More on Entrepreneurship/Creators
9 months ago
I finally achieved a $100K freelance income. Here's what I wish I knew.
We love round numbers, don't we? $100,000 is a frequent freelancing milestone. You feel like six figures means you're doing something properly.
You've most likely already conquered initial freelancing challenges like finding clients, setting fair pricing, coping with criticism, getting through dry spells, managing funds, etc.
You think I must be doing well. Last month, my freelance income topped $100,000.
That may not sound impressive considering I've been freelancing for 2.75 years, but I made 30% of that in the previous four months, which is crazy.
Here are the things I wish I'd known during the early days of self-employment that would have helped me hit $100,000 faster.
1. The Volatility of Freelancing Will Stabilize.
Freelancing is risky. No surprise.
Here's an example.
October 2020 was my best month, earning $7,150. Between $4,004 in September and $1,730 in November. Unsteady.
Freelancing is regrettably like that. Moving clients. Content requirements change. Allocating so much time to personal pursuits wasn't smart, but yet.
Stabilizing income takes time. Consider my rolling three-month average income since I started freelancing. My three-month average monthly income. In February, this metric topped $5,000. Now, it's in the mid-$7,000s, but it took a while to get there.
Finding freelance gigs that provide high pay, high volume, and recurring revenue is difficult. But it's not impossible.
TLDR: Don't expect a steady income increase at first. Be patient.
2. You Have More Value Than You Realize.
Writing is difficult. Assembling words, communicating a message, and provoking action are a puzzle.
People are willing to pay you for it because they can't do what you do or don't have enough time.
Keeping that in mind can have huge commercial repercussions.
When talking to clients, don't tiptoe. You can ignore ridiculous deadlines. You don't have to take unmanageable work.
You solve an issue, so make sure you get rightly paid.
TLDR: Frame services as problem-solutions. This will let you charge more and set boundaries.
3. Increase Your Prices.
I studied hard before freelancing. I read articles and watched videos about writing businesses.
I didn't want to work for pennies. Despite this clarity, I had no real strategy to raise my rates.
I then luckily stumbled into higher-paying work. We discussed fees and hours with a friend who launched a consulting business. It's subjective and speculative because value isn't standardized. One company may laugh at your charges. If your solution helps them create a solid ROI, another client may pay $200 per hour.
When he told me he charged his first client $125 per hour, I thought, Why not?
A new-ish client wanted to discuss a huge forthcoming project, so I raised my rates. They knew my worth, so they didn't blink when I handed them my new number.
TLDR: Increase rates periodically (e.g., every 6 or 12 months). Writing skill develops with practice. You'll gain value over time.
4. Remember Your Limits.
If you can squeeze additional time into a day, let me know. I can't manipulate time yet.
We all have time and economic limits. You could theoretically keep boosting rates, but your prospect pool diminishes. Outsourcing and establishing extra revenue sources might boost monthly revenues.
I've devoted a lot of time to side projects (hopefully extra cash sources), but I've only just started outsourcing. I wish I'd tried this earlier.
If you can discover good freelancers, you can grow your firm without sacrificing time.
TLDR: Expand your writing network immediately. You'll meet freelancers who understand your daily grind and locate reference sources.
5. Every Action You Take Involves an Investment. Be Certain to Select Correctly.
Investing in stocks or crypto requires paying money, right?
In business, time is your currency (and maybe money too). Your daily habits define your future. If you spend time collecting software customers and compiling content in the space, you'll end up with both. So be sure.
I only spend around 50% of my time on client work, therefore it's taken me nearly three years to earn $100,000. I spend the remainder of my time on personal projects including a freelance book, an investment newsletter, and this blog.
Why? I don't want to rely on client work forever. So, I'm working on projects that could pay off later and help me live a more fulfilling life.
TLDR: Consider the long-term impact of your time commitments, and don't overextend. You can only make so many "investments" in a given time.
6. LinkedIn Is an Endless Mine of Gold. Use It.
Why didn't I use LinkedIn earlier?
