William Frazier is the founder of Viabl, a web and mobile app development firm that uses proprietary software to create tech solutions for entrepreneurs. Prior to Viabl, William worked as a full-time freelancer for almost a decade and has done projects for clients ranging from small businesses and entrepreneurs to big companies like VISA, Mastercard, Monsanto, Saudi Aramco, and many more. He knows something about time management and self-actualization that most don’t. Let’s hear it from him in this episode of Productivity Masterminds.
- Every morning spend time on activities that compound over time. Even 5-10 minutes of writing everyday compound into hundreds of articles a year. Even though these small daily actions don’t pay off right away they are an investment in a higher payout in the future.
- Have a mission statement. No matter what format you choose: always bring it back to why you’re doing all of this and what you’re trying to accomplish. This will help you gain laser focus and prioritize your activities better.
- Be intentional about self-development. Spend some time every day on reading or learning. This helps you think more creatively and grow into your best self.
- Externalize experiences. Write them down. Share them. Process them on a public platform so they don’t clog up your brain. Thinking about writing a blog post about an interesting encounter you had that day? Share it in a blog post the night you come home. This helps you process experiences faster, create space for new ideas and at the same time, it helps you create content for your blog.
Juan: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Productivity Masterminds podcast. Today I am with…
William Frazier: William Frazier
Juan: And William, what are you working on?
William Frazier: So, yeah, I’m currently working on a new startup called Viable. We are creating web and mobile apps for startups and entrepreneurs. But it’s a lot more accessible because we have an app that builds other apps. So we are able to save a ton of money on our end and we pass those savings along to people.
Juan: That’s amazing! Can you give us a little bit of context about how you got here professionally?
William Frazier: Sure, yeah! So man, I have been freelancing full-time for almost a decade roughly two years before I graduated back in 2011 from college. And since then I started, I would say traditionally in graphic design and branding, but I kind of shifted over to working with startups, entrepreneurs, in terms of branding, UX, UI, web, pitching material and kind of prototyping ideas. And so that’s how I met my current co-founder Chris Clark.
Juan: [01:57] Can you give us some insight about the kind of clients you’ve worked with or some metrics, maybe some big clients you’ve worked with? Anything that we would recognize to get us some scope about your career?
William Frazier: Sure! So, starting off, I did probably what a lot of other, I would say ‘creatives’ do right after they graduate. I started looking around locally in St. Louis, Missouri where I’m from, and I got connected with a few creative placement agencies, which are just essentially glorified middleman. And so because of those agencies I was connected with a few larger clients, including, I’ve done work with a Visa, Mastercard, Monsanto, Saudi Aramco, so those are definitely the larger end. But on the smaller scale, I would say individual solopreneurs who are just starting their, let’s say their first app or their first business and kind of everywhere in between, I would say I’d start off with the traditional kind of small business client right out of college. But like I said, over the past few years I’ve definitely shifted towards the more, tech entrepreneurial space.
Juan: So the reason that William is coming on the show, a lot of us listening, we’re either freelancers or we have small entrepreneurial efforts, agencies, things like that. William has been doing this for 10 years successfully, he’s able to sustain his own business, he’s able to provide for himself, grow his own practice and probably has learned a ton about how to prioritize, how to schedule your time, how to actually either delegate or work with other people to make sure that you’re able to do this sustainably and it’s not something that you just do for three or six months, but are able to make a career out of it. So, William, you know something that most don’t about how to think about our time and productivity. Can you walk us a little bit about how you think about productivity and prioritizing tasks?
William Frazier: [03:47] Yeah, I’d love to. Honestly, I think my big takeaway from these past 10 years have, I call it ‘productive fumbling,’ would be that if you actually are considering a sustainable long-term freelance career, like you said, versus a few months, being able to balance being proactive with being patient, which sounds kind of like a paradox, but I think it’s true because, when you’re on your own, especially in the beginning, things can get a little rough because once again, you have no one else around you. If you haven’t built a team yet, then you’re kind of on your own, and so you do have to proactively find those opportunities. And even each day, I know I wake up every morning and I proactively detail, alright, at the very least, if I get three things done today and I better make sure that those three things are going to make the biggest long-term impact, which is where the patience coming comes into play. I think, you know, too many people, especially starting out assume, ‘oh, dive in you know, take the leap and I start tomorrow then and one to two to three months, I’ll have all these clients and I’ll, you know, I’m set for the rest of my life.’ That is not usually the case. I’ve definitely gone through, you know, like most people gone through some great times where you have plenty of work coming in and you can’t even keep up, and then obviously there’s a lot of downtime. So, I think in that downtime, using that time productively is also important. And to be honest, I would say that was very apparent to me about three years ago and I started actually writing online and that’s what forced me to create that daily routine because I wanted to make more time for daily writing. And so every morning now, I mean, it is, I would say it’s pretty rigid. I wake up and kind of the first things I do every day are included in that routine, at the very least after that I can get the client work, I can get to my own, you know, let’s say promotional work. But at the very least, I have that time that’s very sacred.
Juan: And what, what do you fill that time up with that you are already, that you won’t get to reap the rewards from, for like you said, like let’s say three months or six months. I mean, it takes a while. What do you actually fill up that time with?
William Frazier: Sure, sure.
I started piecing together this routine using micro habits. So just super short, five, 10, 15-minute, little chunks of activity that eventually grew into longer periods of time.
