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Student Success Story (WIP) with Adrien Sanborn

by Gina Horkey on May 29, 2015, — Get free updates of new posts here

Today’s success story is a little different. We’re co-titling it a “WIP” or work in progress. After some back and forth communication with Adrien, we challenged him to a feature to share what he learned from Double Your Freelancing Rate and why he wasn’t yet as successful as he wanted to be.

Our aim is to tell his story and hold him accountable to his goals for the second half of this year. He’s declaring his intentions publicly in today’s blog post and we’re going to follow-up with him later this year to ensure he keeps his word. How’s that for a case study? PS: Don’t forget to check out last week’s with Jeff Bronson

If you’ve taken DYFR and want to accept a similar challenge, share why. 

Adrien Sanborn is half of the partership behind Adrien Design, which he runs with his wife, Yuko. He went solo in February 2014, but has been doing small freelance projects for the past few years.


What got you into freelancing? Was it what you expected?

I was an English teacher in Japan. I taught in middle school for six years. Amazingly, the longer you do the work (in my city, anyway) the LOWER your pay gets — shorter contracts and straight-up pay cuts of 10% or so have been the trend recently. With two small daughters, the pressure to provide was growing.

My wife said, “we’re going to be spending our savings soon anyway, so let’s take the dive!” She was right, the only way to escape the ceiling was to take the risk. I wanted more fulfilling work, and more potential for earning. I didn’t know what I know now about how to position yourself for better rates, so even then, my expectations were bleak.

I loved writing CSS and JavaScript, and I literally didn’t know why web design was so valuable. So, I thought my desire to land $5,000+ projects was actually a bit selfish!

Student Success Story with Jeff Bronson

by Gina Horkey on May 22, 2015, — Get free updates of new posts here

We’re continuing to share a different story each week of how a past student has been able to significantly grow their freelance business by applying the concepts they learned from Double Your Freelancing (check out last week’s with Franz Sauerstein). 

If you feel your story would be a good fit, share why. We’re now looking for features for June, so apply today!


Jeff Bronson is the man behind eCommerce Warriors, a solo eCommerce strategy and conversion consulting company. Jeff launched eCommerce Warriors three years ago, but was able to give his full attention to growing it at the beginning of 2015. He’s no stranger to eCommerce though – he served this industry for almost 11 years prior!

“I expect my income per project to raise 175% as a result of using a productized service, priced on a ‘generic” quantified financial upside.”

What got you into freelancing? Was it what you expected?

While working a full-time job as Director of Digital Strategy for an agency, I started up a freelance site ‘on the side.’ I did semi-productized jobs here and there, but it wasn’t focused and too difficult to also work full-time and have a life.

This is on the tail end of having spent over eight years running an eCommerce shop, while also working full-time. I then quit my job at 40, sold my stuff and moved to Asia to jump in full-time.

“My overall goal is to ‘own my time,’ and ditch the 9-5 grind I’ve done for 22+ years.”

What’s been most challenging thus far?

For me, it was making the free time (when I had a full-time job) for strategically positioning and planning out what the entire business funnel should look like in a way that wasn’t subject to changing market fluctuations, industry changes or outsourcing.

The Business of Freelancing, Episode 26: John Sonmez on Marketing Yourself as a Developer

by craig on May 19, 2015, — Get free updates of new podcast episodes here

Welcome to another episode of the Business of Freelancing Podcast.  First I’d like to recognize a few recent 5-star reviews for the show. Much thanks goes to: sporkitover, rickwolf, justin_mw, jeff at ecoommercewarriors, ourumov7, kellyIriye for their reviews in iTunes.

Keep those reviews coming. It’s a great way for me to know that the show is resonating with you and bringing you the resources that you’re looking for.

The Business of Freelancing Conference tickets will be on sale soon. The show will be September 16-18 in Norfolk, VA. Sign up to get notified when tickets go on sale.  I am really excited and honored when I look at the speaker lineup.  We have the best from several industries to come share their knowledge with you at the conference.

Today I have John Sonmez on the show with me.  John describes himself as a “Life coach for software developers”. Starting a few years ago he built more than 7 days of course work on Pluralsight, which allowed him to quit his day job and ramp up his educational portfolio. John also quickly realized there was nobody focusing specifically on lifestyle coaching for software developers, and decided to focus his efforts entirely on that.

John and I talk about the power of creating content that comes directly from the questions that customers ask of you. Talking to a broader audience is so much more powerful than directly speaking to an individual. Marketing is the conversion of those conversations into an evergreen piece that “build the bricks” in your content machine.

To brige the gap between creating content and converting those fans into customers or referrals to other customers John says his go to is his email list. And the best way to build a high quality email list is through email courses. John says that his most valuable business asset is his email list, because of how often you can have a conversation with those members of your audience.

Lastly, to leave you with actionable takeaways from the show John has a challenge.  In the comments below for this episode, let us know what action you took to create and update your blog. John will be monitoring the comments here and will pick one of the comments and send you a signed copy of Soft Skills: The Software Developer’s Life Manual.

Also, go to and use coupon code “DYF” to get $100 off our course on how to move your career as a developer to a whole new level.

You can find out more about John over on his blog at, or on Twitter @jsonmez.  John also runs two podcasts:  Entreprogrammers which is a recording of his weekly mastermind group. And Get Up and Code talks more to the personal side of being a programmer and entrepreneur. 

Student Success Story with Franz Sauerstein

by Gina Horkey on May 15, 2015, — Get free updates of new posts here

We’re continuing to share a different story each week of how a past student has been able to significantly grow their freelance business by applying the concepts they learned from Double Your Freelancing (check out last week’s where we revisited Matt Olpinski’s story/progress). 

If you feel your story would be a good fit, share why. We’re now looking for features for June, so apply today!


Franz Sauerstein is the man behind Xciting Webdesign, a WordPress and WooCommerce company that for the last three years has specialized in helping small-to-medium sized businesses generate more revenue. Unlike other online marketing agency developers, Xciting Webdesign uses a data-driven approach to unlock profits.

Franz has gone through Double Your Freelancing Rate, The Blueprint and is currently enrolled in Double Your Freelancing Clients.

“I took a look at my earnings this year and calculated that I am on my track to triple my revenue and I also turned down some truly toxic clients, which made me happy.”

How’d you get started as a freelancer? Was it what you expected?

I got into freelancing by coincidence. I had to find an internship for my university application pretty quickly after I found out that the German army couldn’t hold to what they had promised. So I looked over hundreds of websites looking for the right company and was shocked by how bad their websites were.

“Didn’t these people know that their website is their most important figurehead?”

Of course they knew – but agencies here way overcharged and did a lousy job of reaching out. So, I started getting into webdesign and sold on price at first.

I had little-to-no expectations, treating it all as an experiment at first. I was surprised by how ruthless some people can be – and others so caring and loving, radiating positivity. The latter were always way more successful. I took that observation to heart.

New Industry You’ve Never Worked In Before? No Problem!

by Brennan Dunn on May 8, 2015, — Get free updates of new posts here

A few weeks ago, Cole tweeted a great followup question to Episode 23 of the podcast:

Whenever any discussion around niching or breaking free of general purpose commodity work comes up around here, I almost inevitably get questions like Cole’s. So rather than trying to answer the question in bursts of 140 characters, I told Cole I’d think through my response here on DoubleYourFreelancing, along with some sundry thoughts on specialization.

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