How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Working from home naturally comes with the benefits of freedom and flexibility. If you are a parent, live in a rural area, want to travel – or just want to work in your PJs, then remote work is the way to go.

So how do you start your remote job search that would lead to your dream remote job?

There are several freelancer sites where you can quickly create a profile, showcase your skills, and start applying to promising remote job listings in minutes.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

However, remote employees would be the first to tell you that finding the perfect remote job isn’t easy.

If anything, remote candidates and remote job seekers find it more challenging at times to land a remote job interview compared to facing hiring managers handling traditional job boards in a typical office environment.

All’s not lost though. There are ways to conquer the challenges you might encounter in your remote job application process, such as how to understand a remote job board and how to find a remote job that’s open to aspiring remote employees without any previous experience.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

The key is to learn how to seize remote opportunities and find remote job postings offering full time positions or even just part-time remote work.

Today, one of the most popular job boards for remote workers is Upwork. In this post, I’ll be sharing some strategies on how to get noticed on one of the world’s largest freelance sites that offer remote positions.

Your first remote position

If you’re new to freelancing or working from anywhere / working remotely, you don’t always know the best way to get started with remote work.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

First, you need to determine what kind of remote job or remote role will work for you. Even if this will be your first remote job as you have no experience working online, I believe anyone can transfer the offline real-world skills and experience from your regular job into a remote job.

It’s also good to know more about who you are and what type of remote work will be rewarding and geared specifically for your skill set and remote job personality. That way, you can find ways to thrive working remotely.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Once you’ve identified your ideal remote career path, including the type of remote work culture you’re looking for in remote companies and a remote team, whether you prefer flexible jobs or you’re the type of remote employee who wants a fully remote role, and all the companies hiring in your field or, at least the best remote jobs that fit the remote roles you think you can handle, the next step is to create your freelancer profile on Upwork — arguably the most daunting task for most job seekers when finding remote jobs, especially the perfect remote job.

What is Upwork?

Upwork, formerly Elance-oDesk, is a freelancing platform headquartered in California. The company was formed after a merger of two top freelancing platforms, Elance and oDesk, and rebranded to Upwork in 2015.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Upwork is a marketplace for remote talent from all over the globe. Employers and remote companies seeking to build a remote team or create in house roles, such as project management, virtual assistants, customer success agents, and tech jobs, can post on the job board and freelancers looking for remote positions can create a profile, essentially a resume, online and apply to the remote job postings.

Employers can also search for remote job applicants with your skills based on the job description and invite you to apply for the role.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Upwork has millions of freelancers enjoying the benefits of remote jobs. Finding a remote job on very crowded remote job boards can feel like a needle in the haystack.

But there are ways to find your way to the top remote job that doesn’t involve winging it. With thousands (or even millions) of remote job applications sent out to seize the same remote job opportunities, it can be easy to simply give up the dream of working remotely.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Applying to several remote jobs without a strategy, hoping to get noticed, will only lead to frustration. Worse, your job search would lead to wasted efforts and no remote job landed at all.

So, how do you land that work from anywhere remote job on Upwork?

Setting up your profile on Upwork: A step-by-step guide to getting noticed

First, let’s start with creating a profile. Then, we’ll dive into the strategy behind getting the first job.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

To prepare, you’ll want to have a good headshot photo for your profile. The headshot photo should have good lighting and look professional. In other words, copying over a picture from Facebook with friends at a party is not likely going to appear professional.

You’ll want to have a photo of your face with nothing distracting in the background and no torn or too-casual attire.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Step 1: Go to Upwork.com and click the Sign Up button on the top right. Or, go to https://www.upwork.com/signup/

Step 2: Select the option “I am a freelancer looking for work” and Apply as a Freelancer.

Step 3: Follow the steps in the signup form to get started. Enter your full name and email address, select a password and click Create my Account.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Step 4: Enter your country of residence and fill out the fields to get started creating your profile. You will need to agree to terms of service, create a user name and verify your email.

Step 5: Select your main field of work. Click the drop-down menu under the “What are the main services you offer to clients?” heading, and select your area of expertise.

Note: You can select up to 4 different sub-fields after selecting your main field.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Step 6: Enter your professional skills. Click the text field under the “What skills do you offer clients?” heading, and enter your skills related to the type of work you want to do. A drop-down list will show matching skills as you type. You can click a skill to add it.

