171 FS Things You Should Do on a Regular Basis

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01:56 - Rest & Leisure Time (Away From the Computer!)

100 Days of Burpees Facebook Group (Jonathan)Kirk Parsley: America's biggest problem @ TEDxReno (Jonathan)Philip Morgan: CTA-able Content Marketing (Eric)Twitter Analytics (Reuven)Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food For Life by Barbara Kingsolver (Reuven)ElectoralVote (Reuven)15 Minute Podcast Listener chat with Charles Wood (Chuck)Pebble Time (Chuck)


JONATHAN:  Wait a second, are those locusts?**[This episode is sponsored by Hired.com. Hired.com is offering a new freelancing and contracting offering. They have multiple companies that will provide you with contract opportunities. They cover all the tracking, reporting and billing for you, they handle all the collections and prefund your paycheck, they offer legal and accounting and tax support, and they’ll give you a $2,000 when you’ve been on a contract for 90 days. But with this link, they’ll double it to $4,000 instead. Go sign up at Hired.com/freelancersshow]****CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to episode 171 of the Freelancers’ Show. This week on our panel we have Eric Davis. ERICHUCK: Hey. CHUCK: Jonathan Stark. JONATHAN: Hello. CHUCK: Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hi everyone! CHUCK: I’m Charles Max Wood from Devchat.tv and this week we’re going to be talking about the things you should be doing on a regular basis in your business. The reason that we’re talking through this, I was actually reading an e-mail that I got from Eric’s mailing list and I kind of skimmed it – I didn’t read it deeply, but he basically said, “Are you ignoring your number one client?” And it talks about some of the things you should be doing for yourself since you’re your number one client. In other words, if you take care of yourself then you can take good care of your clients. And so I was wondering what kinds of things should you be doing – again, this isn’t directly what it was talking about but – what kinds of things should you be doing on a regular basis to keep it running and keep things moving? Are there weekly or monthly practices that you go through? JONATHAN: Yeah, we talked on the pre-show that there’s a regular – keeping up on your marketing, making sure you have a funnel of clients. I don’t think we should get into it on this show but I think that’s the most important thing to do. Like I said, we go over that so much that we kind of assumed that that’s the first thing someone tackles. CHUCK: Right. ERIC: One thing that’s – I guess it’s been more important to me recently – has been rest. Not just being lazy but actually taking time away from the computer, maybe some recreation – kind of having a more rounded life than just work-eat-sleep type of idea. That’s a big thing for me and that can be taking up less sport, doing some exercise, reading a book, spending time with family – anything that recharges you especially because a lot of freelancers I talk to, they go full-on/full-force on their business but they don’t actually recharge their batteries from that. So I think that’s really important to – kind of like a second priority to do after working, you know, recharge the worth that you should just be spending the energy on. CHUCK:**Yeah, I get away from my computer, but I have an iPad. [Laughter]**JONATHAN: So Eric, I noticed that in my life I can usually gauge if I’m working too much by whether or not I’m doing those things. So if I haven’t been exercising or I haven’t been playing music, I’m like, “Gosh, I must have been really busy; I really have to think about that,” but do you have any habits that help you enforce that you do those things or anything that helps you stick with it or is it just raw discipline? CHUCK: Eric is all raw discipline. ERIC: Yeah, I look like I am but I’m actually not; I have very little discipline. What I do have is a regular, very minimal habits that even during the very intense times I can maintain the minimal level of the habit. But then once it’s like – like last week for example, I didn’t have a client; I scheduled it so I had about a week and a half off where it actually took kind of a vacation at home, did some work – that sort of stuff. And so during that time, I kind of pumped up my exercise, pumped up my reading, pumped up all the stuff that I do everyday above the minimum par. That way I still have the habit going – exercise every night, doing yoga for four or five hundred days straight on that. But instead of just doing two minutes, I did five minutes or ten minutes, whatever. JONATHAN:**Yeah, I’m probably not as good at it as you but I do know that it’s really important for me to get some exercise otherwise I get super stressed out. And I’ve found a couple of things that didn’t work for me are to actually put it in my calendar like an appointment; that’s a huge help. Sometimes I’d pump it, but having a calendar is a huge help. Another thing I do is I started a Facebook group called 100 Days of Burpees where we have this competitive thing going on where everyday you do incrementally one more burpee, which is like a squatras. And I found that that sort of community aspect of it really helps me not skip a day; if you skip a day you have to do all the ones from the previous days so it’s a lot harder [chuckles]. But those are two little tricks that have worked for me; I just schedule them on my calendar and get other people involved and some kind of accountability.**CHUCK: Yeah, I think one thing, too, is that they’ve done study after study that have shown that if you don’t get enough sleep, that you just don’t operate as well, you don’t perform as well. And that’s your product, right? Your ability to perform, your ability to deliver. And so if you're not getting the sleep you need or if you feel sick all the time or anything like that, you're just not going to be up to yourself but at the same time I’ve also been in that position where it’s like ‘Oh, crap’. I don’t have any clients or I’m put against the deadline or whatever and that’s the first thing I push. ERIC: Right. And this is very personal like how you work, how you function and all that. It can be changed to some extent but I know for myself I have my regular stuff that I’m doing, that I can tell based on how much, either caffeine or – I drink tea with a gabi so it’s sugar but it’s not a lot of sugar – how much sugar or how much of the tea I’m having to drink to stay up, what I figured, is the normal level. So I just cut of some brights so I’m very – I don’t need very much to keep going to keep my energy high to get through the day. But I did a 12-week – every week I was working off clients full-time. Near the end of that it was like a ton of that stuff to help stimulate and help keep me going, like an external motivation instead of me having the energy to keep going. And at the end of those days, by 4/4:30 I was dead. I cannot do anything else for my business, I couldn’t do any marketing – I could just get the client worked on then I was like I could pass out for the night and be done. And so I think knowing that, knowing how – taking from your actual body inventory, you energy inventory – knowing that and being aware of that, that’s a big key. And figuring out what fills it up or replenishes up, that’s kind of what I was talking about in