This one has been on my mind for quite some time now, but it wasn’t until a few days ago that I saw a couple of posts that actually troubled me, a lot.
I see a lot of forum members posting about how after X amount of days they are not seeing any results, and how disappointed they are.
I also noticed that it’s easy for senior members of the forum -myself included- to kind of jump on them, and tell them what they should or shouldn’t be doing, and how they shouldn’t feel disappointed.
First of all, I think we all could be a bit more empathetic, and recognize that disappointment and frustration are valid feelings we all experienced on our journey. Especially early on.
Heck I am feeling rather frustrated myself these past couple of weeks, due to a combination of tough, long-term projects and a mental burnout I am currently experiencing.
Framing the problem
But the main thing I want to cover with this post, is something I stumbled upon when mentoring the first group of freelancers via my private group.
I mistakenly made the assumption that, given my success on the platform, and my overall growth as a businessman these past 7 or so years, I had a recipe for success, ready to be replicated by anyone.
So I found it rather frustrating when I hit a wall with some of the freelancers in my group, who seemed to be doing everything right on paper, but for some reason couldn’t quite “take off”.
That’s when I decided to tackle this, the same way I approach most of the challenges in my life: I needed a framework of sorts.
Here’s the formula I came up with:
Luck + Context + Skills = SUCCESS.
Let’s break it down.
Luck is probability.
Context is the set of conditions your are operating in.
Skill is the ability to perform a task, at a high level of proficiency.
So when we talk to people about their journey on Fiverr (and freelancing in general) we need to take into account all 3 elements, otherwise we can’t help them.
Dangerous business advice
If we take those three elements into account, suddenly it’s easy see that one’s success or failure, is a bit more complex than what we would want to admit.
Some forum members come to me with questions, looking for the exact path I took, the precise actions/decisions that brought me to be a TRS/Pro seller.
I answer most of the questions I get, truthfully and as openly as possible, but I just realised that the questions themselves are framed in a way that is most certainly going to lead to bad advice.
Most questions fail to take into account or acknowledge the nuances that lead to my success.
When did I first join the platform?
What was my socio-economic background?
Where did I live at the time?
What did I major in?
Did I have a mentor?
The list goes on.
Which is mainly the reason why I stopped doling out advice recently, and tried to re-examine how I could still answer questions and offer suggestions to members of the community, whilst making sure I don’t offer advice that may end up not being helpful.
A new framework
So here are the 4 steps that create a framework for improvement:
Try to improve your ability to understand the context through observation.
Practice observing, not just seeing things around you.
Expand your ability to orient yourself to the observations you manage to make.
Use frameworks and knowledge to make sense of your observations.
Gain said knowledge and create the frameworks by reading and talking to people who have already done the learning part.
That will lead you to make better decisions.
A decision isn’t just saying yes to something. It’s also turning your back to something else. It means you make just one selection from a list of viable alternatives. (viability of said alternatives, is derived by the 3 elements of the formula)
There’s nothing left to do but act. Sometimes acting is something dramatic. Like updating your profile pic, and deleting gigs. Other times it’s simply to stay where you are and observe what the marketplace is doing. But you must never remain trapped in the observation phase. You will need to act in order to see change.
So my latest piece of advice, if you want to take it:
Seek advice that considers context.
Anything generic, just won’t do. It will end up making you feel bad about not being able to replicate something, you probably are not capable of understanding, let alone achieve.
Develop your observation skills, it’s the only way to find patterns.
And finally, try to develop frameworks and mental models to improve your decision making process.
After watching the “Last dance” documentary, I started to think that I may now have a shot at becoming as good of a basketball player as Jordan.
But by observing my context, luck and skill, I was able to conclude that I probably won’t.
And that’s OK.
In fact it’s liberating, and allows me to focus on making my jump shot just good enough so I can get 5 in a row.
Thank you for reading, hopefully this will spark some interesting conversations!