So within the routine, I’m doing everything from journaling every day, reading the news, reading books, usually fiction in the morning all the way to writing articles for my blog and other blogs. I’ve started writing on quora I’d say roughly three to four months ago and have definitely seen a lot of impacting a lot of engagement from that, to publishing online. And then, after that I usually leave my long-term writing projects like books and other things for last. At the very least, I’m chunking out, you know, 30 minutes to an hour of time on these projects and I may not see those results until a month or two or three down the road.
Juan: So, basically your suggestion, if I’m a creative, I’m a freelancer trying to actually do this for a living, it’s, yes, it’s cool to think about the, the short term return on your time investment, that’s fine, and that’s actually what most of your day will be, but you need to carve out very intentional time for bigger opportunities that are actually got to have a bigger payout at the end, and those are non-negotiable. The easiest way to get started is chunk up five, 10, 15 minutes of your time a day for each of these tasks that you’ve deemed are appropriate, that will actually give you the, you know, that return. And then over time you actually start building more of a habit.
But it’s with a small buy-in at the beginning, five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, and just letting that momentum over time you’re going to find yourself spending more and more and more time doing those activities, and they just compound.
That’s basically the strategy for doing it.
William Frazier: Exactly. Because I think most of us, we’re all human and we say, oh, we want to, you know, at first, until after the first of the year, we’re going to start working out, we’re going to do this or that. No one ever was able to sustain that. So if he starts super small, literally five or 10 minutes, eventually that becomes a given and they’re like, ‘alright, I might add five or 10 minutes more,’ then eventually you have 30 minutes of reading, 30 minutes of writing, 30 minutes from this or that. And I would say as somebody who’s experienced with design, I think there are still not enough creatives who are writing and sharing. It could be writing, video, I would say there aren’t enough people creating content and there’s still too many people consuming content. So, I think that’s another shift that I would personally like to see with freelancers sharing their story because I think it’s never too early to start sharing that and have other people benefit from that.
Juan: So that sounds like a big principle to you. It’s just start kind of externalizing the content you have, the knowledge you have sharing with people. Other than that, do you have any other kind of paradigms about how you view that self-development time every morning and you put tasks into that time or remove them? Like, how do you actually see the things that get put into those morning routines?
William Frazier: Sure, sure. So like I said, and I kind of five to 10 minutes of a daily journaling in the morning, I will kind of just unpack. I’m feeling if I’m stressed out, what’s going on, whatever. But I think for me the most important part is after that.
I will write down three specific tasks that, like I said, it’s not answered this email, it’s not, you know, knock out this client project. It’s usually all personal development related and it’s for example, you know, edit one chapter of my book or you know, submit one article to this publication.
I may not hear back that day or the next day, but eventually, you know, investing time in that creative output and creating that content and finding those opportunities, I think those are the things for me that I’ve paid off, you know, 10x down the road for sure. So, and the nice thing about that is because it’s on my journal every, let’s say, few weeks or a month, I’ll go back and look, alright, well which task did I not check off continuously? And I realized alright, at the end of the day after either commit and do that or just, you know, take it off completely because I think too many people.
I mean we all have just a specific amount of mental bandwidth and I feel like if you fill it up with stuff that just continuously open, you’re never gonna get to the things that actually matter.
Juan: So William, it sounds like we’re talking a lot about the things that we do do. Walk us a little bit through how you decide what not to do and kind of how you actually get rid of tasks and opportunities that land in your inbox.
William Frazier: [10:20] Sure, sure. So man, like most people, I had a really bad habit. I’d say my biggest downfall is sometimes lack of focus because I want to do so much and everyone wants to be the best writer, the best designer, the best videographer, whatever it is. And so I think a really, really good exercise for me at the end of each month, I’ll try to do is I’m kind of just a brain dump, you know, luckily I work at a local co-working center there. And you know, every surface is a whiteboard and so I’ll just kind of take what’s inside, put it out there, kind of create this visual map of different projects and different, you know, endeavors I’m working on. And then I’ll kind of look at it and survey the entire scene.
So, kind of zoom out and realize, ‘alright, is this kind of leading me towards, someplace I want to go in the future?’
And another kind of element of that I’ve realized that over the years I’m very passionate about connecting people and very passionate about ideas. And so I’ve realized kind of my weird personal mission statement is ‘creating a smaller world connected by ideas.’ So I always compare that against what I have in that visual mind-map and if I’m working on something that’s not, you know, meeting me down that path, it’s hard, but I’ll usually exit or I’ll try to kind of wrap it up as soon as possible. So, I think that helps me align my short term-action with my long-term vision.
Juan: There you have it. William Frazier. He is intentional about self-development, intentional about externalizing his intentional about spending time every day on future payout activities, intentional about having a mission statement that serves as a North Star for everything he does. Thank you so much for sharing all this knowledge with us. William, where’s the best place for people to stay in touch with what you’re up to and keep up with your career
William Frazier: For sure. So honestly, anywhere online social media, anywhere you can find me at William Frazier, but condensed. That’s going to be pretty much everywhere else. I’m like I said, my current company is called Viabl, so it’s B-E-V-I-A-B-L.com, and you can find that anywhere else online too. So, I think those are two big things. Last thing, if you like reading articles and stories about making ideas happen, you can check out an imperfectionist.co, that’s my blog that I’m working on, so feel free to check that out too.
Juan: Excellent. Thanks so much for coming on the show now.
William Frazier: Thank you. It’s a pleasure.