As January moves towards a close I’m feeling aware of time. I’d like to share thoughts on last year’s struggles, some practical intentions, and my hopes for EverClients, you, and our future.
It’s kind of late for a yearly review of 2014, but who cares, convention doesn’t rule here. I’m all about acceptance and moving forward, so let me share a few painful truths about the last thirteen months, and then we can get cracking.
2014 – A Good Struggle
Life was good back in Jan 14, I had savings to power me through the next six months. I had a plan and a dream. To buy a house and live a life. 12 Months later I had none of the money, I’d thrown out the plan and I was beating a new drum. But damn I was happier.
I started out last year with a plan to help people. It was kind of weak, in that it was rigid, and if I’m honest, it was profit first, helping people second. Produce X, sell it for Y, adding value Z to people’s lives, while turning profit A. Based on this logic I set about finding a niche. I boiled down 130+ business ideas into 8 that I thought might fly. I wrote landing pages, I tested, I surmised. From that process I decided that freelancers were my market. I knew freelancing well and I could add real value.
So I made a product… (which turned into LeadFeed), it was good, but took me a cool six months to produce, and had flaws. Six months, few sales. I kicked myself. I’m from the generation who should understand MVP. I am equipped to fail-forward-fast, but it took me six solid months of revelling in development before I came up for air. And then it wasn’t even good enough.
LeadFeed serves a purpose, and now it’s a useful tool, (though it’s still got a while to go). But it wasn’t the all-singing-all-dancing mega-success I’d dreamed of.
By the autumn of 2014 I had confounded myself. I had a product which was working, a handful of customers, but I still wasn’t happy. It didn’t live up to my aspirations. I had a list of feature requests and fixes that was hundreds of lines deep. I realised limits to the idea which significantly restricted its value. I was financially surviving by working joint ventures on the side, but I was gutted about EverClients.
Then came acceptance. Through some wise input from the people around me, (and some awesome books), I eventually came to accept the reality, and fix my framing.
bad okaygood to fail
- I wasn’t truly trying to serve people
- Money wasn’t ever the real goal for me
- I like building things, but that’s not enough, I must discriminate more
- This ‘failure’ was only an opportunity to rethink
The biggest lesson from 2014: Relax. Drop the guilt, it’s useless anyway – a broken product of our current culture. Have a conscience, but don’t self-flagellate. I can ‘fail’ plenty, but still add huge value to people’s lives. I can ‘fail’ totally and still be very happy. We are quite wonky in the way we use some language in the west.
From all that mess, a new vision was born. A more sincere vision. A solid reason to wake up and to do some good. If you look from the right point of view, nearly all our so-called failures boil down into useful information. We assumed, we tried, we learned. Seeing it all as information cleared everything up, I knew then what needed to happen: I was to genuinely help freelancers improve their lives and the lives of others.
2014 passed, and I’m still standing, and I’m better for it… which leads me to 2015, EverClients, and you.
EverClients in 2015, Futures
30 days ago a new year started, but a new attitude had been brewing far before that. In the past I would have been unhappy with myself for missing this deadline, posting this nearly in Feb, but life’s too short, and sometimes you’ve just got to keep going. Life is never going to be perfect, so work with it.
This year I will add value to your life!
Want an opinion on a challenging freelancing situation? Got an idea for a software you want to bounce off someone? Just stuck or struggling?
Drop me a comment below, email me on , tweet me @EverClients or follow this blog. I’m here to help, genuinely.
In 2015 EverClients will deliver a mix of useful tools and content. From this blog you will be able to read practical articles on doing better work and living a happier life. There will be a little philosophy mixed in, and plenty of opportunity to get help with your challenging life pursuits.
Before we get to EverClients specifics, here’s my outlook on mixing pursuits, on “hybridizing” (or mixing freelance, work and art). Hopefully this will give you some background to the EverClients project.
Mixed (but Complementary) Pursuits:
Hybridizing with Discrimination
Most people do many things averagely. A lot of people do a few things lazily. Only a fraction does a few things, but very well.
The difference is focus, discrimination, and strong work ethic. No one started out with these down 100%, they are all learned skills, (all success stories have pre-stories). If we need one thing, it’s not perfect focus or a strong work ethic, it’s perseverance. With perseverance we will ultimately do what we set out to do. Along the way we can fill in the gaps, as long as we persist.
My plan this year is to run a simple ship:
I will improve freelancer’s lives via EverClients.
I will stay alive.
I will publish the sci-fi book I’ve been struggling with for a few years.
If I stay standing, and diligently work to these ends, with the means which nature allows me, I’ll be happy.
Juggling bill-paying, sci-fi writing, and freelancer-guiding sounds fun, right? Truly, I think so. I think the combination of writing about the future, thinking about societies and space and the possibility inherent in the universe, directly enhances day-to-day thoughts on freelancing and small-team-entrepreneurship. Envisioning semi-distant possibility informs a pragmatic outlook, and the reflection of the current philosophy, (of self-governing humans), hugely influences my thoughts on tomorrow. Combining the two is great fun.
Hybridizing pursuits, choosing co-operative goals is good sense, but discriminating often feels wasteful. My biggest challenge is often discrimination. What fits where? What is worth doing? Am I just rationalising the pursuit of this or that? Is this truly my intention or did someone imply it upon me?
This year I’ll adapt a more essentialist approach, focusing on the three points above, and throwing nearly everything else out. Our modern culture wrongly prizes multi-tasking and second-by-second social response. In a world with so many possibilities, if we are capable, we are susceptible to spreading ourselves too thin, trading gratification for any real depth.
The model of the Renaissance man like Da Vinci, (or Goethe’s Universal Man) fascinates me. Mixed learning and endeavour is exciting, and these men proved you can be multi-disciplinary and still reach worthwhile depth. Taking that idea forward to today, it strikes me that the fundamental discipline of discrimination is a prerequisite to as happy and full a life as those men lived.
Our culture needs another renaissance, and only through mixing pursuits, and discriminating with our time and attention, is it possible.
To this end I will keep EverClients on task but diversely so, which should make it a fruitful and fun place to hang around in 2015, if you are into this stuff
EverClients 2015: Gritty Details
Ah, the end of the page nears, and so the work can truly begin. I thoroughly look forward to serving you as part of a wonderful group of freelancers and innovative people. EverClients will do this through useful, practical blog posts, work-improving apps and wherever else possible.
Here are my direct goals for EverClients this year:
30 genuine, useful, and practical blog posts on freelancing and small-team-entrepreneurship
One incredibly useful app, plugin or theme which improves the working life of our group
To improve LeadFeed and make it more widely available
… all with the sole intention of improving lives
I hope to count you among the members of our little collective, and to help you in some way this year.
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What are your goals for this year? Have you publicly shared them? I’d love to see . Please comment below and share your plans for this year, and lessons you learned in 2014.