Step 7: Select your level of experience. Select Entry Level if you’re just starting out with the skills you selected; Intermediate if you have some experience already with those skills; Expert if you have substantial work experience in your field.

Step 8: Did you get your headshot photo ready? Next you’ll want to upload your professional profile photo. Be sure to smile!

This is where we start getting into strategy… but first, let’s define the steps and then we can go back.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Step 9: Enter a professional title for your profile that describes the work you do. Then, write a summary of your skills, experience, and interests.

Step 10: Enter your education and employment history. 

Step 11: Select your proficiency level in English. If you don’t know your English level, there are free tests online.

Step 12: Enter your hourly rate and your availability or the hours per week that you can work. See below for setting your rate.

Step 13: Enter your address and click submit. Upwork has a verification process to make sure you are who you say you are, but now you’re ready to get rolling!

Strategies for landing your first work from anywhere job on Upwork

Now that your profile has been created, as promised, we will get into the strategies landing that first job on Upwork.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

First it’s important to know how it works from the employer’s perspective.

When an employer posts a job, they get dozens of applications within 1-2 days. Typically, the employer wants to find someone for short-term work, and quickly.

They need help with graphic design, market research, data entry, and so on. There are also cases in which they may be looking for an admin part or full time and long term.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Employers can search for talent based on: location, English level, time on platform, number of jobs completed successfully, hourly rate, reviews, and rankings.

This can feel like a disadvantage when you’re just starting out. The trick is to build out your profile and your work experience history with good reviews on Upwork.

There are a few key strategies that will help you get started and to stick out from the rest of the pack.

Be quick to apply

Upwork is a platform with millions of freelancers all competing for the same jobs. So, timing can be a factor.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Strike when the iron is hot. Employers will review candidate submissions typically in the first couple of days and make a decision to interview or hire. Try to be one of the first in their inbox.

Don’t apply to all jobs

Decide what you want to focus on. If you choose accounting, for example, but you apply to marketing jobs (because you have marketing on your resume), your chances of getting hired are lowered.

Also, don’t aim for the big salary jobs first if you’re looking to build your profile. You can also start out with short term projects to build your profile, then apply for longer term higher paying jobs.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Freelancing can lead you to a long term career, but think of yourself as a business owner marketing yourself.

Setting the right rate

You should get paid what you’re worth. However, remember that this is a platform with millions of freelancers.

If you go up against someone with the same rate and years of experience, but they have 10 reviews and you have none, they will likely be chosen over you.

Employers rely on Upwork’s rating system to give good feedback from the community about the performance of the freelancer.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

If, however, you set your rate to 20%, for example, below your value, and say on your profile that you are starting out to build your ratings, you increase your chances.

As an employer 1) you can spend less money upfront for a short project or to test someone out 2) this person could potentially grow with your company.

If you’re willing to do the work for less to get your foot in the door, you can grow your reviews and increase your rate over time.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

That being said, if you lower your rate, don’t let that affect your motivation. Work extra hard to get those first 5 star reviews. It will pay off.

Always work hard, of course, and be a rockstar and serve your clients and give your fullest to these jobs. But, in the first few gigs, this is crucial.

Unique cover letter

Some employers ask for a cover letter. This is to weed out people who have human bots applying to every job, spraying and praying to see what lands.

Even so, many people have just created cover letter templates to copy/paste.

Here’s one example:

Dear sir/madam, I’ve studied your requirements and I’m confident I can do the job.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

I see this a lot and just ignore them. What this means is that the applicant didn’t take any time at all to review your job. It shows they are not serious about working with my company and tells me about how they would perform on the job. Don’t do this!

Again, don’t apply for all jobs. Take a minute to review the job requirements and whether a letter is required or not, send a quick cover letter. In this cover letter, really let the person know that you read their job description and why you are qualified. Not just qualified, but you can completely wow them.

For example:

Hi Mike, I see you want to create an ad on facebook and that you’re in healthcare. I’ve been in marketing for 4 years and i have created 50 successful ads, 20 of those were focused on healthcare. i know your industry well and I know facebook ads marketing. I’d love to talk about how I can help you guys out. I’m new to Upwork and creating my profile so I’m happy to do a lower rate to prove myself. I have between 2-5 pm EST this week for a call. does that fit your availability?

