Leaving Work Behind

Freelancing: a Complete Guide to Setting and Negotiating Rates

Written by Tom Ewer on June 27, 2012. 118 Comments

Freelancing: a Complete Guide to Setting and Negotiating RatesIt’s the most common question I receive from aspiring freelancers of all types:

How much should I charge?

The question comes packaged in various different guises — whether it is a beginner dipping their toes in the freelancing waters for the first time or someone who has been freelancing for a while but wants to renegotiate their rate with a client.

Setting and negotiating rates can seem like one of the most complicated and intimidating parts of freelancing but it really doesn’t have to be. Today I am going to give you an in-depth overview of how to set and negotiate rates with prospective and existing clients.

Although I am a freelance writer, I believe that most of the following advice applies to any service-based business.

Your Minimum Acceptable Rate (MAR)

The first thing you must do as a freelancer is ascertain the lowest equivalent hourly rate you are willing to work for — your Minimum Acceptable Rate (MAR).

If you are already a full-time freelancer (or are planning on being one), your MAR calculation should look something like this:

( (personal overheads + business overheads) / hours worked ) + tax

Let’s look at a practical example. Say your personal overheads (i.e. the total cost of keeping a roof over your head, food on your plate, and so on) are $30,000 p.a., and your business overheads are a projected $5,000 p.a. You plan on doing client work for 6 hours a day for 48 weeks of the year (1,440 hours total). Here’s the calculation for your MAR (gross of tax):

($30,000 + $5,000) / 1,440

Your MAR (gross of tax) is $24.31. Add say 20% for tax, and your MAR (net of tax) is $29.17.

If the above calculation seems a little rough, that’s because it is. Don’t concern yourself with trying to set a precise MAR, because there are far too many variables at play to perfect it anyway. Using the above calculation does the job well enough, as long as you err on the side of conservatism.

Another way to calculate your MAR is to take your previous (or current) salary and divide it by the number of hours you plan on working. The addition of overheads should be covered by the reduction in tax from being self-employed, but you may want to confirm this for yourself.

I am not a fan of this approach — you will probably be underselling yourself wildly. Freelancers should earn far more than employees, pound for pound. However, it can be a good starting point — it’s the calculation I made when I was deciding whether or not quit my job.

If you are just getting started with freelancing part time, your MAR is more a case of how highly you value your own time. You need to work for an amount of money that puts you in the right mindset to deliver an exemplary service. If you do anything less, you may deliver poor work and end up damaging your reputation.

As you develop as a freelance writer, your MAR may increase based upon how much you want to earn, as opposed to how much you need.

Pricing Format

When it comes to deciding how you should price your services, start with this key understanding in mind — charging by the hour is one of the worst mistakes a freelancer can make. There are two key reasons for this.

1. It Limits Your Earning Potential

If you charge by the hour, it will only be natural for you to work less efficiently than if you had priced on a per job basis. And given that you only have a certain number of hours available in the day, you are essentially capping your maximum earning potential. You can of course raise your hourly rates, but you will still only have the same number of hours to work with (literally and figuratively).

If on the other hand you price on a per job basis, you are limited only by the speed in which you can complete your work. You will learn to work more productively, and in turn, will earn a higher equivalent hourly rate (and impress clients with your efficient style and quick turnaround).

2. It Clouds Your Clients’ Judgement

An hourly rate is a big psychological hurdle for many prospective clients. The same job priced in two different ways can provoke wildly different reactions.

Let me explain. Say you’re presented with the opportunity to write a 1,500 word article on a complex and technical topic that you just happen to be well-educated on. Given the nature of the content, the client is happy to pay $150 for the article. He assumes it will take 3 hours, and deems $50 to be a reasonable hourly rate (but you don’t know that).

Consider these two different pricing approaches:

  1. State that the article will cost $150 to produce
  2. State that the article will take you around an hour to produce, and will cost $150

The client would happily accept option 1. He would almost definitely balk at option 2.

