Founder at Basecamp
Jason Fried is the co-founder and president of 37signals , a Chicago-based company that builds web-based productivity tools that, in their words, “do less than the competition — intentionally.” 37signals’ simple but powerful collaboration tools include Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, Campfire, Ta-da List, and Writeboard. 37signals also developed and open-sourced the Ruby on Rails programming framework.
Fried is the co-author, with David Heinemeier Hansson, of the book Rework, about new ways to conceptualize working and creating. Salon’s Scott Rosenberg called it “a minimalist manifesto that’s profoundly practical. In a world where we all keep getting asked to do more with less, the authors show us how to do less and create more.”
Tactic that has had the biggest impact on Jason’s success
The task management tool Basecamp
Result if you follow the steps in Jason’s session
A successful task management tool that allows you to be more organized and productive to be able to maximize your time and efforts
Full session with video, notes, audio and discussion inside EHQ Club. Learn more
Expert session snapshot
What I would say is this, this is based on my experience and seeing other people go through these things over the years, which is that you know, there are costs associated with making, with generating revenue as well.
We think of revenue, like I need to get this because I need the revenue, the revenue, like you always think of revenue is a positive thing, which it is in terms of math, right, but there’s cost to it as well.
So I remember back when I was getting started doing website design, I would take on projects. I didn’t know this for a while, but I’ll just take on like any project, right?
And eventually I look back and go, you start to see patterns and clients, for example, the types of projects, and you start to realize that, yeah, that client paid me $15,000 or $20,000, or something to do to do website. But wow, I was really unhappy doing that.
And at some point, I need to decide what kind of projects I enjoy doing. Because there are a lot of projects out there in the world. And it’s not that that one is the only possible one you can get. There’s other things you can do. You can find projects that you enjoy doing.
So I think the thing is, is that when people are prospecting for work, I think they’re often just looking for dollars, and they’re not thinking about what is the work going to be like as well. And the good news is this world is so large.
I mean, what, you’re in Thailand, I think, right? I’m in Chicago, we’re talking right now, like I’d never met you. You never met me. We’re here, we are talking. You didn’t, I didn’t know you existed. Two weeks, you may not have known that I existed, you know, two months ago, whatever it is like.
But we, you know, there’s so many opportunities and so many things that like to take bad work from clients who are going to drive you crazy, be extremely demanding, and end up with a project or a product at the end that you’re unhappy with and that you don’t want to show to others because it didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to is not worth it.
There are lots of opportunities out there to find great work that you care about.
So my suggestion is, is to just keep in mind and just takes time, but like, keep in mind that you should be fishing for work that you want to do, versus taking work that’s available.
If you take, if you just are out there to take work that’s available, you’re going to set up bad habits. And these habits are going to carry along with you forever, where you’re just going to always just say yes to whatever thing, whatever money cuz there’s $1 sign in front of it. This is going to come back to bite you at some point. So I think it’s really important to be choosy at some level.
I know it’s harder when you’re starting out. I get that. But the kinds of things you do early tend to be the kinds of things you do later because we’re creatures of habit. And so if you’re just taking anything because it’s available, you’re going to end up being unhappy for a lot of time and for a long time.
And so I recognize it’s easy for me to give you this, to give you this advice. I’ve been in business for a long time, you know. I’m not at the struggling point anymore. But I do remember being in that position and regretting a lot of work that I took, and realizing the only reason I took it was for the money.
And if you’re just doing things for the money, you’re going to have problems at some point. There is good money out there as well.
So I would find good money and not think that money is evil. It’s not evil. There’s bet money and bad money and happy money and sad money and just kind of think about what it means to you and go after those kinds of things.