⚔️ Technobattle

Happy Wednesday! Mauna Loa, the world’s biggest active volcano, erupted on Monday in Hawaii for the first time since 1984. On the bright side, it appears to be a “mild” eruption so far (because apparently there is such a thing). 

No major flights have been delayed, an initial ashfall warning has since been cancelled, and officials say no property or residents are currently at risk of being BBQ’d by flowing lava. Fingers crossed it stays that way.

Mentioned in today’s edition: Twitter, Apple, Cyber Monday, and Post.news. Plus 3 signs you need to fire a client, pre-mortems vs pre-parades, and why not all leads from paid traffic are created equal.

Read time: 4 minutes and 51 seconds

Making the Rounds

  • Elon threatens to go to war with Apple. The Twitter CEO tweeted a meme indicating he was ready to go to war with the iPhone maker, claiming that Apple has paused most of its ads after spending $40M on the platform so far this year, and was even threatening to withhold Twitter from the App Store.
  • Cyber Monday sales top $12B in the U.S. Step side Black Friday, because there’s a new heavyweight champion in town. According to data from Salesforce, Cyber Monday sales shot up 8.3% year over year, topping Back Friday sales by $3B despite soaring inflation and a gloomy economic outlook. You know what they say: when the credit card has been bad, it must be punished.
  • New Twitter clone banks on micropayments as the future of news publishing. Post.news, a new social platform founded by former Waze CEO Noam Bardin, has 65,000 approved users and is aiming to monetize them via micropayments for news content. Translation: instead of paying for a monthly subscription to WSJ or Insider, on Post, you can pay a tiny fraction to read only the articles you want to.

Working With Clients

3 Signs You Need to Fire a Client

When you speak with a prospective client, you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you.

Most freelancers tend to forget this.

Specifically, you should be on the lookout for major red flags.

Here are 3 to watch out for:

1) Previous bad experiences

Most people have had bad experiences with hiring freelancers.

But if a prospective client goes on and on about all the terrible people they’ve hired in the past…

That’s a hard pass for us.

2) Unrealistic demands about availability

As a freelancer, you’ll typically be juggling multiple clients.

So new clients shouldn’t expect you to be available 24/7.

If they’re blowing you up on evenings and weekends…

Don’t stand for it.

3) They don’t pay on time

There’s nothing worse than having to hound someone to get you paid.

Especially if you’ve turned in your work as promised.

Timely payments create a sacred bond of trust between client and freelancer.

If they’re always late, let ‘em go 👋

Working For Yourself

Pre-Mortems vs Pre-Parades

One of the most difficult things about tackling big projects is balancing optimism with skepticism.

You don’t want to overlook any critical flaws…

But you have to believe it can be successful at the same time.

That’s why we’re such big fans of a technique we discovered in a recent interview with Tim Ferriss and investor Roelof Botha.

In case you haven’t heard of Roelof — and don’t worry – we hadn’t either — he’s the former CFO of PayPal and current Managing Director of Sequoia Capital, one of the oldest and most successful venture capital firms in the world, having invested in companies like Square, Instagram, Stripe, Airbnb, 23andMe, and many more.

Oh, and Roelof has personally generated over $1B in returns for investors at Sequoia through investments he’s led.

So he knows a thing or two about tackling big projects and being successful.

Anyway, onto the technique…

Well, it’s two actually:

The first is a “pre-mortem.” 

Before the project launches or goes live, imagine that it fails. Then ask yourself why.

In other words, if the project were to fail… why would that be?

The reframe here is that instead of wondering “what could go wrong?” you force yourself to get specific…

So you can map it out and do what you can to prevent it in advance.

The second is a “pre-parade.”

This is basically the opposite of a pre-mortem. The idea is to imagine “what if things go right?”

Then likewise, ask yourself why that is.

You see, many people lack the vision necessary to bet big and win…

Because they’re unable to picture exactly what could happen if things go right, and what that would mean.

Roelof and his team at Sequoia perform these two exercises before every investment they make.

And judging by their track record, it’s pretty damn effective.

From The Paid Ads Gig

There’s a Reason Why They Say Cocaine TikTok is a Hell of a Drug

Advertisers have lots of options when it comes to running paid traffic on social these days:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • TikTok
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter

And that doesn’t even factor in other sources like native ads or push ads.

Now some ad platforms are more popular than others…

Like TikTok, for example.

But what many media buyers and entrepreneurs don’t realize is:

Different platforms produce different kinds of leads.

Case in point:

TikTok leads are naturally less qualified compared to leads from Facebook or YouTube.

Why?

Because the platform is built on short-form content.

It’s impossible for those leads to get as much context as on other platforms like Facebook or YouTube.

Now that doesn’t mean running ads on TikTok won’t work for you…

In fact, we know lots of people who are having success there…

Largely because the traffic is so much cheaper.

Cost per click is typically much lower than Facebook, YouTube, or LinkedIn.

So the economics still work out.

Especially if you’re selling ecom products or low-ticket impulse buys that don’t require a ton of context or qualification before making a purchase.

But if you’re selling a high-ticket product or service? 

Not so much.

Ultimately, this is one of the reasons why Facebook is still our weapon of choice when it comes to running paid ads…

Because the amount of context people can get about your offer between long-form copy AND video is hard to beat.

Moral of the story is:

Not all leads are generated equal.

So keep that in mind when crafting your paid ad strategy.

Gig Alerts

Looking for clients? These freelance jobs were posted on Upwork in the last 24 hours:

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Plus it’s completely free, and you are guaranteed to learn something new every day.

Click here to sign up today.

Quote of the Day


“A bad attitude is like a flat tire; if you don’t change it, you won’t go anywhere”

— Joyce Meyer

In Case You Missed It:

🏆 Rewarding repeat visitors

Happy Black Friday! To borrow from yesterday’s Axios PM: without readers, a newsletter is just a diary. So thank you for sticking with us 🙏  And if you’re on the hunt for some killer deals today, make sure to check out Wirecutter’s Black Friday 2022 guide.

