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Do you know how to raise your Internet Price?

Do you know how to raise your Internet Price?
Internet Priced to sell!

I went shopping this weekend for a new car. I entered a few numbers and in a few minutes I could see exactly the Internet Price for 41 specific cars within a hundred miles of me, and my Inbox started filling up with emails from Internet Sales Managers. I can remember just a few years ago this kind of Internet Pricing didn’t exist, and then a few years on how media pontificators would say you could never sell something like a car, or a house on the net.

Now, I can find the Internet Price for anything: my car, my home, a college education, major surgery, you name it.

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Even me.

Plug in the skills you want, the years experience, optional equipment and how you would like me wrapped and there’s dozens of sites where programmers are listed by their Internet Price, some with pictures as nice as those of new cars. Would that be cash, check or charge?

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If you’re not a programmer, don’t feel too relieved: there are lots of people hard at work to set your Internet Price, and the day your picture will be looking out of the screen with a Click Now to Purchase link is fast approaching.

So how do you raise your Internet Price? How do you – yes you, reading this post right now – compete in a world where anyone who needs one of you can choose from everyone like you? Here’s what won’t work:

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  • Drop your price. American programmers can’t match the price of Eastern European programmers who can’t work for what Indian programmers who are getting beat by Chinese Programmers who go nuts when Open Source programmers do it for free!
  • Accessorize. Add more degrees, certifications, boot camps, post conference workshops, courses, classes, workshops, continued education classes, online classes, night classes, while you supposedly sleep training classes to the end of your name you have to get a oversized business card. So what? Everyone else with an Internet Price has just as many certs as you do.

In my opinion, here’s what will help you raise your Internet Price:

  • Don’t just hold down a job; excel. Slackers are a dime a dozen, and just as replaceable. Whether you flip burgers or man an IT help desk – both jobs I’ve had – how you do what you do matters not just to who you do it for, but hugely matters to your future.
  • Create and share value. Whether you’re self employed or work for a company, the more ways you can create value and share that value, the more valuable you are.
  • Be passionate. If you hate your job, quit! In all my working years I’ve never met someone who hated their job who was worth a damn at it and I’ve never met anyone who loved their job who wasn’t sought after. You know the part where you were told do something sensible, something respectable, something that you will make good money at? It’s a lie. It’s just that simple.
  • Define yourself online. We live at a time when hundreds of millions of people can connect, just by raising their hand and clicking their keyboards. That’s a bigger, more profound change than if tomorrow we can all levitate off the ground any time we want. If you pursue and discover your passions online, you will connect with other passionate people. You can do it by blogging, you can do it be participating in online communities, you can do it any way that works for you. The Internet can set your price and the Internet can make you priceless.

Value, passion and the Internet reverse the trend of treating people like they’re as interchangeable, replaceable and exchangeable parts to be bought and sold at the lowest Internet Price. And I for one am very glad they do!

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Last Updated on April 8, 2019

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

Unless you’re infinitely rich or prepared to rack up major debt, you need to budget your income. Setting limits on how much you are willing to spend helps control expenses. But what about your time? Do you budget your time or spend it carelessly?

Deadlines are the chronological equivalent of a budget. By setting aside a portion of time to complete a task, goal or project in advance you avoid over-spending. Deadlines can be helpful but they can also be a source of frustration if set improperly. Here are some tips for making deadlines work:

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  1. Use Parkinson’s Law – Parkinson’s Law states that tasks expand to fill the time given to them. By setting a strict deadline in advance you can cut off this expansion and focus on what is most important.
  2. Timebox – Set small deadlines of 60-90 minutes to work on a specific task. After the time is up you finish. This cuts procrastinating and forces you to use your time wisely.
  3. 80/20 – The Pareto Principle suggests that 80% of the value is contained in 20% of the input. Apply this rule to projects to focus on that critical 20% first and fill out the other 80% if you still have time.
  4. Project VS Deadline – The more flexible your project, the stricter your deadline. If a task has relatively little flexibility in completion a softer deadline will keep you sane. If the task can grow easily, keep a tight deadline to prevent waste.
  5. Break it Down – Any deadline over one day should be broken down into smaller units. Long deadlines fail to motivate if they aren’t applied to manageable units.
  6. Hofstadter’s Law – Basically this law states that it always takes longer than you think. A rule I’ve heard in software development is to double the time you think you need. Then add six months. Be patient and give yourself ample time for complex projects.
  7. Backwards Planning – Set the deadline first and then decide how you will achieve it. This approach is great when choices are abundant and projects could go on indefinitely.
  8. Prototype – If you are attempting something new, test out smaller versions of a project to help you decide on a final deadline. Write a 10 page e-book before your 300 page novel or try to increase your income by 10% before aiming to double it.
  9. Find the Weak Link – Figure out what could ruin your plans and accomplish it first. Knowing the unknown can help you format your deadlines.
  10. No Robot Deadlines – Robots can work without sleep, relaxation or distractions. You aren’t a robot. Don’t schedule your deadline with the expectation you can work sixteen hour days to complete it. Deathmarches aren’t healthy.
  11. Get Feedback – Get a realistic picture from people working with you. Giving impossible deadlines to contractors or employees will only build resentment.
  12. Continuous Planning – If you use a backwards planning model, you need to constantly be updating plans to fit your deadline. This means making cuts, additions or refinements so the project will fit into the expected timeframe.
  13. Mark Excess Baggage – Identify areas of a task or project that will be ignored if time grows short. What e-mails will you have to delete if it takes too long to empty your inbox? What features will your product lack if you need a rapid finish?
  14. Review – For deadlines over a month long take a weekly review to track your progress. This will help you identify methods you can use to speed up work and help you plan more efficiently for the future.
  15. Find Shortcuts – Almost any task or project has shortcuts you can use to save time. Is there a premade library you can use instead of building your own functions? An autoresponder to answer similar e-mails? An expert you can call to help solve a problem?
  16. Churn then Polish – Set a strict deadline for basic completion and then set a more comfortable deadline to enhance and polish afterwards. Often churning out the basics of a task quickly will require no more polishing afterwards than doing it slowly.
  17. Reminders – Post reminders of your deadlines everywhere. Creating a sense of urgency with your deadlines is necessary to keep them from getting pushed aside by distractions.
  18. Forward Planning – Not mutually exclusive with backwards planning, this involves planning the details of a project out before setting a deadline. Great for achieving clarity about what you are trying to accomplish before making arbitrary time limits.
  19. Set a Timer – Get one that beeps. Somehow the countdown of a timer appears more realistic for a ninety minute timebox than just glancing at your clock.
  20. Write them Down – Any deadline over a few hours needs to be written down. Otherwise it is an inclination not a goal. Having written deadlines makes them more tangible than internal decisions alone.
  21. Cheap/Fast/Good – Ben Casnocha in My Start Up Life mentions that you can have only have two of the three. Pick two of the cheap/fast/good dimensions before starting a project to help you prioritize.
  22. Be Patient – Using a deadline may seem to be the complete opposite of patience. But being patient with inflexible tasks is necessary to focus on their completion. The paradox is that the more patient you are, the more you can focus. The more you can focus the quicker the results will come!

Featured photo credit: Estée Janssens via unsplash.com

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