the newsletters; you're your number one client. If all you're doing is stealing energy, stealing time from yourself, you're going to basically hit the burn out stage. REUVEN:**Yeah, I have to admit. I’ve been running on way too little sleep for way too many years. [Inaudible] I saw this and even see it somewhat like a normal thing to do, but I’m really trying to wean myself off of that because I see that it’s just not the way I want to be. I’m edgier – it’s not fun to be always tired; it doesn’t have to be that way. And I think I’m enabled to get away with it because maybe I don’t need that much sleep overall, or maybe I've been able to function without it. But I also feel like I should’ve been able to get away with it because that’s how people know me. And I keep feeling like – I have been able to do that because I felt like it’s acceptable and okay, but if I start saying to myself, “No, no, no; I need to actually get a more reasonable amount of sleep every night and not just crash on weekends and one night a week,” which is typically what I do. It’s going to help my health overall; it’s going to help the way I deal with other people – it’s going to be great. But it will force me to prioritize because until now I’ve been able to say, “Well, I’ll just do a hundred different things,” and if I have to get more sleep then I’ll have to say, “Okay, these things are just not as important; I will not do them.” And I think that’s the hardest thing for me after so many years of basically doing everything and anything I want to do.**ERIC: Right, and actually after recording I’ve been trying to build a habit. I have averaged about six hours of sleep at night and when I go below that I know it affects me. But everyone says you should have seven to nine for adults. I’ve been trying to build a habit of at least getting seven, and so if that means I went to bed late and I woke up early because my daughter woke up, I have to fit in either a nap right after she goes to day care or during lunch time and I made that my top priority. So there’s been time so I have actually not done a run which is another priority, in order to get my nap because that’s kind of what I’m focused on. I think I finally got over the hill of failing good, failing good, failing good. I’m starting to – I’m regularly hitting it, I’m going to bed on time, I’m getting a rest. It’s maybe been a nine or ten days streak and I’ve already noticed like I feel more creative, I feel I have more energy. But it’s a trade-off; my running has suffered because I’m not able to get in as much sleep so I’m not running as much. CHUCK: I also want to talk a little bit about the leisure time. So watching TV for me id kind of mindless. I usually will watch some TV if I’m trying to go to sleep and nothing else seems to work because it just totally puts me in a coma. But like reading fiction or listening to stories or listening to podcasts where they tell stories or things like that. If you like, those really stimulate my creative faculties and I’m able to get a lot more done and think about things in a different way. I’m not sure if it’s just a bias that I have because I feel like it’s that way or if that way that that’s approvable but I feel more creative when I participate in something more creative. ERIC: Right. Yeah and I’m the same way but I use – mine’s a little different. The more I’m reading, even if it’s not even close to the subject of what I’m working on or what I’m doing in business, I’m finding and connecting more ideas, and that’s creativity if you boil it down to the essence. I want to say it’s Shaun De Jesus that talks about it. It’s like you have to have a bunch of input and the input can be just any kind of input and once you get enough input you can get the output, and the output. Is creativity or new ideas. REUVEN: Oh, I think that’s crucial for sure. I think that’s one of my greatest insights both in terms of programming and in terms of training, and my ability to connect the dots for people especially when I’m describing things and explain them, comes from reading subjects that are not directly technological. I think most of the stories I tell when teaching – most of the analogies that I use are thanks to the fact that I’m reading other subjects and they help me to connect the dots and so they help my clients as well. CHUCK: Yup, especially for me the true stories whether there’s something inspirational or allegorical that I can use. So in some cases it’s – there was somebody who struggled and then they overcame using some principle or some practice. So that’s kind of practical but inspiring so you can use that if you're doing that kind of teaching training or speaking. And then you’ve got the other which is, well, there was – and you can create a narrative even though it’s essentially explaining how a beta code works. So think of it like a train and the train has carts and this does this, and you have these different carts that perform different functions when it stops and they setup the circus or something. So you can create both a story to describe what you're doing or the way you're approaching something. ERIC:**And there is even the simpler aspect; if you're using a lot of logic when you're doing programming all day long, reading a story – it has some logic but it’s narrative logic, not like mathematical logic – that can let that part of your brain rest. And so you put in a couple of hours reading at night, that just means that your logical brain can calm down, recover, build any lines and [inaudible]. So even without actually taking stuff out from the reading, the active reading – you're doing it; that’s going to actually improve you and help you out.**JONATHAN: I definitely second the notion that you can’t just constantly have output – you have to have input. It’s really – it unlocks a lot of surprising connections. But how do you guys make the time to do that? Is it just natural for you, like in a particular time of night you're in a routine where you listen to a podcast or you ‘let’s do an audio book’, or you read a physical book – what do you guys do in terms of creating those habits for yourselves? REUVEN:**I do a few readings. First of all, I commute usually by train – some combination of train and walking to most of my clients, so I’m constantly – friends of mine say, “Oh, I saw you outside the train station but you were walking really fast with you headphone in – with your earphones in.” Or when they see me on the train – it’s true; whenever I’m on the train or walking, I’m always listening to podcasts and sometimes they're technical and sometimes they're not. And in terms of reading – I’m this nice forcing function of the Sabbath when we don’t use electricity in my family, so were all just sitting around reading books and that’s my chance to read whether it’s the newspaper or the new Yorker which I totally treasure, or the latest books that I have accumulated. And that’s typically my time, and during the week I have other times as well, but that’s the major time when I get the chance to really go through stuff and bring in lots of inputs. And then just the newspaper I read two or three newspapers or parts of it everyday and I really enjoy that. [Crosstalk]**JONATHAN: What is this thing you discussed called ‘newspaper’? REUVEN:**Well that’s – paper is an exaggeration now, although we do still get a physical paper copy of the intellectual allegiance left wing newspaper in Israel delivered to our doorstep. And when they’re at the mall they're giving out free copies and I say to the guy, “No, no, no – I get it delivered to my house.” He’s like, “Really? There are not too many of you anymore.” [Chuckles]**CHUCK:**Yes, you take a tree and you grind it up –. [Chuckles]**REUVEN:**Yeah, but I hate to say it – it is more and more convenient if I’m on-the-go or on my phone or on my computer to read so between [inaudible] and New York Times I get my doses of interesting content pushed toward me, but there’s still nothing like the feeling of paper.