Mentioned in today’s edition: Google, TikTok, and Twitter. Plus whether you should discount services to land a new client, anti-goal setting, and diagnosing your way to paid traffic profits.

Read time: 3 minutes and 13 seconds

Making the Rounds

  • Google testing new way to monetize repeat website visitors. The new feature, called “Rewarded Ad Gate”, lets publishers serve a 30-second video ad on someone’s 5th site visit within a specific timeframe. The user will have the option to watch the video or not, but if they choose not to, they won’t be able to access the site until their pageviews reset the following month.
  • Some advertisers choose to run TikTok ads without installing the pixel. It’s a painful trade-off, because it means they can’t track conversions or benefit from any algorithm optimization, but it also means they won’t risk being implicated in any foreign surveillance or other illegal data collection TikTok may or may not be involved in.

  • Elon fires dozens more Twitter employees just before Thanksgiving. Despite Elon saying the company was done laying people off earlier this week, Insider reports that dozens more were fired overnight on Wednesday due to performance reasons.

Working With Clients

Thinking About Discounting Your Services to Land a New Client?

Making an irresistible offer is key to winning big clients.

But going overboard just to close a deal you really want to land can backfire in a big way.

Specifically, there’s one common mistake freelancers make when pitching that…

– Destroys their positioning

– Slashes future earnings

– And shortens the customer lifespan

What is it?

Discounting your services instead of doing something for free.

You see, once you discount your price…

That’s what the client will value your service or offering at until the end of time. 

You’ve created a price anchor.

And no matter how well you deliver for them…

That discounted price will always drag your perceived value down like a weight around your ankles.

So if you’re struggling to overcome a price objection, offering to do something for free is a much better option.

Because you get to bank the goodwill and relationship equity without devaluing your services in the process.

Working For Yourself

Anti-Goal Setting

“Burn the ships,” they said…

“It’s what all great entrepreneurs do,” they said…

But what happens when your big dream doesn’t pan out the way you expected?

What happens if you fail?

Spoiler alert:

If you’re chasing big dreams, failure is inevitable.

This doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t succeed…

It means you should be prepared for all outcomes in advance…

In fact, preparing for the worst possible scenario can be surprisingly liberating.

In the TED Talk below, entrepreneur and investor Tim Ferriss reveals how to conduct an exercise he calls “fear-setting.”

Essentially, it’s the opposite of traditional goal setting…

But it can be incredibly powerful to help define your risk and understand potential downsides… 

Especially if you’re faced with a big decision or considering a new opportunity.

Check out the 13-minute video here:

[WATCH]: Fear-Setting: The Most Valuable Exercise I Do Every Month

From The Paid Ads Gig

Diagnosing Your Way to Paid Traffic Profits

Launched a new campaign that isn’t converting yet?

First things first: check to make sure the link isn’t broken 😂

But assuming that’s not the problem…

The next step is to analyze the leading metrics so you can figure out where the dropoff is happening.

This includes:

  • CTR/CPC
  • Page speed
  • Landing page conversion rate
  • Order bump and upsell take rates
  • Etc

A sub-1% CTR + high CPC could mean a market-message mismatch or a weak creative.

Slow page speed could mean visitors are exiting before the page loads.

And if your landing page is converting at 20% or less, that’s a sign you may need to do some conversion rate optimization (CRO) before the campaign hits your KPIs.

Bottom line:

Junior media buyers assume every campaign should crush it right out of the gate…

But seasoned vets know you often have to optimize your way to profitability.

And being able to diagnose constraints in your funnel with surgical precision is what will set you apart from the competition.

So focus on getting good at it.

Gig Alerts

Looking for clients? These freelance jobs were posted on Upwork in the last 24 hours:

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Quote of the Day


“Creativity is a wild mind and a disciplined eye.”

— Dorothy Parker

In Case You Missed It:

🏴‍☠️ Skeleton crew

Happy Monday! Welcome back to The Gig — the daily email helping freelancers go beyond the 9 to 5 and build profitable client businesses.

Mentioned in today’s edition: Twitter, Elon Musk, and TikTok. Plus how to nail your retainer pitch, what to do when your creativity calls in sick, and a counterintuitive ad targeting trick to get higher quality traffic.

Read time: 4 minutes and 58 seconds

Making the Rounds

  • Hundreds of Twitter employees refuse Elon’s “hardcore” ultimatum. When given the choice between committing to an “extremely hardcore” company reset or quitting with 3 months severance, it appears many of Twitter’s employees chose to take their money and go. And with the World Cup kicking off this week, the platform may be sailing into a major stress test with only a skeleton crew to man the decks.
  • 76% of business owners think TikTok will surpass Amazon for ecommerce, study finds. Just how big is TikTok going to be? Yuge, according to 500 business owners surveyed in this new study. Over ¾ said they think TikTok will eventually overtake both Amazon and Google in ecommerce and search. Speaking of which…
  • TikTok goes on hiring spree as the rest of Big Tech lays off thousands of workers. The company has committed to hire 3,000 more engineers worldwide, drawing a stark contrast with Meta, which is laying off 11,000 workers, and Amazon, which may let go up to 10,000 employees.

Working With Clients

When You Nail That Retainer Pitch

No freelancer wants to spend all their time prospecting.

But if you’re stuck doing one-off projects for clients all the time…

You don’t have much choice.

That’s one of the reasons why monthly retainers can be so attractive:

It doesn’t take many to fill up your calendar.

Which means less time spent prospecting and more time spent doing work that pays.

Plus it gives you some predictable income you can use to budget, save, and invest with.

But how do you make the shift from one-off to ongoing?

Well, the playbook is the same pretty much regardless of which service(s) you provide:

STEP 1: Make sure one-off projects are successful

You can’t expect to upsell clients into ongoing arrangements if the initial project isn’t successful.

So make sure you’re doing everything you can to get your client a big win first.

You need a solid foundation to build on if you want them to pay you every month.

