Who Really Needs Support?

For the past several weeks we’ve been discussing support contracts.

First we talked about how revenue vanishes and how you could combat this with recurring revenue. Next we looked at how support contracts are one of the easiest paths towards recurring revenue.

Then in closing I asked you “can you think of one client who came back to you for more work?”

Today we’re going to look at that client and why they were looking for more work.

But first let’s talk about my lawn and why you’ll never see me mowing.

A Quick Story

In high school I lived in a house on a five acre plot. Mowing that by itself it wasn’t so bad. The problem was my aunt also had a five acre plot just a couple miles from our house.

I’m not sure if it was a scheme but I could never hang out with my cousins until both lawns were cut.

  • Can we get a ride to the mall? Cut the lawn and I’ll drive you.
  • The lawn mower broke… That’s too bad. Finish it up with the Push Reel Mower.
  • I need to pick up my date for Homecoming. Can I get keys? Cut the lawn and you’ll get the keys.
  • Can you take me to the hospital? The mower gashed my leg. Sure. First, finish cutting the lawn.

By the end of high school I’d had enough. No more cutting grass!

Nowadays I just pay a lawn maintenance company to cut my grass for me.

The Ideal Support Client Doesn’t Want to Touch Your Project

I love my lawn. I like the way it looks. I just don’t want to maintain it – in any capacity.

The same can be said for the ideal client for a support contract. They love your work and all the benefits it brings their business. They’d just rather not touch it.

  • Delivering a Rails app deployed on AWS? Will your client really want to deal with the AWS console to backup the database? I mean look at this documentation.
  • Sending over a Photoshop mockup of their new site design? Do they have Photoshop on their machine? How will they make small tweaks to your design?

You’ve got to remember that the main reason clients hire you is because:

  1. They don’t have anyone on staff to do the work you do. Or
  2. They don’t have enough hands-on staff to do the work you do.

So the next time you’re about to deliver a project ask yourself: who is going to be responsible for this? Do they want to be responsible? How much would they be willing to pay to just let you maintain it?

Looking at your current client load, does anyone fit this description?

P.S. I’m releasing 7 Recurring Revenue Recipes for Freelancers next week. If you want the 49% early release discount, order it today!

A $24,420.00 Support Contract

Last time I explained how the unpredictable nature of freelancing results in chaotic revenue. I concluded that the only way out of this revenue roller coaster was to start focusing on recurring revenue.

Today we’ll look at my first source of recurring revenue: a support contract.

Before all of that I have some announcements:

  • The team at Domino are crazy enough to ask me host a freelance mentor session. It’ll be on September 4th at 4pm EDT. RSVP here.
  • Support Contracts is just one of the solutions described in the 7 Recurring Revenue Recipes for Freelancers. This strategy and others in the book will help you build predictable income for your business. The final copy will be released on September 4th, 2015. Until then you can buy the beta version for $20 (a 49% discount).

Enough with all that. Onto Support Contracts!.

Every October I know without a doubt that a high-on-sugar mini Spider-Man will show up at my door asking for candy. With the same certainty I know I’ll receive a $24,420.00 check that same month.

How did I make this happen?

A Quick Story

I had just wrapped up a project for a former employer’s client. A couple weeks later I got a call from the client:

Client: Hey Ryan. Thank you for the work you did. One concern we have is with [former employer] closing shop. We’re looking for another support solution.

Me: I understand. Have you considered switching to…

[I start explaining another product and another company that I believe will be best for them long term]

… Most of all I just want to be sure you guys are taken care of.

Client: I appreciate that. This is what led me to this call. I was wondering if you’d consider supporting it…

[Client goes into all the reasons why this is their only solution]

… and that’s why you’re really our only option.

Me: I appreciate the offer. Give me a couple days to mull it over.

(insert huge sigh of relief)

I didn’t want to explain it to the client but I thought doom was imminent if I supported their application.

How could I balance that with my current work? What if they had a fire that needed putting out? What about liability? If something malfunctioned would I be sued into oblivion?

