Freelancers beware, you're worth a lot more

So occasionally I take jobs on the Elance network. Elance is one if not the largest staffing platform for freelancer pros (like me, yep). I've signed up to receive email notifications everyday of available jobs that matches some key settings. In my case I have one search query that has: All Jobs / WordPress / IT & Programming / Fixed Price / Posted: Within 24 hours The above will usually render quick jobs withing $100 - $1000, sometimes i'l go through an email and see something like this below:

Yes, I'm not kidding, freelancing it's not piece of cake and it's weird the things people ask sometimes. Ok, so let's go through the problems on this listing:
  • $25 dollars to make a one page website. No matter if it's one page, it will at least take 1hr (speedy Gonzalez mode).
  • You are expected to send samples of work. This will take you at least 20 minutes. Your time is worth more.
  • You'll have only one day to deliver the goods. This is not counting revisions and change requests. "MUST BE DONE IN ONE DAY!" -> what happens if this doesn't happen?
  • The employer believes it's a SIMPLE JOB, not a good sign.
  • The employer don't know English well, check out the grammar errors on the listing highlights.
I want to encourage freelancing professionals to look for signs of problems before even considering doing a job. Believe me, checking out these and other signs of trouble when freelancing, setting expectations, charging the correct amount for your freelancing efforts it's essential to make it as a freelancer. Don't forget to be super nice, but look out for yourself first. Did I said first?

Drop me a line, let me know how can I help.

Why we ditch our ideas

Generating ideas and their execution is not as hard as it seem, I think we all can do this. Sometimes we can come up with ideas just by looking around us, taking a shower or using a product. I ask myself sometimes why I think so much how to improve, change, expand or even create stuff. The answer I find more appropriate is that I like creating them, bringing these to life, from a thought, to the drawing board (or digital) to the physical world. Some of you might have a similar "Good to Have Problem" as I do. You might think of lots of ideas, concepts, ways to change an existing product, websites, designs, businesses and so on. We all love for things to be adjusted to fit our own mold, our way of thinking and certainly our taste. I believe this is how we might tend to come up with ideas. 

I think we might all share similar patterns when we decide to Kill Ideas. We say to ourself things like: that might not work, it might not be liked, it's worthless, somebody else have already done it, nobody will care, too hard to make and the list goes on...... almost endless self inflicted wounds. Today, I can tell you that I'm in the process of bringing my first product to market, a train ride that I never thought possible to even come close to doing. 

Trust in yourself, gather feedback and follow your gut. (important: have fun while doing this <- secret ingredient)

Books I Enjoyed

How to Stop Worrying and Start Living Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie
Don't Sweat the Small Stuff--and it's all small stuff Richard Carlson
Don't Worry, Make Money Richard Carlson
Ignore Everybody Hugh MacLeod
One Simple Idea Stephen Key
Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality Scott Belsky
Rework Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson 

The lean startup Eric Ries

It's your idea, so push harder

It's getting close for an appointment with a small team I've reached out for help with a product I've been working with. I get ready, head out and arrive at the meeting 5 minutes late(got lost), somewhat exited, a little nervous and specially anxious to meet the group. Shortly after been greeted and after having apologized for been slightly late, I was told that It will be a while before they will be able to meet with me. Of course I said, "No Problem!", "It's Ok", "Sure!". What else could I have said? It's my idea and I definitely need help from them, I love my idea so much that "Yes!", of course I'll wait.


What happened during the next 2 hours:

  • I was listened to for 5 minutes only.
  • The complete idea was put into question.
  • Some expressed -> "I did the wrong sequence of steps".
  • Some said -> product  "might not work".
  • You should do this, that or wait.
  • What is your budget?
  • What you really need is this.
  • You won't be able to function without this.
The moral of this event is simple, sometimes tend to forget:

It's your idea, push harder!

I remind myself of this every day. Nobody believes, feels or cares as much as you do about your idea. After all, it's yours, not theirs. You though about it, conceptualized it, trusted your gut and push it. Don't forget this. It's fine to ask for help. In fact, I will strongly suggest you seek for help, any help, it will help you think and move faster also.

Take the punch, learn, go faster and sharper.

Yes, you can learn something from any situation, no matter how bad it was. Don't get discouraged with situations which might go against your belief or mostly your inner passion. If your idea is good enough for yourself, take that as at least a good indicator that others might think similarly. Do it, don't stop.

Can Decision Making Make You Happier?

I have found than when I immerse myself in decision making, I experience an emotional boost the next day.  So, why is this happening? I believe that making a decision  can be described in a couple words. One of them is progress. Every time we make some kind of choice, we progress for the good or the bad. There's movement! Action! Things get unstuck and start rolling... you know the drill. This might sound all too redundant -- and it might be, but I had to put it down in writing because for me, the benefits of decision making are simply noticeable. When I have too many things on my mind, it is usually related to those things I have not acted on. Yeah, we all use to-do lists, agendas, project management, notes, reminders..., you name it, but I am certain that if you pressured yourself to act on your "to-dos" with real decision, you will eventually feel much better. It works for me! Just try it.