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

This shows that you not only took the time to know the industry they are in, but also what they are aiming to accomplish, specifically why YOU can do it, and, you called the hiring manager by name.

Notice you aren’t begging for work here either. You’re positioning yourself like a busy professional by telling him your schedule, while also being flexible to adjust for a call.

In conclusion

Getting your first work from anywhere job / remote job / work from home job etc – working online – takes a bit of work.

However, millions are doing it and it’s very possible – and the ultimate rewarding lifestyle. From 2014 to 15, I worked with Upwork (Elance then Elance-oDesk) to help startups and other companies inside of WeWork to hire remote talent to grow their businesses.

How to Land Your First Work from Anywhere Job: Tips for Setting Up a Profile on Upwork

Employers want to get straight to the best talent, and quickly (which is why fullstackremote was created).

Knowing how the employer thinks and being willing to put yourself out there and work your way up, while this takes time, it is well worth it to start your career freelancing or just generally working from anywhere. If you are just starting out, or want to increase your skills in a particular area, check out Courses for remote jobs.

I believe that anyone who wants to work remotely should be able to do so, and you can!

Best Laptops for Digital Nomads [2022]

Best laptops for digital nomads

A laptop is a digital nomad’s best friend. Most remote workers can get by with virtually any type of laptop, but that’s not the case for digital nomads. Finding the best laptops for digital nomads is a top priority if you want to have a smooth sailing remote work experience. Besides, it’s called a “laptop lifestyle” for a reason!

It’s your office, your library, your entertainment center, and your lifeline to the rest of the world. But with so many options on the market, it can be tough to know which one is right for you.

Not only do you need a working lightweight laptop, but you need the right kind of laptop for your digital nomad lifestyle.

The best laptops for remote workers who are also digital nomads have some unique characteristics, so budget laptops that suit work-from-home needs may not be enough.

What to Look for in a Digital Nomad Laptop

Every digital nomad has different requirements when it comes to remote work. Some digital nomads prefer Windows laptops while others want Apple laptops.

Best laptops for digital nomads

There are those who want to limit their search to the best budget laptops and lightest laptop lists while others want to look for powerful laptop and performance laptop options.

No matter your definition of the best laptop for working as a digital nomad, there are a few key factors to consider.

Lightweight

Most digital nomads prefer an ultraportable laptop, weighing under 3.5 pounds. The best laptop is compact and won’t weigh you down (or break your back) when you’re on the move.

Ideally, the best lightweight laptop for a digital nomad on the road would be something you can easily and conveniently use in tight spaces such as airplanes.

Battery Life

When you’re working from anywhere, you need a laptop with long battery life. Look for laptops with at least 8 hours of battery life. This digital nomad laptop will give you enough power to get through a full day of work, even if you’re not near an outlet.

When checking this detail on a performance laptop or a budget laptop, make sure to look at third-party reviews because manufacturers tend to exaggerate details in terms of battery power.

Connectivity

Another important factor to consider is connectivity. If you’re going to be working from different places, the best laptop for working can connect to the internet no matter where you are.

Look for digital nomad laptops with built-in LTE or at least have the option to add an external modem. This way, you won’t have to worry about finding a Wi-Fi hotspot when you’re on the go.

Best laptops for digital nomads

Processor

The processor is the heart of the best digital nomad laptops, so you need to make sure it’s powerful enough to handle all your work needs.

For digital nomad laptops, an Intel Core i5 or Intel Core i7 processor should be more than enough. Anything less may lead to a laggy remote working laptop that can’t keep up with you.

Storage

You also need to think about storage capacity when choosing the best laptops for digital nomads.

If you plan to work with large files or store a lot of data, the best digital nomad laptop options have at least a 256GB solid-state drive. This will ensure your laptop’s storage space can keep up with you, no matter where you are.

Build

Replacing a laptop while on the go is not fun. You want a thin laptop that’s durable enough that it won’t snap in half when you’re lugging it around in your backpack exploring a remote tropical island.

Outstanding laptops not only have amazing battery life and cool features but also have a long-lasting build. This includes an aluminum chassis, reinforced corners, and a sturdy hinge. You’ll thank me later.

Best laptops for digital nomads

Price

Of course, price is always a factor to consider when choosing a reliable laptop. The good news is that there are plenty of light laptop and quality laptop options on the market that won’t break the bank.