**JONATHAN:**Yeah, I spent the weekend in [inaudible] Vermont, like all of the months were all pretty bunched [chuckles] in the mountains and it’s – my cousins got a little [inaudible] up there and various new cellphone service – there’s no cable access, there’s no satellite, there is no nothing. There’s a landline and that’s it. And I will admit to having a couple of minor panic attacks maybe once or twice but it was the first time in a long time; I looked at the newspaper and I was like, “Wow! It’s kind of a cool thing. It’s an interesting technology.” It wasn’t even a [inaudible] newspaper because that’s how remote it is. it was like a Sunday and I was reading the Thursday’s paper [crosstalk] and it was cool.**REUVEN: I know when I was an undergrad in MIT and there was this group that came up with an electronic newspaper. And they were so proud of themselves and it was really amazing. And they discovered what others have discovered also which is one of the beauties of a newspaper or a general interest magazine is you read things you wouldn’t expect to enjoy. So if you're on – if you have an artist that’s reader or something like that and you're reading a blog on certain topics, or you can go to Google News and you filter out for certain topics, you’re going to get lots of information on various physics subjects. We can podcast for that matter but if you're reading a general interest magazine or a newspaper you're going to find all sorts of cool stuff you didn’t even knew you were interested in which is part of the excitement and why I enjoy it so much. CHUCK: Yeah, I tend to read before I go to sleep. And I actually read on my iPad but I’ve set it to Sepia tone ad turned the brightness almost all the way down so that I can sit and read it in the dark without it killing me off because just looking at it is rough when it’s all the way on. The other thing is I’l listen to audio books or podcasts when I’m out running errands in the car. The other thing that I do is I’ll also do it when I’ll go walking or running or lifting weights or whatever. So when I’m at the gym or on the trail, I listen then, too. And a lot of times I’m not really – not in a mental place where I want to be going full-on technical or serious content business book, and so I’ll just listen to a novel or something. It’s an audio book and it’s very, very relaxing. Sometimes I just go for a drive so I can listen to something so that I can turn my brain off. REUVEN:**I must admit that I think I’m like many engineers where I don’t read much fiction and I get most of my fiction through TV or movies. Fortunately, having children has given me – give it to me more when I was reading to them but a great excuse to read fiction. And what do you know? There’s actually something to it, like it freezes your brain, it allows you to make all these associations think of ideas and so when I’m out running I [inaudible] to myself. That’s the one for the New Yorker right – I don’t read. Blasphemous as that is to regular readers, I definitely appreciate that you get ideas and thought and connection that you would not get otherwise.**CHUCK: Well it’s just relaxing, too. REUVEN: Right. JONATHAN: I find that I have two kinds of reading – the kind to shut off my brain so I can stop thinking about work and force myself to be distracted by something that activates that part of my brain. The other thing is reading for work purposes to stoke my – it’s hard to explain. It’s like stuff that is boring, I’m still on the learning curve and I really want to get other input from experts in the field. There’s two kinds of reading and I do it in different ways. Like I listen to it on Audible; I barely ever drive but if I am driving I’m almost always has some kind of audio going. CHUCK: Uh-hm. JONATHAN: At home, dishes is my job so I almost always have some kind of either audio book playing or podcast or something like that. But it’s not a regular thing; it feels very sporadic to me. I wish I was – it can be a little bit more regimented and it would be – I’d be happy with that. Weirdly, years ago before we had kids we were in a routine of eating dinner and then watching TV every night. It was Daily Show and they call Barry Moore and then we’d watch HD TV until we fell asleep. And we’re in this routine and it wasn’t a very productive exercise but we completely stopped doing that. We had no TV anymore and as over-the-top as it was – it wasn’t really a good habit – I don’t think something’s missing now that we don’t do it. Maybe in a moderation it’d be good to have a routine where nightly we get some sort of brain shut-off activity. REUVEN: Yeah, we definitely – my wife and I often would watch an hour of TV. When I say TV I mean watching on the computer from Netflix or Amazon and what-not. It’s definitely a nice way to, in the evening, watch anything and then I go back to work. But I won’t for long. ERIC: Yeah, and say for me I have basically three periods where – at least randomly – three periods where I actually do a lot of reading, do a lot of relaxing and it’s in the morning and I have a run and that can be anywhere from an hour or to two hours, sometimes a bit longer. And so that’s great for audio books. I used to do podcasts but I found podcasts, the quality’s kind of hit or miss on those and its episode to episode, so I found audio books work better because it’s pretty consistent quality. And this time I run in, I can get through about an audio book a week so that’s a significant amount of content. I do fiction, light non-fiction. I don’t do very heavy or hard non-fiction just because I want to concentrate on the run, too. The second time is after I put my daughter down it’s going to be quiet around the house a little bit before bed and so my wife relaxes by watching Netflix and then I relax by either playing a video game on my iPad or reading again. So in that case I’m probably – usually read in Kindle because we’re listening to the monitor so I need to have audio-free. And after my wife goes to bed, I’m up for another hour or two – it’s been a lot less since I tried to do the sleeping thing but that’s my time where most of the time I read on the Kindle. It depends; it could be fiction, non-fiction. Some fiction books keep me up, some fiction books put me to sleep. Same for non-fiction. I have three; I think it’s about three books going any one time on the Kindle so I can switch between them. If like I need to go to bed or I’m – it’s Friday night, I want to stay up a bit late. And the end result is doing more now but it’s something around four or five audio books a month and then ten to twelve books read at a month just off the Kindle. And I found that’s like – that plus just some blog reading here and there. That’s a ton of content, that’s a ton of entertainment