I designed a LinkedIn inbound lead strategy that generates 12 leads a month and a few high-quality offers. As a result, I've turned down good gigs. Wish I'd begun earlier.
If you want to create a freelance business, prioritize LinkedIn. Too many freelancers ignore this site, missing out on high-paying clients. Build your profile, post often, and interact.
TLDR: Study LinkedIn's top creators. Once you understand their audiences, start posting and participating daily.
For 99% of People, Freelancing is Not a Get-Rich-Quick Scheme.
Here's a list of things I wish I'd known when I started freelancing.
Although it is erratic, freelancing eventually becomes stable.
You deserve respect and discretion over how you conduct business because you have solved an issue.
Increase your charges rather than undervaluing yourself. If necessary, add a reminder to your calendar. Your worth grows with time.
In order to grow your firm, outsource jobs. After that, you can work on the things that are most important to you.
Take into account how your present time commitments may affect the future. It will assist in putting things into perspective and determining whether what you are doing is indeed worthwhile.
Participate on LinkedIn. You'll get better jobs as a result.
If I could give my old self (and other freelancers) one bit of advice, it's this:
Despite appearances, you're making progress.
Each job. Tweets. Newsletters. Progress. It's simpler to see retroactively than in the moment.
Consistent, intentional work pays off. No good comes from doing nothing. You must set goals, divide them into time-based targets, and then optimize your calendar.
Then you'll understand you're doing well.
Want to learn more? I’ll teach you.
10 months ago
10 hard lessons from founding a startup.
Here is the ugly stuff, read this if you have a founder in your life or are trying to become one. Your call.
#1 You'll try to talk yourself to sleep, but it won't always work.
As founders, we're all driven. Good and bad, you're restless. Success requires resistance and discipline. Your startup will be on your mind 24/7, and not everyone will have the patience to listen to your worries, ideas, and coffee runs. You become more self-sufficient than ever before.
#2 No one will understand what you're going through unless they've been a founder.
Some of my closest friends don't understand the work that goes into starting a business, and we can't blame them.
#3 You'll feel alienated.
Your problems aren't common; calling your bestie won't help. You must search hard for the right resources. It alienates you from conversations you no longer relate to. (No 4th of July, no long weekends!)
#4 Since you're your "own boss," people assume you have lots of free time.
Do you agree? I was on a webinar with lots of new entrepreneurs, and one woman said, "I started my own business so I could have more time for myself." This may be true for some lucky people, and you can be flexible with your schedule. If you want your business to succeed, you'll probably be its slave for a while.
#5 No time for illness or family emergencies.
Both last month. Oh, no! Physically and emotionally withdrawing at the worst times will give you perspective. I learned this the hard way because I was too stubborn to postpone an important interview. I thought if I rested all day and only took one call, I'd be fine. Nope. I had a fever and my mind wasn't as sharp, so my performance and audience interaction suffered. Nope. Better to delay than miss out.
Oh, and setting a "OoO" makes you cringe.
#6 Good luck with your mental health, perfectionists.
When building a startup, it's difficult to accept that there won't be enough time to do everything. You can't make them all, not perfectly. You must learn to accept things that are done but not perfect.
#7 As a founder, you'll make mistakes, but you'll want to make them quickly so you can learn.
Hard lessons are learned quicker. You'll need to pivot and try new things often; some won't work, and it's best to discover them sooner rather than later.
#8 Pyramid schemes abound.
I didn't realize how bad it was until I started a company. You must spy and constantly research. As a founder, you'll receive many emails from people claiming to "support" you. Be wary and keep your eyes open. When it's too good to be true. Some "companies" will try to get you to pay for "competitions" to "pitch at events." Don't do it.
#9 Keep your competitor research to a minimum.
Actually, competition is good. It means there's a market for those solutions. However, this can be mentally exhausting too. Learn about their geography and updates, but that's it.
#10 You'll feel guilty taking vacation.
I don't know what to say, but I no longer enjoy watching TV, and that's okay. Pay attention to things that enrich you, bring you joy, and have fun. It boosts creativity.