It’s simple psychology — the perception of value. Chris Guillebeau touched upon this in The $100 Startup. He paid $50 to a locksmith for an ultra-quick turnaround in an emergency, yet he felt shortchanged by the transaction. Chris remarked on his illogical reasoning:

…I realized that I secretly wanted him to take longer in getting to me, even though that would have delayed me further. I wanted him to struggle with unlocking my car as part of a major effort, even though that made no sense whatsoever. The locksmith met my need and provided a quick, comprehensive solution to my problem. I was unhappy about our exchange for no good reason.

Our theoretical client would feel illogically unhappy about pricing option 2, in the same way as Chris did about his locksmith experience. The difference is this — most people don’t have Chris’ presence of mind to understand their illogical reasoning.

Your competence and the speed at which you are able to do you work can have a huge impact on your bottom line. Don’t undercharge yourself by charging by the hour just because you happen to be good at what you do and can do it quickly and efficiently.

Service Value

It is always important to view your work through your client’s eyes and from a commercial perspective.

Consider this: how will your work benefit the client? How will it positively affect their bottom line? The answer to this question dictates in part the amount you can charge.

For instance, an article for a small business blog is likely to have a relatively limited impact. If on the other hand, if you are writing copy for a huge multinational corporation, the benefit of your services could be enormous. You should price accordingly.

Bear this in mind when developing your freelancing business. When possible, place your services in what I like to call “huge client benefit areas.” Instead of writing blog posts for small clients (small client benefit), migrate your services to high-end blog editing for Technorati 100 blogs (huge client benefit). Instead of designing logos for local businesses (small client benefit), work as a design consultant for Fortune 500 companies (huge client benefit).

Such ideas may seem outlandish at this point in your career, but it’s amazing where endeavor and planning can take you.

The Competition

What you can charge depends to a large extent on how much your competition charges.

But what are they charging? Can you find out? Many freelancers post their rates on their websites. You might even consider asking them — the worst they can do is tell you to sling your hook.

Furthermore, how good area they? How does their experience compare with yours?

In essence, the overruling question is this: where do you fit in with the competition? Are you nearer to the bottom or the top of the scale? The answer to this question dictates how aggressively you should set your rates.

Supply and Demand

I recently negotiated an improved rate with a client of mine. However, it wasn’t as high as I wanted it to be. But I couldn’t argue with her point of view:

Writers are, I gotta be honest, insanely easily to come by for very few dollars indeed…given that my background is in writing, it’s pretty scary. I’ve got friends who are Financial Times journalists that are increasingly shitting themselves! I mean, it’s great for the company and all that, but not for quality folk…

I don’t agree with her clear implication that you can’t make money writing. However, I don’t doubt for a moment that she can find an abundance of cheap writers for the type of content her blog produces.

My point is this: an abundance (or dearth) of other freelancers like you has a hefty impact on the rate you can set. And here’s the kicker — the lower the quality of work you do, the higher the supply of similar freelancers is.

So be aware of supply and consider how it can affect your rate. But most importantly, work hard to get yourself above the first few rungs of the ladder as quickly as possible — otherwise you will always be dealing with negotiations like the above.

Furthermore, consider the demand specific to you. Do people approach you by referral? Do they seek you out specifically because they like your work? Such prospective clients are likely to value your work far more highly than those that you seek out.

Indirect Benefits

When setting or negotiating a rate (and/or considering your MAR), it is important to not think solely about financial compensation.

Take the client mentioned above. I continue to work for her, even though I get paid an equivalent hourly rate of about half as much as every single other client I have.

Why? Because of the indirect benefits. Namely the following:

There are many more indirect benefits that can affect the rate you would be happy to accept, such as potential (could the work lead to greater things?), and referrals (e.g. a client in a new sector). Bear them in mind.

Negotiating

Negotiation is something that comes fairly naturally to me. I worked in property management and development in my previous life, and was no stranger to seven figure negotiations. That may well be why I have no difficulty in negotiating with freelance clients on what are, by comparison, minuscule deals.