and it keeps me going. It’s actually relatively easy for me to maintain but it’s a routine I’ve built over probably four or five years now. REUVEN:**We get this thing – I totally second that; I have a million books going so I can transition to when it’s appropriate to the situation like the one that I need to put me to sleep and the one that I need to stimulate my brain. You just reminded me, talking about wife going to bed that we recently reorganized our house. I work at home typically and my office was in the basement and it was becoming unsustainable because the kids are both old enough o chase each other, and they just run around in circles over my head. It was like living inside of a kid room. [Chuckles] It was like, “Well, we don’t use our bedroom during the day and that’s on the third floor, so let’s just put my desk in their bedroom.” And now, the weird side effect is all my stuff’s in the bedroom, so once my wife goes to sleep, I’m not going to go in there and get my stuff. So I’m kind of trapped in the rest of the house without my stuff. So if I wanted to record a webinar, a video podcast or a regular podcast, I can’t unless I’m going to wake her up which is I’m not going to do. So it’s had like – might as well go to bed. So the point there is that – did this was accidental but I suppose that people could follow the model and setup an environment that enfore the behaviors that they know they shold exhibit instead of the ones that are the addictive type of behaviors. I definitely consider myself – my work behavior’s a little bit addictive where I’ll just be like, “Oh, I shouldn’t really go to sleep,” but I’ll just check e-mail one more time and type up two page to reply to this e-mail that if I [chuckles] answered it tomorrow morning it’d be one line. It’s weird how that fish grows to fill the bowl with some of this stuff so if I don’t put things in place to keep me on this certain streak of just not sleeping up, not exercising up, not stimulating by brain enough, not relaxing enough.**REUVEN:**Jonathan, you just reminded me – I remember carrying years ago that if a client says to you, “I just need X,” maybe even Eric even said it. The word ‘just’ is the poison there, like if it’s ‘just need X’ then you have to tell them, “No, no, no – this is not small.” You need a serious change request or something along those lines. And I’m thinking, when you're saying something so familiar to me and then maybe what I need to say to myself more is, “Oh, if I’m just doing X before going to bed, I could just go to bed.” Right? [Chuckles] Like if we’re going back to the topic of how to treat ourselves when you’ve got a client, I should be doing that. [Crosstalk]**JONATHAN: Right. You’re your own worst client. It’s like the flipside of that premise, like you're the worst client you have. CHUCK: So I want to change topics slightly. We’ve been talking about books and things like that. How do you fit training in? JONATHAN: Like professional development training? CHUCK: Yeah. JONATHAN: Oh, wow. That’s a great question. Could you be a little more specific? CHUCK: Well, I mean you could read business books, you can read technical books, you can watch videos, you can – there are all kinds of different things. I’m looking for the more routine kinds of things so let’s leave off conferences and workshops and stuff. JONATHAN: Yeah, that’s why I asked because I schedule myself. I kind of try and do double duty so I’ll schedule myself for a conference and since I have two kids and a wife and a house and two dogs, and my home life is – I’d characterize it is medium to perhaps medium rare hectic. And when I go to a conference I take vast advantage of that time. It’s like I’m going to be by myself potentially for 23 hours a day for the next four days. And I have a conference coming up and I’m already scheduling stuff to do so I guess I’m doing the exact opposite of what’s best to focus on. CHUCK: Right, so you don’t do it as a routine thing you do? Your life circumstances accommodate it? JONATHAN: Yeah, I don’t know. It’s an interesting question. It’s kind of like the stuff I do when I’m procrastinating from doing these stuff I’m supposed to be doing. If I’m a hundred percent honest, I’d get on my own learning curve because I have something really boring that I have to do. So I have to do X, Y – I have to type up a report, I don’t want to do it so I convince myself that it’s more important that I watch this training video or read this business book. CHUCK: Uh-hm. JONATHAN: And it’s easy to convince myself that because I’m getting a ton of value out of it. I have direct financial benefits from leveling up in these areas because I can turn around and resell that knowledge to a group of people, not just – it’s not just like ‘I’m going to make my own business better and most certainly make a bunch for other businesses better’ and that’s going to make my craziest virtuous loop. I don’t schedule it but there’s no lack of it so it’s kind of weird. CHUCK: Yeah. I’ve been trying to do this miracle morning thing for probably a year and a half. And one of the things on there is to watch a five to ten minute video, and now that could be something that’s part of another training series or it could be just something that’s self-contained like Ruby topics or Elixer Sips which are just – it’s kind of a ten minute demonstration or exploration of some aspect of Ruby or Elixer. I’m not always good at giving up and giving in to my routine; it’s the habits hacking thing that Eric talks about sometimes. REUVEN: Yeah, I definitely don’t have any clearly defined time when I work on my own training. Although, I try to keep a day a week for when I’m not out training in the field like giving other people training so that I can spend some time first of all just getting through the back log of work that I owe people, but also spending some time learning and working on my own things. So I would say the day I take video site that I started was started in part out of just selfishness and self-need to create this sort of habit, like I need to learn about certain topics and I’m going to categorize them. And if it’s helpful to other people, then that’s great, too. And so I've definitely been learning a lot in that way; that’s been a forcing function. But I think another forcing function for me is been like out talking to people when I’ve been doing training and asking them ‘what would be useful to you’ and ‘what is the next topic of interest’; just hearing what people are interested in and I’m like, “Hm, I’m going to go ahead of that curve.” Because if they’re already saying that they're interested in it, then they’re probably going to be really interested in it a year from now. And so I've been trying to push myself into new things as well. And the other things is my Linux journal column where I’ve been using it for years as a way to force myself to learn new stuff and then explain it and use it in different things, not necessarily in that order, so that I can get ahead of the curve. But I think if it was just left to me, like if I weren’t training, if I weren’t talking to people, if I were running the site, if I weren’t writing, then it would be much, much harder for me to find the time and allocate it. JONATHAN: I totally second that. I do a – not this podcast but another podcast called Terrifying Robot Dog where I have a co-host, we have a scheduled