What You’re Meant to Do

Figuring out the thing you’re meant to do, the holy trifecta of ambition, talent and personality, it takes experimentation. Some people get lucky and find it when they’re young. Other people, it takes years. I’m reminded of The Moon and Sixpence, a brilliant book. The guy, I forget his name, is a banker in London and out of nowhere he feels that art is his calling. So he leaves his family and moves to Paris to paint. Fantastic, I love it.

Your Thing

But how do you know when you’ve found your thing? You keep getting better at it. In my life it was not always clear to me that writing would be my thing. I seriously experimented in two other areas.

For two years straight I produced electronic music with Fruity Loops. I made a hundred or a hundred and fifty songs. I DJed at parties and watched YouTube tutorials about how to sound like Skrillex. It was not an idle hobby, I worked on this shit more or less daily for twenty-four months. And at the end I had to concede it wasn’t for me. No matter what I tried, read, practiced, studied, whatever. My progress was that of a snail.

Later I took up online poker. I read all the books, even the dry mathy ones. I played every day and filled entire notebooks with analysis of my winning and losing hands. I spent hours watching pros breakdown their hands. I dove into the game with passion and after six months I was certain that I was worse then when I started.

Natural Talent

The music, I had no natural talent. The poker, I was not emotionally cool enough to be good. They just didn’t work. But the writing… It’s the only thing in my life that I’ve continually improved upon. Taken six months at a time, since the day I started writing a decade ago I have never stopped improving. That is a simple fact. I still have, so, so, so far to go. But I’m closer.

And you?

Getting Better 

Find that thing that you like to do and keep getting better at. Life is funny, there may be other things you actually enjoy more. Like I think that playing poker (and surfing) is just about the most fun a person can have on this earth. But it’s not always about fun. It’s about what works for you, what you can do well. Don’t force it, it won’t work. You won’t reach mastery, at least not happily (Andre Agassi’s Open is a enlightening discourse on what it is to reach mastery unhappily). Go out there and live. Try many things and when you find out what works, stick with it for life.

How to Get an Upwork Job You’re Not Qualified For

The toughest time to get a job on Upwork is when you’re just starting and you don’t have any experience. However, even after you get positive reviews and rack up the hours, the next challenge is getting a job that you don’t have any experience with. For example, you do social media management and you work with Facebook. If you want to get into Twitter, you might find it hard to get people to hire you if you don’t have any positive client reviews.

In this article I’m going to tackle that problem, and show you how I was able to get a fantastic job that, according to the description, I was under-qualified for. After that example, I’ll go on to list five tips that you can use when you’re applying for new jobs which you don’t have experience with. Let’s get started!

I’m Not a Copywriter

The job in question stated in the title that I should be a copywriter, and in the description it went on to say that owing to the detailed nature of the project, I should have 5 years experience as a copywriter. While I have 6 years of writing experience, I’ve never written professional copy in my life. With that in mind, this is the proposal that I submitted that allowed me to have the chance to work on a project that I’m thoroughly enjoying!

My Proposal

“Hey, my name is Sam. I’d like to make a suggestion which you are obviously free to take or reject. Break apart this large $8,000 a month project, and assign some of the easier parts of it to me. Or, conversely, let me work on the project with you for a trial month, at half the monthly pay that you’ve suggested here.

Why am I suggesting this?

I’m almost the perfect fit for you, but not 100%. I have a bachelors in psychology, I eat philosophy books for dinner, I live in Brooklyn, and I’ve been writing for five years. But most of it has been SEO articles and web content. So I don’t have the level of experience that you’re looking for. However, I am a solid writer and I’m confident that I can deliver content that lives up to your expectations. In fact I’d love to demonstrate this by working for free for a week. If you think it will work, you can pay me. If not, then we can go our separate ways.

Well that’s my pitch. I’d love to get the chance to work with you, but obviously I’d understand if I’m just not the correct fit.

Have a good day!”

The Response

I submitted this proposal believing there was only a small chance I would hear back from them, because of my lack of experience. However, I was surprised when I got a reply about a week later, and I ultimately got the job. Best of all, I never had to hide anything about myself or my experience. By being fully forthright in my application I was able to speak confidently about exactly what I could and couldn’t do, and I believe that’s part of the reason that I got the job.

In applying for your own jobs for which you don’t believe yourself qualified, here are a few suggestions. Hopefully by following them you’ll find it easier to get more work, and increase your hourly rate as well!

Tips for Applying to Jobs

1. Never lie. If you don’t have experience doing something, don’t lie and say you do. Four times out of five that will lead to a negative result, which can mean receiving bad feedback on your Upwork profile, which is something to be avoided at all costs. Instead, try this.