Being a startup founder may be one of the hardest professional challenges you face, but it's also a great learning experience. Your passion will take you places you never imagined and open doors to opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise. You'll meet amazing people. No regrets, no complaints. It's a roller coaster, but the good days are great.
Miss anything? Comment below
8 months ago
The three-year business plan is obsolete for startups.
If asked, run.
An entrepreneur asked me about her pitch deck. A Platform as a Service (PaaS).
She told me she hadn't done her 5-year forecasts but would soon.
I said, Don't bother. I added "time-wasting."
“I've been asked”, she said.
“Get another VC. If he asks, it's because he doesn't understand your solution or to waste your time.”
Some VCs are lagging. They're still using steam engines.
10-years ago, 5-year forecasts were requested.
Since then, we've adopted a 3-year plan.
But It's outdated.
Max one year.
What has happened?
Revolutionary technology. NO-CODE.
Product viability tests are shorter. Hugely. SaaS and PaaS.
Let me explain:
Building a minimum viable product (MVP) that works only takes a few months.
1 to 2 months for practical testing.
Your company plan can be validated or rejected in 4 months as a consequence.
After validation, you can ask for VC money. Even while a prototype can generate revenue, you may not require any.
Good VCs won't ask for a 3-year business plan in that instance.
If you want, establish a three-year plan, but realize that the second year will be different.
You may have changed your business model by then.
A VC isn't interested in a three-year business plan because your solution may change.
Your ability to create revenue will be key.
But also, to pivot.
They will be interested in your value proposition.
They will want to know what differentiates you from other competitors and why people will buy your product over another.
What will interest them is your resilience, your ability to bounce back.
Not to mention your mindset. The fact that you won’t get discouraged at the slightest setback.
The grit you have when facing adversity, as challenges will surely mark your journey.
The authenticity of your approach. They’ll want to know that you’re not just in it for the money, let alone to show off.
The fact that you put your guts into it and that you are passionate about it. Because entrepreneurship is a leap of faith, a leap into the void.
They’ll want to make sure you are prepared for it because it’s not going to be a walk in the park.
They’ll want to know your background and why you got into it.
They’ll also want to know your family history.
And what you’re like in real life.
So a 5-year plan…. You can bet they won’t give a damn. Like their first pair of shoes.
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11 months ago
Apple WWDC 2022 Announcements
WWDC 2022 began early Tuesday morning. WWDC brought a ton of new features (which went for just shy of two hours).
With so many announcements, we thought we'd compile them. And now...
WWDC is Apple's developer conference. This includes iOS, macOS, watchOS, and iPadOS (all of its iPads). It's where Apple announces new features for developers to use. It's also where Apple previews new software.
Virtual WWDC runs June 6-10. You can rewatch the stream on Apple's website.
WWDC 2022 news:
Completely everything. Really. iOS 16 first.
iOS 16 is a major iPhone update. iOS 16 adds the ability to customize the Lock Screen's color/theme. And widgets. It also organizes notifications and pairs Lock Screen with Focus themes. Edit or recall recently sent messages, recover recently deleted messages, and mark conversations as unread. Apple gives us yet another reason to stay in its walled garden with iMessage.
New iOS includes family sharing. Parents can set up a child's account with parental controls to restrict apps, movies, books, and music. iOS 16 lets large families and friend pods share iCloud photos. Up to six people can contribute photos to a separate iCloud library.
Live Text is getting creepier. Users can interact with text in any video frame. Touch and hold an image's subject to remove it from its background and place it in apps like messages. Dictation offers a new on-device voice-and-touch experience. Siri can run app shortcuts without setup in iOS 16. Apple also unveiled a new iOS 16 feature to help people break up with abusive partners who track their locations or read their messages. Safety Check.
Apple Pay Later allows iPhone users to buy products and pay for them later. iOS 16 pushes Mail. Users can schedule emails and cancel delivery before it reaches a recipient's inbox (be quick!). Mail now detects if you forgot an attachment, as Gmail has for years. iOS 16's Maps app gets "Multi-Stop Routing," .