STEP 2: Identify ongoing work you can take off their plate

Start by thinking about it from the client’s perspective:

What ongoing work are they doing on a daily or weekly basis that you could take off their plate?

Some examples:

  • Writing emails
  • Running split-tests
  • Managing ad campaigns
  • Creating social media posts
  • Etc

Unless these activities fall within your client’s zone of genius, chances are they’d appreciate you taking it off their plate so they can focus on more important things, like leading the company and being a real CEO.

Often, the question isn’t “do they want to hire someone” — it’s “will this pay for itself?” and “can I trust you?”

STEP 3: Explain why it makes sense

Even if you’ve created some goodwill with your client, you still need to make a strong logical case for this new arrangement:

– How will it make them money?

– How will it save them time?

– Why is it a smart decision?

Don’t be afraid to explain why YOU want it too.

Make it clear how much you enjoy working for them, how much you love their products, why you align with their values, etc.

Then position it as a way for them to lock down a fixed amount of your time every month.

Just keep in mind that not every client will be a good fit for a monthly retainer.

But for the right ones, it’s a win/win.

Working For Yourself

What to Do When Your Creativity Calls in Sick

Ever struggle to get your creative juices flowing in the morning?

Welcome to the club 🙋

And let’s be honest…

Sometimes caffeine just doesn’t cut it.

So if you’re a copywriter, media buyer, graphic designer…

Or someone who does creative work of any kind…

Here’s a morning routine add-on you should experiment with:

Write out three pages of “stream of consciousness” by hand before you start work.

This technique is called “Morning Pages”…

And was originally created by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way.

Many of our favorite writers swear by it, including Andre Chaperon, Tim Ferriss, and many others.

Imagine your creativity is like a pipeline. ..

In order for the great ideas to flow out, you need to clear out the “sludge” first.

That’s what Morning Pages are for.

So, what are you supposed to write about?

Anything. Everything. What’s on your mind. How you’re feeling. What you plan to do today.  How much you hate your alarm clock.

(You can also find prompts like these ones from Masterclass all over the internet)

But the point isn’t to bang out polished prose…

It’s simply to clear out the sludge and make room for your creative ideas to come out and play.

To trap the clutter of your thoughts down on paper before you move on to the important stuff.

Make sense?

If you do decide to test it out, we recommend committing to at least 30 days.

Then let us know how it goes 🙂

From The Paid Ads Gig

Try This Counterintuitive Ad Targeting Trick to Get Higher Quality Traffic

Tracking pixels need to be “fed” lots of data to optimize.

It’s what makes them such a powerful marketing tool…

Because they get smarter and smarter over time.

Only problem is…

Since iOS 14, tracking pixels have gotten dumber.

Especially when they’re fresh out of the box and yet to be seasoned with hundreds or thousands of conversions.

And platforms like Meta and Google keep removing targeting options to stay out of trouble.

So here’s an unconventional way to feed your pixel better data:

Tell anyone who is NOT your ideal customer to leave the page immediately.

For example…

If you were a media buyer running ads to get clients… 

You might place this line of copy on your opt-in form:

“If you are NOT a coach, consultant, or course creator spending at least 1k/day on ads, please leave this page immediately.”

Now, will this decrease your conversion rate and increase your cost per lead?

You bet.

BUT…

Your lead quality will improve dramatically.

And because you’ll only be feeding the pixel conversion data from smack dab in the middle of your target audience…

Your campaigns will be able to optimize much better over time as well.

Gig Alerts

Looking for clients? These freelance jobs were posted on Upwork in the last 24 hours:

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  • Web3 Daily: Web3 and crypto news, translated into plain English.
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Quote of the Day


“Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment. It fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones.” 

— Bruce Garrabrandt

🛒 Ecom world domination

Happy Wednesday! If you’re like most freelancers, you probably don’t enjoy taking sales calls. That’s why we created the Ultimate Freelance Sales Call Cheat Sheet. It’s a simple step-by-step roadmap to sales calls that close, even if you’re brand new. Best part? You can unlock it for free by sharing the newsletter with just 5 friends. Copy and paste your referral link to start sharing.

Mentioned in today’s edition: TikTok Shop, Twitter, and Google. Plus how A-Player freelancers tackle deadlines, why time management is for suckers, and 6 traits of high-converting ad images.

Read time: 3 minutes and 37 seconds

Making the Rounds

  • TikTok Shop launches in the U.S. The new invite-only ecommerce platform is part of the company’s master plan to replicate the success of their $400B livestream shopping empire in China.
  • Ad agency Omnicom recommends clients pause ads on Twitter. The company, which counts McDonald’s, Apple, and Johnson & Johnson among their blue-chip client list, reportedly said “the risk to our clients’ brand safety has risen sharply” in an internal memo. The timing isn’t great for Twitter, as they’re in the midst of (attempting to) negotiate long-term deals that account for more than 30% of U.S. ad revenue.
  • Running search ads on Google? Your cost-per-lead has probably gone up. A new study from WordStream found cost–per-lead on Search went up in a whopping 21 of 23 industries analyzed. The only two industries to see a decline? Finance & Insurance (down 2%) and Education and Instruction (down 29%).

Working With Clients

How A-Player Freelancers Tackle Deadlines

There’s only one thing clients HATE more than hiring a freelancer who can’t deliver…

And that’s hiring a freelancer who can’t work fast.

This is typically because of bad experiences in the past…

(with freelancers missing deadlines, ghosting them, or both)

Or simply because they need it turned around ASAP.

Honestly, you would be shocked at how many freelancers with impressive samples and track records can’t work fast.

So if you’re looking for an easy way to stand out even if you don’t have a portfolio full of big wins or a laundry list of testimonials…

Learn to work fast.

And then don’t be afraid to advertise it.

You see, one of the biggest concerns clients have when hiring freelancers is speed.

And if you can speak directly to that fear, you’ll have no trouble closing deals.

