How Freelancing Brought Me to Texas (and what you can learn)

by Martin

“Sorry I can’t make your birthday party next week. I’m going to be in Austin, Texas.”

That’s what I had to tell a buddy last week. I couldn’t make it to his birthday party. I was going to be in Texas for the week. Was I lying? Was I creating an excuse? Not at all. I really went to Austin, Texas. Now before you say that it’s not a big deal, you got to remember that I live in Toronto, Ontario. That’s not exactly around the corner from Texas. That’s a pretty serious mission for a blogger with a laptop and a good attitude.

What’s this Texas talk all about?

How did I end up in Texas? How did freelancing lead me to Texas?

The story actually started a few months back when I posted an article on here that was designed to hold me accountable for finding more freelance work. I believe in publicly posting goals so that I stay focused. I also like to be held accountable for my goals and my future plans.

Do you remember my experiment to find more freelance work? I wanted to track my journey while I searched for new freelance gigs. If you remember, my plan was to post an ad on Studenomics, send out emails to friends, and check job boards for potential work. I was going to try out those three methods to see what worked best in landing freelance writing jobs. Then I was going to share the results with you to see what works best when it comes to landing freelance work. I finally have come to a conclusion.

My results with this freelancing experiment are as follows:

  1. Job boards: Didn’t even try to be honest. I bookmarked a few sites, but never saw a posting that I could see myself applying for. These have worked well for other freelancers that I’ve met over the years, so don’t discount them if you’re looking for freelance work. I just didn’t come across a gig that I felt was worth applying for. Perhaps I didn’t check enough? Maybe I was too picky?
  2. Sending emails: The plan to send emails looking for more freelance work was a bit weird. I got a few leads but I didn’t want to create any awkward moments when someone didn’t want to hire me on as a freelancer. Sending emails is easier in the sense that it’s like jumping right to the interview. Actually, it’s also like being interviewed and you know the person that’s interviewing you. The setback is that you don’t want to hassle your friends for leads. A few offers were thrown out, but never was ever agreed on. I actually ended up losing a freelancing gig because I increased my rate via email. Oh well!
  3. The ad on Studenomics: This led to a decent amount of responses. I put up an ad on Studenomics notifying my readers/anyone that happens to stumble by my blog that I was accepting new freelance gigs. Most of the responses weren’t the right fit for what I was looking for. There was one response that was pretty sweet and it’s what led to my trip to Texas.

Alright, so how did I end up in Texas?

The person that responded to my ad was Erica Douglass of Erica.biz (super popular entrepreneurship blog on making money online and growing a business). I started following Erica’s writing right when she started her blog. She gave away a free eBook and I was hooked from there on.

What made Erica’s story unique was that she sold her business for seven figures after realizing that college wasn’t for her and going to work for herself. Well that’s the short story at least. The long story involves insane amounts of work and stress. Erica’s story and blog were both an instant hit because of her credibility and the connections that she had established over the years while hustling her way to success.

These days, Erica rarely updates her personal blog because she’s busy being the CEO/Co-Founder of Whoosh Traffic.

Where do I come into play? Erica wanted someone to do the blogging/promotion work for Whoosh Traffic. They have a fantastic tool and an established customer base. They just need to get the word out about their services. This is where I fit in since I’ve been blogging and promoting myself for the last four years.

I won’t get into too many details here because I would much rather have you watch things unfold as I take on this challenge of being apart of the great team at Whoosh Traffic.

For now, I’ll share what I learned and what you can learn from my adventure to Texas.

What can you learn from my adventure all the way to Texas?

Every good story comes with a good lesson or two. Especially a story involving a trip. This story is no different.

Below are a few key lessons from my freelancing experiment:

Always throw your name out there.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” — Henry Ford

If you don’t ask the answer will always be no. So keep on asking. Keep on throwing your name in the hat. Life isn’t about being owed things or waiting for you turn. You need to be aggressive. Go after what you want.

If you want to ask someone out, just do it. If you want a promotion, ask for it. There’s no sense in waiting around and wishing for something better to happen. That’s not how this works! Those that wait for their turn politely don’t always get rewarded.

I say that you throw your name out there and go after what you want. Don’t wait around. Rejection always beats not asking.

You’ll never be fully prepared for opportunities that come your way.