2. Make an irresistible offer. If you look at my application above, you’ll notice I made it a no-brainer decision for the person who would hire me. I offered to work for free for a week, and I also offered to work at half of their advertised monthly rate.

3. Focus on your strengths. Going back to my first example, if you’re doing well with Facebook management and want to get into Twitter, talk about how well you’re doing with Facebook. Focus on all of the positive results you’re getting and how you’re going to use that experience to be successful on Twitter. You shouldn’t hide your lack of experience, but you also shouldn’t focus on it too much.

4. Consider doing some free work. If you’re really serious about getting work in a certain area, you may want to considering working for free for a while. Regardless of what you do, there’s probably some charity or non-profit that would like your services. For example, in the coming months as I get serious about learning to copywrite, I may contact various non-profits to see if I can write copy for their website. Not only am I helping them out, but I’m gaining positive references and new content to add to my professional website.

5. Take a course. Amazing.com offers great courses, and a thirty day free trial! I can tell you from experience that their courses are incredible and well worth the money. By taking a course you’ll learn a lot about your new field, and you’ll be able to tell potential clients that you have a good idea about what you’re doing.

As always, when applying for a position that you’re not qualified for, you should follow the golden rule. Apply to a lot of jobs. Dozens and dozens, don’t give up. For example, even though I’ve done 41 jobs and have 460 timed hours of work on Upwork, I still only hear back from about every third client. If you’re just starting out that number might be much worse. That’s normal, stick it out! If you want to learn more about writing a good application, check out my popular article: How to Make an Awesome Upwork Application

The Biggest Disadvantage of Being Self Employed

Even though I grew up with two self-employed parents, I didn’t even really get it until I started working for myself. It’s something that you don’t really think about if you work for someone else, but it’s a daily thought if you’re your own boss. What do you think it is? Discipline, hard work, no boss to keep you on track? Nope, it’s…

Finding work.

That’s the killer. Getting enough hours is the bane of most self-employed people’s existence. My friend Sergej who does freelance translation says that he spends 70% of his time translating, and 30% of his time finding new clients. My father, who runs the business Timberbuilt, spends large sums of money to get new clients every year. And he always says to me; “We can handle more work, first we just need to get it.

Employed vs. Self-Employed

In my own experience, getting enough hours to make the kind of money I want has been the hardest part of working for myself. For example, my hourly wage is a respectable $25 to $30 at the moment. That’s great and I’m happy with it, but if I only get 10 hours a week it doesn’t matter how good it is, the guy making $10 an hour, working forty hours a week, is still doing better than me.

When you have a normal job with a boss and a water cooler and coworkers you don’t like, you take it as granted that you’ll always have work. In fact you probably wish you had a less steady supply of the stuff. While I don’t think it’s fair to look at your workload as a blessing, it is something that you might want to appreciate to some degree. You can do your work without having to worry about whether you’re even going to have any hours at all next week.

Is it Worth it?

Of course, there are many self-employed people who never worry about getting hours. They regularly turn down jobs. However, I believe this is something that typically comes once you’ve been in the game a while and the quality of your work is high. If you’re in the beginning stages it’s more difficult. Getting work is a big part of the grind, and the constant search can grow tedious.

So if you’re thinking about working for yourself, or starting your own business, be aware in advance that a large part of your time is going to be spent finding new clients. It’s easier for some people than others, but everyone has to anticipate this arrangement to some degree. Despite this, I think the advantages heavily outweigh the drawbacks, and I encourage everyone to take steps to start their own online business today! You can read my post: How to Make Money Online, or check out all the other resources available on the internet today.

Should You Create Your Own Website?

Having your own website is an invaluable way to market yourself. It’s the 21st century equivalent of a business card. It’s sort of like having a cool Facebook profile, only more professional and you have ultimate control over it. Regardless of the appeal of a large platform like Facebook, you have to accept that someone else will always be in control. At any time they can suspend your account for violating some arcane rule, and there’s little you can do about it. The only reason that will happen with your own website is your failure to pay the hosting fee.

I created this website after reading The Education of Millionaires, a book that I recommend to everyone. Ellsberg suggested registered a domain with your own name and I took him up on his advice. Eighteen months later here we are. But what if you don’t want to write blog posts, does it still make sense to create a website?

Absolutely. Even if you don’t plan to publish content a website can still be your calling card. You can use it to host your resume. If you do freelance work it can be a place for clients to leave reviews. You can use it as a portal to all of your social profiles. If you know nothing about web design it will force you to learn a thing or two. Finally, it will give you control over your image. If you don’t have a website, when someone types your name into Google you’re at the mercy of whatever comes up. Having a website gives you control over your own brand name which is important now, and will be even more important in the future.