Now, you can’t just snap your fingers and make yourself work three times faster…

So here’s a few tips to help you put the pedal to the metal:

  • Close all open tabs
  • Put your phone on Do Not Disturb
  • Create an outline or wireframe first
  • Use a timer
  • Listen to non-lyrical music (binaural beats, lo-fi, etc)

And don’t forget: the faster you work, the more you can jack up your effective hourly rate.

More on this below.

Working For Yourself

Why Time Management is For Suckers

Ever heard of Parkinson’s Law?

It states that work expands to fill the time allotted for it.

Translation:

If you give yourself an hour, it’ll take an hour.

If you give yourself a week, it’ll take a week.

And in our experience, we’ve found this law to be pretty accurate.

That’s why time management is the wrong area to focus on if you want to increase your output.

Instead, focus on energy management.

Energy is the true constraint to productivity, not time.

So here are three of our favorite tips to help you better manage your energy:

1 – Put your phone on Do Not Disturb

2 – Listen to non-lyrical music (lo-fi, chillwave, binaural beats)

3 – Go for a walk as soon as you hit a wall

Your mileage may vary…

But the more you focus on extracting the most out of yourself, the less you’ll have to worry about time.

From The Paid Ads Gig

6 Traits of High-Converting Ad Images

Video may be all the rage these days…

But image ads can still crush it on Facebook and Instagram….

if you know how to pick a winner.

Here are 6 simple tips to help you pick out (or create) high-converting ad images:

1. Dial up the contrast

2. Choose an image with a human face

3. Make sure they’re looking right into the camera

4. Look for colors that stand out from the white & blue of the feed

5. Incorporate diagonal lines whenever possible

6. Aim for “native aspirational” (something a real user would post + reflects the prospect’s desired future state)

Don’t be surprised if your image ads outperform your video ads once you implement these tips 💪

Gig Alerts

Looking for clients? These freelance jobs were posted on Upwork in the last 24 hours:

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Quote of the Day


“Success is often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.”

— Coco Chanel

In Case You Missed It:

🤑 Twitter Cash

Happy Friday! It’s Veteran’s Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day in Canada. A special thank you from us to all those who’ve served 🙏

Mentioned in today’s edition: Twitter, Elon Musk, and Mastodon. Plus findings from a Harvard study on successful freelancers, the most effective investment strategy, and an old school attribution strategy for paid ads.

Read time: 3 minutes and 45 seconds

Together with AdSkills

A Match Made in Direct Response Heaven

Mastering high-income skills multiplies your options. You can apply them for clients or for yourself. And that’s one of the big reasons why so many freelancers get into copywriting — so they can launch their own offer one day. 

But here’s the problem: you still need traffic. And unless you’ve got a massive audience on social media, that means learning how to run paid ads.

Luckily, that’s where AdSkills comes in. They represent the gold standard in paid traffic training. Which is why 9-figure companies like ClickFunnels, DigitalMarketer, and VShred rely on AdSkills courses to train their media buyers. 

So if you want to learn how to write killer ads, craft campaigns that convert, and scale your offer to the moon on Facebook, TikTok, or YouTube, click here to try a free AdSkills class today.

Making the Rounds

  • Elon reveals plan for Twitter payments during livestream. The company filed paperwork last week that would let it process payments, and on a recent livestream meeting with advertisers, Musk explained his plan to enable users to send money directly through Twitter. He wasn’t done making news though…
  • Twitter’s remote work policy is cancelled. In his first email to the employees of his latest acquisition, Elon Musk banned remote work — unless he personally approved it. Employees are now expected in the office at least 40 hours per week. Welcome back to the slag heap.
  • The ultimate beginner’s guide to Mastodon. One of the beneficiaries of the recent turmoil at Twitter has been Mastodon, a decentralized social media platform. It’s added 640k+ users since Elon took over. Check out this article from the WSJ to get an inside look at what it’s like and how it works.

Working With Clients

Harvard Study Reveals the Secrets of Successful Freelancers

Easy come, easy go.

A low barrier to entry means that anyone can become a freelancer with little to no experience…

But it also means a lot of people wash out without ever finding success.

If you’d like to avoid being one of them, check out the article below.

Inside, you’ll discover important findings from a study done by Harvard Business Review on 218 freelancers — and more importantly, the companies who hired them.

Read it here:

[READ]: What Success Freelancers Do Differently

Working For Yourself

When the Client Asks If You Can Write the Copy and Build the Lander

Finance experts say the secret to building wealth is compound interest.

That’s why Warren Buffett accumulated 97% of his wealth after his 65th birthday.

But while we may not all be able to replicate Buffett’s investing success…

There’s another way freelancers can put this mechanism to work for themselves:

By stacking high-income skills.

You see, it takes a very long time to master a deep skill like copywriting or media buying…

And while it’s definitely worth committing to…

If you can develop other skills that complement or intersect with your primary skill…

And make yourself a “double threat”…

You can see some explosive gains.

For example: 

Most copywriters know nothing about paid traffic…

And most media buyers can’t write copy.

The same thing goes for copywriting and graphic design or funnel building.

It’s an unusual combo you don’t see very often.

So by developing competence where those two skills intersect, you can carve out a unique position in the market…

Opening the door to many more opportunities than most other freelancers will ever get.

And over time, mastering these skills will deliver a much higher return than any other investment you could make (unless you are Warren Buffett, of course ;).

From The Paid Ads Gig

Try This Old School Attribution Solution For Paid Ads

Attributing views, clicks, and conversions is a pain in the neck these days.

Especially if you’ve got a mix of organic and paid traffic from different platforms all flowing into the same funnel.

But the good news is…

There’s an old school strategy that can help you combat attribution problems:

Building separate funnels for each traffic source.

If you’ve only got traffic from one source (like Facebook, YouTube, organic, etc) coming into a specific funnel, attributing ROI is a cakewalk.

There is a bit more work up front to get this set up…

But as you (or your client’s) company grows, you’ll be glad you did it.