Apple News also gets an iOS 16 update. Apple News adds My Sports. With iOS 16, the Apple Watch's Fitness app is also coming to iOS and the iPhone, using motion-sensing tech to track metrics and performance (as long as an athlete is wearing or carrying the device on their person).
iOS 16 includes accessibility updates like Door Detection.
Many of Apple's software updates are designed to take advantage of the larger screens in recent models, but they also improve health and fitness tracking.
The most obvious reason to upgrade watchOS every year is to get new watch faces from Apple. WatchOS 9 will add four new faces.
Runners' workout metrics improve.
Apple quickly realized that fitness tracking would be the Apple Watch's main feature, even though it's been the killer app for wearables since their debut. For watchOS 9, the Apple Watch will use its accelerometer and gyroscope to track a runner's form, stride length, and ground contact time. It also introduces the ability to specify heart rate zones, distance, and time intervals, with vibrating haptic feedback and voice alerts.
The Apple Watch's Fitness app is coming to iOS and the iPhone, using the smartphone's motion-sensing tech to track metrics and performance (as long as an athlete is wearing or carrying the device on their person).
We'll get sleep tracking, medication reminders, and drug interaction alerts. Your watch can create calendar events. A new Week view shows what meetings or responsibilities stand between you and the weekend.
WWDC 2022 introduced iPad updates. iPadOS 16 is similar to iOS for the iPhone, but has features for larger screens and tablet accessories. The software update gives it many iPhone-like features.
iPadOS 16's Home app, like iOS 16, will have a new design language. iPad users who want to blame it on the rain finally have a Weather app. iPadOS 16 will have iCloud's Shared Photo Library, Live Text and Visual Look Up upgrades, and FaceTime Handoff, so you can switch between devices during a call.
Apple highlighted iPadOS 16's multitasking at WWDC 2022. iPad's Stage Manager sounds like a community theater app. It's a powerful multitasking tool for tablets and brings them closer to emulating laptops. Apple's iPadOS 16 supports multi-user collaboration. You can share content from Files, Keynote, Numbers, Pages, Notes, Reminders, Safari, and other third-party apps in Apple Messages.
WWDC 2022 revealed Apple's M2 chip. Apple has started the next generation of Apple Silicon for the Mac with M2. Apple says this device improves M1's performance.
M2's second-generation 5nm chip has 25% more transistors than M1's. 100GB/s memory bandwidth (50 per cent more than M1). M2 has 24GB of unified memory, up from 16GB but less than some ultraportable PCs' 32GB. The M2 chip has 10% better multi-core CPU performance than the M2, and it's nearly twice as fast as the latest 10-core PC laptop chip at the same power level (CPU performance is 18 per cent greater than M1).
Apple introduced the M2-powered MacBook Air. Apple's entry-level laptop has a larger display, a new processor, new colors, and a notch.
M2 also powers the 13-inch MacBook Pro. The 13-inch MacBook Pro has 24GB of unified memory and 50% more memory bandwidth. New MacBook Pro batteries last 20 hours. As I type on the 2021 MacBook Pro, I can only imagine how much power the M2 will add.
macOS 13.0 (or, macOS Ventura)
macOS Ventura will take full advantage of M2 with new features like Stage Manager and Continuity Camera and Handoff for FaceTime. Safari, Mail, Messages, Spotlight, and more get updates in macOS Ventura.
Apple hasn't run out of California landmarks to name its OS after yet. macOS 13 will be called Ventura when it's released in a few months, but it's more than a name change and new wallpapers.
Stage Manager organizes windows
Stage Manager is a new macOS tool that organizes open windows and applications so they're still visible while focusing on a specific task. The main app sits in the middle of the desktop, while other apps and documents are organized and piled up to the side.
Spotlight is one of macOS's least appreciated features, but with Ventura, it's becoming even more useful. Live Text lets you extract text from Spotlight results without leaving the window, including images from the photo library and the web.