time more or less. It usually moves around but it is a weekly – we’re religious about getting it out once a week and it’s basically an appointment to talk big thoughts about the future of tech and how it affects the way we connect with the world. It’s a labor of love; we’ve got a few hundred listeners, maybe four/five hundred listeners weekly. It’s not big but it’s a scheduled things that forces us to think out of the box, explore possibilities and it leads back to our businesses where we do consulting and strategic – it’s a marketing thing in a way but it also makes you think outside the box and connect hose dots. Think in a way that you wouldn’t normally do when you were actually trying to get something done – we’re not trying to get anything done. So people often ask me, “Oh, how do you justify the fact that you do that every week?” I would say most of my best ideas from my mobile strategy business come out of that show. Just from – shouldn’t we ask from another smart person. ERIC: Yeah, I think I’m different than all of you. If I have the chance, I try to schedule my training, all of my mental growth, whatever. Either a couple of months ago, maybe a month. So I’ve actually took a week off and built a Shopify app in a week, and so it’s the idea of I’ve done it for clients so I know how it works but I want to start from scratch. And so how do I do it? Can I get it done? What does the process look like? And so I actually took a week of billable time; I scheduled that. In the past, I’ve done that with different things, either technology or marketing tactics, strategies. It’ll only take a week or a week and a half or sometimes even just a day and be like, “Okay, I’m going to take in for content marketing for your help or what’s going to be a good way for myself to do it. I tried to do that ahead of when I actually need it. There’s sometimes words like – just in time like a week before learning something that I’m going to use the next week. But most of the time it’s done in advance and I think a lot of that starts from the amount of reading I do. Those give me the ideas and the background knowledge and then that feeds into actually doing the week, doing the more intense stuff because I have the background stuff – I know what to avoid, I know what to look for just go through the motions of putting it into practice and see if it works. CHUCK: That’s really interesting. And sometimes I think you need to do that. If there’s some area of something that I am exploring, I’ve done this once or twice for Rails Clips or I just took a day or two to really get into whatever it was that I had to figure out. ERIC:**Yeah, because it’s the most current story, but before I was even considering doing Shopify or e-commerce as my positioning for my consulting, I bought four or five books on e-commerce, read on – figured out like here’s the commonalities, here’s stuff that might just be the author going off on a wild tangent. Here is stuff – and I even found some authors like, wow this is – my daughter who’s three can write better than this. But I basically got a good survey of the whole market that took those condensed [inaudible] on that, went into actual places of where my customers would be, verified that the books arrived, verified pain points problems – all that stuff. And then from that I kept doing that research of going back to the source material and then checking it. I can see reality and now it’s – probably six months later I’m actually like, “Okay, I’m repositioning in Shopify; this is what I’m doing. I know some of the major things that I’m going to hit on. In this case it was a six month process to learn about this industry, learn about how it works, learn what the problems are. And so I prefer to do that versus ‘Oh, I’m just going to look on Youtube and see what catches my eye right now’ because that’s not a very disciplined approach. As you know, I like the more disciplined approach.**JONATHAN: Does anybody do stuff that’s just totally like guys night out, like bowling night or anything like that? CHUCK:**I do it occasionally with my brother. He’s a year and a half younger than I am and we enjoy the same stupid stuff and so a lot of times we just go and grab a lunch and then go watch the dumbest movie we could find in the theater. [Chuckles] He’s a cardiac ICU nurse and so sometimes he just needs to just completely shut the world out because he has people come in that are pretty [inaudible] sometimes. Then I get burned out so I’m like, “Crap, let’s go do something fun.” Another thing that we’ve done, there’s a little – I’ve mentioned this on the show before; I like guns. So we’ve – we go down to the gun range and I think it’s like 10 or 15 bucks gets you access to the range and you can shoot any gun they have in the store.**REUVEN: America. CHUCK: So then you’ll just be paying for ammunition. Yeah, they have a big elephant gun and he’s like, “Yeah, that’s a $15 one shot.” So you do that just so you can say you did it but they’ve got desert eagles in there, they’ve got all kinds of guns in there; so we go do that or golfing or whatever. I do a lot of golfing or just building crap or working on cars. My father-in-law, too and it’s just a nice escape. But yeah, that’s our guys night is will either go grab lunch or go see a really stupid movie, or we’ll go shoot guns. And sometimes we’ll invite my other brothers to come along. But most of the time since he is the cardiac ICU nurse, he’ll work like four days in a row and then have three or four off or something like that so he can go in the middle of the day and I can go in the middle of the day. And it’s nice because nobody else is there. JONATHAN: Yeah, it’s definitely nice. If you’re running – I guess your brother’s schedule is odd just because of his job, but if you're an independent consultant as I’ve been counseled to say, so it’s freelance. But if you're running your own schedule, then it gives you this degree of freedom that you can take off in another day or some days. So again, Thursdays are the day that I tend to take for working on my own business and that means that if I want to see someone for lunch, if I want to go do something, if I want to cook something for lunch, I can do that and if not taking time off for client things. CHUCK: Yeah, I do the co-working Thursdays as well. That’s ten o’clock to four o’clock on Thursday. We just go down to the local café. We reserve one of the longer tables and we usually have four, five, six people show up. And then it’s just a mix of gab and about stuff and getting work done. Sometimes somebeody’s got like a deadline and so they're pretty heads down and they're not really participating in other weeks they are. We talk about all kinds of stuff – fantasy books, politics – all kinds of things. And so it’s really interesting just to get with other people and that’s a nice way to both build my network, but mostly it’s just so that I can be around other people who are doing the same kinds of things I am. REUVEN: I've heard of people who have lent for other freelancers and impending consultance. How do you wish to describe it –. CHUCK: Independent freelancer consultant. REUVEN: Yeah, people who are working at home or people working on their own; I think it’s a fantastic idea. I’ve never done it myself in part because I’m out so much working with clients, and so I have lunch with other people at their company