The Cover Letter Template I Use to Get a 10% Job Offer Rate in Upwork

woman working at home with her laptop

I’ve been spending a lot of time in Quora and some online groups this past couple of months. One of the trends I noticed is the complaints about how freelancers who use Upwork aren’t getting new projects, including the “veterans” in the platform.

After reading the comments and replies, there are usually two common recommendations:

  1. Optimize your profile — using a catchy headline, add your portfolio, and even record a video
  2. Apply to more jobs—it’s a numbers game. Buy connects, apply to jobs, you’ll eventually get a job offer.

While not terrible, I didn’t see anyone address a more fundamental issue on why freelancers aren’t getting interviews and new projects.

If this sounds like you, I wrote about how the hiring process looks like from the other side of the table. I share what clients are really looking for despite what they say in their vague job descriptions. More importantly, I explained why freelancers are getting disqualified and how to overcome it. This is a continuation of that post.

(Hint: you get disqualified long before clients see your optimized profile and portfolio)

Sneak Peek of What Clients See When You Apply for Their Jobs

In order to get new projects, freelancers submit their application to a job post. This application requires freelancers to write a cover letter. Some ask more questions that you need to answer, but often it’s just the cover letter. Once you submit your application, your profile and proposed rate are also included.

These three things are what the client sees first when someone applies to their job. And this is also the reason why a lot of freelancers get disqualified even before their profiles get read.

What Hiring Companies See in Upwork Applications
What Hiring Companies See in Upwork Applications • Screenshot by Author

Now you have an idea of what clients see, you’ll start to understand why all other advice to succeed in Upwork — optimizing your profile, shooting a video, adding your portfolio — doesn’t matter as much as writing a good cover letter.

Here’s how you write one that gets you a 10% job offer rate.

3 Essential Questions Your Cover Letter Should Answer

The cover letter is the most basic requirement for applying to jobs in Upwork. At its core, there are three things your cover letter needs to address:

  1. Why you’re applying for the job
  2. How you can help me/my company
  3. How to get in touch

1. Why you’re applying for the job

Answering this question will help the hiring company see your motivations and help you stand out from others.

Most job ads will not ask this, but it’s always a question that lingers at the back of every hiring manager:

Why should I hire you and not the others?

No matter how you look at it, not everyone is a perfect fit for every role. But that doesn’t stop hiring managers from finding the ideal candidate.

For every job, there’s usually one opening and dozens of applicants. Answering this question upfront helps the hiring manager know why they should pick you, instead of making them guess.

2. How you can help me or my company

This is the primary reason why they posted a job ad — they need help with a project or role. If you don’t answer this question upfront, they will still ask you about it. So, why not state them upfront? Why make the hiring manager do extra work?

All things being equal, comparing your cover letter which didn’t have the answer to this question with another freelancer who answered this clearly, they’ll choose the latter every single time.

3. How to get in touch

Failing to realize that Upwork is a global marketplace is one of the most frequent shortcomings of freelancers, especially if they are coming from first-world countries.

I’m saying this with all respect, but most of the time, they think that everyone else operates in the same timezone as them.

And while Upwork offers chat and both audio and video calls, most clients still opt to use 3rd party tools like Skype since that’s what they are used to. In order to make it easier for clients to get in touch, provide a clear answer to this question.

Copy My Cover Letter Template to Get a 10% Job Offer Rate

After scouring through multiple forums, the only answer I could find to the question “how long does it take to get a job in Upwork” falls along the lines of “it could take weeks to a few months.”

This is okay if you’re entering the gig economy and trying to earn extra money. But if you suddenly got fired from your job or lost a client, you don’t have the luxury of time.

Copy this cover letter template that I use to get a 10% job offer rate.* All things being equal, this will get you a job for every 60 connects (or $9 at the current pricing).

Let’s say the job ad mentioned about HubSpot, the inbound methodology, and how this eCommerce company wants to implement it to grow their sales. The job ad also mentioned using advertisements on Facebook and Instagram. Here’s how my cover letter would look like:

Name, I’m interested in the role of ________. I’ve been following HubSpot since 2011 and have implemented the inbound methodology several times across multiple industries.

