How To Turn Down Freelance Work Gracefully

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times: freelancing and consulting work are like sunlight; there’s enough for all of us to get a tan.

That said, in the coin flip of life, some days don’t feel like you’re operating in a world of abundance. This freelancing game can be brutal.  Sometimes things look bleak, and you wonder if you’re going to make it.

The minute you start radiating struggle or desperation, a predatory (at worst) or clueless (at best) potential client will appear, sensing your weakness and enticing you with a fat – or so they say – check, if only you can accommodate their abusiveness, idiocy, or micro-managing.

You begin to wonder how critical is it that you close this job? Ask yourself if you’re willing to be married to a client who is throwing up red flags before you’ve even done any business together?  Can you tolerate their behavior once there are stakes?  Sometimes you’ll decide that things just aren’t bad enough to willingly subject yourself to frustration.

The other side of the coin flip of life is that sometimes things are going like gangbusters.  Sometimes the freelancing game opens up and gives you the goodies you’ve been working so hard to acquire. Keep Reading…

How To Launch A Product, Lose A Contest, And End Up A Winner Anyway

It was only Day 2 of the Gumroad Small Product Lab when I decided not to bother participating.

No, it was late on Day 2, even!  After signing up on Day 1, I hadn’t really decided to launch a product; signing up was driven more by curiosity than anything else. My hope was that  Gumroad would be offering some secret marketing info that I could use to promote my podcast. I had no idea how close that hope would be to what actually transpired.

Chatting with friends on Day 2, I deliberated over whether or not to do this, and what kind of a product I could do. In typical form, I had a hard time thinking truly small – a hallmark of my career is my tendency to over-engineer everything I do. Usually, this works in my favor; on a 10-day time-span, over-engineering would yield the same result as not starting at all; a no-finish. Keep Reading…

How I Accidentally Launched On Product Hunt

When I launched my new podcasting book recently, I had a halfway-decent promotional plan mapped out. My mailing list would be the centerpiece, my Twitter account would dribble enticing podcasting quotes, hashtagged to capture attention from interested folk, my friends would RT me or post promotional tweets of their own, and I’d pop in to forums & try to helpfully answer questions about things that could be found in my book.  None of this is super-advanced in terms of marketing, just a dedication to executing on some basics – which is good, because my marketing skills are basic!

What was NOT a part of my initial plan was for the book to be launched on Product Hunt.

All things being equal, I wanted to get listed, but I honestly knew very little about it. I had an account on PH but had never used it. I had heard many stories about creators and founders posting their product to PH and seeing it promptly disappear. Reading the rules regarding who is allowed to post comments and who isn’t, and how it’s all determined, I got the vague sense that being launched on Product Hunt was like ordering from the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld – one mistake, and you’re outta here! Man oh man, did that turn out to be wrong, but we’ll get to that in a minute. Keep Reading…

There’s Always More to Learn. Launch A Product Anyway.

I am not a perfectionist.

Let’s be clear about that up front, because it’s the first thing people always assume when talking about the long, slow, process I’ve gone through in my journey to launch a product; “Oh, Chris, if you weren’t such a perfectionist, you’d just slap something together and ship it!”

But that isn’t true. I am much, much worse than a perfectionist – I am a completist. What is a completist, you ask? Well, it’s this:

a collector who attempts to collect an example of every item in a particular field.

How in the world does that relate to founding a software product? Or any product at all? What is it that I feel I need to collect to completion in order to be able to launch a product? Keep Reading…

12 Things I Learned in 12 Years of Freelancing

So, it turns out that Cogeian Systems turns 12 years old this month. I’ve decided to share some of my experience from these 12 years. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn’t…but I hope it does.

1) Sometimes turning down work is a good idea.

I am a firm believer that freelance and consulting work is like sunlight; there’s enough for all of us to get a tan. But sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. Sometimes you’re up against a mortgage payment and the sales funnel is covered in dust. In these moments, a nightmare client will *always* appear, sensing your weakness and desperation, enticing you with a big fat check (but not as fat as it would be if you weren’t desperate), if only you can accommodate their abusiveness, idiocy, or micro-managing.

What do you do? Keep Reading…