Mail lets you schedule or unsend emails.
We've all sent an email we regret, whether it contained regrettable words or was sent at the wrong time. In macOS Ventura, Mail users can cancel or reschedule a message after sending it. Mail will now intelligently determine if a person was forgotten from a CC list or if a promised attachment wasn't included. Procrastinators can set a reminder to read a message later.
Safari adds tab sharing and password passkeys
Apple is updating Safari to make it more user-friendly... mostly. Users can share a group of tabs with friends or family, a useful feature when researching a topic with too many tabs. Passkeys will replace passwords in Safari's next version. Instead of entering random gibberish when creating a new account, macOS users can use TouchID to create an on-device passkey. Using an iPhone's camera and a QR system, Passkey syncs and works across all Apple devices and Windows computers.
Continuity adds Facetime device switching and iPhone webcam.
With macOS Ventura, iPhone users can transfer a FaceTime call from their phone to their desktop or laptop using Handoff, or vice versa if they started a call at their desk and need to continue it elsewhere. Apple finally admits its laptop and monitor webcams aren't the best. Continuity makes the iPhone a webcam. Apple demonstrated a feature where the wide-angle lens could provide a live stream of the desk below, while the standard zoom lens could focus on the speaker's face. New iPhone laptop mounts are coming.
System Preferences is Now System Settings and Looks Like iOS
Ventura's System Preferences has been renamed System Settings and is much more similar in appearance to iOS and iPadOS. As the iPhone and iPad are gateway devices into Apple's hardware ecosystem, new Mac users should find it easier to adjust.
This post is a summary. Read full article here
10 months ago
A month after freezing customer withdrawals, Celsius files for bankruptcy.
Alex Mashinsky, CEO of Celsius, speaks at Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon.
Celsius Network filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a month after freezing customer withdrawals, joining other crypto casualties.
Celsius took the step to stabilize its business and restructure for all stakeholders. The filing was done in the Southern District of New York.
The company, which amassed more than $20 billion by offering 18% interest on cryptocurrency deposits, paused withdrawals and other functions in mid-June, citing "extreme market conditions."
As the Fed raises interest rates aggressively, it hurts risk sentiment and squeezes funding costs. Voyager Digital Ltd. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this month, and Three Arrows Capital has called in liquidators.
Celsius called the pause "difficult but necessary." Without the halt, "the acceleration of withdrawals would have allowed certain customers to be paid in full while leaving others to wait for Celsius to harvest value from illiquid or longer-term asset deployment activities," it said.
Celsius declined to comment. CEO Alex Mashinsky said the move will strengthen the company's future.
The company wants to keep operating. It's not requesting permission to allow customer withdrawals right now; Chapter 11 will handle customer claims. The filing estimates assets and liabilities between $1 billion and $10 billion.
Celsius is advised by Kirkland & Ellis, Centerview Partners, and Alvarez & Marsal.
Celsius promised 18% returns on crypto loans. It lent those coins to institutional investors and participated in decentralized-finance apps.
When TerraUSD (UST) and Luna collapsed in May, Celsius pulled its funds from Terra's Anchor Protocol, which offered 20% returns on UST deposits. Recently, another large holding, staked ETH, or stETH, which is tied to Ether, became illiquid and discounted to Ether.
The lender is one of many crypto companies hurt by risky bets in the bear market. Also, Babel halted withdrawals. Voyager Digital filed for bankruptcy, and crypto hedge fund Three Arrows Capital filed for Chapter 15 bankruptcy.
According to blockchain data and tracker Zapper, Celsius repaid all of its debt in Aave, Compound, and MakerDAO last month.
Celsius charged Symbolic Capital Partners Ltd. 2,000 Ether as collateral for a cash loan on June 13. According to company filings, Symbolic was charged 2,545.25 Ether on June 11.
In July 6 filings, it said it reshuffled its board, appointing two new members and firing others.
9 months ago
How monkeypox spreads (and doesn't spread)
Monkeypox was rare until recently. In 2005, a research called a cluster of six monkeypox cases in the Republic of Congo "the longest reported chain to date."