Mind you this was my first year of full time freelancing. The project I had just wrapped up for them was billed at $75/hr and resulted in a report that politely said “it can’t be fixed”. It seemed like a disaster ready to happen.

I explained the story to several colleagues and after they all gave me a look conveying “you’re an idiot”, I decided to take the deal.

I made sure the contract went through several iterations of lawyering just to make it easier to sleep at night.

Was it Luck?

I thought so. I was so terrified by that $24,40.00 it sat on my desk collecting dust for a couple months before depositing it.

Then a year later I got the same check. Then another the year after. Plus an extra check to do more work! I had also landed a couple more support contracts from other clients.

What had changed?

I started to think about a project’s life after I was done with it.

Discontently Ever After

The first thing a freelancer is taught to focus on is getting paid. It’s the only way you’ll survive.

Projects have a finality to them. A Happily Ever After. Your client gets the work and you get paid. Done.

For a moment though consider what happens to a client’s project after you deliver it?

If you built them a Facebook for Freelancing Florists™ what is their next step? Obviously it’s to make money off this booming niche but what do they need first? Users.

Users have a talent for breaking things in unforeseeable ways. How will your client fix it? Will they train support staff themselves?

Plus, what if they’re not making any money off of Freelancing Florists? What if they need to expand the app to include Freelancing Foresters as well? Who’s going to build that for them?

The obvious answer is that they should have their own web developer. But there is one MAJOR THING this thought overlooks:

Why hire you if they had someone to handle the project?

You were contracted because the client could not hire someone competent enough to handle the project.

This isn’t going to magically change after you’ve delivered. Your presence on a project does not make a client better at hiring

It’s a lost opportunity if you don’t consider ways to take care of clients after a project is complete.

Next time we’re going to take a look at the ideal clients for support contracts and how you can secure those deals.

Can you think of one client who came back to you for more work? How could you have proactively secured that deal?

Never Again

I never want this to happen again…

One Thanksgiving my oldest son brought home the plague from daycare. Everyone got sick.

Our infant was constantly screaming, our oldest’s temperature was breaking 103, and a sore throat made me wish I could communicate telepathically. To make matters worse, my wife “had to go to work”. Convenient excuse methinks.

That was one of the darker times in our household.

I’m never sending my kids to daycare again!

Disappearing Revenue

As a freelancer you have seen your revenue disappear.

It may have been the feast or famine cycle. Maybe a client bailed on paying. Or maybe a lead showed you his best Houdini impression in the middle of a negotiation.

Then you tell yourself

I’m never letting my revenue dry up again!

But when you seek consult everyone tells you that it’s a rite of passage. That this up and down cycle of freelance revenue is as inevitable as kids getting sick from daycare.

Then they tell you to start a piggy bank fund and send you along your way.

Well I’m here to tell you different.

You can have complete control over your revenue.

Saving is a great idea. It’s just not addressing the true problem: unpredictable revenue.

If your kid kept gashing her head on the coffee table would you stock up on bandaids?

Of course not! You’d get rid of the coffee table. (Or if you were witty like me you’d just duck tape the sharp edges)

Recurring Revenue

Where your revenue is going to come from next month? Where is it going to come from six months from now?

Can you answer these questions with any kind of guarantee? I can.

On October 28th I’ll receive a $24,420.00 check. And I’ll receive that same check every October until I am notified otherwise.

I accomplish this with a maintenance contract.

This is just one of my sources for recurring revenue. I’ve built my business this way because I don’t ever want to worry about next month’s income.

Next time I’m going to share with you how I landed this support contract and how you can start building the same source for your business.

What about you? Do you have any sources in place for recurring revenue? What are they?

Freelance Communities to the Rescue

When I was a teenager my Mom accidentally left me in the Philippines.

We had stopped by a gas station and I was feeling nauseous. So I got out of the car and sat on the curb just in case I wanted to hurl.

After a couple minutes I started to feel better but as I got up I saw my Mom’s car pull away.

