The Freelancers' Show: LIVE Q&A #7 - April 28, 2015

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07:06 - Finding Work on Sites Like Elance and Upwork (formerly oDesk)

14:24 - What sort of project/scope documentation do you generate for clients to supply time/budget estimates?

23:26 - How much time do you spend with the client defining the scope of the work before you sign a contract?

27:20 - Do you have a timeline to review deliverables (weekly) or is it ad-hoc based on when the work is finished?

33:12 - You have mentioned, at least in the early podcasts, that you do about 20-30 hours of billable work per week, and you also have multiple simultaneous clients/contracts. I'm currently working a W2, 40+ hour week with a large product backlog that has me busy all week, so I'm struggling to visualize what a week in the life of a freelancer looks like.

If you only work 20-30 hours per week, and have at a minimum of 2 clients, does that mean you only dedicate 10 or so hours per client?

42:50 - What sort of non-development tasks do you bill for that fill up some of the extra time?

46:12 - How much development time per week do your clients expect you to dedicate to the project?

49:58 - Have you ever had a client specify a maximum number of hours per week in your contract?

50:27 - Is the feedback loop so slow that you always have time to work on another contract while you're waiting?

53:54 - Do your clients ever feel like you're not putting in enough time per week? How do you respond that?


Danny Margulies The Non-Scuzzy and Totally True Story of How I Earned 6 Figures in 12 Months by Mastering the “Hidden Elance Economy” (Eric)MicroConf (Chuck)Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results by Stephen Guise (Chuck)Habit Stacking: 97 Small Life Changes That Take Five Minutes or Less by S.J. Scott (Chuck)How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie (Chuck)Slate's Whistlestop Podcast (Reuven)


[This episode is sponsored by 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 collection and refund 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]**[This episode is sponsored by Elixir Sips. Elixir Sips is a screencast series that will take you from Elixir newbie to experienced practitioner. If you’re interested in learning Elixir but don’t know where to start, then Elixir Sips is perfect for you. In two short screencasts each week between five and fifteen minutes, Elixir Sips currently consists of over 16 hours of densely packed videos and more than a hundred episodes, and there are more every week. Elixir Sips is brought to you by Josh Adams, expert Rubyist and CTO of a software development consultancy, Isotope Eleven. Elixir Sips, learn Elixir with a pro. Find out more at] ****[This episode is sponsored by LessAccounting. Let’s face it. There are a lot of things about being an entrepreneur that we all hate. One of the things that I really hate is bookkeeping. LessAccounting has just started a new service where you can get your bookkeeping done for a really low cost each month. If you're interested, go to to go check it out.]****CHUCK: Welcome to the Freelancers’ Show Q & A. This is the seventh time we've done this, we have a whole bunch of questions to answer. Before we get started, though, I think what I want to do with this is just ask what you guys have been up to for the last month. Eric, you want to –? ERIC:**Last month – what month this is? January? [Chuckles]**CHUCK: January was last month. ERIC:**No. A lot of client work stuff. I've been through in a lot of rethinking my positioning – what niche I want to work in. So, had one false start, but I have one where I went in and talked to some potential customers about it, decided it wasn’t really the greatest fit for both me and for them, changed it into different ideas. My problem is I start doing that and then you get busy doing client work, and then you finish that up, you have to start back up to positioning stuff. And so the back and forth has been hard, and that’s normal – nothing new to me. I've been doing a lot of that – lot of networking with other freelancers and consultants recently; went to MicroConf – I don’t know – 2 weeks ago or 3 weeks ago, something like that, which is a ton of network and I’m still connecting with people from that; taking a chance to complete talk. But that’s basically what I have going on – mostly client work and putting systems around different [inaudible] that I feel like isn't quite systemized enough or it’s like it has been a bit of an itch and an irritation for me.**CHUCK: Gotcha. What about you Reuven? REUVEN:**I've been doing a bunch of things over the last month. I guess it was about a month ago, maybe a little more, that I told the training company that I’m working with that I’m going to go back to being independent, and that has just been only positive. Basically, I’m [inaudible] doing it independently; people are starting to come to me,[inaudible] niching and also advice we give about [inaudible] yourself that I really want to focus on something, so I’m now focusing almost entirely on training. And I see the work coming in and I haven’t even done those positioning I want to do. I haven’t had a chance to update my website. I haven’t had a chance to doing some advertising. I still have some consulting projects that I have going on. I have a major one in the last month or two where we totally did a website to make it responsive and bring it into the modern era. So it’s been very good. I think my only disappointment the last month is that I've had so many things that I wanted to do in terms of switching over from AWeber to Drip and making that more smarter in terms of redoing the website, in terms of getting out a little more in terms of products. But overall, I feel like – everyone, a few more millimeters of progress.**CHUCK: Very cool. So yeah, I've been in the same place that Eric’s been in as far as going to MicroConf and stuff. I've actually been at conferences the last two weeks. I was at MicroConf and then I was at New Media Expo which was in Las Vegas at the same time but it went 2 days longer, so I spent 2 days there. And then, last week I was at RailsConf and I was – I gave a talk there. Yeah, I've just been working on Rails Clips and then trying to keep my client happy, so I think that’s pretty well where I’m at. Any questions that you guys have or anything you want to talk about before we jump into questions? REUVEN: Nothing I can think of or can – yeah. ERIC:**Yeah. Same for me. I have a lot of positioning questions but nothing definite. More of the meta question of what I want to do when I grew up. [Chuckles]**CHUCK:**Don’t grow up. It’s not worth it. [Chuckles]REUVEN: I actually read something – I don’t know – I think it was this piece in New York Times a year or two ago that I just saw again recently where someone was reflecting on having turned 40. And she was like, ‘even when you turn 40’ – before that, you figure out, ‘oh when I’ll be a grown up, then I’ll have all the answers. And then you get to 40 and you're like, ‘oh my god. No one knows what they're doing. Everyone’s winging it’. CHUCK:[Laughter] Yup.**ERIC:**Yeah. It’s like ones [inaudible]. It starts off you're a baby, you don’t know anything; become an adolescent – teenager – and you know everything, and then it starts going downhill from there. And then by time, you're really old – you know you don’t know anything at all and you just gave up at that point.**CHUCK: Yup. REUVEN:**I’ll just say something that I discovered that is maybe useful advice. The training I've been doing has been with big companies [inaudible] and HP and other big companies where they typically have very strict payment policies in place. And not only strict but really annoying and bureaucratic, and each company has its own idiosyncrasies. But I've found, much to my surprise, that if you're willing to work with them and their system, and if [inaudible] someone who is really nice to work with you, then you can actually sometimes bend the rules and bend the rules in your favor. So you can get angry about bureaucracy quite a bit but you can also – as long as you don’t get angry with the company or with the people you're dealing with in the company, it can work out ok. At the end of the day, they have an interest in working with you as much as you have an interest in working with them. I was shocked a few days ago to [inaudible] in San Francisco [inaudible] like saying, ‘ok, well, we’ll just pay you early. Is that ok with you?’ [Laughter] I think I can deal with that.**CHUCK: You want to send me money before I do the work? Ok. REUVEN:**I have [inaudible] from another company. They were like, ‘so we want you to do this course in May but we want to put in the queue one budget. Can we just send it to you on March – at the end of March?’ And right. Twitch my arms, please.**CHUCK: Mm-hmm. Nice. Alright, well, let’s go ahead and do the questions. We did get a bunch of questions in the forum for the show. Before we do that, I got an email from somebody and I promised that I’d ask their question. I’m pretty sure I know what your answers are going to be and I know what my answer is. But he asked about finding work on sites like Odesk or Elance, and he wanted to know what all of our take was on that. So if you, gentlemen, have an opinion on that, I’d love to hear it. REUVEN:**The standard thing to tell people is stay away. Stay away forever because it’s a commodity market and people there are not looking for expertise. They're not looking for brilliance. They're not looking for consultants. They're looking to get a specific job done and get it done quickly and cheaply. And so it’s a race bottom. And I would say that advice I used to say was mostly true. I would say that for 80%, 90% of the clients there that’s true but I actually found some good clients on Elance over the years. I kept holding up hope that maybe, it would still be possible, maybe it’s worth recommending to people, I’m very [inaudible]. And now I have to join them and say for a variety of reasons. Number one, it wasn’t [inaudible]. Number two – I think this is more important – the time that I spend trying to find those very, very few excellent clients were way better than [inaudible], writing on my blog, writing on my newsletter. And maybe they didn’t leap immediately to effect or give me immediate results but the long term results were much, much more positive. So general rule, if you really need cash right away and you're willing to deal with much less, then probably not a bad way to go, but I think it’s really [inaudible] for a long term source of income.**CHUCK: I mostly agree with you, Reuven. My experience with Odesk is mostly actually hiring people as opposed to being hired on there. The way that I shop on there is I actually go in and I look for people who have a high rating, and then I start looking at how much they cost. And if they have a high rating, they have a lot of hours logged, and it looks like they have experience doing what I need them to do, then I’ll hire them, I’ll give them a shot. But if I'm going to Odesk, I’m looking for somebody that’s low cost that’s not in the US. So, that being said, if you're based on one of those economies, you can probably make a decent living on it. If you're not, if you're based in the US or certain other countries where the cost of living is higher, then you're probably not going to make as much money doing that. And so, you just have to weigh out what kind of clients you want to work for because again, you got the clients that are then going to a marketplace of shopping and so they're going to argue with you over money and hours, possibly. And you also are going to want to weigh out, again, how much you're going to make versus being able to find people in whatever economy you want to work for and then doing things that way. And so, if you need work, then you’ll find it there. But you may not get paid what you want or what you think you're worth. ERIC: I say I used to think the same way. It was more of a lower cost than – the few times I hired people then, cost has been one of the – I say one of the top three concerns. I’ll put it in the show notes but there's a post on Copyhackers by Danny Margulies – I want to say. Basically, he’s a copywriter who works on Elance and in – what – 12 months, he basically made 6 figures, and so he walks through how to do it. I think the big gist is if you're going to go on to those sites and try to find work, you need to do it in a different way. Don’t follow the rules on whatever anyone else is doing because then you look the same as everyone else. You need to try to stand out. Big things you talk about was having repeat clients and there's a thing on there where you can do an Invite Only jobs, so it’s an employer would make a job and then invite the top people on each category or people they’ve worked with to bid on it. It’s just like normal project where it’s like 5 or 6 people bidding on the project, not the 400,000 or whatever it is. I haven’t actually went on Elance to find work –I guess I've had hired some people on there, so I don’t have direct experience, but yeah, if you could find a way to position yourself differently on there, it could work. It could be – I would use it as another lead source. I want to rely a hundred percent on it, but it also depends on if you're just starting out and need to build up a portfolio or you need to build up some clients, that might be something you can jump right in versus 3-6 months of starting your marketing and then attracting clients that way. REUVEN:**I don’t think [inaudible] this guy before. I saw someone else who also mentioned he got a ton of money on Elance. I think he also said, ‘look, there are techniques you can use’, but [inaudible] remember where that link was. And I think in all these cases, it lends itself to [inaudible] calling productized consulting. You can put a box on what people are asking for and if you can say, ‘hey, I’m able to do that’, and do that well and do it for a fixed cost, and the fixed cost is low for you [inaudible] what you're going to put into it but high value and low cost also to them, then you can probably get away with it. But in open development projects, I think it’s going to be rare. Then again, one of my best clients [inaudible] big client with whom I finished a big project and they're now paying me quite a lot –me and my employee [inaudible] every month, [inaudible] they're looking for someone cheap and simple and [inaudible] they said, ‘we weren’t really thinking about someone like you at all, but let’s talk’. [Inaudible], but you can make money from Elance, and by the way, of course, part of the [inaudible] stopping you from doing [inaudible]. So it’s very typical where you get one job, two jobs through there and then move away from there. And this guy, I guess, [inaudible] is an outlier by saying, ‘I’m going to keep using Elance for my leads and my work so people would see how amazing I am and how much money I’m paid’.**ERIC: Yeah. You keep the reviews and testimonials in whatever marketplace it is. In that way, it reinforces itself versus taking it out and getting the extra whatever that is– I don’t remember the cut is. REUVEN: A lot. It’s like 10%, 12%, if I remember correctly. CHUCK:**Yeah. I know that [inaudible] found Mandy on Odesk and now she’s working directly for me. I’m not paying her through Odesk, so it is a good way also just to find clients, just to get off the ground.**REUVEN:**Yeah. Hiring people – I’ve definitely not heard two designers over the last year through Elance [inaudible] high reviews, higher than average [inaudible] with the results.**CHUCK: Yup. Yeah, for that kind of stuff, I’ve been going more towards depending on what it is. If it’s something that can be packaged up, a lot of times, there are inexpensive ways to get that done on Fiverr. They’ll kill for a positive review, so that’s worked out nicely for me. But yeah, for web design and stuff, a lot of times I’ll go to Odesk. I’ll just straight bid them. I’ll just say, ‘look, I’ll pay you this much to do it’ and that’s worked out. Anyway, I've got a whole list of questions here from the forum. These are all from the same person. I didn’t get permission to share who it was; I’m not going to. But yeah, you can go join the Freelancers’ Forum if you got to and then you can see the questions in there. And then we’ll post a link to this video in there, and then also, chime in on a lot of this. But I’m just going to start with the top. The first question is ‘What sort of project/scope documentation do you generate for clients to supply time/budget estimates?’ REUVEN:**Well, I assume [inaudible] more of the development jobs or only development jobs and [inaudible] what I do with development jobs – I’ll tell you also, part of the reason why moving away from development toward training is that I can avoid these headaches almost entirely. It gets out of the business of arguing with people what is and what is not in the scope but I’m still doing some projects. And so, typically, [inaudible] I’ll say to them, ‘I have to make some of what we've been discussed. It’s going to be x, y and z’ – at least initially, these are the first biddings, but ‘we’re going to have to talk regularly, we’re going to have to have meetings and talk about user stories and go through Redmine or whatever. And it’s going to be a weekly thing’. I think one of the important things that I've learned to say over the last, say, a year or two, is to explain to people, ‘this is going to cost you money; this is going to be expensive and my job is to try and make it worthwhile and so you have a high ROI. But, if you want to do this thing – exciting thing – it’s going to cost’.**CHUCK: Mm-hmm. Typically, what I wind up with is as I talk to them first off, I try and talk to most people over Skype, and the reason is because I have call recorder installed and then it’ll automatically record the call, so I can go back and review the call later but then I can take that and I’ll usually wind up with some list of features that they want. And then, I can put whatever notes I want on that from the call into the document. And then, I start looking at it and I generally just – I don’t estimate time as much as I estimate complexity, which translates to time, but the reason I do that is because for the last year or so, I've had subcontractors that I can hand off. Some stuff too depending on the complexity and the level of skill required. I have one guy that has been solid and he’s a top-end developer and I've found various lower-end people who can do the more menial stuff, but it’s stuff that keeps them interested in learning. Anyway, so then I can break that out and say, ‘ok, well, then I think it’s going to cost about this much’. Then, what I do is I just go back to them. I also tend to try and ask the questions that Jonathan and some of the other people who we’ve talked to about value-based pricing. I’ll tell you to ask so that you can get an idea of what it’s worth to them, and then I try and make the two numbers line up neatly so that I can say, ‘look, you're going to get 10x or a hundred x ROI, or whatever’. And, so I’m getting reasonable fee for doing the work and they're getting a reasonable ROI for paying me to do it. I try and get those numbers to line up. If I can’t get them to line up nicely, then I’ll just look at them and say, ‘look, you're not going to make a lot on this, but this is what it’s going to cost me to do it’, and some people take that and some people don’t. If you can definitely do the more value-based stuff, I really like that. But what they wind up with in the end is basically a list of features and estimate on how long I think it’s going to take and how much it’s going to cost and in any notes, obviously, on those features that specify better than one sentence description. Do you something different Eric? ERIC:**Yeah and it’s recent – maybe the last 3 months, maybe last 6 months – but what I do now is basically give a client a choice. It’s like we can either a) take the hour from my inter call and use that to go over the details of what you want, and then it’s just a rough understanding of that, and then my statement of work will include that and I’ll type it up and break it out a little bit more logically. And that’s for mostly really small projects or ones where the clients are very clear with what they want. If they need more – a recent client I’m working on, what I do is I have a paid roadmapping service called the Trail Map where they pay. We have at least 2 phone conversations – maybe 3 or 4, depending – I go through the documentation if they have any – if they have an existing application, if they have an existing code or ideas designed or whatever. I basically go through all that and put together, ‘here’s a rough project plan. Here’s what you're wanting. Here’s how I think you can get it done. Here’s the components to that’. And then I’ll actually estimate out each component of – ‘here’s a low estimate, here’s a high estimate’, and then I’ll [inaudible] confidence like ‘80% sure that it’s going to be within this range or 40% sure because it’s some wild feature that no one has ever done before’; total that together; talk about other opportunities or projects they're going to have, any risk there are – the project is going to have, give them a rough ‘here’s a proposed schedule – dependency-type schedule’. At the end of the day, get this pretty mini PDF report of all the details, all the estimates I give them – a summary estimate of ‘here’s the low, here’s the high’, rough idea of what technology to use and deliver that to them and then have a conversation around that of ‘here's what I think. You can cut stuff here and you can add stuff here’. And then if they're still interested, we talk about actually me doing that the implementation – doing the work. But the idea is they have those nice little PDF report –deliverable they can take. And, for the most recent client, they took it and went 2 levels above them or whatever and basically got signed off for the entire project from them. So, it’s worked really good. It does take a lot more work which is why I actually charge for it. I would [inaudible] to understand that they're getting a lot of value out of this document; a lot of value out of my time. And so it also starts some off. They're actually a client by the time I actually start doing their main work. And then, the smaller ones – there's some where there's more Agile where we figure out as we go. I just use a wiki– using [inaudible] project or Redmine. We just have a wiki page for what we’re working on, track the issues in there. I typically work in weeks, so during the week, we’ll figure out ‘here's the stuff we’re going to work on’, so that becomes, basically, in scope for the week; very [inaudible 20:46], very – change on the [inaudible].**CHUCK: Do you have a template that you use for that product? ERIC: Yeah, I do. I was actually going to say if anyone wants to email me, I can send you – I don’t know if it’s on my sales page but I have a sample where I've – I think it’s like a running database app or whatever but I went through it and so you could see what it actually looks like. The template wouldn’t help anyone because it’s just marked down and it gets changed and adapted a lot. But if anyone wants a sample, they can email me. I’ll send it to you. CHUCK: Very nice. Do you have a template that you use for any of your proposals Reuven? REUVEN:**No. My proposals tend to be just an email message – [inaudible] email message where I’ll say, ‘here’s what I was doing. Here are the different parts that we’ve spoken about. Here are the rough estimate of why I think it’s [inaudible]’. And then I email it to them. But I always say, ‘look, then we’re going to have to [inaudible].As the project happen, we’re going to sit down, we’re going to talk once a week. At least once a week, we’re going to have [inaudible] and ideally – and this [inaudible] we want to have this weekly phone meeting. We’re going to go through –what are your priorities? What needs to be done?’ and then I can say to you, ‘x, y and z might be really high priority, but it’s also going to be such a complex, and thus, cost more. And so, where are you right now in terms of needing that feature versus the money pay for?’ I find that [inaudible] really, really helps. So what typically happens is I guess Redmine becomes our document [inaudible] for maybe the actual estimate of cost part where we just discuss that verbally. [Inaudible]**ERIC:**I was going to say for my [inaudible] project and then some – a client where I've done – we’ve actually added that costing stuff in there so they could say, ‘this is going to take two days’, and I will say a thousand dollars a day, so it shows these features are going to cost [inaudible] client $2,000 which is actually pretty cool. It works for that group. I don’t know if it works for smaller companies. A lot of it is you can just do verbally but it works through the [inaudible] dollar impact that this specific features – specific request is going to have.