My background fits your needs perfectly. I have an MBA with a very strong business background and have been leveraging that education with all the companies I’ve worked and consulted for.

In one of my clients, after implementing the Inbound Methodology, monthly website visits increased by 618% (from 3k+ to 28k+) and monthly leads by 490% from 10 to 59 a month. I did this by creating content, distributing them on relevant social media sites, and using lead magnets to build our list.

For a B2C eCommerce site, I achieved a 290% return on ad spend (ROAS) by using a simple two-pronged ad strategy. Without going much into details, this involves targeting cold audiences with specific type of ads and targeting warm audiences with another. This helped the company grew its monthly orders from 5 to 66 resulting to $X additional revenues.

I’d be happy to share more. I look forward to hearing from you. Your Upwork profile says you’re in ________. I’m available for interview daily on Skype or here from _____ to _____ your local time, but I’m flexible on that once we agree on a schedule.

Let’s break it down so you why it works and how you can customize this cover letter template.

*Includes my last 100 applications, including the projects I applied for outside my standard work. Meaning, the job offer rate would have been higher if I only stuck with my niche.

Introduction: Your first sentence matters a lot

Name, I’m interested in the role of ________. I’ve been following HubSpot since 2011 and have implemented the inbound methodology several times across multiple industries.

Your introduction is critical for two reasons:

  1. It’s what the client first sees (see the image I shared above)
  2. It sets you apart from others

If you noticed, I included the name there. Most of the time, the job post doesn’t include any details on who the client is until after you applied. But if you don’t do some work up front, you’re already behind those who did the extra work.

Here’s how to find the client’s name:

  1. Open the Client’s recent history
  2. Read the reviews left by other freelancers
  3. Look for the client’s name
How to Find Client’s Name in Upwork
How to Find Client’s Name in Upwork • Screenshot by Author

Next, by sharing why you applied for the role, you are setting yourself apart from other freelancers. In the example, I mentioned HubSpot and my connection with them. Others call this anchoring.

Anchoring is where you leverage an existing connection with them based on all the available information. In this case, I used my experience with HubSpot and how I’ve been following them for almost a decade.

When you apply, take note of these details laid out by the client.

  • If they mention a company or brand, think if you have a connection with them. It could be that you worked there before, used the software, etc.
  • Take a look at their industry to see if you’ve worked with similar ones before. That’s your anchor.
  • Did they use a technique you’re familiar with? Like the inbound methodology, pillar content, 5 stages of awareness, etc.

Body: Results and how you can help them

In one of my clients, after implementing the Inbound Methodology, monthly website visits increased by 618% (from 3k+ to 28k+) and monthly leads by 490% from 10 to 59 a month. I did this by creating content, distributing them on relevant social media sites, and using lead magnets to build our list.

For a B2C eCommerce site, I achieved a 290% return on ad spend (ROAS) by using a simple two-pronged ad strategy. Without going much into details, this involves targeting cold audiences with specific type of ads and targeting warm audiences with another. This helped the company grew its monthly orders from 5 to 66 resulting to $X additional revenues.

This is where you shine as an individual freelancer. You highlight the results you made for other clients here.

As a side note, did you notice the anchoring in there as well? I used the inbound methodology, e-commerce, and ads. All related to what they are looking for.

Unfortunately, this is also where a lot of freelancers (and professionals in general) have a hard time. It’s because most are used to simply “doing” their jobs, they don’t look at how their activities are tied into business goals.

For digital marketing, these activities usually fall along these lines:

  • Write blog posts
  • Perform keyword research
  • Build email sequences
  • Send newsletters
  • Produced X videos

Those are all great. But it doesn’t separate you from others. Anyone can do those things.

The person who did the same activities could have been fired from the job because those didn’t add value to the business

That’s why results matter. And that’s what you should highlight them in this part.

