I think consistency is great for growing a platform. I also changed the format from random vague Updates to weekly. Given a tangible time-frame to something keeps it present and a pattern you can repeat. Also I asked a question for a Challenge, but didn’t tell anyone to comment! This has been changed. ALWAYS INVITE READERS TO DO SOMETHING IN INK OR BLOOD.

Journey To Success

I am not a salesman. The very idea, is sort of disgusting to me. I value relationship, I would much rather offer good value to someone instead of getting some dosh by making someone a sucker.

I am a high-level introvert. I like waste my time in droves, I don’t exercise, I eat a diverse subset of bread and cheese. I’m a mess.

And that’s ok. The last few weeks, maybe beginning at the new year even, I have had a renewed drive for self improvement. The desire to create passive income, become an entrepreneur, start a mastermind, invest in stocks. The only problem is…

I LITERALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING.

So I started reading, learning, watching, and I walked away with one profound observation.

No one knows what they are doing when they start something new.

I mean, sure, Mozart did that whole child prodigy thing, you know, the one where you can write a concerto and still eat boogers. But most of us are not savants. A lot of us have spent more time at a dead-end job and dreaming big then actually doing dreams.

That’s ok. Yet, I am going to kind of drop-kick my own personal limits in the face. I am going to pursue blogging, creating an audience, and making dollar dollar bills You all.

This blog will change over time. Pictures might appear. Things might change. I might even get a domain name, like I hear every other self-starting entrepreneur tell me to get so that they can get affiliate advertising.

Feel free to join and learn.

-Jake