Set yourself apart from the majority of of the competition

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You’ve found the perfect job. Or, even better, a top-notch client has reached out to you. So it’s time to hit the “Submit a Proposal” button, set your rates, and get to work on your cover letter. But before you start rattling away on your keyboard, pause for a second.

Most freelancers don’t put much thought into their cover letters. And this is a big misstep. With dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of freelancers applying for a typical job, crafting an introduction that stands out isn’t optional.

In this post, I’ll give you five practical steps that will lift your cover…

High-paying clients are looking for people like you

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Do you rely exclusively on one lead-generation strategy to find new clients?

If you’re like most freelancers, you probably stumbled across your current source of leads early in your career. Maybe you figured out how to drive referrals or leverage marketplaces like Upwork. Since then, you’ve rarely (if ever) ventured into unknown territory.

If that’s the case, I’m here to tell you that you’re needlessly shutting yourself off from lucrative contracts.

It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting or you’ve been chugging away for years. If you want to increase your rates, do more of the work you really enjoy…

Five tips from a top-rated freelancer

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Budding writers are often told to stay away from Upwork. Coders? Maybe it’ll work. Marketers? Go for it. But writers who want to earn more than $3 an hour? Not a chance.

But is the much-maligned marketplace really as bad as people make out? I say no.

Over the last ten years, I’ve made a significant portion of my income on Upwork. And with the right strategy, I believe anybody can generate a steady stream of high-paying, long-term clients.

With that in mind, here are five tips for success:

1. Understand You’re Playing a Numbers Game

The first and most important thing to understand about Upwork is…

What I learned in the last ten years.

That’s me in Nepal.

I was born at the beginning of the nineties. April 1st, 1991, to be exact (yep, I’m a fool). As the new year dawns and I reflect back, I’m struck by how my life fits neatly into ten-year blocks — childhood, adolescence, and, in the last decade, setting out on my own.

Over the last ten years, I graduated from university, set up a business, sold it, launched another, traveled the world, experienced multiple breakups, had a brush with death after losing control of my motorbike, lost my grandfather, built a freelance career, learned how to make hawthorn jam, and…

Struggling to complete a task? Give yourself a treat.

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Still feeling bad about that sumptuous chocolate brownie? Beating yourself up for cramming in one more Netflix episode?

Even though we love small indulgences, they’re often a source of regret. But what if it’s possible to turn these guilty pleasures to our benefit?

A recent study suggests that small rewards actually boost task-related motivation and enjoyment. If you struggle with procrastination, giving yourself a treat might be the way forward.

You just have to know how to do it in the right way.

Why Big, Delayed Rewards Often Don’t Work

Research has shown that certain types of rewards can lead to decreased performance and hamper long-term motivation.

Fix one thing before you do anything else.

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Through most of my twenties, I struggled with two conflicting sides of my personality.

I was (and still am) a lavish goal-setter. I loved to snuggle down on a winter’s evening and plan my goals for the coming year, outline my strategies for achieving them, and plot nice little time-frames.

But I was also a chronic procrastinator. And I mean chronic. If lying in bed while scrolling through YouTube videos was paying work, I’d have ousted Jeff Bezos as the world’s richest man years ago.

I realized I needed to attack this problem head-on. So I turned to science. I…

You’ll be surprised at the answers.

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I searched for my “one thing” for years. I spent endless hours reflecting, experimenting, and pulling my hair out.

But I eventually realized I didn’t have one specific “purpose”. There wasn’t a vocation, calling, or craft I was destined to pursue. Instead, I had options. Multiple options that would be a good fit.

So instead of, “What’s my purpose?”, I asked, “Who am I?” And that’s when things got interesting.

Here are some questions to help you on the path to self-knowledge:

1. What would you do if you had one month left to live?

You’ve probably already been asked, “What would you do if you had one day left to live?” The…

Challenging mental chatter can have life-changing results.

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Does your motivation jump up and down like a broken piston?

One moment, you’re filled with drive and focus. The next, nothing. Or maybe you have periods of productivity, before eventually returning to old habits.

This back-and-forth is caused (in large part) by negative mental chatter that goes unnoticed and unchallenged.

But there’s a simple cure: awareness.

Awareness puts you in control. Simply shining a light on counter-productive thoughts weakens them. It’s instant, effective, and backed by research.

So next time you find yourself procrastinating, stop and ask yourself: “What am I thinking right now that’s pushing me off track?”

Contrary to popular belief, the research is far from clear.

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What do you feel when you hear the advice “find your passion”?

Do you experience a sudden urge to shout out, “What silly advice!”?

Or perhaps you think, “Yes! Working life is all about passion. That’s the route to fulfillment.”

The debate on “passion” is in full swing, with vociferous advocates on both sides. Yet the research is far from clear. And my own experience of the advice “find your passion” has been overwhelmingly positive.

So how should you proceed if you’re eager to find fulfilling work?

A Short History of “Passion”

To understand the mixed opinions swirling around the phrase “find your passion”, we…

Your “dream life” is likely more boring than you think. That’s a good thing.

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On a beautiful day in August 2017, I realized something was wrong.

On the surface, everything was perfect. I’d just moved to the paradisiacal island of Bali. My new business was taking off. I’d met a wonderful group of people, and my girlfriend was joining me in a few weeks.

But one day, as I sat gazing at the lush rainforest just beyond my balcony, a realization struck me: something’s missing.

And I don’t mean, “Oh, the wallpaper could be a different colour.” It was a gut-wrenching, “Something is missing.”

First world problem, right?

Everything was great. What right did…

Dan Mowinski

I help freelancers build meaningful, lucrative, and healthy careers. My site:

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