The skills you need to know

By Stephen Godfrey - Reading Time: 5 minutes

man jumping off a cliff into water Photo by Austin Neill on Unsplash

The Time To Act Is Now

Do you have a goal you keep putting off?

Do you read article after article, blog post after blog post, but you never create anything yourself?

Then this article is for you.

And hopefully, it’s the last one that you will read this week.

But you might ask “why?”. And it’s because I want you to act. I want you to think about what you’ve always wanted to do. Think about your dream career. Think about a pet project, a task, or a place to visit. And then do something today that gets you closer to that goal.

Don’t do more research. Don’t read more blog posts. Don’t read more articles. You have read enough content.

Now is the time to act.

You know more than you think you do. You are more skilled than you believe. But you won’t get anywhere without action. You won’t get anywhere without hustle.

You don’t need to know everything before you start. You can just learn as you go.

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By Stephen Godfrey - Reading Time: 7 minutes

a guy working on a laptop. Close up shot. Source: Photo by Oliver Thomas Klein on Unsplash

A Secret of Productivity

Do you wish you were more productive in a day?

Most of us do. Too many of us struggle with distractions, fading willpower, and a lack of focus. This kills our productivity and makes life miserable in general.

And for me, this problem flared up a few months ago. I work from home where I build web apps and websites for my clients (I’m an independent consultant). But some days were hard.

On those days I’d struggle with working at home. I’d focus for a few hours, become tired, and get distracted. And then I’d have to refocus and try again. Maybe it was the screaming kids that I could hear through the office door. Or maybe it was feeling stuck in a home office working there day in day out. Regardless, I knew I could use my time better.

Also. I wasn’t making as much as I wanted. Most months I’d bring in $6,000-$8,000. And though that paid the bills, I knew that I could do better. I knew that I could be more effective with my time. And that was the biggest thing that bothered me. This nagging feeling that I could be more productive but I hadn’t figured out how.

So I hunkered down. I learned how to focus. I found methods that worked for me, and I even found a new client. And when added together I jumped from $7,000-ish per month to $10,400, $11,400, and $10,000 (respectively) for the next three months. And all of that came from having a better focus.

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By Stephen Godfrey - Reading Time: 5 minutes

two people talking Source: Photo by Anna Vander Stel on Unsplash

“He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.” – Dale Carnegie (How to win friends and influence people - Pg 35, p2 ).

The One Skill

There is one skill that will jumpstart your freelancing career.

And it isn’t some productivity hack. Nor is it a new framework or software tool. It’s even not about pitching to clients.

All you have to do is listen.

Listen to your clients. Listen to what they struggle with. Think about what problems they have, and how you can fix those problems.

Don’t just jump in and assume you know what they need. Instead, just:

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By Stephen Godfrey - Reading Time: 19 minutes

a list in a notebook

[Note, this post is huge. Seriously. You can continue reading the intro or…

just skip to the huge list.]

This Is The Biggest Problem With Your Business

What sets you apart?

What makes you different than your competition?

And if you aren’t different, then you are just same as everyone else.

And that’s a problem

Without being different, you won’t stand out. You won’t be able to attract the clients and the projects that you want. You’ll just be another general freelancer who does general work.

But people often don’t want general work.

They want to work with specialists. They want to work with someone that they know that will get the job done. In short, it all comes down to risk.

Someone who is a specialist appears less risky. That’s why people take cars to dealerships to get their cars fixed. It will likely cost twice as much as going to a general mechanic, but people feel like the dealership will do the right job.

And freelancing is like that. The specialists get to build up a brand, get even more skilled in their specialty, and get to charge ridiculously high rates. Like $X0,000 a week. And they even have potential clients coming to them.

And the generalists? They might get enough work, but it won’t be high-value. And they’ll have to keep hunting for clients.

The Solution

So what should you do? The answer is simple: Specialize.

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By Stephen Godfrey - Reading Time: 8 minutes

vader head shot Source:

We often hear that freelancing is great.

And it is. I love working from home, taking naps after lunch, and having the freedom to set my own schedule.

But there is a dark side to freelancing.

True, once you’ve figured out your niche, have enough clients, and have money coming in then freelancing is great. But what about if you are still learning the craft? What if you are still struggling?

