WLW #81

May 17, 2023

This week’s issue of Work Less Wednesday is sponsored by:

⏰ Toggl Track: Simple Time Tracking To Save You Time & Money 

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🏦 1. Stop Making People Work For Free

As I was scrolling Twitter this week, I came across this post from my friend Shyne:

This is a trend that I have been noticing more and more often.
Jobs asking applicants to work for free in order to potentially get the CHANCE to work for them.
In this case: 2 shortform videos plus an email newsletter.
That’s a MINIMUM of 5 hours of work.
At $100/hour, that’s $500 you’re donating to the company that might not even hire you.
What message is this sending to applicants?
We don’t value your time.
We expect you to work for less than you’re worth.
We can replace you at any time.
Don’t get me wrong…
I have no problem with companies asking for a test, trial, or spec work.
It’s part of finding a good fit.
I do have a problem with companies asking for people to work for free.
If you can’t afford to pay, you can’t afford to hire.
Here’s what I do at my agency:
Over the last 5 years, I’ve interviewed over 100 freelancers/contractors.
I’ve paid every one of them for their time.
Just for talking to me.
They are always shocked when I offer this.
But I tell them:
That’s 30-60 minutes you spent on a call with me when you could have been making money.
And would you be surprised to learn that those freelancers end up being:
More loyal
More dedicated
And produce better work
Just because they know that I respect their time and work.
There’s a reason more people than ever are becoming self-employed.
If this is how your relationship with your employer starts, what do you think you can expect once you get hired?
Here’s a link to Shyne’s response to the employer. I think she nailed it.

🤔 2. Is It Unethical To Sell Retainers? – Tweet by Jose Rosado

Had a really interesting debate with my friend & client Jose Rosado on Twitter this week.

Jose said that in his opinion, it was unethical to sell a subscription for a service if the client doesn’t use it.
Jose’s example was a guy selling a design subscription for $5,000/mo.
Some months this guy’s clients didn’t end up using the service at all.
Jose thought it is unethical to take on those clients.
Here’s what I said:

In my opinion, it’s totally fine.

When someone buys a retainer, they’re paying to reserve a chunk of your time (which is limited).

What they do with that time is up to them.

There was a spirited debate on Twitter, here’s what other people thought:

  • “Who’s the most lucrative customers for Spotify? Those who pay and don’t listen much… same for Netflix… I could go on.”
  • “Planet Fitness (and other gyms) loves it when people sign up and don’t come.”
  • “It’s the same as lawyers having clients on retainer.”
  • “It might be that those companies as his clients want him to be there and available whenever they need him. Which might be a lot some months and not at all others. So to the client it all evens itself out.”

My experience with retainers is that my clients are paying to have a world-class creative team at the ready, when they need us.

Sometimes that’s a lot one month, and very little the next month.

More than anything else, they are paying for access.

What do you think? Is this OK?

📦 3. You Can Have Two “Big Things,” But Not Three – Article by A Smart Bear

A thought provoking blog post by Jason Cohen.

Jason makes the argument that we really only have room for focus on two “Big Things” in our life at any given time.

Big Things you can pick from:

  • Job
  • Kids
  • Spouse
  • Social Life
  • Major Hobby (e.g. build a boat in the garage, become a chess master, video game addiction)
  • Startup

Of course, no one wants to believe this.

We think we can “have it all.”

But Jason says:

Some people try to “have it all.” Men and women both. But it’s never true. At most two can function well; the rest do not. More often, there’s just one that receives the majority of the energy, and the rest suffers. No, you are not an exception. That’s egotistical self-deception.”

What do you think?

Can you have more than two “Big Things,” and still do them well?

💭 4. Thoughts & Habits Not Conducive To Creativity – The Creative Act

I’ve been picking up Rick Rubin’s The Creative Act: A Way of Being every couple of days.

It’s the kind of book you don’t just read in one sitting.

On page 139, I came across this list, and knew I had to share it.

Thoughts and habits not conducive to the work:

  • Believing you’re not good enough.
  • Feeling you don’t have the energy it takes.
  • Mistaking adopted rules for absolute truths.
  • Not wanting to do the work (laziness).
  • Not taking the work to its highest expression (settling).
  • Having goals so ambitious that you can’t begin.
  • Thinking you can only do your best work in certain conditions.
  • Requiring specific tools or equipment to do the work.
  • Abandoning a project as soon as it gets difficult.
  • Feeling like you need permission to start or move forward.
  • Letting a perceived need for funding, equipment, or support get in the way.
  • Having too many ideas and not knowing where to start.
  • Never finishing projects.
  • Blaming circumstances or other people for interfering with your process.
  • Romanticizing negative behaviors or addictions.
  • Believing a certain mood or state is necessary to do your best work.
  • Prioritizing other activities and responsibilities over your commitment to making art.
  • Distractibility and procrastination.
  • Impatience.
  • Thinking anything that’s out of your control is in your way.

📱 5. New App I’m Experimenting With – Async

I literally downloaded this yesterday, so don’t consider it an endorsement.

Async was shared with me after it went live on Product Hunt yesterday.

The idea:

Replace quick calls and unnecessary back-and-forths with asynchronous voice messaging. Read the transcript. Reply any time. Send on any platform.


Send me a voice message at to check it out.

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