Creating a Website from Scratch

Even if you don’t want the hassle of creating a website right now, you should definitely consider doing the bare minimum and registering your domain name. Sites like GoDaddy will let you register a domain name for about $15 per year.

If you’ve done that and you’re feeling adventurous, you can begin the process of creating your own site. There are loads of guides to get you started. Or you can easily go to Upwork and contract the work out. However, I believe that you should give serious thought to designing your own website. It will give you total control over the appearance and you’ll end up learning why things look the way they do. For people just starting out I’ve written the post: 4 Web Design Tips for Beginners. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though, and there’s a nearly unlimited amount of useful information out there on the internet.

The Future of Web Design is Today

The World of Tomorrow from FuturamaThere are some new tools available today that make web design so ludicrously easy that anyone can do it. If you work online then understanding how to build a website is a huge plus. Not only is web design fun, knowing how to do do it yourself will also save you hundreds (thousands) of dollars.

Thanks to some incredible new products, you no longer have to actually learn CSS or HTML in order to create something beautiful. In a way that’s sort of sad as they are the foundation of the web. On the other hand, if you have more important things to do and just want to make a cool website then you’re in the right place. The easiest way to start is with a WordPress theme. Here are two of theme that I’ve found to be particularly outstanding.

X Theme

This website is running X Theme, as are thousands of other sites on the internet. The cool thing about X Theme is that because it’s so versatile no two websites end up looking the same. You can make something sleek like this, something new age like this, or something totally minimal and artistic like this.

The short code system makes it easy to layout pages. There are also more than 30 really well designed pre-made demo themes. X Theme looks great on a mobile phones which is important because Google checks your website for mobile compatibility. If you fail to meet certain criteria you’re ranking can go down and you’ll be less likely to get organic search traffic.

What I love most about X Theme is the fantastic support. You can post a question (or multiple questions) and within 24 hours someone will answer them in detail. It’s reason enough to buy this theme, especially if you’re new to web design.

Advantages

-Fantastic support. I’ve never had a question that an X Theme support representative didn’t answer within 24 hours.

-Huge basket of pre-made themes. These give you a great opportunity to start with a well built site skeleton and customize from there.

-X Theme can be customized to your hearts content.

-At $64 it’s probably the cheapest outstanding theme you can buy.

Disadvantages

-If you prefer to make tweaks with CSS then X Theme isn’t the best option. You can’t access the source code which makes it about 700% more difficult to mess with, then say a different theme like Genesis

-Some questionable default options, like having a black background automatically appear over all pictures upon hover. Who thought that this would be a good idea?

Divi Theme

Divi Theme is a work of art. It will give you the tools to make the coolest website you can imagine. When I was looking for a new theme a few weeks ago I started drooling when I found the Elegant Themes homepage. I didn’t spend more than 10 minutes looking at all the details before I bought Divi for my writing portfolio. Best decision of my life.

What Divi does it bridge the gap between a professional website and an amateur website. That is, Divi gives you more of an opportunity to make a professional looking theme then has ever existed before. That hinges on some knowledge though, which is why I don’t think Divi theme is perfect for everyone. If you’ve never designed a website I believe that X Theme is better. It’s easier to navigate, it’s intuitive, it has fantastic support and the provided demo themes are a life saver. However, if you have some idea what you’re doing, then Divi theme is probably the best choice.

Advantages

-More tools than you’ll ever be able to use. Sliders, FAQ boxes, opt in forms, contact forms, loads of icons, full width headers, secondary menus, the list goes on.

-Well thought out page design tool. This tool makes it a breeze to create pages across your website. It works so beautifully too, I’ve never had a problem with it.

-When you buy Divi theme what you’re actually paying for is a subscription to Elegant themes. That means you can download any theme from their website. That’s a really good deal.

Disadvantages

-If you have no experience with web design, you’ll probably find Divi isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, the demo pages are stunning and beautiful, but when you’re staring at a blank page and have no idea where to start it’s a different story.

-It’s $89 a year for the middle package which includes all the plugins. You can pay $69 a year for just the theme without plugins, but then you won’t get Divi builder.

-The support isn’t as good as X Theme’s.

Two Themes Not Worth Your Money

Genesis

StudioPress (the people behind Genesis) used to be responsible for some of the greatest themes. Lately though the competition has gotten fierce. In the last few years some incredible themes (X Theme / Divi Theme) have been released. They make Genesis look like a kid that forgot his homework. It’s like going to a drag race with a Ford Focus intending to beat a 1,500 HP Nissan GTR with a turbocharger the size of a small oven.

