What I learned from the survey
I learned so much in the process, not to mention how much I was inspired by each entry people submit. Here are a few stuff I want to share with you:
It’s common that people don’t answer cold emails, but when they do, that’s awesome!
I don’t like cold emails, but when I need to send out my market research invitation, I want everyone would open it, read it and fill out the survey.
I told myself that my invitation was not cold at all, and people would be attracted by my passion and love to fill the survey out and even send it to their friends.
The truth is most people skip emails from strangers. They don’t read the subjects, they won’t open them (may be afraid of virus or some high-tech attacks). So they won’t know such a great online survey exists. Even if they knew, they could be totally not interested.
It’s common that people don’t answer cold emails, and that’s why each submission is so special and AWESOME. I’m grateful for that!
When doing things I’m not used to, just start small and keep practice
It’s not difficult but cold emailing just not my thing. I love to code, build WordPress plugins, write tutorials on stuff I’ve learned. I run my own design studio here in Taiwan, I’m doing well, but marketing is not a skill I would include in my resume.
It’s really nice that Paul left a short script in the discussion of the “Research” lesson, so I can wrote my own email template based on it. I knew Paul suggested to keep it short and casual, but I added my own flavor a bit.
I kept changing the scripts every 10 or 20 emails. I would check the dashboard on Typeform to know how many people visited, how the completion rate went, then improved my scripts based on that.
I’ve used an email subject like “A 3-question survey about freelance web developers”, one of my respondents suggested that three questions might be misleading to some. I agreed with him so I changed the subject to “Greetings and a quick survey from 1Fix.io”, but after that, the open and completion rate decreased. So I changed it back and the rate increased. It’s really fun to test such trivial stuff.
If you’re interested, here are the scripts I found worked most well:
Don’t assume anything I can’t prove, they are just excuses prevent myself from doing the work
I had tons of things to worry about when I tried to start the survey, mostly were about “what will people think of me”.
Luckily those self-help books I’ve read really helped. Just like one of the books titled “Feel the fear and do it anyway”, I sent a bunch of emails out and found nothing bad really happened. My inbox didn’t get a bunch of hate emails back, my website still safe from spams and no hate comments. I am safe and happy about responses from people all over the world.
Then I realized “What will people think of me” is probably just an excuse that prevents me from doing the work, which my brain thought I would get hurt from.
It’s a good lesson learned that I should just do things I’m afraid to do, even if I fail (like my inbox gets tons of hate emails). At least I can be sure it’s not working and keep moving on.
Here are some fun facts from this survey:
- I spent $34.99 on this survey. $24.99 went to Fancy Hands (Pro plan 1/2 off first month) and $10 went to Typeform to view data collected.
- 190+ emails are sent, 93 people visited the form, 36 of them complete the survey.
- 25 of the respondents are freelance web developers, and 10 of them have hired freelance web developers.
- The phrase “word of mouth” shows 16 times when freelance developers were asked “How do your clients find about you?” and “How do you spread the word about your brand and your work?”
- When being asked “What do you wish you had known when you first started”, things several freelance developers mentioned in common are: “time management”, “say no” and “business skills”.
- 21 of the respondents chose to be anonymous.
- The respondents are in 10 countries, including: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Singapore, South Africa, Taiwan, UK and the United States.
If you’re interested in getting a copy of the survey results, please use the form below to subscribe to it. I’ll send a Google Sheets link in an hour and maybe some updates to you in the future.
Thanks for your sharing
I want to express my gratitude again to people helped me out for this market research:
- The respondents are the most generous people I’ve met online!
- Paul shares his invaluable knowledge and experiences about the freelance web industry in every article he writes. If you’re not ready for his Creative Class, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter on his website.
- Assistants on Fancy Hands who did the search work for me, and who proofread the emails and this post.
Thank you for that, I really appreciate it!
I’d also love to hear back from you. Just use the comment form below or email me: yoren[at]1fix.io. And it would be nice to meet you on Twitter: @1fixdotio.
I’m a senior web developer helping clients build their websites to grow businesses. Currently I’m based in Taipei, Taiwan.
I write things about WordPress, AngularJS and life. Whenever you’d like to find someone to talk about these topics, just get in touch!