That's changed. This year, over 25,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in 83 countries, indicating widespread human-to-human transmission.
What spreads monkeypox? Monkeypox transmission research is ongoing; findings may change. But science says...
Most cases were formerly animal-related.
According to the WHO, monkeypox was first diagnosed in an infant in the DRC in 1970. After that, instances were infrequent and often tied to animals. In 2003, 47 Americans contracted rabies from pet prairie dogs.
In 2017, Nigeria saw a significant outbreak. NPR reported that doctors diagnosed young guys without animal exposure who had genital sores. Nigerian researchers highlighted the idea of sexual transmission in a 2019 study, but the theory didn't catch on. “People tend to cling on to tradition, and the idea is that monkeypox is transmitted from animals to humans,” explains research co-author Dr. Dimie Ogoina.
Most monkeypox cases are sex-related.
Human-to-human transmission of monkeypox occurs, and sexual activity plays a role.
Joseph Osmundson, a clinical assistant professor of biology at NYU, says most transmission occurs in queer and gay sexual networks through sexual or personal contact.
Monkeypox spreads by skin-to-skin contact, especially with its blister-like rash, explains Ogoina. Researchers are exploring whether people can be asymptomatically contagious, but they are infectious until their rash heals and fresh skin forms, according to the CDC.
A July research in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that of more than 500 monkeypox cases in 16 countries as of June, 95% were linked to sexual activity and 98% were among males who have sex with men. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus encouraged males to temporarily restrict their number of male partners in July.
Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?
Skin-to-skin contact can spread monkeypox, not simply sexual activities. Dr. Roy Gulick, infectious disease chief at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, said monkeypox is not a "typical" STI. Monkeypox isn't a STI, claims the CDC.
Most cases in the current outbreak are tied to male sexual behavior, but Osmundson thinks the virus might also spread on sports teams, in spas, or in college dorms.
Can you get monkeypox from surfaces?
Monkeypox can be spread by touching infected clothing or bedding. According to a study, a U.K. health care worker caught monkeypox in 2018 after handling ill patient's bedding.
Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, believes "incidental" contact seldom distributes the virus. “You need enough virus exposure to get infected,” she says. It's conceivable after sharing a bed or towel with an infectious person, but less likely after touching a doorknob, she says.
Dr. Müge evik, a clinical lecturer in infectious diseases at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, says there is a "spectrum" of risk connected with monkeypox. "Every exposure isn't equal," she explains. "People must know where to be cautious. Reducing [sexual] partners may be more useful than cleaning coffee shop seats.
Is monkeypox airborne?
Exposure to an infectious person's respiratory fluids can cause monkeypox, but the WHO says it needs close, continuous face-to-face contact. CDC researchers are still examining how often this happens.
Under precise laboratory conditions, scientists have shown that monkeypox can spread via aerosols, or tiny airborne particles. But there's no clear evidence that this is happening in the real world, Rasmussen adds. “This is expanding predominantly in communities of males who have sex with men, which suggests skin-to-skin contact,” she explains. If airborne transmission were frequent, she argues, we'd find more occurrences in other demographics.
In the shadow of COVID-19, people are worried about aerosolized monkeypox. Rasmussen believes the epidemiology is different. Different viruses.
Can kids get monkeypox?
More than 80 youngsters have contracted the virus thus far, mainly through household transmission. CDC says pregnant women can spread the illness to their fetus.
Among the 1970s, monkeypox predominantly affected children, but by the 2010s, it was more common in adults, according to a February study. The study's authors say routine smallpox immunization (which protects against monkeypox) halted when smallpox was eradicated. Only toddlers were born after smallpox vaccination halted decades ago. More people are vulnerable now.
Schools and daycares could become monkeypox hotspots, according to pediatric instances. Ogoina adds this hasn't happened in Nigeria's outbreaks, which is encouraging. He says, "I'm not sure if we should worry." We must be careful and seek evidence.