ZigZagPress Themes

There’s no reason to buy a theme from ZigZagPress. They have a beautiful website that makes all their themes look great, but it’s just glitter. Once you actually take your new ZigZag theme home and get it unwrapped, you’re likely to find out that it’s quite a bit less fantastic then you were expecting. If you like themes from ZigZagPress, get Divi instead.

The Best THING Ever

I want to introduce to you the greatest addition to webdesign since the invention of WordPress. Once you begin designing your website this tool is going to dramatically improve your life. As soon as you realize just how amazing it is you’ll wonder how people ever designed websites without. As much as I love Divi theme, the driving force behind the cool design of my writing website is this tool.

For $30 you can get CSS Hero, which is going to radically alter your web design experience. It allows you to make changes to your website and see the results in real time. This. Is. Amazing. If you’ve never designed a website before you cannot appreciate what a wonderful idea this is. It makes your life easier, shaves hours off the development process, and allows you to do in 5 minutes what used to take an hour.

If CSS Hero cost $100 I would pay it. Your site is going to come out so much better because of it that’s it’s worth any price tag. Check out this video to see it in action. It’s produced by the wonderful saints who made the plugin, so it’s biased. But it also shows exactly what the plugin is capable of, no bullshit.

Advantages

-Makes web design a joyous, beautiful process. It can literally turn a twenty hour job in a three hour job.

-It works really well.

-Fair price tag.

-It will allow you to build a professional looking website without having to hire a professional.

Disadvantages

-With a standard license you can only install it on one website.

-It has been known to not play well with some themes.

Get Started Today

With all of the amazing options now available I hope that you’re convinced that there has never been a better time to make a website. With no experience you can now craft a site that looks good and functions well. Just five years ago this was very difficult for somebody without web design experience. If you’re ready to get started, there are a few things you should do. First, read my post: 4 Web Design Tips for Beginners. Next, make the difficult choice between X Theme and Divi Theme. Finally, grab CSS Hero and get to work. I’m interested to find out what you end up creating!

3 Downsides of Freelancing Online

Earlier I wrote about how awesome it is to work online. You can work from anywhere in the world, you don’t have a boss, you can earn a healthy amount of money, and so on. That’s fantastic and I meant every word of it. There are downsides too though, and it’s only in the last couple of weeks that I’ve really started to notice them. If you work online, can you relate to any of these?

1. Lack of Client Communication

For me, this warrants spot number one. When I wrote about having clients (and not needing a resume) I was looking at as a major positive, and I still see it that way. However, the flip-side is that when you have lots of different clients, not all of them are going to treat you as you might like.

The best clients provide feedback and answer your questions in a timely manner. The worst don’t say anything and never return your emails. I’ve found that most clients fall somewhere in the middle. They’ll usually answer your questions, but not all the time. What I’ve found is the absolute worst though, is when a client stops giving you work for no apparent reason.

For example, I’ll turn in a few articles, the client will thank me (or not) and then I won’t hear back from them. That leaves me in a mental fog. Did I fuck up somehow, are the articles not what they wanted? Or is there just no more work right now?

Not only is this taxing mentally, it also makes it difficult to plan ahead. At the moment I have contracts with guaranteed work for the next month. Everything else is always on the chopping block. This is opposite of a traditional paycheck, which arrives week in and week out. I believe this is something that all self employed people experience, whether you work online or not.

2. The Need to Constantly Find New Work

I imagine that this will change in the future. As I continue to work online I hope to pick up steady clients and find more consistent, reliable work. However, at the moment I spend several hours a week looking for new work. There are two reasons for this.

As I mentioned above, sometimes clients leave me out in the rain. I deliver a product and then don’t hear from them again. Especially frustrating since I actually work really hard on every single article and I crave feedback. If they have a problem, I wish they would tell me! Every month a certain small percentage of my work disappears like this.

Sometimes it’s the other way around though, and I leave a client. The best example of this is a job I quit last week. I was working for Udemy, looking for email addresses of technology bloggers. It was stable work at $11 an hour. Comfortable, ridiculously easy, and I was good at it too, routinely beating their average time requirements for finding a certain number of addresses. However, the work wasn’t furthering my career. I could do it for 100 hours, earn $1,100 and still be in the same spot as when I started.

That’s different then writing articles. Every article brings me one step closer to achieving my long term goals. With every article I gain a sliver of new experience, I have something new to add to my portfolio and I learn a bit more about SEO. You don’t get any of that when you’re searching Google for Bloggers. That’s why sometimes I quit jobs, even good jobs, in order to find work that will bring me closer to achieving my goals. Giving up the short term to further the long term is great, but you still need to find new clients when you do it.