Did she even notice I had gotten out of the car? How long would it take for her to realize I was gone?! Our destination was at least an hour away…

There I was in the middle of nowhere. I didn’t speak the language and I didn’t have any means for calling for help.

As a freelancer you find yourself in the same situation. This might be the first time in your life where you don’t have a support system.

What makes it worse is the language is completely new as you’re not just dealing with doing your job. You have to deal with taxes, accounting, health insurance, contracts… The list is endless!

Now it’s apparent my Mom eventually made it back. Otherwise I’d probably be pumping gas right now instead of writing this article. But for you no one is going to just ride in to your rescue.

Don’t worry. There is hope! Here are a couple of places you can turn for help:

  • Reddit’s r/freelance Sub. The last couple years I’ve spent a lot of time browsing freelance forums. I’ve found myself coming back to r/freelance time and time again. It’s one of the most active of freelance communities. I’ve even made it a point to start my days with answering at least one question there.
  • Domino’s Slack Channel. Domino is one of the newer freelance communities. The forum is nice but for more immediate help you can jump on their slack channel. People are constantly dropping in, being welcomed, and finding help. It’s a very friendly community. It’s one of the slack channels I keep open so feel free to say hi! My handle is @rmcastil.
  • Contact me directly. Leave a comment below or send me an email. I’ve optimized my email management so I can read all my emails. You can also reach me on twitter but I check that the least of all the above resources.

What about you? Where do you turn for help with your freelance business?

Exceeding Project Hours Vs Underestimated Project Estimates

This post is inspired by a segment from the How and Why to Ditch Hourly Billing episode of the Freelancers’ Show. It’s a great episode that covers client risk, finding what they value, and positioning yourself as an expert. If you haven’t listened to it yet, queue it up on your iPhone and give it a listen.

During an episode of the Freelances’ Show Reuven Lerner mentioned his main reservation to switching to project-based pricing:

I’ve always been gun-shy about trying [project estimates] because I’m still worried that my estimates will be wrong and that I’ll end up doing tons of work for free.

Let’s imagine two scenarios:

An Estimate with Hours

You bill Hourly Hank at $100/hr. You’ve just used up the 200 hours you estimated for this project but you’re not done. You call Hank explaining that you’re late and he has to pay you for another 20 hours to get this thing finished.

A Project Estimate

On the other hand, you bill Project Paige $20k for the project. The project is behind schedule. You give Paige a call to apologize regarding being late on your delivery.

Which type of estimate is better?

Both scenarios suck because you’re delivering the client bad news.

The hourly case seems like the better choice because you’ll still get paid your hourly rate even though you missed the estimate. But is this really a net positive?

Let me tell you from experience, Hourly Hank isn’t going to be thrilled about having to pay for more hours. He’s going to go comb through every invoice looking for areas of wasted time and money. You’ll both play a blame game as to why things are late. Both you AND Hank will walk away from the project feeling like you got screwed. There is no way Hank will ever serve as a referral.

In Paige case she’ll be upset that you’re late but you’re not throwing gasoline on the bad news by asking for more money. In fact, she’ll be impressed that you stuck by your word. That you claimed financial responsibility for a bad estimate. Paige will tell people that you did everything you could to make sure she was taken cared of.

But I’d Still be Doing Work for Free

This isn’t 100% true. What actually is happening is your effective hourly rate is going down.

In Paige’s case you charged $20k. Your effective hourly rate changes based on the actual hours you worked.

  • If you worked 200 hours then your effective hourly rate is $100/hr.
  • If you worked 180 hours then your effective hourly rate is around $111/hr.
  • If you worked 220 hours then your effective hourly rate is around $90/hr.

The 180 hours worked scenario reveals a very compelling benefit: if you overestimate the amount of time it’ll take, your effective hourly rate goes up!

You’re the Expert

Plus, you’re not really doing “free work” you’re claiming responsibility. Your client had to come up with a budget for the project. They trusted you to come up with an estimate. As Jonathan Stark stated on the Freelancers’ Show this conveys to the client:

I’m an expert. I know how long this is going to take and if I’m wrong, that’s my fault, not yours.