**CHUCK:**Yeah, that makes sense. As far as templates go, I just use a spreadsheet in the past but I really like the idea of having a template and then going in to some of the details that you talked about, Eric, with the risks and just spelling out a lot of the other things that people need to know about that don’t necessarily translate neatly in the features. I’ll probably wind up amending mine. [Chuckles]**ERIC: I actually got some good compliments about the Opportunities section which is where the client – they have their problem. Some of them attempt to solve it and that’s why they come to you specifically. And you work through with them, and you're like, ‘ok, what’s the thing that’s going to work to solve it?’ But a lot of times, you and them are both constrained by budget. We want to solve this problem, but we want to keep it at a lower price just to get it to work first. So actually, it’s the Opportunities section to say, ‘if we had a limited time and budget and skills and all of that, what could we do?’ And that’s where stuff like machine learning might come in or high advanced algorithms or we’re going to scale it out and have an international software organization, whatever, whatever. And that’s stuff is like 3-4 sentences per Opportunity but it’s enough to put in their head ‘hey, if you really want to take your business to this direction, we can start doing that. Start the discussion early rather than later on the project.’ CHUCK: I like it. I really like it. I want to copy you of your template. ERIC: Yeah. Just email me. CHUCK:**Alright. The next question is ‘How much time do you spend with the client defining the scope of the work before you sign a contract?’ I’ll take this one first. I typically spend more than I ought to. [Chuckles] And by that, I mean that they get out of it not to the exact degree that Eric’s saying they get out of his discovery product. But in the end, a lot of times, I spend several hours getting a specification together, and then they come back and they go, ‘well, but you cost too much’ or this or that, and then I've given them a bunch of value, and so I've been working on that to try and [crosstalk] – yeah, to figure out, ‘ok, if you're serious, then a) treat me like it – technology expert – and paying me for my expertise so that we can figure out what you need and then you can pay me for my other expertise to build it’.**ERIC: Yeah. It’s not in stone, but I budget about 4 hours for a sales conversation. And that could be multiple emails back and forth, maybe researching a big risky technology for them for 20 minutes. My introduction call, which can be up to an hour, maybe a second call. But I budget about 4 hours for that, and if it’s more than that, I tell them, ‘look, you're either need to get this mapping product’ where they get maybe 8-16 hours of me doing this roadmapping digging and interviewing them. Either they need to do that or they need to buy the first week and we start off a prototype and we explore and start making estimates based on what we find from that first week. I've spent so much time researching for clients and don’t end up going anywhere – that’s a nonstarter for me. REUVEN:**Yeah. [Inaudible] last month, I think this was almost exactly a month ago. I think we exchanged and we have few more phone calls, we met in person twice, probably 2-3 hours of meetings just to understand what they wanted. And part of it was also trust building that they have been burned by previous developers; they wanted someone to take over the code. And what I say to them is, ‘give me you 3 biggest priorities for moving forward for this so that we can give you the biggest ROI?’ but basically unable to count to three. They gave me 30 things that they want to do [chuckles]. I said, ‘Ok, hold your horses. I realize that we got to prioritize here especially when you keep saying you’ve got limited budget and won’t be able to do everything at once’. I said, ‘look, just these 3 things. We’re talking about 3-4 months [inaudible] week a month, that’s fine because you're realize how long it’s going to take. But [inaudible] keep everyone honest in open communication. And by the way, we have [inaudible] meeting, me and my developer and a bunch of their people to kick-off the project. And we found this major, major security issue that [inaudible] with this thing first, so we’ve been dealing with – we’ve been using that that week this month. [Inaudible] looking forward to things we really want to do. On the other hand, I think they recognize that we are – this proves to any [inaudible] of hours but we’re improving their software and [inaudible]. So I actually find those inter meetings to be almost – even if they're already solved with you.**ERIC: Yeah. You got to be very careful because you can waste a lot of time on clients that don’t have the budget or they're not sold on you, and so it ends up being a waste. At the same time, I've had some clients where if I hadn’t put the time – enough time in upfront, they wouldn’t have picked me so you got to find your own balance. I find, like I said, I find a little bit of time in email. I have templates to speed up my end of it, but maybe an hour of emailing or I don’t know how much, and then maybe 2 one-hour calls – inter calls to get acquainted with them and then maybe a second call to have objections or to answer specifics. That’s where I draw the line. And it also depends on the project. If you're talking to someone from IBM or Intel or something like that, then you might go 6 hours, 8 hours, a bit higher just because you know they're an organization; they're going to have the money or whatever. But, I think just be mindful of it. If you can’t track how much time you spend in sales, reach with the leads you have and that might actually help out too. CHUCK: Alright. The next question is ‘Do you have a timeline to review deliverables, weekly or something else, or is it adhoc based on when the work is finished?’ ERIC:**Adhoc. If it’s the end of the week and we’re wrapping up the project, then obviously, I tell them, ‘if you don’t review it by Friday, I’m not going to be around to help you’. But yeah, it’s when I get it done. I use all my PM systems and all that, so they can see it right as it finishes, right as it gets on the staging servers. So I have some clients – 5 minutes after I finish their feature there and they're testing it and reporting back to me and other ones where they don’t care. They just sign off and if there's a bug, they’ll open it up and [inaudible] down the line.**CHUCK: My experience is – ideally for me, if I’m working for a client on a continuous basis, then I like getting weekly feedback. I have never had that work for me though. I’ll send information over to the client. I’ll tell them it’s done. I’ll tell them these features are ready for them to review. I’ll tell them where to go to review it and how to review it. Sometimes, I’ll make a video for them and I never hear anything back until they finally get around to looking at it a month or two down the line and it’s busted. ERIC:**Wow. Actually, I didn’t mention that I build in at least one, if not two, meetings a week to do an overall review. [Crosstalk] Really? Huh. Maybe we can talk later about higher positioning because my clients were loving it and they want to meet. Some of them, even if they're busy, that’s the only they actually set aside time for. So it might be in the positioning of how – what the value for them to show up for that meeting.REUVEN:[Inaudible] this big client in the US. We were having weekly meetings for about a year and we were doing heavy development and it was great; it was great for everyone. And I think we really – everyone looked forward to it but then the development became much more sparse until we stopped doing it. And so I think it depends on how heavy the work is going. Right now, I've got this new client where I convinced them we need to have a weekly meeting and seem – just on the phone, half an hour where [inaudible] things stand. And they seem very happy to do that. We did that first time this week, so it’s hard to say how that’ll continue.