3. Explaining to People How I Earn Money

Seriously though, this gets old. Typical conversation goes like this (usually in Russian since I’m in Ukraine, but I’ll write it out in English).

“So what do you do for a living?”

“I write online.”

“You mean you’re a blogger?”

“Well, sort of. I write articles for different companies around the world.”

“You studied this in university?”

“No, I just started doing it four or five months ago”

“What do you write about?”

“Ummm, well I wrote about bedbugs today, but yesterday I wrote about a motel in Australia.”

“Wow. That sounds…. Cool!”

Eyes glazed, no comprehension. I’m fairly certain that half of the people I talk to think that I’m making this shit up. They probably think that every day I actually sneak off to go work in a factory or sell hot dogs on a street corner. It’s outside of most people’s reality that some guy from Australia who I’ve never met and will never meet is willing to pay me $20 an article to write about his motel.

A Freelancer’s Lifestyle

That, in a nutshell, is what I find difficult about working online. Number three isn’t really that bad though, just sort of annoying. I don’t think people take me seriously when I tell them how I earn money. They think I’m a fruit, or that I just don’t want to tell them what I really do.

All things considered I really like working online. I’ll take these downsides any day versus the drawbacks of previous jobs that I’ve held. If you want to find out how you can get started, read my post: How to Make Money Online. In the post I break down the procedure of finding work online into a series of easy steps. Anyone can do it, so long as you want it bad enough. Are you ready for something better?

5 Great Places To Live For $1,000 a Month

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If you work online you know how awesome it is to travel while still earning a weekly paycheck. However, when you’re just starting out you probably won’t be making lots of money, which is why I’ve put together this list of cities. You can have a great life in any of them for less than $1,000 a month, I’m going to Phnom Penh and Bangkok myself this winter. Have a look at the list below, and if you want to start earning money on the internet, check out my article: How to Make Money Online.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

A beautiful statue of a flying angel in Argentina

This is a no brainer, especially if you live in Canada or the United States. Buenos Aires is one of the cheapest cities in Latin America. It’s a hub for festivals and one of the most attractive places in the entire continent. You can expect great bargains on rent, delicious food, awesome wine, and lots of opportunities to set up a businesses.

Becoming a legal national of Argentina may prove to be somewhat a challenge, but if you overstay your visa the fine will only be around $40, regardless of how long your offense is for. However, you should be aware that Argentina has very strict import rules, and the country is in a deep economical crisis. It could collapse at any moment so plan accordingly.

Guanajuato, Mexico

The city of Guanajuato is packed all year around, especially during the festival season. It’s an optimal place to live due to its geographical landscape. The highland keeps the climate pleasant all year round, so you’ll never have to worry about air conditioning or central heating. Apart from the cheap cost of living here, the Spanish inspired cuisine is respected around the world due to its spicy taste and economical price. 

Phnom Penh, Cambodia

A large group of monks sitting together in orange robesCambodia is a great place to live because it’s secluded and cheap. Phnom Penh, as well as the whole of Cambodia, offers a business visa that runs as low as $280 per year. When that expires you may renew it without leaving the country. If you want to live downtown you’ll only need to fork out about $500 in rent a month. If you’re earning $1,000 a month, you’ll have a cool $500 left over every month to spend on whatever you want. If you take a trip to the coast, you can find hostels directly on the ocean. Working online has never been so awesome! Check out HostelWorld and you can find hostels for less than $5 a night in Phnom Penh. 

Bangkok, Thailand

Getting into Thailand is somewhat a challenge due to restriction laws on visa, but once you get there, this is really the place to be. Bangkok has a reputation for exotic Asian cuisine and economical prices. The cost of living is lower than other developed cities and you can easily afford your monthly rent in Bangkok for less than $400. The transportation, food, health care costs are all very reasonable. $1,000 a month and you can live whatever kind of life you want.

Kiev, Ukraine

A large statue in Kiev, Ukraine that shows two men holding up an emblemKiev is my second home in Europe for a good reason. It’s cheap, the people are fantastic, and there are about a billion cool things to do. Including getting your head lit on fire, which is not something you can find in just any city. You can stay in an awesome hostel here for $7 a night and you can buy at beer at almost any bar for $1. If you want to stay for a while you can easily rent an apartment downtown for less than $400 a month.

Coming to Ukraine is painless. If you have an American or EU passport you can stay for 90 days without a visa. Getting an official Visa for longer is difficult, but it’s Eastern Europe and there are always ways to bend the law with some well placed currency. The biggest drawback is the general lack of English. On the the other hand, it’s a cool chance to learn a bit of Russian.