How about you? Are there other reservations you have to switching away from hourly? Leave a comment below and we’ll address those reservations together.

Billing Weekly: An Alternative to Billing By the Hour

Does any of the following happen on your weekly quests to get 20 billable hours?

  • Work bleeds into the night or the weekend.
  • When making up for a 10 hour week you find yourself burned out at the end of a 30 hour week.
  • When you are at the gym or at family meals you have an itch to get back to your computer just to click “start” in Harvest again.
  • It drives you nuts when a client says they’re going to call back in five only to call back in 30. Never apologizing for wasting your precious billable time.

All of that happened to me my first couple years of freelancing. I began to ask myself:

What is the whole point of freedom from a full time job if it means feeling trapped by the hours I HAVE to work?

I Bill by the Week

So I decided to try a little experiment and told a new client that I bill by the week.

After several weeks it was evident that billing weekly was a game changer for me:

  • Conversations with clients dramatically improved. Our conversations were based on things like how I was improving their business rather than why I was billing a half hour for a meeting.
  • Clients will no longer micromanaged my time. They didn’t really care what I was doing with every hour of me day. They were just happy the work was getting done.
  • Revenue went up. My weekly rate beat out my average when I was doing hourly billing.
  • It simplified scheduling multiple client work. I no longer had to figure how to squeeze all the my clients’ hours into a given work week. I only had to worry about finishing my deliverables to make my clients feel awesome.
  • I was happier. I no longer felt the need to be at my keyboard clicking a timer whenever I went to go eat or learn something new.

I haven’t billed by the hour since.

I hope you consider to give weekly billing a shot with your next client. Need help with convincing a client to give it a try? Leave a comment below and we can tackle that problem together.

7RRRF Update

Well it’s been about a month since I did the product challenge. It was a fun experience and with it I came with a pre-release version of 7 Recurring Revenue Recipes for Freelancers (or 7RRRF thanks to a reader). Here are all the things I’ve actually done:

  • Setup zenpayroll.
  • Client work.
  • Caught up on all my Fall/Winter TV Shows.
  • Watched a couple seasons of Scrubs.
  • Finished most of the last season of Psych.
  • Beat FTL on Medium and Hard about four times.
  • Continued my olympic weightlifting program.
  • Spent better quality time with my family.
  • Participated in several master minds.
  • Continued reading newsletters from friends.
  • Read 80% of JFDI.
  • Donated all of the Recipe profits from 2014 to charity.
  • Created an autoresponder for people who bought the book.
  • Sent out several updates regarding the book.
  • Started playing in a soccer league.
  • Reorganized the book Trello board.
  • Meeting with my accountant.
  • Getting work done on my car.
  • Setting up my new iMac.
  • Organizing my iPhoto library.
  • Going to several basketball games.
  • Brainstorming about new products, new versions of the book, and articles to write in 2015.

If you looked at that list closely you’ll notice 7RRRF still isn’t done. Taking from the above list these are the only items I really had to do:

  • Setup zenpayroll.
  • Client work.
  • Continued my olympic weightlifting program. This is arguable but I consider it as a have to do because it allows me to work out and socialize which is a double win for me as I work remote.
  • Spent better quality time with my family.
  • Read 80% of JFDI. This is arguable but I’m leaning on it having to be something to be done because it solved several pains I had with book writing.
  • Reorganized the book Trello board. Same as above.
  • Sent out several updates regarding the book.
  • Meeting with my accountant.
  • Finished 7RRRF.

What’s the point of all this? Well, stealing a tip from Warren Buffet I have a list of things that I have to avoid at all costs in order to get the pre-release version of the book done.

The next basketball game I’ve got tickets to go to (and promised my son) is Tuesday the 27th. I’m committing to get the Section complete version of 7RRRF done by then.