Strengthen Your Decision Making Skills Every day

  • Start Something
  • Stop Something
  • Say Yes
  • Say No
  • Remove Something
  • Change Path on Something...
Make a decision on something every single day.  Moving forward CAN make you happier.

Start With Yourself

If you want to be successful, you have to start with yourself. The best way to improve your life is to improve on you.

I'm not sure you haven't heard this story before, but it really illustrates something important:

It just happened that I had the need to do some work on my car. I looked for a fair market price for the job by making some calls. After simple research I found that the job could be done for 75 percent less if I exercised some patience. I could order some parts and hire the labor directly. Sure, there would be trade-offs, such as warranty and other bells and whistles, but I did not mind it.

I bought the parts, hired somebody to do labor and paid this person for 3 hours of work at two times 1/2 the normal rate for this type of labor, well done job. I later called this same person to do further work, he agreed to come. Unfortunately I ended up waiting two days in a row for him to show. He never showed up. There was no call to cancel. So, what does this have to do with starting with yourself? 

 If you do not start with yourself by learning to communicate effectively and follow through with self-responsibility, you will delay your success. Don't be a one timer! Always create long term relationships, and leave doors open. Be the best and nourish what you have.

If you’re going to pursue a start-up, business venture, or anything else that has meaning for you, start with yourself by digging deep and asking "Will people like this package?" If the answer is anything other than a definite "yes", make self-improvement your top priority.


Starting a Start Up - Nobody is Stopping You

We all have a creative spark -- the desire to be better, and to have something unique.  We think we can accomplish the impossible (dream?). Interestingly enough,  we tend to  believe those who have acquired wealth have some kind of special talents, magical thoughts, or just good luck. I think that way myself from time to time. Maybe you do too. I personally prefer positive remarks over negative(fear); it's just my taste. It took some effort for me to see past his method.

Qualities of a Successful Entrepreneur 3.0

Minimum requirements:
  1. loves Challenge
  2. likes Risk
  3. In constant search of the Unknown
  4. enjoys Helping Others
  5. willing to make Sacrifice
  6. sees a vision but able to act in Gradients
  7. shares his Knowledge
  8. listens to others but ultimately follows his Gut
  9. likes People
  10. not afraid to express Emotions
  11. accepts criticism 
It is beneficial to listen to other people who have created success, read books about it, and ask for opinions, but in the end we all have to follow our gut -- our passion, and we must keep building on it. As cheesy as it may sound, we can all be a Gates or Jobs. We can create something meaningful. We can turn all the reasons not to to do a start-up into an exploration of our positive qualities. Why not give it a try? You can do it! I don't see anybody stopping you from starting a start-up, but you!

Please share, If you found value in this article.


Find Your Fuel and Burn It Wisely

One thing I've found hard in life has been finding that single thing which powered me in my all of my pursuits. I am referring to that passion -- that love for what we do, and the reason behind it all.  To understand it, you must find your fuel. After years of operating technology , web development shops, and working for corporations, I have found that it can all be boiled down to "creating stuff other people use". Over the span of the last 10 years I've been unconsciously creating systems, designing, servicing,  and feeling great when others enjoy my work. It is that satisfaction that makes me move forward. There are thousands of ways to make stuff others can benefit from or use. It can be anything. The key is to find what makes you feel good about making others feel good. It may take some time, but you will find your fuel. Jeff Bezos once said:
I imagined himself as an very old person, then thought about how it will feel if I didn't execute his dream (his idea), would I regret it when I have years to live.......
So, what is your FUEL? What makes you feel good? If you could do one more thing in life, what would it be? ============================= 
If you've enjoyed this post or found it useful, please share it with others, and be sure to comment. I want  to know what works for you. Did you find your fuel? What is it? 

Thanks very much for reading. 

Francisco Suarez @codex73

Start Ups - You Are by Yourself

I often stress that when we go into new adventures and step into the unknown, as with start ups, we sometimes think the world around us will notice and will come to help magically, as though our first steps will amaze everyone around us.  It doesn't happen like that. When we have a bunch of ideas we would like to pursue, the desire for validation and assistance from others becomes even more amplified. This is especially true with entrepreneurship. There is risk involved with start ups, and it is up to the individual to get through it all. We like to have our ideas and business ventures validated, confirmed, tested, and proven by others. It provides an explainable sense of satisfaction when others tell us "That's right! What a great idea! You can do it!" The problem I see with this approach is that we wait to actually start up

We have a hopeful expectation for something that may not arrive. This can effectively hold your ideas and would-be implementations hostage (indefinitely). It can be compared to an endless loop in programming,  where the ideas continue forever because the condition for execution is never met. I have come to realize that having expectations that others are as excited about your business is good -- to a certain level, but is not good to have the idea that you cannot move without that pat on the back, or that extra push forward. When you do this for too long, your ideas will fall by the wayside. When it comes to start ups, it all begins and ends with you. My advice is to work towards your vision by yourself instead of focusing on garnering unclear expectations from others about what the your ideas, products, and ventures should be. 

Start ups require you to get moving by yourself.

If you've enjoyed this post or maybe got some kick out of it, share with others as you please. 

I'll love to hear from you and help you. 

Thanks very much for reading.