You may think that your profession might not have any tangible results, but that’s far from the truth. The top 3 motivations for why people buy things (or in this case hire you for their project) fall under these:

  1. Make more money (e.g. increase sales)
  2. Save money (e.g. cut costs)
  3. Save time (e.g. increase productivity; eliminate hassle)

If you link what you do to any of these, it increases your chances of standing out.

  • Writer — where were your words used? Sales video? Blog post? Advertisements? How much money did that entire campaign bring in? Did it save the client time? Did it improve a previous metric like return on ad spend (ROAS) or generates more revenues?
  • Designer — Were your graphics used in advertisements? How many leads or sales did it make? Did the infographics you made getting viewed and shared? Are they getting backlinks? Did it generate some leads too? Are people saying nice things about the graphics?
  • Developer — Migrated a new website without errors or in under 2 weeks? Did you speed up the entire site? Did you resolve some bugs that were causing errors? Did it improve workflow or internal processes?

Whatever your role is or your industry, results matter. Keep a log of all the results you brought in for your clients. I have a document that I update once every quarter on virtually everything — from marketing, management and people skills, advertisements, freelancing, and creating passive income. You’ll never know when you’ll need it.

It’s always easier to look through some database as opposed to trying to think on the spot or remember what happened 5 years ago. If you don’t have your own career management document, start building one now.

One other thing: don’t list every accomplishment here. Highlight the best result that is closely related to what the job ad is asking for. Make the person reading your cover letter interested in learning more about you. And you do that by sharing the results you made for your previous clients/companies and an overview of how you did it.

Food for thought: If you’re the hiring manager, which would you be more interested in learning more about? A cover letter that reads “look at my profile” or one that says “grew revenues by 40% in 3 months”?

Close: How to reach you

I look forward to hearing from you. Your Upwork profile says you’re in ________. I’m available for interview daily on Skype or here from _____ to _____ your local time, but I’m flexible on that once we agree on a schedule.

After hooking them in, it’s time for the close. Tell them that you’re expecting them to reach out. Proactively share your availability.

Once they read your cover letter, do you think they’re going to hire you immediately? No. They’ll most likely have a chat with you to get a feel for working with you and get to know you better.

Again, don’t make them guess. Don’t give them additional work. If they like your cover letter, they’ll check out your profile and reach out to you. Most likely, they’ll want to schedule a call with you so they’ll ask you your availability.

If you don’t, the process will take a longer time. Don’t forget that the hiring manager is hiring for a role to help them with their goals. They are not hiring for the sake of hiring. The faster you can overcome the hurdles throughout the interview process, the higher your chances of getting an offer.

But if you gave your availability right away, they can simply message you at that time and since you’re available, you can invite them to hop on a call. Boom! You’re now one step closer to getting a job offer.

One thing I’d like to highlight is the time you offer. Make sure you are actually free and available. Take it a step further by customizing it to their own timezone. You can easily find that in the job ad.

How to Find Client’s Timezone in Upwork
How to Find Client’s Timezone in Upwork • Screenshot by Author

When it comes to scheduling, it’s safe to make these two assumptions:

  1. They work regular 9–5
  2. They are in the timezone listed in their profile

At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter the time you mention here. They’ll reach out to you and set a schedule to hop on a call.

This matters a lot. Every little detail that gives you an edge counts. When you make it easier to hire you, you’ll most likely get hired.

Over to You

Whether you’re new to Upwork or have spent years on the platform, if you are spending too much on connects, then you’re doing something wrong. It might take you a while to find the job you’re looking for, but if you follow this cover letter template then add your own results, you’ll break through the competition.

Honestly, the 10% offer rate is low. The main reason for this is I applied for jobs outside my expertise in order to gain more experience. If I focused on the ones I specialize in, I would have probably gotten closer to 20–25%.

Of course, once you get to that call (or when the hiring manager gets in touch with you), it’s up to you to demonstrate how you can help them.

Remember, it doesn’t matter how good you are. What matters is how the hiring manager thinks how good you are. That’s why you need to focus on communicating the results and the value you bring to the table.

Start sending those cover letters today!

Looking Back at 2020: A Retrospective

pexels photo 4066041

12 months ago, things were a lot different.