Friday Update

Yesterday was a success. Finished all my client work plus the Productized Consulting recipe in my book. I tried my best to avoid all the unnecessary things like the plague. My moments of “relaxation” were replaced with laundry, dishes, and gathering wood for the fireplace. This sounds more like a first world problem and I’m sure I can adapt with a mental shift. My only “cheat” was buying this shirt.

Wednesday Update

So I missed the deadline. Despite the blistering pace I kept up I was only one Recipe short. The good news is that the number of pages for the book has virtually doubled. I was able to avoid must of my time sinks like the plague but realized I wasn’t allowing myself much needed vegging time. I think I’ll be able to wrap up the last recipe tonight and then take a break and think about next steps.

Several Days and a Weekend Product Challenge

Day 6, 12:15 PM – DONE!

The clock stuck 12 noon about 15 minutes ago. If I hadn’t fretted all morning about pricing and just general launching terrors I would have made it on time.

I’m going to take the rest of the day off from product stuff and focus solely on client work. Moving forward I aim to have version 1.0 done in a couple weeks. Although I’ve been told by several people it takes about a month worth of editing.

Get your copy for just $9. You’ll get the edits and expansions for free.

Buy 7 Recurring Revenue Recipes for Freelancers for $9

As of 12:15PM this is what I’ve got left to do. I didn’t manage to complete the book in 6 days.

  • Slightly alter the name of the book so freelancer’s know it’s for them 😛
  • Expanded steps or details with the recipes. I struggled with what should and should not be included here.
  • A chapter to cover principals that will help with implementing the recipes.
  • A conclusion chapter that describes experimentation and next steps.
  • An actual cover.
  • The Amazon kindle version.
  • A better landing page for the book with improved CTAs as well as a freebie email course.
  • A button image instead of the link that’s sure to get lost.
  • Notifying my email list that the book is available.

It was exhausting and terrifying but at least now I can say I launched a book.

No idea what I’m talking about? Read below for the details behind my book launch.

About a week or so ago Amy Hoy and Nathan Barry embarked on their 24 hour product challenges. The purpose was to launch a tiny side project that had been on their minds for a while. Nathan earned about $4,314 while Amy has grossed about $3,681. Those are pretty impressive numbers for a full day’s worth of work.

But They’re Famous on the Interwebs!

I know what you’re thinking. They only earned as much because they’ve got a huge audience a ton of followers but that misses the point. Their purpose was to just finish something small that had been nagging on them for a while. This is what I find fascinating and motivating.

As a lot of you know I committed to writing my own book: The Freelancer’s Guide to Recurring Revenue. It’s been months since I made that commitment but I’ve made little progress. Well today that changes.

Do. Or do not. There is no try.

Over the last several years I’ve been on the product bandwagon but just made a ton of excuses:

  • I don’t have anything to teach.
  • I don’t know who I can write for.
  • I have to worry about developing my freelance business.
  • My kids take up all my time.
  • My wife works too so we don’t really need the money.
  • I need to have at least 1000 subscribers to my newsletter.
  • blah, blah, blah. 

I’m not a precious little snowflake. I know people who have dealt with cancer and still got something out there. One of which is one of my hero’s and managed to inspire millions with a lecture.

Why now?

You could say it’s on a whim but I’m going to have to pull an MJ here and manifest some motivation:

  • Between Nathan Barry and Amy Hoy I’ve purchased about $4,000 in products with the thought that it would be an “investment” towards my own products. I have to earn that money back.
  • For years we used to max out our donations but since switching jobs our donations have dwindled to almost nothing. I have to get those donations back up. With the money earned I’m going to donate it towards some good causes.
  • I’ve also got to prove a point. Internet fame does help a little but I want to prove it helps out a lot less than people think. At the end of the day I’m still the one who has to do the work.
  • Because why not? Even though my lizard brain is constantly trying to tell me otherwise this project is a win-win for me.

Constraints

I know, I know. It’s supposed to be 24 hours but I’ve got clients. I’ve also got an out of state Christmas Party to travel to this weekend. It’s not as sexy as 24 hours but my commitment is going to be over several days and a weekend. But, if I do this right I can prove to others that this can be done with other things occupying your time. So let’s do this!