However, if you plan on using your laptop for more demanding tasks, you may need to invest in a more expensive top performance laptop and splurge on higher specs than a normal laptop like a full HD monitor display, more powerful Intel core processor, laptop accessories, and even additional USB C ports.

The Best Laptops for Digital Nomads

Now that you know what to look for in a digital nomad laptop, it’s time to take a closer look at some of the best options on the market.

Keep in mind, though, that a particular laptop that I consider the best laptop for working as a digital nomad might not be the best option for you.

Best laptops for digital nomads

So, I’ll break up each laptop recommendation based on the type of remote worker you are and what you will use the laptop for as a digital nomad.

Whether you’re searching for a budget laptop, a more versatile laptop, the most lightweight and ultraportable, or the one with the most high-end specs, this guide got you covered.

Overall Best Laptop for Digital Nomads: MacBook Air

You’re probably not at all shocked to see the new MacBook Air at the top of the list of best laptops for digital nomads. After all, it is a fan favorite among remote workers. And for good reason, too.

Best laptops for digital nomads

The MacBook Air is one of the most well-rounded laptops on the market.

This affordable laptop won’t blow you away with incredibly high-tech specs, but it’s more than enough for a digital nomad to do practically everything you need it to–and do it well.

It’s lightweight and ultraportable at just 2.8 pounds (1.29 kg), making it easy to carry with you wherever you go.

Offering a fantastic battery life, the Apple MacBook Air has a new M1 chip that can guarantee up to 18 hours of power on a single charge. The long hours of battery life are clutch for digital nomads who are working remotely in areas with no or limited outlets.

The build quality is second to none, as you would expect from a MacBook, making it a durable laptop.

Best laptops for digital nomads

Unlike most laptops, the aluminum chassis is sturdy and the keyboard can withstand some serious abuse. In other words, it’s the perfect laptop for those who are constantly on the go and need a machine that can keep up with them.

The base model is offered at 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD storage, which is already extensive for an average user. You can customize it if you need more, but at that point, it might be a better idea to simply buy a MacBook Pro.

If you’re someone who does graphics-intensive work, such as photo editing or editing 4K videos, then you’ll most likely want to buy something more powerful.

Overall, if you’re simply looking for an all-around great laptop that won’t break the bank, the MacBook Air is one of the best options out there for digital nomads.

Best Laptop for Digital Nomads in Tech: Huawei Matebook 13

It might be heartbreaking to pry yourself away from your state-of-the-art machine at home, something you’ve built to be so fast and powerful it could easily fly you to Mars and back.

But, the digital nomad life is beckoning. That means you need to downsize and streamline.

Huawei has been slowly breaking into the laptop world and is becoming one of the most reliable names when it comes to building high-tech, reliable machines.

The Huawei Matebook 13 is an excellent representation of that reputation.

This is one of the more distinctive laptops on the market thanks to its 3:2 aspect-ratio touchscreen, which is a feature that only a handful of devices offer.

The Huawei Matebook 13 also has one of the best HD camera features on the market, which is something that’s often overlooked but can be incredibly important for digital nomads who rely on video conferencing for work.

It’s great for light gaming and can even handle some more intensive games if you’re willing to lower the graphics settings.

Moreover, the MateBook 13 is compact and surprisingly portable despite being described as a flagship laptop powered like a gaming laptop. Plus, it has an incredible battery life of almost 9 hours.

Weighing only about 2.87 pounds (1.3 kg) and measuring roughly half an inch thin, this lightweight laptop barely takes up space in your backpack but still manages to deliver a powerful performance.

Basically, this laptop can do almost everything–a jack of all trades among the best laptops for digital nomads.

Best 2-in-1 Laptop for Digital Nomads: Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Convertible

The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 Convertible is one of the best laptops for digital nomads who aren’t big fans of Apple. In fact, others would claim that it outshines the MacBook in some areas.

For one, the Dell XPS 13 is lighter and even more compact compared to the already very lightweight MacBook Air.

It comes with a 14+ hour battery life, which is a bit longer than the 15-hour battery life of a MacBook with Intel chips.

Unfortunately, it cannot compete with the battery life offered by the new Apple M1 chip.

With that in mind, how often do you actually require over 15 hours of battery life without charging anyway?