cafeterias two/three times a week. CHUCK: Right. You get you people fixed because you're working at companies. Right. But it’s definitely – I think it’s a fantastic idea to do that sort of thing. CHUCK: Yeah. Going to other meetups, too or networking groups or networking evets. I go to Toastmasters every Thursday morning. Of course –. ERIC: How was that? I’ve always thought about doing that. JONATHAN: What do you think about that? CHUCK: To be perfectly honest, I totally love it. I think I let my way into a really great club. I’ve heard that some of the other clubs are not nearly as awesome. The club starts at 7AM and it gets over at around 8:00 or 8:05. Anyway, everybody has a job and so you show up. They’re usually three speakers and then there’s kind off a table topics and what that is is just kind of an impromptu. So somebody basically has think-on-your-feet question or topic that you have to talk about for two to three minutes. People volunteer for that, they get up and they talk about whatever. And then the people who gave the prepared speeches have people evaluate them and so the evaluators get up and they talk about – so they’re like ‘you did this well, you didn’t do this well’. It’s been super helpful for me as a speaker. It’s also been terrific for me just to be able to gather my thoughts on specific things because you can talk about anything; the club has really gotten into me talking about podcasting, although lately I haven’t spoken much about podcasting. But yeah, it’s terrific. In this particular club, it’s just full of amazing people and I’ve met people from all over Salt Lake Valley. There are few people that live down here in Utah Valley but most of them are up in Salt Lake Valley. We just get together and talk and get to know each other. We practice speaking and we participate in the club. I’ve been filling for the sergeant-at-arms and his job is basically to unlock the building, set up the tables and chairs and to make sure the meeting starts and stops on time. JONATHAN: Jeez, I didn’t realize it was military. CHUCK:**Well, he’s the only one that has kind of a militarist [chuckle] but there’s the Toastmaster who runs the meeting, there’s the Uh Master who counts um’s and ah’s. The grammarian –.**JONATHAN: Oh no, no, no, no –. REUVEN: Oh my God. JONATHAN: Like seriously? Are you serious. CHUCK: Yeah, I’m serious. JONATHAN: That’s awesome! CHUCK:**It’s really great [crosstalk]**JONATHAN: If it was me I’d make someone that counts the you know’s because that’s my ‘uh’. CHUCK: Yup. They do um’s, ah’s, you know’s, so’s. My claim to fame is that I gave a seven minutes speech and got away with one ‘and’ but it’s really great. JONATHAN: Wow. CHUCK: Go find a couple of clubs near you and figure out which ones have the people that you kind of – you match well with. JONATHAN: So to tie this back to the theme – that was a really good, in-depth example of a scheduled event with other people who are expecting you to be there to do a kind of a battery recharging type of thing that makes you better at your job, but also I’m sure – it would for me, I’m sure it does for you as well – give you – it works a different part of your brain that inspires creativity. CHUCK:**Yeah, it does that. The other thing is the social aspect of it is really nice. I’ve been able to work with several people as part of the club that have turned out to be great mentors for me in one area or another. It all works out really nicely that way; and I just said ansos – you know how I’m thinking about this. [laughter] but –.**JONATHAN:**So what are some other things like Toastmasters that people could schedule into their lives? I don’t know how many people listen have families and stuff but I do and I can’t just randomly ‘I’m going out tonight’; it doesn’t work. It doesn’t fly. It’s rude. If it was happening to me on a regular basis I’d get ticked off. So things need to be planned out in advanced or they're not going to happen. So we’ve mentioned a couple – Toastmaster is one having maybe a personal trainer that you meet with weekly. I’ve got karate classes that happen on Monday and Thursday – other stuff like that. What are other things that people do that are like a scheduled thing, a weekly things that you do that you're – you will feel like you skid [inaudible] you know. You’re skidding into social pariah area if you just skip it.**CHUCK: There are in my area here in Salt Lake in Utah Counties a bunch of entrepreneurial groups and they get together usually monthly. Some of them are networking events and some of them are – we’re going to have somebody come in and talk about some deal with business. So they’ve had people who have started businesses, they’ve had experts in links startup. One time they had asked Mario Colin from wherever he lives and he did a presentation over at Google Hangout. They had Josh Coates who started in Structure which is a big college – what are they – they are an education system, sort of like Blackboard except it actually is nice to use and stuff like that. So they have all these people come in that you're going to want to hear from and then they do networking. I think they put on kind of a conference that’s going on the end of the month. And so they bring in new startups. The startup incubators are usually good places to go in and get involved because they have get-togethers that are social events whether they are trying to get people to actually submit an idea to the incubator because the more suggestions they get, the better they are. JONATHAN: Right. I’m wondering about things where the harder to – I’m thinking about the things in my life that I don’t blow off are the things where cancelling is required and will be harder than showing up. CHUCK: Right. JONATHAN: So like my karate class, if I don’t show up they are going to give me a ratio when I get there the next time. They're going to call me aside, they're going to say, “Where were you last week? We want an explanation and it better be a good one.” There’s no consequences really other than the shame. And there’s no way to contact them at the last second to tell them that my car broke down or that the kids are sick or whatever it is. So there’s no way for me to alert podcast listeners of Terrifying Robot Dog if for some reason we’re going to be late this week. CHUCK: Yeah. JONATHAN:**I’m looking for stuff – I’m wondering if we have any other tips where there is that sort of a scenario where – you know what, I might as well just do this because canceling it is too hard. And if I just skip it – because there’s some immediate stuff, you're just ‘ahh, I’m going to blow it off. I don’t feel like it. It’s no way.’ [Crosstalk]**CHUCK:**My Mastermind groups are like that. I find this, they get on me. [Crosstalk] I’m paying for it for Heaven’s sake.**REUVEN: I’m definitely calling that a brilliant scheme because he knew that students love to turn things in late and take for extensions a lot of minutes. So her rule was ‘I will always give you an extension as long as you ask for it at least 24 hours before the deadline’. And I thought it was a fantastic way – we got a forcing function to make us think ‘huh, do I really need this? Do I want to ask for it?’ And if so you have to be prepared – you have to prepare yourself to ask for an extension. And it worked; it works very well. CHUCK: Yeah, but to your point Jonathan I don’t know. The only ones that I feel like I really have to be at are where I’m part of a small group where I have a job that I have to perform so I have to show up r I’m in some other way responsible for organizing. JONATHAN:**So the trick to relaxing and recharging your batteries is to give yourself more responsibility. [Laughter] You heard it here first folks. [Chuckles]**CHUCK: Okay, I got one more thing that I want to ask about that you should be doing every week or every periodically and that’s other chores like bookkeeping and things. Now you can pay somebody to do those, but should you still be checking on those things? ERIC:**No, never do bookkeeping. Yeah, I do my bookkeeping every week; I think it works good especially for smaller solo consultant. You can get by with it every month. You can even have [inaudible] to do it for you but I think like finances like that you should really stay on top and understand what’s going on with it. But checking your marketing – you can setup automated marketing about checking in on like is it actually working, is it still relevant – all that stuff. That’s a good monthly thing to do. I do – every quarter I started doing scheduling out client follow ups. So I’d pass clients, I’d reach out to them and see how they’re doing. Part of the idea is – do you have any work for me? But then a part of it is just I’m just curious what they're doing, if they're seeing the results of anything that they’ve had.**REUVEN: That’s so big. That’s good – I feel like we’ve talked about weekly stuff, but some monthly stuff like that it could be really good to talk about. JONATHAN:**The way I do it, I’d check on them and say, “Oh, how’s it going?” I’d usually look for articles while I’m strolling the way a bit late at night when I should be sleeping. “And you know what I should really sent this to that client I haven’t talked to in a while because the project was over.” I feel like, “You know I saw this, I thought of you guys; what’s going on?” Whatever. Send the link –. A lot our times conversations [inaudible] it.**CHUCK: I hunted the internet for a day and a half to find the perfect link to send you. REUVEN: Just like a Hallmark card. JONATHAN:**I have years of invoice. [Laughter]**ERIC: And yeah that sharing aspect’s really good. The problem – I tried to do it, the problem I had is it put a lot of effort. I had to put a bunch of work into it like ‘let me find the perfect link for this client’ and this and that. And I’ve actually found a short ‘hey, how you doing?’ Two sentence e-mail works for me. In fact, the sheer – just by sending one of those to a client I got another 15 or $ 20,000 project. They’re like, “Hey, we were actually thinking about you blah, blah, blah a new project.” Something simple works. JONATHAN: Yeah, I agree it’s two different things. If you want to schedule it and go through a loop of your past clients then do note the length thing is not easy; it’s because it can be a lot of work but I thing you’d probably get both where you have that routine where you make sure to view that once a month for somebody, the next oldest person you have and talked to for the longest time. But also just at the back off your mind, always thinking, “This maybe is an interesting link for me but do I know anyone that would be interesting, too?” And then sharing with them more spontaneously, not like this scheduled. ERIC:**Here’s your link for the sixth of the month. [Laughter] Yeah, I think they're two separate things and they're both good to do. Another thing I do is I started doing recently – it’s like a recorder. I’m taking basically all the invoices that I have, calculating how much I’ve built for different clients and figure out metrics based on it. So that would be where the clients came from – was it a referral, was it off at Twitter, that sort of thing. And it actually proved to be extremely valuable to the point of ‘why haven’t I done this before?’ Because now I can actually look at my markings and say I can sped – I get fixed amount of dollars per client on average. Therefore I can spend this much money on marketing; therefore, I can hire help that’s less than that and still have a positive ROI. And it actually has freed up a lot of decision making that I used to struggle with. I’ve done it twice now; I’ve tried to do it every quarter just to keep it updated. I’m a very low volume, high dollar amount per transaction so quarter works good for me. You could do monthly or weekly depending on yours.**CHUCK: And I think that there are other areas you can take inventory on this well and that’s when you check your bookkeeping if you're having somebody else do it, and just look at the numbers and look at the other details that you have. And you can take an inventory like you said of what’s coming in and how your work has gotten done. You can also take inventory on all of the other aspects of your business as far as how much you're paying who and how much you're paying for it, as well as how you're spending your time and how that’s working for you. ERIC:**Yeah, it’s hard. I do weekly reviews and then I get monthly reviews, and so a lot of this [inaudible] that I’ve processed now, so it’s unconscious for me. For the month I’ll check how much client work I’ve scheduled – do I need to send out the passive invoices for some of these? Do I need to do more [inaudible] – it looks a little lame. Maybe look out three to six months or something for that. There’s a lot of forward planning you can do that’s extremely useful to get into regular process of doing, even if it only takes a minute or two you can get a habit around it and have some kind of ‘oh, it’s the first business day of the month; it’s time to do invoices and this and that.’ It’s helpful.**JONATHAN: That just triggered the whole series of thoughts for me and not resting on your laurels and really thinking about your business. It happened to me where I rested on my laurels too long in the mobile stuff and the industry grew up around me and I didn’t keep pace. So I – probably every six months average, it would make sense to really question what you're doing and thinking. Is there some better way that I could be serving the people that I serve? Is there some better product that I could be offering? Is there some pattern that I’m seeing that’s new? And really question some of the fundamental aspects of your business and consider reinventing it or creating a new product. I think Ella Noise says something like, “50% of the money I’m making this year is from products I didn’t have two years ago.” So he’s constantly sloughing off dead cells and growing new ones. I feel like that thing needs to be scheduled because by the time you noticed it, you're six months behind at best and it’s going to be a big catchup. CHUCK: Yeah, I think that make a great episode, just how to evaluate your business and where you're at. ERIC: Yeah, and that’s the root of the problem that just got to my newsletter because I think a big consequence that people run into is they don’t have enough work; they book as much work as they can and they become overbooked. And they're making money hand over fist happy with that but they're burned out. And the other side of it is when they emerge from the client cocoon of ‘I’m fully busy’, they're now behind and now they can’t their next clients. They’d become – pipeline completely dries up. They have to retrain themselves for a month to six months. I’ve heard a person even took a year to get back in the market and then they can start billing. And that’s so unsustainable; that’s so dangerous versus not getting locked up in that, taking the time for yourself and keeping on that. It becomes this huge monster thing. CHUCK: Alright, well anything else that we should cover on this topic before we go to picks? ERIC:**One thing I’d say and this is based on personal experience, based on scientific studies, [inaudible] you can never quite bully the people saying when they say that. If you're going to be making changes, try to make very tiny microscopic changes first, build those into a habit and then slowly let them grow into what you want them to be. Don’t jump out and try a hundred burpees because you're overweight, you're not eating right – do one burpee and then do that for a month if you want. And then do two, maybe five – don’t try to jump to a hundred because you're just going to burn out, you're not going to ‘let’s take with it the changes and kind of stay there.