I’m committing to shipping a small product (version 0.1 of my book) by 12 noon, Tuesday Dec 15th.

Day 1

12:00 PM Setup

I’ve made the commitment, announced it to Twitter, my list, and a couple of other channels where people are doing the same thing. I’ve also got my standup desk setup to promote good posture and get rid of all this nervous energy feeling. All my slack windows and email notifications have been turned off to eliminate distractions (this includes Twitter). All my computer is running is Spotify (with the Deep Focus playlist playing), the Ulysses Demo (tried writing in VIM and I raged quite Pages due to all the notifications for not being on Yosemite yet), and chrome. I’ve got the following links open in Chrome to help guide me through this process:

Outline

As I’ve been thinking about the book and doing research I’ve discovered that recurring revenue for Freelancer’s take a ton of forms. With this in my mind I decided to make each form a recipe. The intro section is going to cover the fundamental skills you need to be successful with each recipe. Similar to a cookbook.

My stomach is grumbling so I’m off to a quick lunch. Glad today is leftover day. After that I’ve some client work and some meetings to attend so I’ll fit in writing where I can.

2:00 PM Update

Had a quick lunch and wrapped up some client work. I decided to head over to my go to coffee shop since my eyes were getting a little heavy. What did I find when I checked my email? A client email requesting something is done ASAP. That’s just the way things work sometimes :)

This coffee shop has a 1 hour window for the internet. My plan is to wrap up what this client is requesting and to spend the rest of the time writing. Sounds like a good opportunity to utilize a couple of Pomodoros.

I’m purposely trying to ignore everything that may derail me. This includes any type of notification (twitter, email, slack), any type of hard decision making (what should I eat now), and anything that may be negative (the number of unsubscribes that may have resulted from this little challenge).

5:30 PM Update

I was derailed a  little by some client meetings but I managed to get a couple more writing sessions in.  I also had some bouts of self doubt but I’m doing my best to just stay positive and keep moving forward. Looking at my timer it looks like I got at least three hours in towards the book which is a lot more than yesterday!

One thing I’m really happy with is a template of what the recurring revenue recipes are going to look like. Here’s a preview:

Recurring Revenue Recipe

It sounds like my kids are home. In fact, my youngest just pressed his face against my home office door. Want a home office pro tip? Don’t get doors with windows :)

I’m off to dinner and getting these kids in bed. If my wife brought work home then I may get a couple more writing sessions in. Otherwise, it’s back at it first thing in the morning.

9:45 PM Update

Well it’s time to call it a night. I got a couple more sessions of writing in and I’m pretty happy with where I’m at. Including the content I’ve copied over plus the content I’ve written today I’m at about 20 pages. I wouldn’t be surprised if this number was cut in half after editing but I’m going to save that until Monday or even post launch. Gasp!

One thing that I’ve really loved about this challenge so far is it’s forcing me to make a lot of decisions on the fly. There’s a lot more doing than sitting around and thinking. See you guys in the AM. I’m going to get a full nights sleep so I can be even more productive tomorrow.

Day 2

6:30 AM Update

Had a good night’s worth of rest (6+ hours) considering my excitement . When I woke up I forced myself to have a healthy breakfast and water to get my day started right. My goal was to get in one quick writing session before the family woke up and that’s done!

I’m really liking the way this book is starting to take shape. Ideas for chapters and sections are starting to come naturally as I write more. I’m going to take a break for a couple hours to help my kids get their day started and out the door for school.

10:00 AM Update and Standing Invitation

Got the kids to school without yelling. A big win considering I’m still grounded (no TV for four more days) for yelling once yesterday. I spent the rest of the morning going to the coffee shop, planning the things I needed to do for clients, and answering several emails with questions on freelancing. I guess that makes me qualified to write a book?

Seriously though, if you ever want to reach out to me with questions I can be reached at rmcastil via twitter and ryan at challengeacceptedhq.com via email. I’m pretty proud that I’ve maintained Inbox Zero for 7 years straight so I guarantee I’ll read all the emails I get.