Its InfinityEdge HDR is one of the very few laptop screens that can go head-to-head against Mac’s retina display. Plus, the Dell XPS 13 comes with convenient anti-reflective technology.

This is a great feature for digital nomads looking to complete some remote work tasks while lounging around on the beach.

The 2-in-1 feature turns this version of Dell XPS 13 into a transformer-esque gadget that can change from a laptop to a tablet in seconds, offering you a dual-computer solution.

The tablet configuration of the Dell XPS 13 lets you use the attached stylus to drag, draw, and tap to your heart’s content.

And, there’s no need to worry about the screen since Dell secured it by using Corning Gorilla Glass that would most likely survive a coconut falling on it (don’t test this at home!).

Best Laptop for Digital Nomad Creatives: MacBook Pro

If you want to ramp things up a notch, go for the MacBook Air’s big brother: the MacBook Pro.

The MacBook Pro is arguably the most powerful option among the Apple laptops and it comes with an impressively strong processor, heaps of RAM, and all the shiny bells and whistles that you’d ever want from a brand new laptop…and then some.

Buy MacBook Pro - Apple (HK)

When you buy a MacBook Pro, you can choose between the Intel core processors or the new Apple M1 chip.

Between the two, the M1 chip comes at a lower price tag and practically double the battery life. So, I recommend this option for digital nomads.

In terms of size, the MacBook Pro is just about the same size as the Air. It’s a bit heavier at 3 pounds (1.3 kg), but the performance it delivers is well worth the extra weight.

For most people, the MacBook Air is enough. But digital nomads who are into intensive video editing and photo editing might want the power of the MacBook Pro.

The downside of the MacBook Pro is obvious: it’s more expensive than the other laptops for digital nomads.

Given its price point, you might get a bit more paranoid about getting it damaged to stolen while traveling. That said, if you’re a remote worker who needs the power of the MacBook Pro to get things done, then you’ll thank yourself for opting for quality.

Basically, the Pro is like the MacBook Air on steroids. It has a better display, more customization alternatives, louder speakers, a larger trackpad, and, of course, more processing power. On top of these, it gives you 20 hours of long battery life!

Ultimately, it all boils down to how crucial are these extra features to your life as a digital nomad.

If they’re vital to your remote work, then don’t hesitate to go for the MacBook Pro. You won’t be disappointed.

If you can live without them, then save your cash and opt for the MacBook Air (or the other non-Apple options here on the list).

Best Laptop for Digital Nomads on a Budget: Lenovo Flex 5 14″

If you want a quality portable laptop but are on a tight budget, then you can’t go wrong in choosing the Lenovo Flex 5 14.

IdeaPad Flex 5 (14'', AMD) | Versatile 14” 2-in-1 AMD Laptop | Lenovo Ireland

While it’s not as powerful as the other laptops on this list, you can still complete day-to-day tasks. You may not want to edit videos or even photos on this bad boy, but it can work perfectly fine for most remote work projects.

Actually, the Lenovo Flex 5 14 comes with a flip-around screen and a stylus. While it’s not as small and portable as the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, the tablet mode still makes this model convenient to use on flights and in cramped spaces.

While it’s chunkier than the other ultraslim laptops listed above, Lenovo Flex 5 14 boasts a dongle-free experience thanks to its two USB-A ports, USB-C port, HDMI port, and SD card reader. That’s actually an edge it has against the likes of the MacBook Air.

All in all, the Lenovo Flex 5 14 is a starter laptop for remote workers and digital nomads.

Although it is a bit heavier, has a slightly less bright screen, and has unimpressive battery life, this is still a good laptop for digital nomads on a tight budget.

What’s the best laptop for digital nomads?

The best laptop for digital nomads ultimately comes down to your remote work requirements, budget, and preferred features.

best laptops for digital nomads 2022

If you’re a remote worker who’s only starting out and still don’t have the extra cash to splurge on one of the best laptops for digital nomads, then budget laptops with decent to long battery life can be great starter devices.

But, if your budget allows you to spend on a more powerful machine, go for one of the best laptops for digital nomads on the market. It’s an investment that will pay off in the long run.

Not only will it make your life easier, but you’ll also be able to work more efficiently and enjoy better results.

After all, your livelihood depends on it. So choose wisely and enjoy the journey!

