So I’m in the freelancing and online business game for more than a decade. Same as everyone else, I started as a rookie, making the same rookie mistakes, which were then reflected in my monthly earnings (or absence of them). A typical mistake is starting the work without receiving payment from the client. I’ll show you how doing this will cost you thousands of dollars in the long run. And yes, I have the exact numbers.

Personally, for projects under $1,000, I require 100% of the payment upfront. For bigger projects, I define milestones with the client and the payments arrive in chunks, but are still paid in advance.

For me, a Productive Hour means 60 minutes of uninterrupted deep work with a full focus on the given task. If I’m interrupted or just pause (answering team mate’s question, lunch, etc), then I’m stopping the timer for this task and track it as a “not-productive” time. My daily average for development is around 4.5 productive hours and I can push myself to do 8 – 9 hours when doing a less mentally demanding activity.