**CHUCK: Doesn’t burpees have a jump in the end? JONATHAN: Ohhh, monkey gift! Badoonch. REUVEN: I totally did not get that but okay. ERIC:**It depends on what style you’re doing. There’s a style that doesn’t have the jump in the end. If you want to get into that. [Crosstalk]CHUCK: Yeah, let’s go there! JONATHAN: Different burpee styles. CHUCK: Alright. JONATHAN: Speaking of burpees I have a pick for everyone. CHUCK: Good! Let’s do picks. Go ahead Jonathan. JONATHAN:[Inaudible] 100 Days of Burpees – please dear listeners, come and join us. The group is actually just starting over so it’s not too late.**CHUCK: Oh no. JONATHAN: You can actually be competitive and know 100 Days of Burpees; I’ll put a link to it at the show notes. CHUCK: You're going to ruin my figure with that. JONATHAN: That’s my intention. CHUCK:**I have the coder figure. [Laughter]**JONATHAN: I have no comment. I don’t – we’ve never met in person, have we/ CHUCK: Nope. JONATHAN: We never have. Okay, so the other pick that I have since it came up so often, we might have been – I think it probably was a pick in our earlier show but there’s an excellent TED talk from a guy named Dr. Parsley who perhaps is the best name ever, who not only was a navy seal which is a group who does not put too much stock on sleeping, but is also doctor which as a resident you don’t get too much time to sleep either. And he does a really compelling talk about the adverse effects of not getting enough sleep and he considers it an epidemic and that it’s a very, very bad thing and it makes a nice case for it so it’s worth watching it. Definitely had an effect on my behavior. CHUCK: Alright, Eric do you have some picks for us? ERIC: Yeah, so I got one, it’s from a regular pick. Would you call it rather a picker or a pick-ee – I guess regular pickee here from Philip Morgan called CTA-able Content Marketing. One interesting aspect which I don’t know – it wasn’t pointed out very visibly into the article and it’s something I’ve never seen before, but the idea of you're not just doing content marketing to attract people, attract visitors – that sort of idea. But you do content marketing so that when you do guest appearances like either a guest blog post or a guest podcast post, you have a place that you can point people from there onto your own site. So came on this show, you could point people to a huge content piece that you created on freelancing. It’s a really interesting spin in a way to get double duty from content that you're already creating. CHUCK: Alright, Reuven do you have some picks for us? REUVEN:Yeah, so I have three picks. The first one is, and this is perhaps obvious to everyone listening, but I was introduced to Twitter analytics that if you go on to Twitter and you check on – at least for me it was under my user menu there – you click on your icon and under this is analytics. And what you find is lots of interesting things like who’s reading it and what they're reading and how often it is retweeted and how your stats look the last month or so. I think this might be useful for my business; I’m still trying to figure it out but I’ve been fascinated to discover what’s been happening with the Tweets that I put up and what my [inaudible] stats are. I definitely encourage people to at least look at that. I’m not sure how important that is but it’s definitely work looking at. The other two picks that I have are this book that I just spent on reading called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle from Barbara Kingsolver – I’m probably destroying her name. Anyway, she’s a novelist and a writer and she and her husband and her two daughters moved to a farm. And they decided that they were only going to eat the things that they raised on their actual farm and it is fascinating and interesting. I’m not sure if I agree with everything she writes there but it’s definitely a great look at food and farming and local food and the environment and global warming and everything else you want to think about. And the third thing is, this site has been around for a while but it obviously reuse its head every four years or so – it’s called ElectoralVote.com and it’s actually run for the nerds in the audience which is most of you by famous networking profession and guru Andrew Tanenbaum who is originally American but lives in Amsterdam or somewhere in Holland for many yeers now. In any event, it has a fantastic breakdown of American political polls and predictions and announces. And it’s written very interestingly so those of you who are political junkies, definitely worth taking a look at especially as the elections draw closer. And you know, presidential elections in the US are only once in sixteen months away which in most countries is enough to have three governments rise and fall. Anyway, that’s the picks for me this week.CHUCK:Alright. I’ve got a couple of things going on here. The first one is I just want to remind everybody that I am talking to people for 15minutes. You can get a chunk of my calendar by going to freelancersshow.com/15minutes and that would be awesome; I’d love to talk to you. Even if you’re kind of new, I’ve been enjoying those conversations, too. The other pick I have is back when I was spending money that I shouldn’t have been. I baked the Pebble Time Kickstarter campaign and then the watch just came in the mail yesterday and I’ve really been enjoying it. I’m sure the Apple Watch is nicer – it’s more expensive anyway. But anyway, it’s pretty awesome; it’s colored unlike the original Pebble. I’m really enjoying it, I love just being able to control my phone from my wrist. I also like being able to look at my watch and [inaudible] just calling or texting without actually having to pull my phone out. So yeah, really digging it. So I’m going to pick the Pebble time and those are my picks. Alright, well I guess that’s it.[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at BlueBox.net]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN. Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit cachefly.com to learn more]**[Would you like to join a conversation with the Freelancers’ Show panelists and their guests? Want to support the show? We have a forum that allows you to join the conversation and support the show at the same time. Sign up at freelancersshow.com/forum]**

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