Gig Alerts

Looking for clients? These freelance jobs were posted on Upwork in the last 24 hours:

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Quote of the Day


“Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action.”

— Peter Drucker

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🫵 Digital nomads wanted

Happy Thursday! And if you want to keep it that way, don’t look at your crypto portfolio for a while. Especially if you own a lot of $SOL (like at least one poor newsletter writer we can think of).

Mentioned in today’s newsletter: Spain, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter. Plus one important step to include your client fulfillment process, how to build a bulletproof freelance business, and why simplicity is divine when it comes to sending emails.

Read time: 3 minutes and 0 seconds

Making the Rounds

  • Spain approves new digital nomad visa. Looking to work remotely in Europe? Now there’s another way around those pesky Schengen Zone limitations. The Spanish Parliament just approved a new visa program for digital nomads, which lets them stay & work in the country for up to 12 months.
  • In-app scheduling finally comes to Instagram. Creators and social media managers rejoice! Instagram is finally rolling out an in-app scheduling tool that lets you schedule posts and Reels as far as 75 days out.
  • YouTube pays creators 55% of ad revenue. Elon’s answer? “We can beat that.” Newly-installed Twitter CEO Elon Musk is setting his sights high: the company is apparently planning a new monetization model for all forms of content on the platform, with the potential to top payouts creators get from YouTube. But you know what they say: you come at the king, you best not miss.

Working With Clients

Don’t Forget to Include This One Step in Your Fulfillment Process

Scoring your first big win for a new client is a great feeling.

It also creates the perfect opportunity for you to make a strategic request:

Ask them for a 2-minute video testimonial.

Clients will (almost) never volunteer these on their own…

And you never want to wait too long to ask for one.

So make sure to put in the request while you’re both riding high on the heels of a job well done.

Plus, this way, you can transcribe it to text and have their testimonial in both written and video form.

Working For Yourself

7-Figure Agency Owner Reveals How to Build a Bulletproof Freelance Business

2023 could be a difficult year for the freelance economy.

Between rising interest rates, persistent inflation, and a slowdown in the digital ad market…

There’s no shortage of potential storm clouds.

But the negative effects of any future downturn won’t be distributed equally.

Some freelancers will lose clients and struggle to make ends meet…

While others will be able to jack up their rates because they’ve become even MORE in demand.

So, the question is…

How do you make sure you’re in position to profit no matter what?

In the episode of The Chris Harder Show below, our co-founder and CEO Dorothy Hollabaugh explains how to build a bulletproof freelance business that thrives in any economy — even during a recession.

Click here to give it a listen:

[LISTEN]: Episode #641 Bulletproofing Yourself By Becoming a Freelancer 

Tools We Love

Why Simplicity is Divine When it Comes to Sending Emails

As the publishers of a daily newsletter, email marketing is the foundation of our business.

And throughout our freelancing careers, we’ve had the opportunity to work with many of the biggest email service providers out there.

But the problem is…

Most of them have so many fancy bells and whistles that you need a PhD in computer science just to figure out how to make them do what you want.

That’s why we’re proud users of ConvertKit.

It’s simple, intuitive, and incredibly easy to use.

Because you *should* be able to collect emails, send out broadcasts, and set up simple automations in minutes without calling in chat support.

So if you’re looking for a simple and cost-effective way to grow your online audience with email marketing…

Try ConvertKit for free today.

Gig Alerts

Looking for clients? These freelance jobs were posted on Upwork in the last 24 hours:

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Quote of the Day


“New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.”

— Lao Tzu

In Case You Missed It:

🐦 Revenue drop

Happy Monday! Welcome back to The Gig — the daily email helping freelancers build profitable client businesses.

Mentioned in today’s edition: Twitter, Gen Z, and tech workers. Plus 2 sneaky questions to ask on every sales call, advice from a billionaire on how to become successful, and retargeting insanity.

Read time: 4 minutes and 44 seconds

Together with AdSkills

No Ad Platform Can Escape Them

New ad platforms crop up all the time. And having first mover advantage can often lead to massive profits. But mastering the ins and outs of each new ad platform takes time and money. That’s where AdSkills comes in. Inside their platform, you’ll learn how to write killer ads, craft campaigns that convert, and run profitable traffic at scale across every ad platform from Google and Facebook to TikTok, Native, and more.

Plus, as an AdSkills member, you’ll also get the stamp of approval that 9-figure companies like ClickFunnels, DigitalMarketer, and VShred look for when hiring freelancers. So if you’re looking to partner with top-tier businesses and make more money per client, click here to try a free AdSkills class today.

Making the Rounds

  • Massive revenue drop at Twitter after advertisers press pause. Elon Musk’s first week on the job didn’t exactly end on a high note: after laying off ~3,700 employees, he said the company suffered a “massive drop in revenue” after General Mills, Pfizer, and other big advertisers reduced budgets or paused campaigns entirely due to concerns over how the new CEO will handle content moderation.
  • Gen Z pushes back on toxic work culture. “Lazy” and “entitled” are two words that get thrown around a lot when it comes to Gen Z. But in reality, they’re quickly becoming “America’s most pro-union generation” by pushing back against the toxic status quo in the workplace.
  • Winter isn’t the only thing coming for tech workers. The industry is in the midst of a massive surge in layoffs, as companies like Meta, Alphabet, Amazon, Lyft and Twitter seek to slash their headcount in the face of falling stock prices and a coming recession. This is a perfect example of why relying on a single client (or employer) for 100% of your income can be risky.

Working With Clients

2 Sneaky Questions to Ask On Every Sales Call

Most people aren’t naturally good at sales.

But taking sales calls is a key part of running a freelance business.

Because when you’re charging clients 4-5 figures (or more) per project…

Most of them are gonna want to get on the phone before they sign on the dotted line.

And what most freelancers don’t realize is, sales calls also play a pivotal role in setting the client’s expectations.

So if you want to make sure you start every new client relationship off on the right foot…

As well as avoid any major landmines once your work begins…

Here are two sneaky questions to ask on every sales call:

QUESTION 1: “What do you feel like is working well right now?”