Growth Hacking is Overrated

“Growth hacking” is a technical term for customer development. Essentially, it involves figuring out what your customer wants without ever having to talk to or interact with them.  How?

By using tools like OptimizelyGoogle Analytics and KISS Metrics, you’re able to learn more about your customer based on a specific set of metrics. These types of programs allow you to discover their likes, dislikes, and interests solely by monitoring their Internet usage and what sites they frequent most.

So, what’s the problem with customer development via growth hacking?

The Problem with Growth Hacking

You can’t growth hack your way into your customer’s mind.  Sure, you may gain a little understanding about them thanks to the software program, but your growth will be faster if you actually keep a finger on the pulse of your customers. How do you do this? By having real conversations with them.

The software developers responsible for creating these types of programs are partially to blame. I’m not saying that they are schmucks, but not all of these growth hackers are worth the beaucoup bucks they’re generally paid.

A large number of software developers (and non-savvy business developers) have the illusion that “if they build it, they will come.” In this case, the second “they” refers to the customers who they expect will adore everything they do and flock to their software simply because it exists.

In all fairness, this way of thinking is not entirely their fault. We fawn over stories of icons such as Mark Zuckerberg with Facebook and dream of being that one in a billion.

However, overvaluing software developers and undervaluing business developers can give software developers a giant ego and false sense of worth. Unfortunately, it is this inflated ego that can drive them to quit projects midway through to pursue their own passions. And, why not? They can, right?

While it’s great for anyone to follow their passion, this is bad luck in these types of situations. Plus, it’s just awful for the teams they leave behind.

Growth Hacking Can Be Good…Within Reason

Personally, I love the concept of growth hacking. In fact, by definition I am a growth hacker. But I also know that you cannot – 100% cannot – grow your company without getting to know your customer face-to-face.

For instance, consider the concepts behind Lean methodology which forces you to GOOTB (Get-Out-Of-The-Building) and talk to your customers. It’s so much better! Why?

It makes your potential customers part of the growth process so you become customer-centric. When you follow Lean methodology, you are constantly putting your product or service in front of them to test their response, giving you immediate feedback that is essential to your growth power.

One way to do this is by signing up for Lean Startup Machine. This is a three-day course designed to teach you the process by which you can learn enough about your customer base to make your business more successful.

When it comes to Lean methodology versus growth hacking, Lean methodology wins every time!

Customers Aren’t Numbers

Customers aren’t just numbers.  They have a voice.  So, hiding behind the numbers and hacking away at code, pretending that you’re staring at a matrix screen that somehow tells you all you need to know about your customer… that’s all bunk.

Your front end sales people have the pulse on your company.  Your business development people actually know what your customers are saying – and they’re worth listening to.

That’s why I believe that growth hacking is seriously overrated and may, in fact, be one of the worst effects of modern tech culture.

What’s your opinion on growth hacking? Do you find it helpful or not? We’d love to know your thoughts!

Accelerators and Incubators Level the Business Playing Field

Accelerators and Incubators Level the Business Playing Field | LiveWorkAnywhere.com

Accelerators and Incubators Level the Business Playing Field | LiveWorkAnywhere.com

It’s no longer necessary to be a Harvard grad to get all the cred.  In fact, you don’t even have to go to college at all to be successful.

Finally the playing field is being leveled. You don’t have to be a college grad to be successful. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here: Being accepted into an accelerator is a more significant step toward business success than a degree from Harvard.

Microsoft is actually contracting TechStars companies to build their products, so this attitude is even affecting the workplace. Which I predict is really going to work in Microsoft’s favor going forward. Thinking like an accelerator is the style of the future. Big companies need to adapt to survive.

The problem with corporations, in short, is that everything changes when they get big. Big companies come with a lot of problems and hang-ups. Employees get comfy paychecks and pseudo-meaningful titles that they hang onto, fight for, and step on others to maintain or get. As a result, innovation is lost.

From there, companies are then forced to copy ideas from startups or established companies. Then, due to politics, egos, and position control, it takes a long time to get something meaningful accomplished. They don’t have the nimbleness that comes with being a startup, especially one nurtured by accelerators and incubators.

Startups are agile, quick, and either don’t have titles or know titles mean nothing. They focus on getting things done and rapid iteration.  That’s it. There’s no junk getting in the way. Startups are there to get things done.