How to Make an Awesome Upwork Application

I’ve applied to more than 90 jobs on Upwork. Sometimes I’ve gotten the job, and most of the time I haven’t. That’s the way the game is played, and it’s why Upwork gives you 30 new applications every month. Below you’ll find some tips about making a great Upwork application. If you don’t want tips, and just want some examples, look at a big list of my successful applications. If you have no idea what Upwork is, read my post: How to Make Money Online.

Let’s begin.

1. Apply for all 30 jobs, every single month. Now matter how amazing your application or profile is, applying to jobs is a numbers game. The more applications you have floating out there the better your odds. You might be surprised what turns up. I’ve had clients contact me weeks after I submitted an application.

2. Make sure that the hourly rate on your profile and the rate you submit on your application are in the same ballpark. Maybe you submit $15 an hour on a job application. The client sees this, looks at your profile, and sees that your hourly rate is actually $8. He’s going to ask what gives, and throw your application away.

3. DO NOT copy and paste applications. This is a retarded strategy. You should be customizing every single application based on the client’s job description. When I needed someone to speed up this website, I posted an application on Upwork. Guess who was rejected immediately? EVERY SINGLE PERSON who started their application with “Dear hiring manager”.

4. Ballpark your application with the job description. If the job description is long and detailed, you should make your application long and detailed. If the job description is three sentences, writing three paragraphs probably isn’t the best idea. This depends though, and should be taken as more of an idea then as a general rule.

5. Make your first few sentences STAND THE FUCK OUT. You want to immediately grab a person’s attention. Almost without exception, I start every single application with:

“Hi, my name’s Sam and I’m the perfect person for this project.”

Maybe it’s corny, but 90% of the time it’s true. Clients can look at my profile, see my perfect rating from past clients, and realize that I really am the perfect freelancer. Another strategy that I would suggest is to customize the opening sentences specifically to that job. Let’s look at an example. This is my successful application for my highest paying job to date ($22 an hour). In the job description, the client mentioned that he needed some technical articles rewritten. So what do I talk about in my second sentences?

Hey, my name’s Sam and I’m the perfect person for this job. Here’s why:

1 – I have extensive experience with rewriting technical product descriptions and documents. One of my current jobs involves improving mechanical engineering product descriptions. My client is pleased with my work, I invite you to look at the feedback on my profile.

2 – I write SEO articles on a daily basis. I’ve written in more than a dozen niches already, and that number grows every month. I can rewrite keywords with proper weighting, add internal and external links, define H tags, specify image, write title tags, and write Meta Descriptions.

3 – I’m a native English speaker from New York. That means my grammar is always perfect.

4 – I’m a professional writer who takes my job seriously. I’m always available via Skype or Email and I answer promptly.

5 – My writing is clear, concise and to the point. I’ve been writing daily for years, and that shows.

I invite you to check out my online portfolio at:

www.DaggerWriting.com

I’m looking forward to hearing back from you!

Sam

6. Mention past experience. That’s what I did in the above application, and I believe it’s why I got the job. Always play up any experience you have. A client doesn’t want you to be learning on the job, he or she wants you to be the master.

7. Create an online portfolio. There is literally NO EXCUSE to not do this. You can sign up for a free Blogger or WordPress portfolio. Better than nothing, not nearly as good as… Hosting your own portfolio website. For example, my site is Epoch Writing. I’ve written more about web design in my post: 4 Web Design Tips for Beginners.

8. Never plagiarize. This has nothing to do with filling out an application, it’s just general advice. If you plagiarize and get caught, your career is over. The client will leave you feedback saying you did it, you could potentially get kicked off of Upwork, and so on. It’s never, ever worth it. If you don’t know how to complete a job without stealing someone else’s work, you shouldn’t apply in the first place.

Summary

Forest Gump saying wordsLike Forest Gump, that’s all I’ve got to say about that. Out of everything here, I think the most important point is number one. You should apply for a lot of jobs. Even with a great application, you’ll still only hear back from about 1 in 4 clients. Maybe even less, that’s totally normal. As a rule, if you’re spending less than 10 minutes on an application you’re doing it wrong.

Also you can find loads of my successful applications that I’ve copied word for word from Upwork. Feel free to copy, steal, paraphrase or do whatever you like with it.

Screw the Resume, Satisfy Your Clients

For an entrepreneur, having a satisfied client is the most important resume. You can’t fake it and you can’t pay for it. It takes a while to build up a list of satisfied clients. However, once you have it, it’s like holding onto gold. You’ll be able to use that list of clients to bring in new jobs and charge more for them while you’re at it. Here are three reasons why you should start creating a list of satisfied clients, and chuck the resume in the garbage can where it belongs.