12:00 PM Refocusing

I started to get worried about the time I was spending on the setup sections of the book so I decided to take a step back and focus on what I was trying to deliver. Luckily I already had a pitch page to help me focus.

The entire premise of the book is to help freelancers overcome the feast and famine cycle with recurring revenue. If I didn’t deliver this in any shape or form by Tuesday people could potentially feel cheated and ask for refunds which to me is the worst case scenario.

I’ve settled on 9 recurring revenue recipes as you can see here:

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 12.27.18 PM

Think I missed something? Feel free to let me know.

2:30 PM “We have the best jobs guys”

This was probably the least productive of all the time blocks so far. I got distracted and frustrated with the tools I was using and just feeling tired overall. This resulted in some procrastination in the form of random highlights from the Tonight Show.

To further my procrastination I jumped on our weekly Master Mind call just to see what everyone had been up to. Good thing I did. My pal, Sean Fioritto ended his update by saying “We have the best jobs guys!”. Indeed we do. Time to get back at it.

11:30 PM Cutting the Fat and Ending on a High Note

Well the writing must have stalled after 2:30 because I can’t remember exactly what I did! This caused me to reflect on several things that I did wrong:

  • Attempting to squeeze more work in by sacrificing sleep and consistent meals.
  • Time tracking just because Amy did it with her challenge. This caused me to obsess about trying to hit some kind of magic hour total throughout the challenge.

The good news though is that at 5:30 I stepped away from everything and may have had one of my best Olympic lifting classes. Life’s funny that way, when you think everything is going against you, you get a win.

Moving forward I’m going to give up tracking time with harvest, trying to wake up early, and worrying too much about formatting. On launch day it’s going to look the way it looks. Since I’m self publishing I have all the power to update it and send out updated copies.

I’m off to bed. I have no idea if I’m going to get any work in tomorrow but that’s okay because it’s the weekend :)

Day 3

4:00 PM Sneaking Something In

I didn’t expect to get anything done today with a two and a half drive to a birthday party we were scheduled to attend. During the drive though we let the kids watch a couple shows and I surprisingly got a ton done. I let my wife interview regarding the book and we were able  to generate a ton of content. Plus I think she finally has an idea of the kind of work I do while she’s off at work 😉

Day 4

9:00 PM Value Driven Writing

In the software world there is this concept of outside in development. “Outside” usually refers to a feature but it can be taken a step further by thinking about the value to the business the feature is bringing. Starting from there you can eventually start to work on the internals.

Since working on this book I’ve found a similar process to work for me. I went back and asked myself “what value is this book providing to the reader?” Once I hit those points I was able to get more granular and work on nitty gritty details and principals.

Day 5

10:00 AM Update

In a couple of hours we’ll only have 24 hours left in the challenge. It’s time to start making hard calls on what will be in the book and what will not. Embrace the constraints!

6:00 PM Update

Well it seems like I’m somehow behind schedule. I wanted to be editing at this point but I’m still producing more content. The edits will probably have to wait until after the launch.

At this point I only see two worst case scenarios:

  1. I don’t launch ever.
  2. 100% of my customers feel like they were ripped off and demand a refund.

For a little bit of reassurance I sent a preview of the core content to one of my friends and he gave it a thumbs up.

Day 6

11:00 AM Dealing with “The Terror”

Launch day is here and I can honestly say I’ve been worried, anxious, stressed for the last 14 or so hours. I did get to bed on time but the same questions went through my mind as I woke up: “Are people going to demand refunds”, “How much should I sell this thing for”, “Should this be a pre-release of my book or just a cliff notes version”.

I’ve jumped into several of the Slack channels to find some kind of reassurance but people have had mixed advice. The best advice or response I saw so far was “why do you have to decide now then?” And the honest truth is I don’t. I can decide to charge more or less later. There is no point in dealing with refunds unless I actually get an email demanding one. I can just promise a pre-release of what I have and decide later whether it will evolve into the full book or not.