WTF #14

Idle Hands Make for Terrible Tools

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❓ WTF No Code


Every year, 1 in 3 people set out to accomplish a New Year’s resolution.1

Of those people, only 9% see their resolution through.2

That’s a 3% success rate.

WTF is up with that?

Now, what if these people also ran their own businesses? What if the approach they took in setting New Year’s resolutions and failing at them carried over to the way they ran their business or worked with freelance experts?

Is that last question too leading?

Maybe, but those are just a few of the many thoughts I had as I settled in to the beginning of March revelling at all the opportunities that seemed to present themselves over the course of the first few weeks of 2024. 

I had prospects referred to me from friends. I had my listing and obscure directories pay off with cold(ish) emails landing in my inbox. Forum posts from sizeable companies looking for solutions seemed to come across my desk every other week. 

I felt like the work I did in the past 18 months, putting up digital billboards on the information super highway,  was really paying off.

Then, everything took a turn. 

One client suddenly came down with this rare condition where they never replied to the right email in the thread of about a dozen or so emails. Let’s assume that was a technical problem with whatever email client they were using. Regardless, after three attempts to try to lock down a date so we could gauge if there was a fit, I moved the project over to the close lost column. 

Then, there was the project dependent on a city government’s budget approval. It was at risk with each of the last 3 near-US government shutdowns but the straw that broke the camel’s back was a lack of funding for non-critical projects.

I guess a sweet project all about maps will have to wait. It’s a shame – I was really looking forward to using Felt.

Season 3 No GIF by Parks and Recreation

Next up, I had someone nearly fall out of their chair when confronted with the age old adage of it takes money to make money. More specifically, he was shocked to learn what my starting rates are, mostly because he’s been under-valuing his time for years.

So, what’s a freelancer to do?

With two other clients postponing work till mid March, I found myself with some time on my hands. These are both pretty big opportunities and I am eager to get the ball rolling and though about doing some pre-work to really get things moving, but I slowed myself down on that front pretty quickly. 

Sure, it would be helpful to get a head start  on things and really lay the groundwork for when, or rather, if things pick up again in a few weeks. But none of that would be paid work, and there’s no guarantee that they’d come back to me in March completely ready to start work. 

Instead of searching high and low for something new, I figured it’d be best to do the following:

  1. Where possible, encourage my prospects to gather and share documentation and resources so I can gain as much context as possible. This would be passive, low effort work, and I’d set the expectation that nothing tangible would come from this early fact-finding mission.

  2. Look for opportunities to improve and optimize recently wrapped projects. There were some things in my gallery ordering system that deserved some new attention. In a couple of instances, things needed re-factoring but all of this was valuable.

  3. Write more and groom a backlog of ideas and content. Since I committed to sharing 50 different tactical components with WTF NO CODE DROPS, to make sure I’d have enough lined up so that I could occasionally take a week off from writing. 

Each of these were underpinned by the need to stay sharp. I needed to stay warmed up while I was on the bench waiting to see some game action.

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It may very well be worth all our while to treat freelancing like a craft and hone that craft whenever you get the chance. When you’re out of work, look at what you do and pinpoint where you don’t have reliable systems in place. It’s worth thinking about how you might be able to systematize some of your own operations as though one of your clients are asking you to take on work.

A good rule of thumb is if you find yourself repeating a workflow more than 3 times, it’s time you streamline it. If you have standard documents you share with your clients, consider making templates out of them. Do you DM someone once a week for an update? Setup an automation that does that for you. Are you the one sending the update? Think about how you can gather inputs that are fleshed out with the help of ChatGPT.

Some of these things are going to make it into the next few WTF NO CODE DROPS so make to grab your premium subscription to stay up to speed.

Some of these things are going to make it into the next few WTF NO CODE DROPS and since you’re a premium subscriber you’ll be up to speed with everything. You can even submit what you want to see and I’ll probably build it.

And, I’d be remiss to let this opportunity go by: if you or someone you know is looking to invest in automating their marketing or operations, hit me up!

🌶 Spicy Takes

This gets your attention today but won't mean much in a few months.

This is… a lot. It’s worth reading through the whole thing. Trust me.

What Erik pulls together in this 14-paragraph tweet isn’t unique to the no code world. The race to the bottom is facilitated by access and accelerated by grifters. 

(out of 5 🌶)

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