1. Your History is Irrelevant

If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re working for yourself, your history is irrelevant. A prospective client doesn’t care where you went to high school, what you studied in college, whether you graduated from college, or how many times you’ve visited Florida. He cares about one thing.

Can you help me to solve a problem, and make my company more money?

If that client can read feedback from people you’ve worked with, or talk to people you’ve worked with, that’s going to be a way more effective way to convince him of your value.

2. Good Communication is Crucial

When you’re working with a client it’s critical to be accessible and easy to contact. You’d be surprised by how many people screw up this simple idea. They answer their emails late, or not at all. This makes it harder for a client to work with you, and they’re less likely to hire you again. A resume doesn’t tell a perspective client anything about your communication habits. Feedback from past clients does.

3. A Resume is Too Commonplace

My dad has been a business owner for more than twenty years. When I was a kid I would occasionally see the pile of applications that formed on his desk. When you see twenty or thirty of them stacked on top of each other, they no longer seem to represent human potential. That’s just a small business. Imagine if you’re sending in an application for a company which will receive hundreds..

Imagine how much more attention you would receive if you mailed my father’s business a letter. Inside you wrote three lines about yourself, and included the name and phone number of three other people you had worked with who would recommend you. That would  stick out from the pile.

You wouldn’t have to mail many of these letters before you got a job.

How You Can Start Building a Satisfied Client List

Unlike a resume, you can’t fake a client satisfaction list. The only way to build it is to actually offer your clients a high quality product. Do that, have good communication, and add in a dash of going-over-the-top and you have the perfect recipe for building a great list.

You don’t have to always have phone numbers or emails either. If you’ve done a good job for a client, don’t be afraid to ask for feedback. They’ll be happy to give it. You can then take that and put it on your website. This doesn’t have to be fancy, my own list of feedback from clients is very simple. It gets the job done though.

Today I got my highest paying job to date, and I got it because my new client from Hong Kong read what other clients wrote about me. Twice during the interview she mentioned my client feedback list. She never asked me where I went to college, what my last job was, or what my address is (which is great, because I couldn’t tell you my Ukrainian address to save my life).

If you’re an entrepreneur, having satisfied clients is the new resume. Start building your list today.

How to Make Money Online

I’m going to base this entire section on the assumption that you’ve never worked online before. A few months ago I was the same way. That all changed when I read this article. Chase gave me the idea to start working online, and I haven’t looked back since. The difference between Chase’s article and mine is that he focuses on getting a job as a copywriter, while I’ll be narrowing my focus to look exclusively how to start earning money on Upwork. Let’s get started.

1. Sign Up for Upwork

Go to www.Upwork.com and create a profile. When you create your profile you need to take it seriously. A real live human being will actually screen your application and if your profile is incomplete, they won’t let you sign up until you fix the problems. To get it right the first time follow this advice.

*Upload a professional looking picture of yourself.

*List any experience you have writing or doing other online work.

*List real world experience you have in any industries.

*List what skills you specialize in (or would like to specialize in). Some examples include: SEO content, copywriting, translation, creative writing, web design, content marketing, social media expert, graphic design, and so on.

*Look at the picture below, which will give you an idea about how to create a professional, to the point profile.

2. Begin the Application Process

Now that you have a profile it’s time to start applying for jobs. A good place to start is by simply typing in “creative writer” or “content writer” into the search bar. You’re going to find hundreds of jobs, of which you should apply to dozens. Play up any experience you have. If you got an A on a paper in high school for writing about a local event, say you have experience in journalism. If you wrote about about a your grandma who survived WWII, say your talented at crafting personal profiles. If you’ve never written anything in your life, say you’re enthusiastic about learning.

Spend anywhere from five to fifteen minutes on every application. The key here is volume. Every month you can apply to 30 jobs, and you want to apply to all 30 of them. Out of those jobs you’ll probably here back from three or four. Take this seriously, no matter what the wage is. Remember, you’re in this for the long run. In the beginning it’s way more important to get a positive review from a client then to earn a decent wage. For example, which one should you choose?

A – Work your first hundred hours on Upwork and receive an incredible $5,000 for your effort!

B – Work your first hundred hours on Upwork and receive$0 for your effort, but get amazing feedback from three clients.

If you picked B you’re correct. Feedback is going to make or break you. That’s why even if you’re earning $4 an hour you have to act like you’re earning $30 an hour. For me, even with extensive writing experience, I didn’t start earning more than $5 an hour till well after I had put in 50 hours. However, I got amazing feedback, and now I’m up to $10 an hour. That’s no coincidence.

