These are my epiphanies after a decade of struggle.

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Is running your own business the pinnacle of modern-day success?

Done well, business ownership affords you freedoms and riches. It enables you to beat the game of life, to live on your own terms.

I have moved in and out of self-employed several times over the past 15 years. Whenever I have found myself tethered to somebody else's desk for too long, a restlessness would set in. I’d feel a compulsion to forge my own path.

It is only within the last couple of years, however, that I can look at my achievements and smile. Like you, I am on…

Knowing the difference is vital to a fulfilling working life

Every one of us lands somewhere on the spectrum between functional and strategic in our work.

Created by the author

Functional people are skilled, but their work is mostly directed by someone else (that someone is the strategic person).

Functional people are task-oriented and adept at getting stuff done. Strategic people have their head above the trees (and sometimes in the clouds) to see the wider picture. They concern themselves with the bigger problems, the vision. The functional person does the heavy-lifting to bring the vision to life.

For years into my career I found myself in functional roles, but inside me was the…

Because clients are not prizes

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You don’t have to look far for tricks and tactics for winning new clients.

But the problem is that “tricks and tactics” will only get you so far. Sooner or later, you’ll get found out.

We are not at war

To win is to imply that someone has to lose, but the strangest thing about this aggressive language is that every one of us loses far more often than we win. So why go to war?

Serve your community

There is a better way. An approach to work that will free you from this ugly way of thinking, that will help you create a permanent ceasefire.

Instead of…

How to be lucky

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There are two types of luck:

  • Luck that is fortuitous.
  • Luck that you make yourself.

Most people confuse the two.

  • Meeting a partner when you’re not looking for love is fortuitous.
  • Meeting a partner after surviving months of dating hell is luck that you make for yourself.

Both might describe themselves as “lucky” to have met their partner, but the route to each is different. It requires a different type of luck.

Fortuitous luck happens with little or no investment from you. Luck that you make for yourself takes work and patience.

Here are some ways in which you can…

Wake up!

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9 years ago I was in an unhappy relationship with my job. The boss didn’t have much work for me to do, so I often felt surplus to requirement.

I hated the feeling that I was wasting my time. But I wasn’t motivated to change my situation. So I looked for ways to make my days go quicker.

Tempest, an epic track by Bob Dylan, runs for 14 minutes. I figured that if I listened to that song four times in a row, an hour would have passed. …

How a four-part story can improve your writing

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What’s the difference between a professional writer and an amateur?

An amateur writer can be astonishingly creative, but often we think of them as lacking talent. In reality, they simply lack process. Professionals, by contrast, use frameworks to add form to their creativity.

The best writers produce huge volumes of content without a drop in quality by following a series of steps each time they write.

Good writing is formulaic, but don’t be fooled into thinking you can simply follow the same path to riches every time. You need to add your own creativity into the mix. You must blend…

This strategy and motivation you need to really succeed

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As a freelancer, you probably don’t have what you would call “a business”, at least not in the traditional sense. You work with clients of various shapes and sizes. You’re always the gun for hire, the one on the outside they can blame if things go wrong after you leave.

The freelance lifestyle is, almost by definition, transient.

You move between projects like a specter. If you’re lucky, somebody might remember your name.

It’s no wonder that so many freelancers struggle to find meaningful projects that command a decent rate of pay. There is often something lacking in our work…

Three lessons and a word of warning

A proud author on publication day (credit: the author)

In early 2020 I wrote my first book. I work as a web developer for non-profits, and published The Digital Charity in February of that year.

The charity sector is notorious for lagging behind with technology, so I wanted to do what I could to empower those organisations to up their game.

Little did I know that push would come to shove only a month later in the form of a global pandemic. This forced many charities to adapt or die. The need for non-profits to “be more digital” became urgent, so my book was published at the perfect time…

Discover the secret for making others want to work with you

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During the first meeting with a potential new client, most freelancers oversell themselves.

They furiously scribble down notes, attempting to capture everything the prospect is saying, before trying to impress by rattling off answers to questions that haven’t even been asked.

Then, with an overzealous tone, they say “I’ll have a proposal to you by the end of the day!”

There is a certain desperation about working in this way. Clients can smell it. Enthusiasm is great, but if you’re too keen, they might assume you’re short on work. …

Are you standardizing your work into obscurity?

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The website development process contains a lot of variables. As developers we often want to reduce the scope for error by establishing patterns in our work. This comes in the form of reusable objects and functions, as well as processes like client questionnaires and launch checklists.

But often, we developers can take the idea of standardization a little too far. It’s appealing to use templates to achieve our goals more quickly and earn a greater profit from the work.

But I have been around this particular block countless times, and with every journey I am drawn back to developing my…

Matt Saunders

Web developer | Writer | Self improvement obsessive

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