Around this time last year, I was planning my trip to Paris with my wife. Now, we’re both in our rooms in front of our computers working.

Pandemic aside, I can say I had a good 2020 vs what I set out to do. I also accomplished most of what I set out to do.

Quick Recap: Plans vs Actuals

Last year, I wrote about four separate projects:

  1. Website redesign to make my site load faster and have a better user experience
  2. Focus on specific content topics
  3. Write more content
  4. Launch new services

Among these, I’d say I did well in #1-3 while so-so in #4.

For the website, I’d give myself a 90% score. I actually just redesigned it again and got better speeds.

In terms of UX, I wouldn’t know until after a few weeks. That’ll be based on my bounce rate and pages per session metrics in Google Analytics.

For the content, I’d give myself a 100%. I implemented two writing sprints which allowed me to publish more than 60 articles this year alone. That’s more than what most websites churn out. (The image below was taken the first week of November).

My website post statistics

Lastly, for the new services, I give myself a 50% here. I was actually able to “launch” the service but it’s incomplete.

Meaning, the backend system and pricing is setup including the specific deliverables. But the front end isn’t finished yet.

I haven’t finalized the copy and design which I will eventually include in this site.

Other Metrics and Targets

No targets wouldn’t be complete without financials.

I actually use the OKR method to track my progress. I update my numbers every Monday on my BuJo. This way, I remain flexible and know where I am at any point in time.

One of my objectives is to reach a certain monthly revenue threshold.

Since I was tracking this since January, I immediately noticed that I was off track come March when clients were canceling projects.

But after all that’s said and done, I’m fortunate enough to be in an industry where I’m not affected greatly. Even my clients who canceled all resumed after a few weeks.

That said, I’d give myself a 70% on the financial aspect. I am close to meeting my active income numbers, but my passive income sources don’t come close.

Knowing this, this will be a major undertaking for my 2021. That way I get to build upon my passive income streams and stop relying on trading my time for money.

The other objective I wrote was about personal growth. I planned to read 12 books (once a month) and I’ve only met 40% of that. There’s still time to catch up, but it’s less likely.

On the other hand, I did enroll and finished several online courses that weren’t originally part of my personal development growth objective.

Thoughts on 2021

Tracking these metrics helped me learn a lot about myself. And this is something i can definitely use when I finalize my plans for 2021.

But so far, here’s a list of things I plan to add/change for 2021.

1. Add a Cost Target/Limit

While I set a revenue target for my freelancing business, I didn’t set a cost target. So, this is something I want to keep track of.

This is also a mix between professional and personal aspect.

Since I am my own business, I subscribe and pay for all the tools I’m using in my line of work. This includes my email marketing software and SEO tool among others.

And with so many tools out there, it’s easy to get lost in subscribing to a bunch of stuff you don’t actually need. That’s why it’s also important to set a limit to these.

Another consideration I’m planning is getting an annual subscription vs a monthly one as this option usually is at least 10% cheaper.

2. Hire a VA/Grow My Team

Since I am a business, I plan to grow in order to serve more customers.

This is something freelancers often have trouble understanding. It’s one of the lessons I constantly remind myself.

Since we work by ourselves, it’s easy to think that what we do only affects us, but in reality, is still part of something bigger.

That said, because I only have limited time, I can’t take on more clients without getting additional help. So, this is something I plan on working towards next year.

PS: if you know someone, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

3. Grow Passive Income Stream

Growing my passive income streams will be a big endeavor for me in 2021.

I’m at my point where I think I’ve paid my dues. I want to be able to wake up and do nothing yet not feel guilty about not working.

I have a full 6-month emergency fund and some investments for the future. So in the short-term, even if I don’t work, I won’t get into trouble.

But without a way to replenish that, it’s not sustainable.

That’s why I plan to grow my my passive income streams further.

During the pandemic, I created three separate streams. In four months, I earned ~$350 across all those channels.

It’s nowhere near my active income revenue, but it’s a start.

Over to You

2020 is a crazy year. Something our generation will remember for a really long time.

But it’s not all bad.

What about you? How was your 2020?

