You can’t beat a good night’s sleep, but you can spend your waking hours better

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Photo by Vedad Colic from Pexels

For as long as I can remember, I have had a difficult relationship with sleep. When insomnia strikes I can find myself awake for 3–5 hours a night. This has gone on for so long that I’ve basically accepted it as an inevitable part of life.

Studies have shown that people who tend toward stress, or perfectionism, are more likely to suffer with insomnia. Well, that’s me. And whilst these are traits I am working on, in the meantime I’m trying to appreciate the gifts that insomnia can bring.

There is something surreal about the time spent awake when everything…

These are my epiphanies after a decade of struggle.

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Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

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…

Discover the secret for making others want to work with you

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Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

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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Photo by Xavi Cabrera on Unsplash

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…

Learn how to develop an attitude for growth

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Photo: Sharon McCutcheon/Unsplash

University and college degrees are not what they used to be. In my 15 years working as a web designer, it turns out qualifications actually mean very little. This rule can be applied across the whole marketing sector.

I got my first job before graduation. The boss didn’t care about the piece of paper that said I could do it — she was more interested in my attitude.

Attitude essentially defines your outlook on life. It shapes how you deal with problems, assess risk, build relationships and how you feed your curiosity.

Understanding and developing your attitude matters, because it…

And how to use empathy to find peace.

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Photo by Unsplash on Unsplash

We all carry with us implicit bias. Yes, even you.

What this means is that you possess deeply held beliefs and attitudes about all manner of things without consciously realizing it.

I have written previously about how a faulty sense of self can mess you up, but there is one bias, in particular, I want to focus on today. A bias so prevalent within society that it often goes completely unchallenged.

Let’s Talk About “Attribution Bias”

If you’ve ever judged a person’s behavior without deeply understanding the reasons behind it, you are guilty of attribution bias.

If somebody has been rude to you on the…

Life can be fast. Slow it down.

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Photo by Simon Wilkes on Unsplash

The life of a freelance developer is intense — finding new projects, fixing code bugs, dealing with endless emails, and chasing payments on top of creating new stuff.

It is depleting. Eventually, your body says “no more!”

You’re forced into a period of downtime, which in itself creates more stress as you can’t continue to work.

I’ve found myself in this cycle multiple times.

There’s no quick fix, however, there is a way to help soften its impact.

Fans of Medium will probably be no stranger to mindfulness meditation.

To my infinite shame, I only started taking mindfulness seriously when…

How one simple practice can teach a child everything they need to know

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Photo by Vitaly Vlasov from Pexels

In her book How to Raise Entrepreneurial Kids, Jodie Cook offers a number of fantastic action points to instill a sense of independence in your children.

Despite the title, the book is more a manifesto on raising inquisitive and resilient children rather than training them for a life of self-employment. The thinking is that these skills are valuable and transferable; how they are applied doesn’t really matter.

One simple idea is to ask your child to pack their own bag when staying away from home.

It sounds inconsequential, but Jodie shares how being handed that responsibility by her own parents…

3 simple steps to finding your perfect product-market fit as a freelancer

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Photo by Icons8 Team on Unsplash

I’ve freelanced for over 15 years. As well as being a web developer, it’s also my job to land new clients.

After all this time, I still sometimes find myself trying to convince prospects that my offer is right for them.

Most of the time, my efforts fall on deaf ears. And when I do get projects this way, they usually go badly.

That’s not surprising —what we’ve come to recognize as “selling” is unfortunately more like persuasion. It’s about pressure, and nobody wants to feel pressured.

But the truth is that when the product and the customer are right…

Your income potential is exponential

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Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash

January was my breakthrough month on Medium.

I didn’t make any real money, but the green shoots of possibility have finally begun to make themselves known.

I made $55.

Let’s delve into the numbers to work out if my investment was worth it.

What I did differently in January

Prior to this month, I had not given Medium its due attention. I would write whenever the moment struck me. But in January I decided to be more intentional about it:

  • I wrote every day
  • I published more articles
  • I ruthlessly pursued getting published in high-end publications
  • I wrote about what I know, and what I love.

Matt Saunders

Web developer | Writer | Self improvement obsessive

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