**CHUCK: Yeah. Usually, my issue is getting them to commit to a regular time every week. If I found that if I don’t get people to commit to a regular time every week, it won’t happen every week. I've tried to explain, ‘look, I’d like to be able to sit down and show you what I've done, blah blah blah blah’. I think I need to push again on – my current client, I don’t remember exactly having to trying to have this conversation, though I know I have at least mentioned that I’d like to meet with them regularly and I’d ask them when but I don’t know if I said the work weekly or not. But I think I may go back to them and just see if we can line up a day every week that we talk. It’s really tricky and I don’t know what the answer is. A lot of my other clients – it’s just like one guy that want some app built and it’s like, ‘well, I’m busy and I just don’t know and I can’t commit to a specific time every week’, and I don’t know what you do at that point other than just pester them every week and say, ‘so, when can we meet? When can we meet? When can we meet?’ but I don’t want to be an obnoxious contractor either. ERIC: Yeah. I think one thing that might help – and this is just from what you said, you might be talking to clients differently – but take it away from showing you what I’ve done and more to what can you – to you client can give me feedback and we can reprioritize and readjust because showing you what you the developers have done is not really that valuable. It’s like, ‘oh, I could have done this myself;’, but giving the client and open forum to ask questions or if they have new feature requests, that’s – one of my clients, they get there pretty good, but I have another one where they're not very good about feature requests rather than emailing me about it, and so I say, ‘hey, let’s hold off on this. Let’s talk about it on Friday or on Monday.’ And then at that time, I’ll work through it if got the options with them. And so it’s more of the collaboration meeting than a demo of what happened. CHUCK: Mm-hmm. Yeah, that makes sense. REUVEN:**I also use those meetings as a way to talk about the future of the business; ‘So, where did the business go this past week? Where is it going in the future?’ These are things that are really useful for me to know, both personally but also for the development. And then they’ll otherwise going to tell me. So they say, ‘well, [inaudible] clients. We’re going to be expanding to a whole bunch of new markets’. ‘Oh, really? What’s going to be necessary for that?’ ‘Oh, now that you mentioned that, we we’re thinking of doing x, y and z’ and [inaudible] help with the development but it also makes you seem like a much more internal part of the business and not just ‘oh yeah, that developer that are doing techie stuff’.**CHUCK: Yeah, that makes sense. And all of those things are things that I intend to bring up during those meetings but I don’t think I ever articulate that that’s what I want to do during the meeting. REUVEN:**I start making agenda [inaudible]. As silly as it sounds, it’s like the three of us because we were just getting together once a week. But I’d say, ‘here’s what the agenda is’, and it would start with ‘here are the accomplishments we've had this past week. This is what we’re planning to do next week and I would even say – business – [inaudible] that would basically be, ‘so, tell me where we’re going’.**ERIC:**Yeah. Yeah. I've done that for just me and one other person. It’s useful especially if they know about it because during the week you can slot it into their – ‘oh, let’s talk about this on Friday. Let me add it to the agenda.’ And that helps really good. One of these reviews I’m trying to think back basically, once I talk to my client, he announced that he’s basically acquiring in a whole another company and so we actually took that in like, ‘oh, ok. Base on that, here’s how your business is going to change. Maybe we can [inaudible] this next week to make it easier for the acquisition’ – meld in and mold in. And it was just an off comment that he made, but it’s like, ‘oh, that’s actually a good thing’. It actually changed the direction for that next week and in the future.**CHUCK: Very nice. Let’s get on to the next question. It says, ‘You guys have mentioned, at least in the early podcasts, that you do about 20-30 hours of billable work per week. And you also have multiple simultaneous clients or contracts. I'm currently working a W2, 40+ hour week job with a large product backlog that keeps me busy all week, so I'm struggling to visualize what a week in the life of a freelancer looks like. If you only work 20-30 hours per week, and have a minimum of two clients, does that mean you only dedicate 10 or so hours per client?’ ERIC: So to summarize it, someone’s working 40 hours or more, full time – they're taking something we've said where we do 20-30 hours of billable work. So they're trying to figure out how to work full time and do 20-30 hours of billable work. CHUCK: No. I think they're trying to transition into full time freelancing. ERIC:**Yeah. I was like ‘oh, they're numbers.’ And I think there might be one big thing is I've tried to bill 30 plus or minus 5 hours a week, but I’m working full time freelance. If you're doing a hard time [inaudible], then you're not going to bill that much.**CHUCK: Yeah. REUVEN:**But even full time freelancing, the odds of billing 40 hours a week are pretty small. It’s possible to do. [Inaudible] I've been doing that for the last two weeks because we got this big project [inaudible] going on. And I've been – I've definitely worked more than that because I'm doing training. I still got some product stuff going on. But you can’t sustain that for very long. It’s just not reasonable for you or for your clients. So part of setting up a consulting business and the [inaudible] of your billing is to figure out ‘ok, how can I work?’ Let’s say I work for clients max 40 hours a week, you'll still need time to manage business. Let’s say 5-10 hours per week, and not totally crazy and not ignoring family, friends, health, sleep – that sort of thing. The stuff that I’m opposed to [inaudible] for ignoring for the last few months.**CHUCK: Yeah. I think I've worked – when they're asking about juggling more than one client at a time, I've worked it a couple of different ways. So yeah, I generally work 20-30 hours or bill about 20 hours a week and then I spend a bunch of time doing the podcast every week. I ebb and flow on the rest of everything else – my bookkeeping and my marketing and all of that stuff. I check my email pretty periodically but that’s just because that’s one way that my clients keep in touch with me. But yeah, as far as splitting time between clients, usually I let my clients know that I’m working for other clients at the same time. And that way, I can come to them and I can say, ‘hey, my other client needs x or y. They need a little bit more attention this week, and so I’m going to give you a little bit more attention next week.’ And then I usually try and say, ‘this is an opportunity for you to get maybe one of the bigger features done during that week because I’m going to be able to dedicate more time to your project and less time to the other project’. I’ve also overbooked myself and had 2 or 3 clients and didn’t have enough time in the 20 hours per week, and that’s been rough. And so, what I wind up doing there is I try and spend as much time on the client that I think I can finish out, work on quickest and then go from there. So that way, I can get the work done, back-burner it for a couple of weeks while I get caught up on everything for the other clients and then eventually one of the client – one of the clients, one of the work will complete and I can then not be overloaded. But yeah, so I usually don’t say, ‘hey, you're going to get 10 hours a week, and you're going to get 10 hours a week’. I usually tell them I work 20 hours a week, and I tell them what I think I get done that week, and then I just work it out so that I get however much time it takes to get the work done that they want me to do that week, and then everybody’s happy and it doesn’t matter if it’s split evenly or not. REUVEN:**My clients know that I work with multiple people every week. In fact, when someone tries to – one of the things that I've loved about using online calendar systems is if someone tries to schedule a time with me, they’ll see how busy I am which I think is actually more positive than negative in terms of scarcity and seeming like I don’t [inaudible] really want. Most of the times it’s not such a problem but it means I have to prioritize. Sometimes I have to tell the clients, ‘look, I’m working on this other big project right now, and so it might take me a few days to get back to you on this unless it’s really urgent’. But I’m often context-switching between different clients. And I've also found having a bunch of employees over the years, some people are great at that, and some people are terrible at that. I’m not sure – I think it might be a tradeoff between context-switching too easily and not being able to go too deeply into it. But generally, my employees had almost always said to me, ‘how do you work on one project solidly?’ It helps me to concentrate and I will do a better job. I have to do that, and that actually works out well for everyone because that is a counterpoint for me – [inaudible] all over the place.**ERIC:**I think it’s maybe 10% but it might be like 1% of people who are actually able to multitask effectively. The rest of them just pretend that they're doing it effectively [chuckles]. What the question is asking – that’s the advice I was giving awhile back a couple of years ago – whatever. Right now – what is this – Tuesday, April 20, 2015 – my stand is completely different than that now. If you're freelancing full time, with a few exceptions, you should be billing daily or weekly. You should dedicate at least a day for a client – don’t do multiple client stuff in a day. The exception is if there's literally a server-on-fire type of situation, then yeah, help out the other person. Focus: sell your client on the fact that you're dedicating time to him. You'll be able to get into it, dig in deep. You're not going to have to unload all the mental stuff to work on another client and switch back. Like I said, sell daily or weekly rates. If you're starting now, you could still do that but you're going to be up front and say, ‘this is a part time night thing. I’m going to sell you my Saturday, which is 8 hours and then we’ll say Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, which is 2 hour blocks’. Work with one client [inaudible] week or a month. If you're going to do multiple clients, which is probably good just as far as the getting fire type idea; dedicate each week for a client. So you might have 4 or 5 different clients you can work with at a time; each one gets their own week. You have a weekend to cool off and reframe your head into the next project. Or you can do one client and basically do a week to week to week to week to week which is what I do a lot of now. That’s what I would recommend. I wouldn’t get too hung up on having a minimum of two clients. I would always keep marketing; trying to find clients for later or when the current project is over with. But I would really watch the context-switching. I got really deep into that – I think I had at the most, 5 maybe 6 clients at once, and I was scheduling them like, ‘ok, in the morning I’m going to work for this person, and then I’ll do an hour for this other person, then half hour for them’. I lost so much time context-switching and it felt like I was being counting to trying to hit my hours for the week. And I delivered value, but it was nowhere near what I could’ve – and looking back, I’m like, ‘ah, I should’ve – I should have helped them out. I should’ve focused for the client.’ And I want to say 3 years ago, whatever, I actually did that. I’d said, ‘ ok, I’m still working hourly, but I’m dedicating these 4 days out of this week for your project’, and then this other client gets one day, and then 2 days next week. Once I started doing that, I was like, ‘wow. It’s amazing how much more you get done for them; how much more value you deliver’, and it’s a lot less stress for you to have to manage.**REUVEN:**Yeah. [Inaudible] tell clients that – I say while I’m still billing hourly because if – I tell you, daily billing – consistently when I say that to people [inaudible] they say, ‘oh, so your hourly rate is’– and [inaudible] Fine, but I say, ‘look, [inaudible] billing hourly but I work on chunks of a day or worse case half a day because I really want to dedicate time to you’, and then I say ‘[inaudible] calendar a day that’s free and I’ll be coming to work for you.’ And they seem to respond very well to that. The problem is that my time is [inaudible] so much training and [inaudible] to my employee which tend to work out well but [inaudible] 5 or 6 clients in one week. Assuming I can’t imagine saying two hours to your [inaudible] there, chucking it certainly to a day is the maximum of what I’m trying to deal with and [inaudible] better. Otherwise, even I go a little crazy on that.**ERIC:**I was going to say one exception I could say is if you're a writer or you're doing smaller projects, say you're doing Wordpress theme installs or tweaks [inaudible] faster, I would say, under four hours as your typical project length, then my advice isn't going to work that great for you. It could be nice if you can get up to that sort of thing but you're going to have a hard time selling someone a whole week if you only need four hours of work. If that’s the case, [inaudible] Reuven said where it’s like you sell your AM to one client, your PM to another client and do it that way.**REUVEN:**And give yourself time [inaudible] too. I definitely, again, tend to over-schedule myself. It’s just about two weeks ago – three weeks ago I guess it was – with this new client where I [inaudible] training and I scheduled a meeting with this new client 45 minutes after doing that. And the [inaudible] they're so crazed. And [inaudible] great meeting; they gave me a check for [inaudible]. All that was fantastic, but I definitely [chuckles] would not [inaudible] foot forward in that situation.**CHUCK: Yup. The next question is ‘What sort of non-development tasks do you bill for that fill up some of the extra time?’ ERIC: I don’t like the idea of fill up time. I do development, I bill for development, I bill for project management because even clients have a project manager. They need project management. Sometimes, it’s just that expert technical developer level stuff. I bill for email that’s longer than 10 minutes or so. I basically bill for anything that I’m doing for them, their project or their company that’s delivering value. That’s basically my ethical criteria for it. If I’m doing something that’s not delivering value like I’m invoicing them, that’s not really delivering them value; I don’t bill for that. But if I’m on the phone with them or if I’m logging to their server and I have to fix a bug, that’s delivering value. REUVEN:**Yeah. This new client of mine is so – ‘you need to meet with us once a week on the phone. That’s [inaudible] we’re going to pay for 5 hours of your time each month plus 40 of your employees, you're telling us that we’re going to have to pay for those meetings?’ I say yes. That's part of the value of what I'm providing and you're paying for my time and my expertise and my ability to help improve your company. And so whether that’s software development or server configuration or talking about the future, that’s all important. Basically, anything that helps them with business more, I think, is totally legitimate to bill for. I think sometimes, on some projects, I’ll break it down as to what I was doing. I think that's pretty rare nowadays now that [inaudible]. I’ll say to you what I was planning, but it won’t be in the category of development or project management or consulting or meeting. I’ll just say, ‘I did x’.**CHUCK: Mm-hmm. ERIC: I don’t do that. I have a line item for project management and meetings. It’s typically an issue in my project tracker and I just log my time there and I’ll put a comment in the time entry but they don’t see that on the invoice. One thing I don’t bill for is if a client’s talking about the project they're working on and then they get into more of a sales conversation about like, ‘we have another product coming up’, I will – even if I can’t get it exact to the minute, but I will basically stop billing because they're talking about lead sales stuff; that’s – it might be helpful for them but I don’t feel comfortable billing for sales conversations. CHUCK: Yeah. That’s right. Yeah, I’m in the same boat. Anything that’s forward progress on the project gets billed. So if we’re having a meeting. I do bill people for wasting my time. So if you schedule a call with me and I wait around for 20 minutes, you're going to be billed 20 minutes. REUVEN: Oh, that’s interesting Do you do that and put that in the line item: ‘I was waiting for you’? CHUCK:**No. It usually goes under meetings or something [chuckles]. And usually, during that time, I’ll fire up my text editor and go hunt for bugs or something. After about 5 minutes, but – so, they're still getting value out of it. It’s just they're going to pay for the 5 minutes I sat there before I was like, ‘I might as well give them this time anyway’.