Good? Bad? No change? Either way, I’d love to know.

4 Considerations to Unleash Ultimate Productivity (Backed by Science)

serious young asian lady reading book in cafeteria

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably expecting some tips or hacks you can use in order to be more productive. But has it occurred to you that that may be the problem as to why you’re not productive?

I was in a cafe a few years ago reading a book and taking down some notes. It’s one of those activities I frequently do—get away from the house or office, read a book, and just enjoy my coffee.

After a while, I glanced up and saw that there were a bunch of people who weren’t there before. I put my book down, sipped on my coffee and started observing.

There was a group of friends who haven’t seen each other for a long time. They were catching up and sharing stories that made them shriek from time to time. There were some individuals who were also busy reading. In front of them was a book big enough to cover their faces. At the corner of the cafe, there was a married couple who were enjoying some quiet time with their kid eating a chocolate cake while watching something on a tablet.

For some reason, I didn’t notice them until I started noticing. I was able to concentrate on what I’m doing despite everything that was happening around me. I didn’t get distracted when these people came in nor when they make loud noises. Naturally, I’d glance up when I hear some shrill laughter from the group of friends, but I went back to my book immediately.

Looking back, I’ve noticed this ability to focus wasn’t always present. There are times when I can’t even stay put for longer than 2 minutes without switching tasks.

After trying out different productivity tips and systems, I realized I was looking at boosting my productivity from an incomplete perspective. Instead of focusing solely on what to do, I didn’t consider the when.

Do You Know Where Your Time Goes?

The first thing you need to do if you truly want to improve your productivity is to find out when you are most productive.

The only way to do this is to track where your time goes.

Don’t assume whether you’re more productive at night or in the morning. Don’t assume that you only spend 30 minutes scrolling through your Instagram account.

You’ve got to know exactly.

One of the tools I use is called RescueTime. I’ve been using them since 2015. It’s a simple app you install on your computer and it automatically tracks where you spend your time.

Take a look at one of the reports they have.

Sample Report in RescueTime

They also have a mobile app but I don’t use it since they require a 24/7 location access (which drains battery significantly). But if that’s not a problem for you, you can install it so you get a 100% view of where your time goes whether you’re on your phone, tablet, or on your computer.

You will also have to configure whether an activity or website or app is productive or unproductive. At the beginning, you’ll have a lot of time grouped as Uncategorized. Some will be wrongly categorized as productive or distracting.

This will differ depending on what you do. So you can tell RescueTime which is which.

In my case, I work in marketing. So logging into WordPress or Google Analytics is productive time for me. If I’m tinkering with code or CSS, which isn’t my strong suite, then that’s unproductive.

What I really like is that it only tracks active time. That’s the time where you’re doing something so the times you’re not in your computer (say to prepare your lunch or do some errands) aren’t included.

Let’s say you’re reading an article. Naturally, you’ll be scrolling down as you read it. That’s counted by RescueTime. But if you step away to go to the bathroom, which will most likely take a few minutes, that’s excluded automatically.

When Do You Do Your Best Work?

Over time, a pattern will emerge in your reports.

You will see roughly three phases:

  1. Peak: our mood rises in the morning
  2. Trough: our mood declines in the early to mid-afternoon
  3. Recovery: our mood boosts back up in the early evening

You won’t experience the same patterns at the same time, but you will see those three patterns depending on your own chronotype. For example, if you are a night owl, you will most likely experience that in reverse: recovery, trough, then peak.

Here’s how to know your chronotype:

Determine your chronotype by finding the midpoint between the time you usually go to sleep and the time you wake. If it’s between 1 a.m. and 3 a.m., you’re among the 14% of people who are considered larks. If it’s between 6 a.m. and noon, you’re in the 21% of people who are owls. If it’s between 3 a.m. and 6 a.m., you’re in the 65% of people who are third birds.

Regardless, by tracking where your time goes, you’ll be able to know when you do your best work.

Also, you won’t be able to cheat your way out of this. Since RescueTime tracks your activities automatically, you don’t have to start and stop a timer. You also won’t be able to edit where your time goes.