But that doesn’t detract from my firm belief that negotiating does not have to be a terrifying prospect. Whilst the common perception seems to be that clients are after a cheap deal, I have found that not to be the case, for the most part. This could be a side-effect of the forward-thinking blogging culture I generally operate in, but you only have to see how well my friend Ruth is doing to see how handsomely corporate clients are prepared to pay.

With that said, let’s delve into the world of negotiation for freelancers.

The Scope of Works

Always be certain of the scope of the job you are pricing. I cannot stress that enough.

A freelancer’s worst nightmare is a misunderstanding between them and a client regarding the scope of the works. This can lead to a faltering relationship, and extra hours allocated to a job that you did not budget for.

Make sure that you come to an agreement on the precise nature and scope of the work. If the job is to be more of a work in progress, come to a temporary agreement with the client, on the basis that a firm contract will be agreed for the long term at a future date.

But whatever you do, make sure that you come to a unambiguous long term agreement regarding the nature of the work. This can be in the form of an email exchange, or a formalized contract. The point is that you must be able to clearly demonstrate that you have delivered exactly what the client asked for.

Pricing a Job

The key to pricing a job is to break it down into its constituent parts.

Once you have segmented a job, allocate a conservative time frame to each part (plus contingency). Add up all the elements, and consider adding an overriding contingency.

The client is more likely to negotiate than not, and many will feel that they are being hard done by if they don’t get the price knocked down at least a little (regardless of whether or not the price represents true value). So be sure to price your job accordingly.

What is hopefully clear at this point is that all of the above factors should be taken into account when pricing a job. Ask yourself the following questions:

Your MAR is your bottom line. The key now is in making a proposal that strikes a balance between maximizing your earning potential, and not scaring the client off.

Worst case scenario, your prospective client sees your price, and walks away. The likelihood of this is small, unless you have really priced yourself out of the market (in which case, you need to go back to the drawing board in terms of analyzing what you deem to be a reasonable rate).

It is far more likely that they will attempt to negotiate you down, which is where the conservatism you built into your price comes into play.

How hard you choose to negotiate above your MAR is essentially down to how much you want the job. Do you have lots of work booked? Can you afford to play hardball? Or, are you in need of any and all work at or above your MAR? Consider your situation and negotiate accordingly.

Remember, so long as the equivalent hourly rate is above your MAR, the additional pay represents the potential for a boosted income. It is not the difference between life and death. If you are genuinely in need of the work, don’t try to get too cute with your negotiations.

Your Bottom Line

If your client attempts to negotiate below your MAR, you have one of three options:

  1. Accept
  2. Stand your ground
  3. Negotiate the scope of works

Option 1 is only to be considered if you feel that the indirect benefits associated with the job outweigh the difference between the actual equivalent hourly rate and your MAR.

I have a client who is a prime example of this. They pay me a little under my MAR, but I get a free link back to this blog in return, which makes up for it. After all, I expend plenty of energy in promoting this blog without any financial reward, so getting paid to do the same can’t be a bad thing, can it?

Option 2 should be taken if you are comfortable that your MAR should not be breached for the job at hand – a straightforward decision if there are no indirect benefits.

Option 3 represents a compromise in service delivery, and I am not keen on it. It can often lead to client dissatisfaction, and a fractured relationship.

Generally speaking, I will stick with option 1. After all, if they are not willing to pay what keeps a roof over your head, why on earth would you want to work for them?

Finally, if a client plays hardball and you find yourself saying “I might be willing to work for a little less,” it may be time to reassess your MAR.

Retainers

In my opinion, you should never request a retainer (unless the job is particularly large and will require a lot of upfront investment).

Nothing screams “I don’t trust you” more than requesting a retainer. It is not a good way to start what will hopefully be a profitable long term relationship.

Instead, vet your clients appropriately. If you are uncomfortable with the proposed payment terms, suggest a shorter payment period over a probation period, followed by a permanent long term agreement (if applicable to the scope of works).

Finally, understand that the occasional non-paying client is a cost of business. The sooner you accept that, the better.

Rates Are Not Permanent!