**ERIC: Yeah. I’ll typically go and do some project management like rearrange issues, stuff like that but the thing is that 15 minutes I spend doing that is low-value work because I’m waiting on the cliff to get on the phone and I can’t dig in to stuff. That's one thing I’m loving about weekly billing is they're getting charged for the full week so if they want to get on the phone with me or they want me to fix bugs, or I’m waiting here on hold, it doesn’t matter too much to me. CHUCK: The next question is something that I’m interested in, as well. It’s ‘How much development time per week do your clients expect you to dedicate to the project?’ This has bitten me a couple of times and I don’t know why they expect a specific number of hours. I've delivered but then they get mad at me because I only worked 10 hours in one week instead of 15 or 20. I let them know in advance how many hours I think I’m going to be able to work in a week if it’s something that’s outside the norm. But for some reason, certain clients are just not been ok with that. And so, even though I’m delivering value, I’m getting them exactly what I told them I’d get them that week – this is usually in the team setting, so they have somebody else to compare me to. So they see that the developer Joe is working 30 hours and Chuck’s only working 10 or 15 or 20, and that’s just not what they want. So they have this expectation to full time, even though upfront-ly said that there was – I couldn’t do full time in a week, so they were ok with that. ERIC: It’s the expectation. It’s what the reality is. No matter what you do in your contract, if you tell someone you want to work 20 hours this week, immediately, like microsecond, they're going to equate you work part time. ‘Well, why didn’t you do the other part? If you did the other part time, could you have done twice as much work? Why didn’t you?’ Yeah, it’s crazy but that’s pre-conceived – not bias – but pre-conceived ideas and thoughts of how work is done that you have to work around. CHUCK: Yeah. I’m doing weekly billing right now and I'm really enjoying that because I don’t have a set number of hours as far as expectation goes. I told them that I would finish the project in 12-14 weeks and then it would cost them a certain amount of money. So, as long as it’s done on that timeframe, they don’t care how many hours I worked. And so it’s nice when basically, the question is, ‘ok, what did you deliver so we can look at it’ – and then they don’t look at it but – ‘what did you deliver so that I can show it off to my higher ups’ and things like that. That’s the only thing they really care about. They care about the results which is the place I like to be in. And then they pay me every week. ERIC: Yeah, same here. On Monday or sometimes the Friday before I commit to ‘here’s the 4 or 5 things I’m committing to doing. I might not get them done if stuff goes sideways or if we pull another stuff that we decide is more important, but I’m committing to this. So by next week or end of this week, you’ll know these are done. And that will move the project for this amount’. And if the clients push forward, I’d say, ‘it’s basically 30 hours plus or minus 5’. If they have a lot of repetitive boring but easy to do stuff, it might be like 35 hours just because I’m burning through it. But if it’s something really hard, really draining, really difficult, we’ll worry if they change the scope a lot and cause a lot of confusion, it might be on the lower end just because I don’t have the energy to do it. And I’ll explain to them that, ‘I’m more in the business of managing my energy than my time. I'm going to give you as much energy as I can and if I ran out of that energy, I’m not going to produce good work and it’s going to actually make it – cause us more time later on’. And so I’ll watch myself and if I get out of energy, then it’s time to start wrapping up. The big thing is when you commit, you don’t overcommit. You – not under-commit but you commit to what you can confidently get done. And then you have communication with your client multiple times a week so they – so there's no surprise at the end, I guess. I think back when I was doing hourly – I don’t know if I was doing hourly, it was like blocks per week –so this client gets me for a week, I would say 25-30 of billable work because that includes off-time breaks, business administration and all that stuff. And so I say 25-30, and that gives me enough buffer if they want to crank it up during a launch or whatever, we have some buffer there; there's not enough work, we can scale it down and I can do some other stuff. CHUCK: The next question is ‘Have you ever had a client specify a maximum number of hours per week in your contract?’ ERIC:**Just as far as budget, we have a budget cap of whatever – 10k [inaudible] that is x hours.**CHUCK: Yup. Same. REUVEN:**Exactly. [Inaudible] they said they would love to have us on for a week at a month but they don’t have the budget for it, so we’re going to cap it at one week for a month, and ok. That’s what they’ve got and that’s what they got.**CHUCK: The next question is ‘Is the feedback loop so slow that you always have time to work for another contract while you're waiting?’ I can tackle this one a little bit. I have a client right now that we just finished and delivered phase 1 and they are still discussing what goes into phase 2. So I actually went to my client and I said, ‘look’, I said, ‘I need to know by the end of the week how long you are going to be working on specifying phase 2 and to what degree you need me involved so that I can plan because if it’s going to be a month, then I can go and find another contract to fill.’ And then he can come in after that other contract ends or pick up some of my subcontractors if they have some cycles to spend on it. But I’m not going to sit around for a month. Now, if they're going to finish up this week, then I can get going on it next week, then I’ll just work on other things. It depends but during the contract, the feedback loop, usually I have a big enough pile of work where I can just pull something else off the stack, and there's never any lapse where I'm like, ‘oh, I wish I had something else to fill in this time’. ERIC:**Other than your time for different phases of the project or where there's – you need to go back to a scoping session, that’ll break it up, and I typically tell the client, ‘you're not ready [inaudible] you're ready, so we’re going to go off contract for 3 or 4 weeks while you figure out what you're going to do and I'm going to work with other people. Let me know; give me a bit of heads-up so we can get you back into my schedule.’ But as far as work-wise, I can’t think of really any instances where the feedback loop was so bad that I jumped to another project. A big thing for me is communication – getting feedback and all that is – make sure it’s rapid. I operate by the idea of I will make the best decision I can think of for my client, so I’ll operate in their best interest. If I have to, I’ll make a decision that I think is best and then if we find out later based on feedback that that’s the wrong decision, we’ll go back and change it. So that gets you through a lot of the little decisions that the client wants to decide on but it’s not really [inaudible] or it’s not really a big thing for their project. I have very, very little instances where I have to go back and rework stuff. If I do, it’s very tiny and it’s [inaudible] stuff, not necessarily like, ‘oh, you went the whole different direction’. But yeah, feedback loop is typically fast that I don’t have enough of a gap for me to jump to someone else.**REUVEN:**I think I probably had projects where not the feedback loop [inaudible] regular basis. And I think where you guys said [inaudible] is totally right, and so [inaudible] where someone will say, ‘ok, what’s the plan at this point? Are we going to move ahead now or are we going to take a break for a few weeks or even a few months?’ But there have never been cases where I said, ‘ok, [inaudible]’ and they say, ‘I’ll tell you what – we’re going to evaluate. We’ll be back a few days’. I have enough going on that that’s ok. But to start a whole new project during that time seems a little extreme.CHUCK: Yeah. ERIC: Yeah. I’m thinking there's, I think, a couple of instances where the client’s like, ‘yeah, we need some time to review’, and I said, ‘ok’, and I go to a past client that I know has a week of maintenance workday a month but they want to just whenever I have the chance. So I tell my first client, ‘ok, I’m going to go work with this other client for a week. They have a very limited scope. I’ll be back in after that week and we can pick up the project we started on’. And so I actually give them a deadline to work on stuff. CHUCK:‘Do your clients ever feel like you're not putting in enough time per week?’ And the other question is ‘How do you respond to that?’ The answer to the first question is yeah. And the second question is for the past conversations, I usually wind up losing the contract because [chuckles] there's no way around the way that they think about those things. Usually, once you’ve gotten to that place, unless you can put out ‘here’s a game plan for me to get more hours in’, there's nothing you can do. So if I can’t promise them more hours, or tell them how I'm going to find more time, what else I’m going to quit doing to do their stuff instead. There's just not a whole lot you can do to keep those contracts because they have an expectation and you're not meeting it. Even if you specified it up front, it doesn’t matter.**REUVEN:**There are definitely some clients who even if you're only working for them with, say, 20 hours a week, they tend to have [inaudible] specify to some – to such a degree. They think you should be – they think they should be your only priority and they're so offended when you [inaudible] other people with whom you're working. So first of all, weekly billing solves that problem [inaudible] because you are dedicated to just working with them and it has all those advantages. But the other thing is that – I've said to clients on occasion – well, first of all, I try to avoid, at almost any cost, mentioning other clients to my clients. [Inaudible] busy, but to say, ‘oh yeah, x y z, they're really big and you're really small, so I’m going to give them attention’ –kiss of death. Do not say that. [Laughter]. You want them to think that they're your priority. You also have to make it clear that you're in the business of servicing multiple people and you're not their employee. And it can be a bit of a fine line but I think it’s important to make that point to them perhaps subtlety to make it.**ERIC: I do this. I think it’s fine. You can mention you already have commitments to other clients, but yeah, don’t say, ‘I have a commitment to a bigger or better client’. That’s just wrong. CHUCK: I've had a work out where I've said, ‘Client A had an emergency. Their system went down or whatever’. And my other clients are usually pretty understanding, and it also makes them feel better because then they realize, ‘hey, if our system goes down, he's going to drop everything and come help us out too’. REUVEN: Absolutely. The one place where I have been mentioning other clients recently – and not by name – but when I want to raise rates on people. A very effective line I found is ‘you know you are currently my lowest paying client’. And that puts the shock into the system. ‘Oh, oh, we don’t want to be those guys. We want to be your second least paying client’. ERIC:**Yeah, where you tell them that you [inaudible] drop in your lowest paying client every year and, ‘I’m sorry but you're that one right now. Do you want to bump the rates up or [inaudible][laughter]’.**REUVEN: I can only imagine their faces. CHUCK: Oh man. Priceless. ERIC:**Don’t do that. [Chuckles] It’s nice if you're going to actually do that, but – [chuckles].**CHUCK: Yeah. ‘I don’t work with losers. Bye’. REUVEN:**It’s good news and bad news. Good news is you have a [inaudible] your budget. Bad news.**CHUCK: Alright. Well, do you want to get into the picks? ERIC: Yeah. CHUCK: Alright. Go ahead, Eric. ERIC:**Alright. I mentioned it earlier. I’ll put it in the picks so people can find it. There's the post on Copyhackers by Danny Margulies. The NonScuzzy and Totally True Story of How I Earned 6 Figures in 12 Months by Mastering the “Hidden Elance Economy”. I've seen a couple of this post around this for different topics on blogs. I think his blog itself [inaudible] to when there's some good stuff in there. I'm not doing it, I’m not following that but that’s a different perspective shift for me and it stuck with me over the past few months since I read it first.**CHUCK:Very cool. I've got a couple of picks. First off, I’m going to pick MicroConf. Don’t try and go next year because I need to get a ticket next year, too. [Chuckles] Those tickets were really freaking fast, but it was a tremendous experience. It was just awesome. That’s definitely on my list of conferences to attend every year. I also read a few books while I was out and about. These are books that were recommended to me by none other than Eric Davis. One of them is called Mini Habits and the other one is called Habit Stacking. And so I have put together my own little routine for the morning as a habit stacking thing. And then, I've got a couple of just mini habits that I'm working on. So, just throughout the day, I’m like, ‘oh ok, I’m going to do this’. His point is once you get past the threshold of doing like one pushup, then you're already in pushup position, you're already doing it and then you probably do a few more. So there's that one, and there are a couple of others that I’m working on. Anyway, both of those were really good books about just thinking about how to do this kind of stuff. And then I’m going to pick another book that I've been reading lately. It’s called How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and I’m really enjoying that one, as well.ERIC:Yeah. As far as the habit stuff, I just put a front video. You might not have seen it or you're audio only, but I have been reading one article [inaudible] paper for the past 442 days – streak; have been writing at least 50 words for 442 days. I’m doing one pushup every day for –can you do the math – 441 days. It works. Even sometimes around January, I have a 114 days streak of – if you have problems with habits, I recommend the Mini Habits very, very highly.CHUCK: How are you tracking that? ERIC: It is called Habit List for iOS. It’s a white background with a green circle full of infinity symbol in it; very inexpensive. I like it because you can export your stuff really easy. I think it’s a JSON file or whatever. It can set reminders and all that. CHUCK: Alright. Reuven, you got picks? REUVEN:[Inaudible] where I'm lying to myself I didn’t really think of it before. So I’ll let you guys off the hook this week without any of my. Oh, [inaudible]’. I remember that in another podcast, which I can recommend – I think I mentioned several times in the past that I really enjoyed Slate Political Gabfest; just super fun political analysts, people who are into US politics, and one of the people on there is this guy, Jonathan Dickerson, who just appointed actually the new moderator for Face of the Nation. For political nerds, that’s a big [inaudible]. He has this podcast he does now called Whistlestop which is short – 15, 20-minute stories from political campaigns in the past of essential [inaudible]. He’s a great storyteller; funny, interesting stuff, mild thing from a previous presidential campaigns, [inaudible] that the venom that you think you see in modern politics is nothing compared to what they actually had before. So if you're into politics, it’s definitely worth listening to a bit.CHUCK: Very cool. Alright, well, if you have freelancing questions, go to and sign up for the mailing list. But we should be sending out reminder emails letting you know that we’re going to be doing it this and giving you a chance to reply with questions. So, by all means, do that and let us know. And I guess that’s all we got so we’ll wrap up. Thanks everyone. [This episode is sponsored by MadGlory. You've been building software for a long time and sometimes it gets a little overwhelming. Work piles up, hiring sucks and it's hard to get projects out the door. Check out MadGlory. They're a small shop with experience shipping big products. They're smart, dedicated, will augment your team and work as hard as you do. Find them online at or on Twitter @MadGlory.]**[Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at]**[Bandwidth for this segment is provided by CacheFly, the world’s fastest CDN. Deliver your content fast with CacheFly. Visit to learn more]**[Would you like to join a conversation with the Freelancers’ Show panelists and their guests? Want to support the show? 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