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” — Thomas A. Edison

I’ve come to realize that nobody is ever fully prepared when it comes to seizing opportunities. You just have to roll with the punches and learn-on-the-job. I really doubt that my parents were ready for kids when they could barely speak English. Yet they managed to raise three boys (some would use the phrase “animals”). Being fully prepared for something is a myth.

I had no clue what to expect when I received my plane ticket in my inbox.

  • What was I going to say?
  • What I looked stupid?
  • What if they didn’t like me?
  • Should I really be leaving for a week?

Every scenario crossed my mind. I surely wasn’t ready for this. Was I?

Who knows? I just seized the moment and made the best of every second on my trip to Austin, Texas. I drove to Buffalo to cross the border and make the flight easier. I didn’t mind the rude American border dude. He could check my car all he wants because I know there’s nothing in it.  At the airport I did tons of blogging. I ate some delicious and high-in-calories American food.

I even committed a personal finance sin. I paid for wifi at the Airport in Chicago because for some reason I recently got hooked on Dexter. I’ve only seen the last the episodes from this season. I saw the premiere of season 7 and needed to catch up. I had a blast with the gang in Austin, ate tons of great food, and met new friends that I hope to stay in touch with.

I have lots to learn. One thing that I know for sure is that success happens to those that grab opportunities when they aren’t prepared.

“I define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance.” — Seth Godin

You need a strong team around you for better results.

I must admit that I do this whole freelancing thing on my own without any support, aside for my girlfriend encouraging me. I’ve never blogged with anybody in real life nor have I had a support system to keep my accountable. I just have to force myself to blog everyday #firstworlproblems.

I’ve had friends dabble into blogging. That’s always fizzled out after a few weeks when they realized they couldn’t get rich over night.

Where am I going with this? I wish that I was on a team. My advice to anyone reading this is to join a team. You need someone to push you. You need to be held accountable. That’s what I hate about my blogging. Nobody forces me to write or to hustle. I have to motivate myself.

Join a team or create a team if you can. You’ll be glad you did.

Do something different (bold).

You have to do something bold. You need to step out of your comfort zone. It’s so annoying when I talk to buddies that are complaining about the same crap over and over. Do something about it! Try something new. I don’t mean to sound like a life coach here, but I just can’t handle those that are so boring with everything. If you don’t do something different, you’re going to keep on getting the results that you’ve been getting this whole time. Doesn’t that scare you?

With that being said, below is my first ever video blog. No more excuses. I’ve been planning on adding videos to this site for like three years now. I tossed the excuses, grabbed my web cam and recorded a quick video just to have something up here.

What’s next for me?

Some plans have worked for me. Other ideas were flops. All I know is that I would rather rather fail a 100 times than never try once.

I don’t plan on stopping. If I were you I wouldn’t bet against me. I’m not afraid of work and I’m ready to grab life by the balls. I’m ready to freelance, be a part of a great team, build Studenomics/Start Freelancing Now, and continue training like a monster.

I plan on working with Whoosh Traffic and learning from Erica. I’m a sponge when it comes to information. I ask a million questions and want to learn everything possible.

I will keep on updating this blog with my adventures in the freelancing world. Stay tuned! I still have book launches and podcasts that I need to put out.

For now I must admit that I’m curious to hear what you guys have learned lately.

Do you have anything cool you could share with us? Any new upcoming adventures?

Don't be shy...
You want more?

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Derek @ Freeat33 November 23, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Video! Way to get over the video fear. I too suffered from the video fear, and just released my first video on my site.
I agree 100% with your message about the scariest option being the most rewarding, and that is why I wanted to do video.
Usually the scary outcomes that you imagine to keep yourself from moving forward are not even close to the results that you get. Worst case is someone might not like it. WHO CARES. Really worst case is you might grow.
Way to go buddy.

Reply

Martin November 23, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Thanks for stopping by Derek. Thankfully we both have the luxury of being handsome gentleman! That makes videos easier lol.

Reply

Pauline December 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

How cool that the gig got you to travel as well! With all the skyping and online everything, I would say it is rare to get a job willing to send you somewhere. Well done!

Reply

Martin December 3, 2012 at 3:32 am

Thanks Pauline. And thanks for the visit. What are your plans?

Reply

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