Hi, I’m Alice (ah-leece). This is a Wednesday bi-weekly newsletter to help you take advantage of the internet, one idea at a time. Don’t hesitate to reach out if something piques your interest.
Greetings from Merida, Mexico!
Getting here was a travel day from absolute hell. Our initial flight from New York to Mexico City was delayed by 1.5 hours, causing us to miss our connecting flight to Merida. We then missed our second connecting flight because our gate number never showed up on the display screen.
After 6.5 hours of lounging in the Mexico City airport (where someone pickpocketed $105 from my dad), we got on the third flight to Merida. We arrived at our Airbnb around 11:30 PM, bringing us to a grand total of 22 traveling hours.
You’ve got to love it.
But we’re here, and it’s beautiful. Merida is known for its rich Mayan heritage, tree-lined streets, and colonial-era churches. It’s a bit hard to work remotely as the heat here is incessant, but I’m not complaining.
Being able to work remotely (or even have a job) reminded me of how game-like life really is. For a long time, I was stuck on a level where I wasn’t able to advance my career, because no one on LinkedIn would answer my DMs (and the interviews I did get led nowhere).
I beat the level by learning to use the internet to my advantage. I began writing online on Medium, building a social media presence, and hired a coach to teach me how to cold pitch. Now, I’m lucky enough to be a digital nomad and have clients come to me.
All of life is a game, with levels of increasing difficulty. Switching careers is a level. Dating around as you look for the right partner for you is a level. Learning how to work out is a level.
Regardless, you might as well play the game because you have no other choice. While it gets tiring (and super frustrating!), that's how the game works. Train your character (you!) every day to get to the next level, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how far you can go.
So with that, my question for you this week is:
“What level of the game are you battling right now, and what new strategy can you take to beat it?”
🖼 On Becoming a Prolific Creator
This Week: To Create, Just Show Up Every Day.
If you’re struggling to create, this is the reason why: you’re overthinking it.
Kishore Nallan, founder of Typesense, revealed he was able to build a search engine from scratch just by writing a few lines of code everyday either before or after work.
That’s it. No deadline. No quarterly reviews, plans, or quotas. No overarching game plan.
In his piece, “The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Just Showing Up Every Day,” Nallan explains that no self-imposed pressure, paired with relentless persistence, is the best way to ship anything. This applies to whatever creative pursuit you're working on, too.
We’ll overcomplicate things because we convince ourselves that if we’re not struggling, we’re not doing it right. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Ask yourself: What would creating this look like if it were easy?
Your answer would probably be a little bit of work, every day. Doesn’t sound so bad, right?
🥒 Content Diet
🎙Hinge: Justin McLeon by How I Built This — In 2010, Justin McLeon was dealing with a shitty breakup. But, that breakup led to one of the most popular dating apps — and a marriage. This podcast is a great story about destruction, love, and relentless ambition.
🥑 That Girl: Wellness Shouldn’t Be Work by The Take – We all want to be “That Girl”. The girl with an exorbitant skincare routine, matching workout sets, and rainbow diet. But turning self-care into a chore defeats the entire point of wellness. This video on commercialized life-hacking is provocative and thoughtful.
Another Lil’ Gem:
✍🏼 Freelancing Journey
This Week: Your Need-to-Have Clauses in a Project Proposal
Implementing an iron-clad project proposal is a pivotal moment in your freelancing business.
If done correctly, it’ll protect you from the pitfalls of freelancing, and guard your time, energy, and resources. I almost never sign a client without a project proposal and it’s made a world of difference.
But, it’s the clauses in the proposal that matter. Here’s a short list of all the clauses I include, all of them implemented after an error I made in my first year of freelancing. Chuck these in your next project proposal so you don't make the same mistakes I did:
• "1.1 Schedule. Proposal serves as a partnership agreement, which begins on the date of deposit receipt."
Why It’s Important: You don’t start the project until the client pays your deposit. This protects you from doing unpaid labor.
• "1.2 Consultation. Retainer includes up to (insert hours) of video conferencing for the duration of the retainer. If additional calls are required, they are billed as a line-item cost of ($X) per hour."
Why It’s Important: This protects you from the dreaded “Can you hop on a call really quickly?”. If clients want your time, they can pay extra for it.
• "1.3 Retainer. Both parties agree that due to the retainer nature of this agreement, the client is required to pay full amount even if they are unable to provide the required deliverables to complete the project."
Why It’s Important: If a client signs a retainer agreement, they are reserving a set number from hours from you. If the client cannot provide what you need to finish a project (i.e., a round of edits), they still must pay you the full amount of the retainer because during this agreement, you were unable to do work with someone else.
• "1.4 Turnaround Times. Turnaround time for written assignments is (X) business days. If a deliverable needs to be expedited, it is subject to a rush fee of 20%."
Why It’s Important: “Can you get this done by tomorrow!” a message urgently reads. That’s fine, but as Seth Godin says, “Panic costs extra.” Your time is not the price you should pay for your clients disorganization.
• "1.5 Invoices. Client agrees to pay the amount owed within (X) days of receiving the invoice. Payment after that date will incur a fee of (X)% per month on the outstanding balance."
Why It’s Important. Straightforward. Your bills don’t wait, and you shouldn’t wait for a client. Apply late fees!
That's it this week, folks.
I hope everyone is having a lovely week, wherever you are in the world.
I'll see you in two weeks!
P.S - If you're a freelancer, you might be interested in this podcast I did for Freelance to Fortune. In it, we breakdown my monthly income for May as well as my number one tip for freelancers. Okay, that's all, toodaloo!