Budding freelancers are often paralyzed into inaction when it comes to setting rates. But remember this: each client is only one client, and rates are never permanent. In negotiating a rate with a client, the worst outcome is that you lose that client. It’s not the end of the world.

I’ve said the following to new clients on more than one occasion:

Let’s start with this, and take stock after a few articles to see how expectations match reality in terms of the scope of works.

I have never had a client react negatively to this. The answer has always been something along the lines of, “that seems fair” (because is fair — for both parties).

If you act towards your client in such a way that demonstrates your trust, they are far more likely to want to work with you, than try to rip you off. And if you are totally transparent in the way you do business, they will want to work with you in the long term.

In conclusion, the key to setting and negotiating rates successfully (beyond your reading of this article) is simply to do it. The more clients you negotiate with, the more experienced and capable you will be come. It’s that simple.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments section, and if you found this guide useful, please share it with your friends and followers!

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Alan Cleaver

The 100 Blogs You Need in Your Life [LWB 100 – 2nd Edition]

Written by Tom Ewer on June 20, 2012. 168 Comments

The 100 Blogs You Need in Your Life [LWB 100 - 2nd Edition]

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door” ~ Milton Berle (tweet this)

Change can be positive.

I say that from personal experience. On Saturday 23rd June, this blog will be exactly one year old. My life has changed so much in the past year, as has my perspective on what is truly important.

Leaving Work Behind is a reflection of that, as are the 100 blogs listed below – all of which can make up a piece of the puzzle that leads you to leaving work behind and building a better life for yourself.

What Makes This Different

This is the 2nd edition of the LWB 100 (the first was published back in February 2012). A lot has changed in my life and business since then, and the recent re-launch of this very blog is testament to that.

Accordingly, what you will see below is a very different list to the first edition. I am publishing a 2nd edition because I think it is a vast improvement on the first LWB 100 – I wouldn’t publish a new edition under any other circumstances.

This edition of the LWB 100 features an enormous number of new entries. Each and every one of these blogs has taken pride of place in my RSS reader at one point or another, as I have manually reviewed each and every one of them to determine whether or not they are worthy of inclusion.

This is a labor of love – not a shallow attempt at link bait.

Before You Start

There are a few things you should take note of before starting with the list:

With that said, let’s get to it!

The Leaving Work Behind 100 [2nd Edition]