Most freelancers focus on what’s going wrong.

And while it is important to spend time digging into the problem…

(Not to mention there’s a big difference between something the client thinks is working well and something that’s ACTUALLY working well)

But asking about what’s working well will help you tailor your feedback as you audit their existing copy, images, videos, funnels, etc (depending on what services you provide, of course).

For example, if a client thinks their email marketing is working well… but the first thing YOU do on the job is start criticizing it, your relationship could get off to a rocky start.

Especially if the client is the one who wrote all the emails.

Even if you’re right, your client may get upset if you just start tearing it to shreds without any tact or care.

So find out what they think is working before you start the project..

QUESTION 2: “Have you ever hired someone else to help you with this? If so, what did you like or dislike about it?”

If a client has hired freelancers in the past…

Finding out what they did or didn’t like about the experience is basically a cheat code to managing (and exceeding) expectations from the get-go.

All you have to do is mirror anything they did like and AVOID anything they didn’t.

Now, if you’d like to learn more about how to sell your freelance services over the phone without feeling like a used car salesperson…

Grab our Ultimate Freelance Sales Call Cheatsheet by sharing the newsletter with 3 people, or by purchasing it from our shop.

Working For Yourself

Advice From a TV Billionaire on How to Become Successful

One of the hallmarks of high-performers in any arena is a high say-do ratio.

When they say they’re gonna do something…

They do it.

Plain and simple.

No ifs, ands, or buts.

Following through on what you SAY you’re gonna do builds confidence and centers your locus of control.

So if you keep saying you’re gonna…

– apply to more freelance jobs
– start doing cold outreach
– post more on social media
– find a mentor
– go to a live event
– grow your network
– raise your rates
– etc etc etc

Then do it.

Channel your inner Logan Roy and MAKE that thing happen.

Prove to yourself you are in control…

And save the excuses for later.

Because in the end, YOU are the only who can do the work.

From The Paid Ads Gig

Retargeting Insanity

Retargeting is a key part of any paid ads strategy.

Even in a post-iOS 14 world.

But there’s one common mistake we see even experienced advertisers making with their retargeting strategy:

Not retargeting people to a different offer.

If someone sees your ad, clicks on it, hits your lander, but doesn’t opt-in or buy…

Retargeting them with same offer again and again amounts to saying:

Hey, I know you decided you didn’t want this the first time you saw it… but how about now??”

Can this approach produce *some* results?

Yes.

But as a skilled media buyer, you can do better…

By retargeting them to a different offer (and ideally, one that lowers the commitment.)

For example:

  • Retargeting ecom buyers with a free + shipping offer
  • Retargeting info product buyers with a quickstart guide
  • Retargeting SaaS buyers with free 7-day trial
  • Retargeting coaching clients with a low-ticket group challenge

Presenting them with a new offer creates a “reason why” for your ad…

And increases the chance they’ll take action.

Plus you know what they say about the definition of insanity…

It’s doing the same exact thing over and over again, and expecting different results.

Gig Alerts

Looking for clients? These freelance jobs were posted on Upwork in the last 24 hours:

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Quote of the Day


“Don’t become too preoccupied with what is happening around you. Pay more attention to what is going on within you.”

— Mary-Frances Winters

🌧️ When it rains, it pours

Happy Friday! Tech companies continue to report earnings this week, giving us a fresh look at how the industry is holding up in the face of inflation, rising interest rates, and decreasing consumer spending. Spoiler alert: so far, not so good.

Mentioned in this edition: Meta, TikTok, Apple, Shopify, Twitter, and Elon Musk. Plus 11 ways to land more clients on Upwork in 2022, how to finish every week on a high note, and controversial advice for anyone running a VSL funnel.

Read time: 3 minutes and 58 seconds

Together with AdSkills

When They Find Out You’re AdSkills Certified

Most certifications aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. But not AdSkills. Their Matchmaker program generates high-quality inbound leads for media buyers of all experience levels. It doesn’t matter whether you’re brand new or a seasoned vet. Once you graduate, you’ll have the chance to apply for real gigs with legit clients who’ve specifically requested an AdSkills media buyer. 

As an AdSkills member, not only will you learn how to launch & scale paid ad campaigns, but you’ll also get the stamp of approval that 9-figure companies like ClickFunnels, DigitalMarketer, and VShred look for when hiring freelancers. So if you’re looking for a new high-income skill to add to your freelance toolkit, click here to try a free class today.

Making the Rounds

  • Meta shares plummet after bad quarterly report. When it rains, it pours. Between competition from TikTok, pressure from Apple, slowdown in the digital ad market, and a jaw-dropping investment to build out the metaverse, times are tough for Zuck and co. The company’s stock plummeted over 22% yesterday after they reported Q3 earnings.
  • Shopify reports net loss of $158.4 million in Q3. Meta’s not the only Big Tech company struggling right now. Shopify went from reporting a net profit of $1.15 billion this time last year, to actually losing money in Q3 2022. Looks like the pandemic-era boom in ecommerce has officially worn off.
  • ‘Chief Twit’ Elon Musk visits Twitter HQ as he prepares to take over. With his takeover bid set to close today, Elon updated his bio to “Chief Twit” and visited Twitter headquarters on Wednesday. Banks have reportedly begun sending over the $13B they’ve committed to help him finance the deal. 

Working With Clients

11 Ways to Land More Clients On Upwork in 2022

Whether you’re new to freelancing or a seasoned vet…

Upwork is one of our favorite places to find clients.

It lets you filter for paying clients who are looking to hire ASAP…

And in our experience, many 7-figure and 8-figure business owners actually PREFER to hire from a freelancing platform like Upwork vs a direct referral.

Why?

Because they can evaluate your track record, look at past reviews, and see how you stack up against the competition.

Not to mention…

For business owners without a strong network, freelancing platforms like Upwork are sometimes the only option.