Say you claim you only use Facebook for less than an hour a day. Then after viewing the report, you realize that you spend three hours every single day.


And this doesn’t take into consideration the switching cost between tasks—where it’s said that it takes approximately 25 minutes before you can “resume” the task you’re working on after you’ve been interrupted.

So if you constantly pick up your phone to scroll through Instagram every 5 minutes, you’ll never finish the report you’re working on.

What you do with the info is another matter though.

As for me, when I reviewed my productivity levels, I see spikes in the morning, dips around early afternoon, then spike back up again in the late afternoon.

This tells me that during early morning and late afternoons, my productivity levels are higher. That’s the time my body typically enters into a zone.

Conversely, I also know when my energy levels dip.

This knowledge helps me plan out what I do.

On another note, it’s best you review this every quarter or so. That way, you get a better understanding of how you work.

All Tasks Aren’t Created Equal

Knowing when I have the energy to do work helps me allocate my limited time and energy.

Since I know I’m most productive between 9 AM to 12 NN and 3PM to 5PM, I schedule my most important projects there. That includes client work or for my own personal projects.

Consequently, that time correlates nicely with the schedule I wrote here.

Then, during the downtime, that’s when I do low-value tasks such as logging receipts into my accounting software or reading some articles to help me stay up-to-date with what’s happening in my industry.

Consider Differentiating Between Creative vs Analytical Tasks

According to Daniel Pink, a great time to place creative work is during your peak, while putting analytical tasks during your recovery periods.

This is also one of the reasons why I love working for myself. I don’t have to stick to the 9-5 routine and force myself to “work” when I’m not at my best.

It’s easier to write articles or come up with great ideas in the morning (peak) and analyze spreadsheets during recovery.

This is not a hard and fast rule, but knowing these times can help you plan out your day.

As a side note, this is already included in the values I want when I start hiring other people and start my own company—I don’t care where you spend your time, and how you do things. As long as you get the job done within a specified deadline and within the bounds of ethics, you’re free to do whatever you want.

Over to You

We all want to be more productive. Doing something more with less time is not something only the gurus can do.

Knowing where your time goes, when you do your best work, and allocating your time to do them is the best place to start.

Following other people’s routines without knowing how you work best will only end up in failure.

Did you learn something new? Do you know when you do your best work? Let me know the comments below.

Preparing for 2021: What to Do, What Not to Do, and Why

crop person making notes in notepad

2020 was a blur.

Plans have gone out the window and forced a lot of people out of their comfort zones.

As I mentioned in my email list, I’m in the 2021 planning mode. The plans I made last year helped me navigate 2020.

Looking back, I probably stuck to my plan only around 20%. The rest just went down the drain.

And that’s okay.

If I didn’t write down what I set to accomplish, I know I would have just sulked and stay complacent when the pandemic hit.

But since I know I have some targets to reach, I scrapped the “how” in my plans with new ones to adapt to the current situation.

And that’s the importance of planning. It helps you keep on track no matter what happens. But more importantly, remember that it’s also okay to abandon your plans to adapt to what’s happening right now.

With that, here are a few things I’m doing and why.

Website Refresh (and Speed Improvements)

One of the first things I did was migrated my website to a new theme and cleaned it up a bit.

So if you’ve been here before and you’re seeing a couple of changes, I’d love to know what you think.

I’m not a fan of website redesigns (or rebranding as what other gurus use) just for the sake of it. There has to be some tangible goals to prove the ROI of the redesign.

The easiest way to do this is A/B test your homepage or several key pages to see whether metrics actually improve. You can start with simple ones like improving bounce rates or a more meaningful one which is to increase conversions.

In my case, that’s faster site speed. Why? Because of the core web vitals. Google announced that next year, page speed will be more important than ever. So use this time to prepare your website and improve overall user experience. Otherwise, you won’t have a chance ranking.

Here’s a before and after results via GTmetrix on one of my most visited page:

Page Load Time of Website in GTmetrix

Take a look at the purple line—fully loaded time. It was averaging ~5 seconds, but after the migration, the page is now fully loading in about 3 seconds, which is where you want to be.