So let’s support our local startups, and the accelerators that make them great. And if you want to be successful in business, avoid the big corporations. Don’t go for that expensive business degree unless you just want it anyway. Just build a startup, and find an accelerator/incubator to light a fire under it!

A Startup is Not a Company

a startup is NOT a company live work anywhere

I was just at an event last night where we went around the room and introduced ourselves.

Many people talked about their “company.” It’s hard to tell if they were talking about the company they worked for, the piece of code they were working on, or the group of friends they worked with to raise a seed round.

Steve Blank gave the best definitions of a startup I’ve ever heard: A temporary organization designed to search for a repeatable and scalable business model.

It’s a project. Until there are paying customers, a formed corporation, and a need solved that’s scalable, it’s a project. Startups fail because they are experiments.

Of course, it depends on where you are in the process. Anyone can turn from XYZ into CEO overnight with a project. It’s easy to give yourself a title and to build a prototype. That’s the simple part.

A startup moves from the project phase into the company phase when there is revenue. Revenue comes from paying customers.

By now, Lean Startup has become a common term. Lean Startup takes the principles of Customer Development and Agile Development and combines them. It’s important to think of customers first—who will actually buy your product? It ‘s usually not who you think! After you figure that out, how quickly can you iterate on your development when you learn this? This is known as agile development, or SCRUM.

On the other hand, there is no need to start a company (or even incorporate) when all you have is a project. Unless there are some patents, trademarks, etc that are essential to the core of the product, then all you really need to do is experiment. That’s the beauty of a startup. It’s not failure if you are experimenting and documenting what you’re learning.

A startup project is fun, exciting, and experimental. A company deals with real revenues and expenses, customers and support issues. So if you want to build a company, it’s okay to begin with a startup. Just keep in mind that customers are your goal. With customers comes real business decisions. If you don’t want a company, keep building startups! It’s all about the learning.

In your experience, at what point does a startup become a company?

Why Do We Follow Systems Even When It Doesn’t Make Sense?

Why Do We Follow Systems Even When it Doesn't Make Sense LiveWorkAnywhere.com

Why Do We Follow Systems Even When it Doesn't Make Sense  LiveWorkAnywhere.com

Why do we always follow systems even when it doesn’t make sense? I’m not just talking about business—I’m talking about life.

We don’t even realize we are trained, like dogs. To respond, to act. To exist.

As I write this, I just went through airport security. I had spent the night at the airport, and my nerves were fried. But after having gone through security earlier in the day, I was asked to go through again.

Now, I was in no mood to go through security again. I wanted coffee. But I’d have to wait to get it until after security, because since 9-11 no more gels, aerosols, liquids etc. And any coffee I would have wanted won’t go into a plastic bag without spilling.

The system says: I can’t track Libby individually (until we are ‘voluntarily’ chipped, ugh), so it’s the same policy as though I just arrived here and in case I’m a terrorist.

Fair enough. I went through the scan and the security guard shouted “WOMAN RANDOM.” She then asked me to step aside to be searched. I thought maybe she thought I looked at her funny until the guy said “Might as well buy a lotto ticket today, the computer picked you.”

Random. Riiiiight….

It reminded me of the movie Idiocracy where the individual person has been dumbed down, losing the ability to think for himself/herself, and letting the work of machines take over. Why is that even a possibility? Why do we ever trust machines over intellect?  Why do we not question the processes put in place?

Should I really have been pegged for a terrorist when I slept at that same airport all night?  Of course, I could have been waiting all morning just to get combustible coffee that I could sneak through and blow up the plane. Darn it! The random computer scan busted that airtight plan.

Flying through Wisconsin. I bought butter and cheese. I had to, because it’s Wisconsin. But my cheese was confiscated because it might have been very dangerous cheese!  That could have been true. Or it was just all part of the system someone put in place for situations NOT like mine.

Once a system is put in place, we blindly follow. Then we place rules on top with a punishment attached. An example: Don’t cross the road (even if there’s no traffic for miles!) until the little red guy turns to white on the traffic light. If you do, you’ll get fined. We are purposely giving up our ability to think rationally.

I am not arguing systems aren’t good. They can be eerily effective.  I just think it’s good to be aware that as we use more and more technology (as I write this from my smartphone-turned-dumbphone) we should be using our brains more, not less. Don’t give in to systems. Make the systems work for you.

What systems do you see in place in your daily life?