So, if you’re looking to land more gigs on the platform…

Check out this article for 11 ways to win more business:

[READ]: How to Get More Jobs on Upwork in 2022

Working For Yourself

How to Finish Every Week on a Low High Note

Spoiler alert:

The 4-Hour Work Week is not realistic for most of us.

(It’s still a great book, though.)

And while even a 4-day work week would be a major upgrade from spending a full 5 days at the slag heap every single week…

Here’s a simple hack that can make the workweek easier to bear:

Structure your workload so you start strong but then taper down throughout the week.

This means stacking Mondays with as much work as you can possibly handle to get ahead and create a buffer…

Then slowly and steadily taking your foot off the gas…

So Friday can be a much more leisurely work day and you can finish the work week on a low high note.

Here’s what it might look like in application:

  • Monday: 10-12 hours
  • Tuesday:  8-10 hours
  • Wednesday: 8-10 hours
  • Thursday: 6-8 hours
  • Friday: 4-6 hours

Now, will this be possible every week?

Doubtful.

And it’s probably not for everyone.

But if you struggle with the monotony of a uniform work week or have ever wanted to shake up your schedule…

Give this a try.

Easing into the weekend with a lighter and/or shorter Friday can feel mighty nice.

From The Paid Ads Gig

Controversial Advice For Anyone Running a VSL Funnel

The main conversion mechanism in a sales funnel is usually a sales letter, webinar, or VSL.

But is it the most important one?

Not always — and here’s why:

Your ad determines WHO you’re bringing in and WHAT their expectations are.

Get it wrong, and it may not matter how good your main conversion mechanism is.

Especially if you’re selling a high-ticket product or service.

So while you can split test landing pages, order forms, and button copy until the cows come home…

Truth is, the #1 biggest lever you can pull when it comes to the performance of your funnel…

(aside from your sales letter, VSL, or webinar)

Is your ad.

Nail that and everything else downstream gets much easier.

Gig Alerts

Looking for clients? These freelance jobs were posted on Upwork in the last 24 hours:

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  • Creator Wizard: Join 7,127 creators getting paid sponsorship opportunities every Monday & Thursday.
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  • The Curiosity Chronicle: High signal content related to frameworks, personal development, productivity, and growth.

Quote of the Day


“Sometimes you make the right decision, sometimes you make the decision right.”

— Phil McGraw

ICYMI:

📉 Patreon plummets

Happy Monday! Welcome back to The Gig — the daily email helping freelancers go beyond the 9 to 5 and build profitable client businesses.

Mentioned in today’s newsletter: Patreon, Snapchat, Twitter, and Elon Musk. Plus the easiest way to fish for new freelance clients, savvy advice for anyone scaling up their side hustle, and one simple trick to avoid ad fatigue on Facebook and Instagram.

Read time: 3 minutes and 58 seconds

Together with AdSkills

When They Find Out You’re AdSkills Certified

Most certifications aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. But not AdSkills. Their Matchmaker program generates high-quality inbound leads for media buyers of all experience levels. It doesn’t matter whether you’re brand new or a seasoned vet. Once you graduate, you’ll have the chance to apply for real gigs with legit clients who’ve specifically requested an AdSkills media buyer. 

As an AdSkills member, not only will you learn how to launch & scale paid ad campaigns, but you’ll also get the stamp of approval that 9-figure companies like ClickFunnels, DigitalMarketer, and VShred look for when hiring freelancers. So if you’re looking for a new high-income skill to add to your freelance toolkit, click here to try a free class today.

Making the Rounds

  • Leaked memo reveals Patreon’s valuation has plummeted 70%. The creator economy darling recently laid off 17% of its workforce, and a leaked memo reviewed by Insider may explain why.
  • Snapchat continues to get hammered by slowdown in digital ad market. The company is projecting zero revenue growth for Q4 as advertising budgets shrink going into 2023, which sent its share price down another 25%+.
  • Elon Musk plans to cut Twitter workforce by 75%. If he completes his Twitter takeover bid, the Tesla and SpaceX CEO is planning to slash headcount and get rid of 5,000+ employees, according to a new report from the Washington Post. Time to update your CVs!

Working With Clients

The Easiest Way to Fish For New Freelance Clients

If you’re a new freelancer looking to land clients…

You’ve got two choices:

Go fishing in the equivalent of the Atlantic Ocean by trying to persuade any and every business owner out there to hire you…

Or go to a small pond where the density of fish is much higher.

Where do you think your chances are better?

The small pond, of course.

And that’s exactly what freelancing platforms are.

Places like Upwork and Fiverr are where you can find paying clients looking to hire right now.

So if you’re just getting started…

Don’t waste your time messaging random strangers on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Focus on freelancing platforms instead.

Then aim to take your work off the platform once you’ve built strong relationships.

Plus, if you share the newsletter with a friend, we’ll send you a free fill-in-the-blanks Upwork job proposal template.

Use your unique share link at the bottom of today’s edition to start referring today 👇

Working For Yourself

Savvy Advice For Anyone Scaling Up Their Side Hustle

If you’ve ever thought about scaling up your freelance business from a one-person operation to a full-fledged agency…

Or are thinking about starting a new side hustle…

Then an important question to consider is:

Should you partner with (or hire) your friends?

On one hand, the people you work with represent a huge chunk of your day-to-day interactions, especially as you get older…

So wouldn’t it be nice if one (or more) of those people were your friends?

But on the other hand, adding a business layer to an existing friendship requires a strong foundation and stellar communication — and even then, things can still go wrong.

Ultimately, there’s no “perfect” answer…

Because regardless of whether you choose to hire your friends or not…

The two key things you should be screening for are:

1) Competence (can they do the job?)

2) Culture (will they fit in + influence others in the way YOU want?)

Friends may get top marks in the Culture category, but lack the skills and experience you’re looking for…

While outside hires may have the competence you need without being a culture fit.

Bottom line:

Great hires should score high in both categories.