So let’s talk about the darkest side of freelancing. Here is are the five hardest parts about freelancing:

  1. Not having enough money.
  2. Not enough time.
  3. Not staying on task.
  4. Loneliness.
  5. Fear of famine.
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By Stephen Godfrey - Reading Time: 8 minutes

open for business sign

Have you ever had questions about how to legally start a freelance business?

If so, you aren’t alone. Most freelancers I talk to have lots of questions about the legal side of freelancing. They aren’t sure how to pay themselves, what business entity to choose, and how to track expenses.

Honestly, it’s a lot to learn, but we’ll take it one lesson at a time and you’ll get there.

So let’s talk about three biggest parts of the legality of freelancing:

  1. How do I legally start a business?
  2. How to I track my business income and expenses?
  3. How do I make taxes less painful? (because they are always painful, at least in some way).

But before I dive in…

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By Stephen Godfrey - Reading Time: 8 minutes

a sleepy cat on a bed

Today was a rough day for me. I woke up and didn’t want to work. And when I got to my desk I was just wasting my time.

Do you ever feel like that?

I bet you do.

But you can beat that feeling. And I’ve learned a few lessons on how to do it. So here are five strategies I use when I simply don’t want to work.

1 - Take a Step Back

When you don’t want to work the first thing you should do is step back for a moment. Stop going through the motions and think about why you don’t want to work. Maybe it’s because you are tired, or scared, or your feelings are hurt. Maybe you hate your job or your boss (or both). But look inside yourself and find out why you feel that way. Then, when you learn what the real problem is you’ll be able to prescribe the right fix for it.

For instance, say your car won’t start. You turn the key again, and again, and again, but that doesn’t work. And you could keep turning the key and getting the same results, but that is a waste of time. It’s better to stop turning the key, and to think about what is going on. So, does the engine turn over when you turn the key? No? Good, then you probably have a dead starter or a dead battery? So check if the battery has a charge. Does it have a charge? No? Then you may have left a light on. Are any lights set to the on position? Yep. Did your kids play in the car when you brought in the groceries? Yes. And now you know what the problem is. The solution? Don’t let your kids play in the car, turn off that light, charge your battery, and your car should start.

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By Stephen Godfrey - Reading Time: 11 minutes

roll of money

You, developer, are underpaid.

And odds are you don’t know the right way to charge for freelance projects or side jobs. Like most developers you charge by the hour. And like most developers you don’t get paid as much as you could.

But the good news is that with a little training you can drastically increase your effective rate per hour. Which means you’ll land more projects, land bigger projects, and get paid what you deserve.

Though when I say training I don’t mean more technical training. You probably know how to improve your technical skills. You probably know how to do programming Katas and how to read up on best practices. But those activities often don’t increase your earning potential.

Really, will one more programming kata boost your bill rate by 10%?


In truth, most developers need more business training. But not a lot. In 11 minutes I can teach you some skills that will drastically increase your revenue on freelance projects. And these skills can help you double or even triple your freelance rates, and still find client work.

And when I started doing contract work I charged $36.50 USD per hour. Back then I worked as a reporting and web developer. These days I charge $1000 per day and I’m still raising my rates.

But what about you?

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By Stephen Godfrey - Reading Time: 4 minutes

freelancing gives you freedom

Freelancing is a great career.

Yet people often say that freelancing is too hard.

But anything that is worthwhile is hard to do. It’s the same for a college degree, dating, or learning a new skill.

So instead of ragging on freelancing and why it is so hard, let’s talk about why freelancing is so good.

Because freelancing is good.

Why is it so good?

I like working from home (especially when it is quiet), and I like that I get to see my family throughout the day. I like that if I need to run to the bank to deposit a check I can. I like that I don’t have to ask permission to take off for the next hour. I like that I have freedom and flexibility in my schedule. In short, I have a lot of flexibility in my life. Which leads me to my first point:

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freelancing is a hot topic - dried chilies

Freelancing is a hot topic right now, and it’s going to keep getting hotter.


Because businesses are struggling. They have higher taxes, higher fees, and higher insurance costs. In short, it’s getting harder for them to run a profitable business, and business owners have more and more risk.

And what does this mean for you? It means that with the increased risk that there will be a decrease in full-time jobs. And the jobs that do exist will be harder to get.

But businesses still have work to do, and that’s where freelancers come in. Freelancers allow companies to get more work done, but not have the risk of hiring employees. And companies pay good money to avoid risk, and so they don’t have to lay anyone off.

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