3. Work Every Single Day

The more you write, the quicker you’ll gain experience, the sooner you’ll be able to start earning a decent living wage. If you fuck around and write two hours today, then two hours next Saturday, then a few hours in a month, you will get NOWHERE.

Since my first day on Upwork I’ve had a very simple rule: four hours a day no matter what. I’ve stuck to that rule like a nerd sticks to his girlfriend. The result is that not only have I doubled my hourly rate in two months, I’ve also gained a huge amount of experience in a short amount of time.

On Upwork, the more experience you have the more likely you are to get hired. For example, I’ve now written about the following topics: solar panels, renewable energy, water filters, web design, cloud faxing, healthy eating, losing weight, working out, dealing with peer pressure, Russian women, drinking water, and windows. That means that when I go look for a new job, I already have a huge bank of things I’ve already written about which means that I can ask for more money $$.

4. Apply for Higher Paying Jobs

After you have more experience, and some positive feedback, you can start applying for better jobs that actually pay you a decent wage. Once you reach this point, you want to change your application strategy a bit. Stop sending out applications in bulk, and start focusing on making several applications amazing.

I regularly spend in upwards of twenty to thirty minutes on a single application. Even though I get a response from only one person in five, it’s still worth it. Getting a high paying job is a really good feeling. But you’ll only get it if your application is one point. By the time you reach this point you’ll hardly need my advice. You’ll have enough experience to function on your own, and you’ll be well on your way to meeting your income goals.

Bonus Tips

1. Write down your income goals. Not only that, but set dates to reach them by. That will really light a fire under your ass to get on the computer and get hustling. My personal goal is to be making $2,000 a month by my birthday in May, 2016. Also, read the book Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill.

2. Always update your profile to reflect new experience. As you learn new skills, be sure to make that obvious.

3. Go above and beyond for your first few clients. It doesn’t matter how much you’re getting paid, you have to have that positive feedback.

4. Consider creating a website in order to showcase your portfolio. You can check out my website here. I have a full portfolio of what I’ve written and I’m always updating it. I literally only get a few views a week, but it doesn’t matter. Those few views are from high paying clients which makes it all worth it in the end.

5. Move to a cheap country where your dollar goes far. When I was earning $600 a month I was living in Ukraine. Do you know what you can do with $600 a month? Live like a fucking king! Do you know what you can do with $600 a month in New York City? Beg for change during the afternoons. You’re starting to write online so you can travel right? Well you might as well travel to a country where the dollar goes a long ways.

I’ll Never Work Again in my Life!

I want to diversify my income so that I never again have to depend on a full time job. Being dependent on a job is like being hit in the groin with a ladle every day, it sucks. I don’t like the rigidity, the fact that on weekdays I have to go to work come rain or shine. It may not be the worst bargain in the world, but it’s not an appealing one either. I’m going to find a better solution.

To that end, I’m publicly declaring my intentions to become financially independent by the end of this year. Let’s break down that goal in order that we might understand the implications. Come July, I’m going to be living like a monk in eastern Europe. I’ve run the math and I don’t expect my monthly expenses to exceed $600.

If we break that down further we find that I will have to make $20 a day. That’s not an unreasonable amount of money. $20 is only four hours of work at a minimum wage job in the United States, for example. However, I don’t want to work a minimum wage job. Ideally, I don’t want to work at all, but one step at a time.

Making Money Online

So how the hell can I make $20 a day online? Well my current thought lies with copywriting. It would be a tough market to break into but if I was successful, my expenses would easily be covered. In fact as I started producing better content and amassed a greater list of clients, I would make enough money to live in first world countries. Many of the cities on my to-visit-list are expensive and I would welcome the income.

While copywriting would allow me to throw off the shackles of a full time job, and earn money virtually, it doesn’t fulfill one indispensible criteria. Copywriting will never make me money while I sleep. Although it’s unfathomably better than teaching ten year olds English, it’s still not perfect.

The golden pear that I’m building a ladder to reach is an automated platform that makes me money while I’m at the bar, swimming in the ocean and studying foreign grammar. I know it’s possible. I’ve read accounts of people doing it and I’m confident that I can replicate their success. The process won’t be easy, but the very thought of working a full time job for the rest of my life gives me nightmares. I never want to work for someone again unless I stand to gain something other than money.

And so my goal stands pat. By December 31st of this year, I will make be making $600 a month online. I will do so to fulfill a short term need, but I will always keep my eye on the long term goal of creating a virtual ATM. My goals may be ambitious but history has shown that I’m capable of rising to the challenge.