Last year, I also did a refresh on my site which also helped me improve my site speed. This consequently helped me beat my entire 2019 website traffic in just 100 days.

Here’s another report for the same page:

GTmetrix Data for Tracked Page

Improving Conversion Rates

Around June this year, I tried out a new strategy in the hopes of improving my conversion rates.

The result? 150% growth in 4 months!

ConvertKit Subscriber List Growth in 2020

While it’s not drastic in terms of absolute numbers, I wouldn’t have grown my list. See that starting point (A)? That was when I migrated from MailChimp to ConvertKit.

But as you can see, that number was measly. And it took me 5 years to get to that. Then, in just 4 months (B), I was able to grow that by 150%.

I wrote about it here the day after I finished implementing the strategies.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to setup my tracking code properly until recently. So the only numbers I can get are the absolute numbers like what I shared above.

I’ll have more in the next few months, but so far, it’s doing pretty good.

Sample Conversion Rates of Forms in ConvertKit

Stop Making the Same Mistakes Again

Don’t you get tired of making the same mistakes over and over?

I know I am.

That’s why in my own business, I started my own playbook.

I document everything I do so I don’t have to think about it again the next time I do it. This includes a mix of things I frequently do (like for my website or client work) and the less frequent ones (like filing taxes).

In the short-term, this helps me do my work without having to “think” about it too much. I simply follow the steps until I complete the checklist.

In the long-term, I can simply hand this over to an assistant or a new team member. Then, they will be able to immediately do the work at a high level of quality.

And if you haven’t already, this is the easiest and most cost-effective way to increase your profitability.

Reduce Admin Work

Another big project I have on my list is to reduce my administrative work altogether.

The answer—automation.

I’ve ben using IFTTT and Zapier for a long time but haven’t really taken advantage of it. But now, I’m slowly moving a few of my redundant tasks there.

One of the tasks I just moved over is the sharing of new posts I publish here. Another one is sharing other content that I think you (and my followers) would be interested in, also known as content curation.

One of my proudest automation was when I delved into videos. I described the process here.

Always Move Forward

I’m an advocate of plans. But I’ve realized that plans (and ideas) don’t mean anything until they get out into the market.

Back when I started my first corporate job, I received a feedback from my manager about planning too much. Of course, being young and stupid, I pushed back at that time.

I justified planning and why it has to be that way.

Now as I’m writing this I’m chuckling and thinking how stupid I was.

I’ve now realized that lousy implementation is always better than perfect plans.

Case in point, no matter how much planning you did for 2020, I’m 100% sure you didn’t take into account a global pandemic.

So no matter how perfect your plan is, unless you make progress in the market and execute, you won’t see any results.

And that best way to do that is to chip away at your goals. You don’t complete a project or meet a goal in one fell swoop. You don’t reach your sales quotas. You do it one small step at a time. You close one client. Then another. And another.

The same holds true for everything.

Whether you’re trying to read 50 books a year or learning a new language; whether you’re looking to grow your annual revenues or increasing brand recognition —you do it one small step at a time.

Here’s a quick and dirty for how to do that:

  • Set a deadline to reach your goal or completion of a project
  • Divide the time you have in three
  • Spend the first 1/3 for planning and the 2/3 for doing

Let’s say you have a deadline to finish an email marketing campaign. It’s supposed to go live in a month.

Days 1-10, you use it for gathering info, getting all your messaging ready, how you’ll track and automate it, etc.

Days 11-30, you start executing. Design your template in the actual system, create and add the creatives, send test emails, and many more.

That’s how you move forward and avoid getting stuck.

And this is how you can survive the post-pandemic world.

Over to You

In just a few more weeks, 2020 will be over.

The pandemic will most likely still be with us. But that doesn’t mean our world has to stop.

Take a few hours to plan what 2021 looks like for you. List down what you want to achieve—both professionally and personally.

Set concrete targets.

As long as they are a number (i.e. measurable), then that’s a good start.

Have you started planning for 2021? Or are you having trouble making one? Either way, let me know in the comments below.