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A publication from Medium on personal development.


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Words and phrases that keep you happy, sane, and paid

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Imagine a world without words. Impossible. If you’re a freelancer (many have recently joined the club), the words that come out of your brain — especially those that cross your lips, wind up in an email, or on a printed page — shape your business and help create your future. Will you get that project? Will your client expect something different than you had in mind? Is that meeting really “on?” Your vocabulary determines it all.

Success doesn’t have to be a numbers game

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Over the past few years, I’ve seen the online marketing space become a cult of “more.” The celebrities of the industry — better known as the “gurus” — peddle a myopic hunting technique where the sole goal is an acquisition: Follow these five easy tips and score another fan, or subscriber, or follower, or comment, they promise. For only three payments of $99, you, too, can learn the secret formula for growing your email list, winning the SEO game, and achieving epic reach.

As someone who’s determined employee salaries, I know that the highest earners are often simply the ones who make the most noise

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The taboo around discussing money runs deep: It’s hard to have open conversations about earnings, even with close friends or co-workers, when you’ve always been told it was crass, gauche, or nosy to want to know what people around you were making.

What does it mean to do well in your career when you can’t be promoted?

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Around the end of last year, freelance writers started showing up on Twitter to sing a song of themselves. In long threads, they posted links to the articles that had made them proud, netted them a lot of cash, or simply been published somewhere important. For some, it was a way to tout their best stories and attract editor attention. For others, it was about comparing prices and commiserating over diminishing rates.

When you ask to pick someone’s brain, you’re basically asking for free consulting services

A man and a woman sitting at a coffee table. The woman is listening as the man is conversing over coffee.
A man and a woman sitting at a coffee table. The woman is listening as the man is conversing over coffee.
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Recently, a startup founder cold-emailed me with a request: Would I mind taking a look at a beta version of his product, and then take a call to share my thoughts? I was an expert in his sector, he explained, and he’d love to use my insight to help him shape the direction of his business.

Two techniques you can start using right now

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This year, I hired a business coach. It felt extravagant, like something only high-profile Silicon Valley execs do. But I needed the help, and I’d set aside some money for it, so I pushed past my who-do-I-think-I-am anxieties and pulled the trigger.

The freelance life has its own stresses

Stressed at work.
Stressed at work.
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When I decided to go freelance two years ago, it was to avoid anxiety. I was commuting on cramped public transport, putting in long hours, and rarely switching off. This can be exhilarating and energizing for some people, but for me, it was unhealthy. Every morning, I’d wake up feeling nauseous, my stomach churning with dread at the day ahead. I was exhausted but couldn’t sleep. I began to have panic attacks.


A publication from Medium on personal development.

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