#NameCategory
1SEOmoz BlogSEO
2ProBloggerBlogging
3CopybloggerMarketing
4Social Media ExaminerSocial Media
5Daily Blog TipsBlogging
6Seth GodinMarketing
7Four Hour Work Week BlogLeaving Work Behind
8Zen HabitsPersonal Development
9Freelance SwitchFreelancing
10Smart Passive IncomeInternet Marketing
11QuicksproutInternet Marketing
12Get Rich SlowlyPersonal Finance
13Entrepreneur's JourneyInternet Marketing
14Shoe MoneyInternet Marketing
15Chris BroganSocial Media
16Occam's RazorSEO
17MixergyEntrepreneurship
18Famous BloggersBlogging
19ViperchillInternet Marketing
20Income DiaryInternet Marketing
21Duct Tape MarketingInternet Marketing
22ManageWPBlogging
23Traffic Generation CafeŽMarketing
24KISSMetricsInternet Marketing
25Freelance FolderFreelancing
26Brian GardnerInternet Marketing
27Young EntrepreneurEntrepreneurship
28Think TrafficMarketing
29Dumb Little ManProductivity
30The Art of Non-ConformityLeaving Work Behind
31KikolaniSocial Media
32Social TriggersMarketing
33Buffer BlogSocial Media
34Derek SiversEntrepreneurship
35Young Pre ProFreelance Writing
36Smart Blog on Social MediaSocial Media
37PotPieGirlInternet Marketing
38Niche PursuitsNiche Sites
39Social @ Blogging TrackerSocial Media
40Steve Scott SiteAffiliate Marketing
41IM ImpactInternet Marketing
42Danny BrownSocial Media
43Dan ZarrellaSocial Media
44The Sales LionMarketing
45Firepole MarketingMarketing
46Man vs. DebtPersonal Finance
47chrisg.comSocial Media
48White Hot TruthLeaving Work Behind
49AdSense FlippersNiche Sites
50Write To DoneFreelance Writing
51Make Money On The InternetInternet Marketing
52Change Your Thoughts - Change Your LifePersonal Development
53Rise To The TopEntrepreneurship
54Men With PensMarketing
55My Wife Quit Her JobEntrepreneurship
56Retire @ 21Entrepreneurship
57Jonathan FieldsEntrepreneurship
58Illuminated MindLeaving Work Behind
59StrayBloggerInternet Marketing
60Live Your LegendLeaving Work Behind
61ConversionXLMarketing
62Success WorksSEO
63Escape From Cubicle NationLeaving Work Behind
64Pushing SocialSocial Media
65Make A Living WritingFreelance Writing
66Location 180Leaving Work Behind
67Virtual Business LifestyleOutsourcing
68Inbound ProInternet Marketing
69The Bad BloggerBlogging
70Passive PandaInternet Marketing
71Prolific LivingLeaving Work Behind
72UnmarketingMarketing
73Tropical MBAInternet Marketing
74Online Income StarInternet Marketing
75The Suitcase EntrepreneurLeaving Work Behind
76Sparring MindMarketing
77Jeff KorhanInternet Marketing
78Reviews 'n' TipsBlogging
79Life & Times of an Internet MarketerInternet Marketing
80The Traveling WriterSocial Media
81Blog Marketing AcademyBlogging
82Virtual Assistant LiveEntrepreneurship
83Build A Little BizEntrepreneurship
84Motivational MemoPersonal Development
85BlogpreneursBlogging
86The Digital WriterFreelance Writing
87The One QuestionPersonal Development
88Justice Wordlaw IVAffiliate Marketing
89Content Marketing StrategyMarketing
90Ruth Zive CopywritingMarketing
91Foolish AdventureInternet Marketing
92Create As FolkEntrepreneurship
93Grad Meets WorldLeaving Work Behind
94The Boomerang KidLeaving Work Behind
95My 4-Hour WorkweekInternet Marketing
96Lifestyle IgnitionEntrepreneurship
97Life StokedPersonal Development
98Blog to BusinessBlogging
99Love Work NowLeaving Work Behind
100Rocker Life CoachEntrepreneurship

What Now?

Simple – start exploring!

I would recommend that you sort the blogs by category and pick a few that are of interest. You can of course bookmark this post and come back to it whenever you want to find out more on a specific topic.

I would not recommend that you try to read a lot of the blogs all in one go – the blogs aren’t going anywhere, so pace yourself!

Please Take A Moment To Spread The Word

The LWB 100 took me a staggering amount of time to put together – in fact, the 2nd edition took me even longer than the 1st. I would be extremely appreciative if you would take a moment to share it with your friends and followers.

If you would like to feature the list on your own blog, you are more than welcome to do so, but please – link back to Leaving Work Behind.

Thank you so much for your help.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of scragz

On Improving Your Life (and Having More “Ooooh!” Moments)

Written by Tom Ewer on June 13, 2012. 36 Comments

On Improving Your Life (and Having More "Ooooh!" Moments)Do you pride yourself on being the frugal type? Do you scrimp and save with near-masochistic glee?

Good for you! Being responsible with your expenditure is one of the biggest steps you can take to leaving work behind. Making bearable sacrifices can be the difference between quitting your job next month, or in six months.

But there is a dark side to frugality too – one that I have been guilty of courting in the past. And perhaps counterintuitively, it can make your goals far harder to reach.

Building a DIY Business

The problem is that you want to do it all yourself.

You’re totally at ease with the idea of being self-taught. You ignore premium resources on the basis that there is so much free information already available on the internet. And when it comes to making a purchasing decision on a product that can aid your business, you are extremely reticent to part ways with your hard-earned cash.

After all, aren’t we living in the age of the $100 startup? Isn’t bootstrapping the business model of the future? It’s certainly my model of choice, but bootstrapping is about self-sustainability – not the avoidance of well-considered investment.