From The Paid Ads Gig

Avoid Ad Fatigue on Facebook and Instagram With This One Simple Trick

One of the biggest roadblocks to scaling your ad account on Facebook and Instagram is ad fatigue.

Once you start spending thousands of dollars per day or more…

You need to give the algorithm more to work with if you want to maintain performance.

Think of it like a deck of cards…

If you’ve only got a few copy and image variations, you’re only giving the algorithm a few cards to play with.

And the result is that your target audience ends up seeing the same ads over and over again.

So… how do you avoid this?

By using dynamic creative.

This lets you upload up to…

  • 5 variations of body copy
  • 10 images or videos
  • 5 headlines
  • 5 descriptions

All within the same single ad.

So you can “stack the deck”…

And allow the algorithm to mix and match each individual asset, creating TONS of different variations to test and run.

Ultimately, this allows you to avoid burning out your audience…

Find more ad variations that convert…

And scale up your ad account much faster.

Gig Alerts

Looking for clients? These freelance jobs were posted on Upwork in the last 24 hours:

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Quote of the Day


“Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.”

— Voltaire

👾 GIFs 4 sale

Happy Wednesday! Today is International Gin and Tonic Day. So here’s a fun piece of trivia to get the party started: back in the 1700s, it was discovered that a component of tonic water called quinine could be used to treat malaria. But the taste was awful. 

So, British officers stationed in India later began adding water, sugar, lime, and gin to the tonic water to make it easier to gulp down. That’s how the gin and tonic was born. Moral of the story: one G & T-a-day keeps the malaria away.

Mentioned in today’s newsletter: Meta, Giphy, Facebook, and Bloomberg. Plus what Upwork clients know about experience level, tax advantages for freelancers, and an old school trick for anyone running Facebook or Google ads.

Read time: 3 minutes and 38 seconds

Together with AdSkills

A Match Made in Direct Response Heaven

Mastering high-income skills multiplies your options. You can apply them for clients or for yourself. And that’s one of the big reasons why so many freelancers get into copywriting — so they can launch their own offer one day. But here’s the problem: you still need traffic. And unless you’ve got a massive audience on social media, that means learning how to run paid ads.

Luckily, that’s where AdSkills comes in. They represent the gold standard in paid traffic training. Which is why 9-figure companies like ClickFunnels, DigitalMarketer, and VShred rely on AdSkills courses to train their media buyers. So if you want to learn how to write killer ads, craft campaigns that convert, and scale your offer to the moon on Facebook, TikTok, or YouTube, click here to try a free AdSkills class today.

Making the Rounds

  • Meta ordered to sell Giphy after purchasing it for $400M. U.K. regulators have ordered Facebook’s parent company to unwind its 2020 acquisition of the GIF-maker, stating it would substantially reduce competition in the U.K. display advertising market.
  • Facebook begins rolling out Advantage Custom Audiences. The new feature lets you expand custom audiences if it will improve results. As with most new automated Facebook features, it’s a bit murky as to how exactly it’s affecting performance when it’s turned on. And if you do decide to test it out, make sure you aren’t using it on any retargeting audiences. Otherwise you could end up showing abandon cart ads to people who’ve never visited your website.
  • Bloomberg probability model says 100% chance of U.S. recession in the next 12 months. Forget inflation with a chance of recession — Bloomberg economists are now predicting there is a 100% chance the U.S. will enter a recession by October 23, 2023. Cheerio.

Working With Clients

Upwork Client Spills the Beans on Freelance Experience Level

Estimated budgets aren’t the only thing you should ignore when looking for jobs on Upwork.

Don’t pay attention to the desired experience level either.

Before we explain why…

Here are the three options clients choose from when posting a job:

  • Entry: Looking for someone relatively new to the field
  • Intermediate: Looking for substantial experience in the field
  • Expert: Looking for comprehensive and deep experience in the field

Now this seems simple enough, right?

But here’s the thing…

Most clients don’t know what “substantial experience” might cost vs “comprehensive and deep experience.”

Or whether they really need someone who’s been in the field 5+ years vs someone who’s only been doing it for six months.

And even if they do…

Nine times out of ten, they’ll happily pay more for the right freelancer…

Or accept someone with less experience (even if they come in under budget) who’s got good samples and submits a strong proposal.

So, bottom line:

Our advice is to ignore the experience level in the job posting and apply to anything that seems like a good fit for you.

In the end, you’ll submit more proposals and (likely) land more gigs.

Working For Yourself

Charge That to My Expense Account

As a freelancer, you may not have a pension or 401k…

But you do get some tax advantages from being able to write stuff off.

And if you’re looking to save as much as possible on your tax bill next year…

Our friends at Upwork have put together an awesome list of 20 things you can and should be expensing in your freelance business.

Click here to check it out:

[READ]: The 20 Most Important U.S. Tax Benefits and Deductions for Freelancers

From The Paid Ads Gig

Running Ads on Facebook or Google? Forget Autobid and Try This Instead

Ad platforms like Meta and Google have been shepherding media buyers away from manual controls for years now.

One example of this is automated bidding.

Instead of setting your own bids or cost caps, they encourage you to use automated bidding instead.

But here’s the problem…

Ad pixels are typically trained to optimize for the lowest cost per conversion.

And which do you think costs less to acquire…

The crap leads or the high-quality leads?

We’ll give you a hint: it’s not the high-quality leads 🙃

So the end result is you get more volume, but lower quality.

How do you fix this?

By testing manual bid or cost caps instead of (or alongside) automated bidding.

This lets you take back the wheel from the pixel AI so you can improve your lead quality and reduce wasted ad spend.

Now in case it’s been a while since you toyed around with these settings…

You can find one-pagers from Meta and Google on this topic here and here.

Gig Alerts

Looking for clients? These freelance jobs were posted on Upwork in the last 24 hours:

Quote of the Day


“If you want to succeed, if you want to achieve all your outcomes, you have to think of success as a process, a way of life, a habit of mind, a strategy for life.”

— Tony Robbins

ICYMI: