Freelance Tip #1: Learn from Each Proposal You Send

If you're not familiar with Upwork, it's a freelancing platform where businesses and freelancers come together to collaborate. 

You search for clients who require the skills that you have, then you send them a proposal. They view that proposal and (hopefully) accept. Then you get paid for the work you do. 

Win Win. 

Obviously not every proposal you send is successful. When you either get rejected or hear nothing back, you take it on the chin and send more proposals. 

Or....

You listen to this simple tip. This is something I read about and then implemented in my corporate sales days where I was always competing with the same 1-2 companies for clients. When our proposals were rejected, I always rang the client and asked them about their decision.

The same principle applies to Upwork:

Learn from each proposal you send, asking the client why they decided to go with someone else
— Freelance Tip #1

For example last week a client asked me to send a sample for a project. I only sent one sample for an email newsletter, whereas the successful freelancer sent three.

Now, whenever I send writing samples I'll always send alternative examples, because you never know the type of writing style the prospective client likes. 

Go forth and make money online. 

2017 Fat Loss Journey: Introduction

The first rule of dieting: you’re always fatter than you think are. Think you’ll be ripped at 175? It’s more like 165.
— Martin Berkhan

I first stepped foot in a gym at the age of 16.

I am now 25 and if you saw me on the street, you'd ask, Bro Do You Even Lift?

I've always struggled with consistently working out and tracking my macros. I can blame it on a lot of things (injuries, traveling, work) but in reality, it comes down to one fact: fitness and health have been important to me, but they've never been a priority. 

I've suffered from what Martin Berkhan calls fuckarounditis, changing programs and diets every few months. 

Not anymore. 

I'll be sharing pictures and progress throughout the year but for now here are my current stats:

Height: 6.1 ft

Weight: 180.8 pounds (this is fluctuating from 178-181 at the moment)

Bodyfat Estimate: 16-20% (who cares?)

My goal is to drop body fat until I'm happy with my level of leanness, so I can then put on some much-needed muscle. 

Habits/Plan

1. Weight myself every day and track the average over the week

2. Track calories every day, focusing on my average over the week

3. Have macronutrients goals in my mind, but follow the Nutrition Hierarchy in terms of focus/accountability (see below) but in short focus on calories and protein. 

4. Workout consistently (Strength Training)

5. Walk 10,000 steps every day

6. Take progress pictures each week and measurements

7.  Diet until happy with my leanness for now.

That is it. It's pretty simple and I don't see any problems with the plan. 

Source: Think Eat Lift

I'm 100% confident that this year will see the biggest change in my physique.  I want to look good nekked. 

So why should you care? To paraphrase Tony Robbins, people overestimate what they can do in a year and underestimate what they can do in a lifetime. This blog post series will be proof of what you can actually achieve in a year if you dedicate yourself to one goal. 

Now am I saying this is all I care about? No. I like to separate my life into a goal/mission for each area of my life: that is, Health, Love, Work. 

Will anyone care about this series? Probably not initially. But, I think a huuuuuuge problem with a Type A people like myself, is that we're always comparing our beginning to someone else's middle.

I want to use this platform (my blog) to highlight where I am, where i'm going, and (eventually) where I came from. 

As Drake said, "Started from the bottom, now we're here."*

My here right now is pretty uninspiring, riddled with failing forward, constantly doubting myself, and investing the process. 

Will I be posting shirtless selfies, posting my meals on Instagram, and just being an all around annoying fitness person? Hell no. 

Also, I think it's important to mention that I don't think I'm going to look amazing after a year. I just know I'll look the best I've ever looked because the bar is pretty low. 

Looking forward to this series and the accountability that will ensue. 

*Chris D'Elia's bits on Drake are f*ckin hilarious and have ruined me taking Drake seriously. If you want to ruin Drake forever, listen...

What I Learned About The Creative Process From South Park: 6 Days to Air

South Park is one of television’s longest-running animated series in history. The other night a friend came over and we watched 6 Days to Air:The Making of South Park. The creative process of Trey Parker and Matt Stone is nothing short of inspirational: each episode is written, recorded, animated, and delivered in just six days.

That shit is cray. 

 Here is what I learned about their creative process:

Separate Creation and Execution

 The documentary begins by showing the South Park writers’ meeting, where the staff bounces ideas back and forth. One key insight, which I think is really important for the creative process, is the need for a separation between the creation and execution of ideas.

 For my own creative process, I’ve always separated the two.

Throughout my day, I’ll always be writing down ideas in Evernote or in my small Moleskine notebook.

 When I sit down to write a blog post, I normally start by brainstorming, based on my notes, on a sheet of paper. Once I feel that I have the basic outline down, only then do I sit in front of a laptop and start editing what I want to write.

 In his book, Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kleon also promotes this piece of advice, discussing how the computer is good for editing and publishing your ideas, but not for generating them because "there are too many opportunities to hit the delete key." Austin even goes as far as to have both a digital and an analog desk, to help him separate the two different processes.

 Inspiration Is A Product Of Following A Process

 I’ve always viewed inspiration as something that has to be worked at and worked on. I’m always more inspired when I have a platform to explore my inspiration (my blog), a lot of different inputs (conversations, books, podcasts), and time away from what I’m actively looking to be inspired to do (walks, showers, working out.)

 It reminds me of a quote from W.S. Somerset Maugham: “I wrote only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”

 In the documentary, Trey Park and Matt Stone were just coming off the success of their play, The Book of Mormon, and were returning to write South Park without anything written or formulated in their heads, despite only having six days until the first episode was due to air.

How do they accomplish something in such a short time frame? By trusting in their process. The process that they’ve performed time and time again. 

This is what author James Altucher often refers to as "building your idea muscle."When you’re not putting pressure on yourself to generate ideas, your brain will atrophy and become smaller.

The Creative Process Is About Improvement and Action

As one of the longest-running animated series in history, South Park is constantly improvising and improving. The difference in both what they now get away with and the visual scenes of the series are night and day from when they first released The Spirit of Christmas in 1995.

As mentioned above, by trusting in the process and putting in your hours, you’ll improve.

Similarly, we’re often afraid to start creating because we don’t think we have the time, energy, or resources.

That's the resistance talking. 

Start with what you have, and then begin to improve your resources. As Scott H Young says, “if you want to be fit, don’t buy running trainers.” 

Increase Creativity By Setting (Self-Imposed) Deadlines

Our biggest enemy when creating anything is ourselves and the expectations we set on what we can achieve.

Perfectionism really is a loser’s strategy.

Instead, embrace Parkinson’s Law by allowing your work to expand to fill the time available. 

In the documentary, Trey Parker discusses how he always wishes he had longer to work on the show, but he accepts that importance of what Seth Godin calls ‘shipping.’

The More Creative Control You Have, The More Authentic Your Product Will Be

Trey Park and Matt Stone have no allegiance to anyone or anything. They have complete creative control over the whole product, scripting and directing every frame. This is so important.

Just look at the difference between Louis CK's Lucky Louie and Louise. In the former, Louis CK was handicapped by the creative controls put on him by HBO and unsurprisingly the show was cancelled after 13 episodes. Louie, on the other hand, is still going strong after five seasons.

Creativity Is Subtraction

To create something you have to follow a process of elimination.

For the South Park writers, sat in the writing room, it’s all about throwing paint on the wall and seeing what sticks. When you follow the process, you’ll always be cutting, editing, and refining the product.

The Creative Process Is Manic

There is a tendency to mistake passion for constant excitement, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The creative process is manic, with a series of highs and lows and periods of expansion and contraction.

Source: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/403001866629652214/

Source: https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/403001866629652214/

If you liked this look into the creative process of the South Park writers, you might like the This is How I Work series on Lifehacker.