Having More “Ooooh!” Moments

An “Ooooh!” moment is quite simply when you make a discovery that improves a process, strategy, or habit you have. Like when someone suggests you hit Control + C / V to copy and paste, rather than go through all that pesky clicking. Or when you’re told that you need to be a selfish blogger (thank you again Farnoosh!). Or even when a simple article changes your outlook on life.

We’ve all had “Ooooh!” moments. They are wonderful experiences – however big or small they may be. They can be big though – huge even.

I strongly believe that one of the keys to improving your life (both professionally and personally) is having more “Ooooh!” moments. The more jumps forward you are taking via these magical moments, the quicker you will advance.

Are you having enough “Ooooh!” moments? (tweet this)

And that is why the more frugal amongst us should learn to relax our pursestrings when it comes to investing in a quality service or product that can boost our business. Because seeking out the qualified advice of people more experienced than you will always lead to more “Ooooh!” moments.

Frugality, with Added-Value Exceptions

I am absolutely not saying that you should start buying every single course and product you lay your eyes on. But I am saying that you should not be afraid to make wise investments in your business’ future.

I’ll give you an example. In the run up to this blog’s relaunch, I had to make a decision regarding my logo. The DIY solution that had served me for the past 11 months looked pretty amateurish – it didn’t offer the kind of impression I wanted to make. So I made the decision to invest a relatively considerable sum in a logo.

The end result was above and beyond what I was hoping for – I couldn’t be happier with it. It was a big “Ooooh!” moment for me, and one that I could not have created on my own. Furthermore, people have got in touch with me specifically to say how much they like the logo. I am confident that the amount invested will be returned to me multiple times over the course of the logo’s life. It cost money, but it added value.

Don’t be Afraid to Invest!

The initial idea for this post came about as a result of two particular courses that I read through over the last 4-6 weeks. They have taught me more in that time than I have perhaps learnt in the previous 4-6 months. I am confident that their value will far outweigh their cost in the long run.

I am reticent to mention them directly (for fear of being accused that this entire post is some elaborate ruse to get people to spend money via affiliate links), but please feel free to email me for more information, or check out my Resources page.

So please – spend your money wisely. And by that, I mean save money when it is right to do so, but also spend it when the investment can advance your business. Give yourself more “Ooooh!” moments, and see how much faster your business develops as a result.

Now tell us – what was your last “Ooooh!” moment?

Creative Commons photo courtesy of linh.ngan

38 Things I’ve Never Told You (or, the First Step to Making the Most of Yourself)

Written by Tom Ewer on June 7, 2012. 105 Comments

38 Things I've Never Told You (or, the First Step to Making the Most of Yourself)

“One of the greatest mental freedoms is truly not caring what anyone else thinks of you” ~ Anonymous (tweet this)

These days, I try to live my life by one simple rule – never be ashamed of what has made you the person you are.

I’ve got to be honest – it’s a toughie, and I struggle with it. I struggle to be proud of anything I have achieved, and shame and regret come easily to me. I often find myself wishing that I could go back in time and change many things about my life.

And yet, here I am – in a pretty good place. My professional life is chugging along nicely, and I love this blog and every single awesome reader who takes the time out of their day to read my ramblings. My personal life is good, and I have for the time being achieved a good balance and diversity in work and play.

Who’s to say where I would be in life if I could go back and change my course? It is easy to regret, but perhaps the darkest moments in your life have ultimately contributed to your strength and character.

There is a better way to look at regret – it changes nothing. Looking back at what you would have done differently achieves nothing – it is what you do in the present that makes all the difference in the world.

Embrace Yourself

So please – don’t be afraid to acknowledge and embrace every part of your history and character. Strive to make yourself a better person, but never be ashamed of who you are.

If you have non-mainstream views on life, don’t be afraid to voice them. Sure – don’t shove your beliefs down people’s throats (no one should do that), but don’t hide them either.

And as for the people who judge? They’re not worth your time.

The Key to Being More

Everything that we experience as human beings is relative to our own perception. One person’s challenge is another person’s cakewalk. One person’s accomplishment is another person’s baseline. And one person’s hardship is another person’s bliss.

There are no prizes for having experienced terrible things in life. The most you can hope to receive is sympathy for your plight. It is ultimately up to you to make the most of the cards you are dealt in life.

If your internal monologue is an endless “why me” on repeat, you are doing nothing more than feeding your own sense of self-pity. And since each and every one of us only has 24 hours per day on our very limited time on earth, you owe it to yourself to do something more productive with your time.

Here’s what it comes down to – your achievements in life are largely dependent upon attitude and application, not circumstance. Ultimately, your success is defined by how you react to the greatest adversities that you face, not how those adversities govern you. The sooner you realize that, the sooner you will understand that you are far more in control of your destiny than you ever thought possible.

So…About Me.

Since I have gained a few new readers since this blog re-launched last week, and with the above message in mind,  I thought that this would be a good time to tell you a lot more about myself.

Some of the things that I am about to tell you are the kind of things that I wouldn’t actually tell some of my closest friends. Some of them may well read this post, in which case they’ll now. But hell, life’s too short, right?

Here we go.

38 Things I’ve Never Told You

Tom Ewer

That’s me on the left, circa 1996.

I’m 26 years old, 6’1″, and about 200lbs. My birthday is September 5th.

I was a fat kid, then I shot up about 6″ when I was 16.

I suffered from depression in my childhood – my teenage years were miserable.

With exception to 3 years at university in Nottingham (plus holidays and traveling), I have spent my entire life in Rugby.

I love inappropriate and immature humor in many different forms.

The AttilasI’m the lead singer/guitarist in a band.

Last year I grew a horseshoe mustache.

I love movies. I probably go to the cinema once per week on average.

I have a heart condition that means I cannot drink alcohol or caffeine. When I tell people I don’t drink, they often assume I am a recovering alcoholic.

I love the USA, and have been there more times than I can count. I may well live there one day.

I have an older brother. I used to work with him in the family business.

I went on the world’s biggest skycoaster, twice (both times with my sister) – a decade apart.

I don’t really talk to anyone about personal things.

Epcot CenterI have an older sister who lives in Houston, Texas. She has three kids. I miss them all a lot.

I have been single most of my life.

I often feel extremely awkward in emotional situations.

I played an ugly sister in a school play. After the first performance, I got told off for playing with my fake breasts too much.

I am extremely competitive.

I can be arrogant.

I am a perfectionist.

I once performed Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ la Vida Loca” in front of a sizable crowd on a cruise ship talent show:

I have an hereditary skin condition called vitiligo.

Cricket

That’s me, giving out the hugs in the back row.

I love sports – cricket, golf, squash, American Football, football (soccer), and more.

I love music festivals. Not nearly as much fun when you’re sober though.

I only buy new clothes when absolutely necessary.

I am terrible at keeping in touch with my friends.

I am very independent.

I am very private, and not prone to revealing much about myself (this being the exception that proves the rule).

DancingI love dancing like an idiot at weddings and in nightclubs, and have won my share of impromptu dance-offs.

Every time I watch a movie with a buff lead male role, I decide to start working out. It never happens.

I have a potty mouth.

I have always instinctively assumed that I will achieve remarkable things. Whether I will or not remains to be seen.

Last year, I followed the Primal Blueprint for 2 months.

Running

For all of 6 months or so, I was an avid runner. I dropped 28lbs and ran a half marathon in 1h48m (and 13 seconds).

I suffer from insomnia and restless leg syndrome.

I am an atheist, but try to be open minded to anything that is not scientifically disprovable.

A couple of years ago, I told my best friend (female) that I was in love with her. We haven’t spoken since.

Thank You

From the bottom of my heart, thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope it resonated with you and perhaps even made you think about how you might work towards a better life for yourself.

I think that writing out a list like the above is a progressive and rewarding thing to do. You should try it – even if no one reads it. I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section too.