Shedding Your Old Skin in a New World | Internetly Vol. 9

On anxiety, enjoying the creative process, and how people in the Philippines are making money in the metaverse.

Hi there,  

The world is opening up again, and with it, my anxiety. 

There’s been a flurry of events and weekend outings in NYC as we’re all beginning to shed our quarantine ways. But with the increased social interaction and burgeoning heat, my nervousness has sprouted from the depths.

It makes sense for anxiety to emerge after a year of social-distancing hibernation. My 23rd year of life was spent in a little bubble. I’ve been living in my childhood bedroom, splitting my time with my family, high school friends, and boyfriend.

It’s everything I’ve ever known, my whole life. It’s comforting. Comfort and I are now best friends.

But it’s time to break up. The world is re-opening and everyone is itching to throw themselves back into the chaos, myself included. I crave new experiences and to shed an old skin, to release this outdated version of myself.

But comfort doesn’t approve. In fact, you try to break up with them, and they’ll smack you with a hefty dose of anxiety.

I’ve managed to make it this far without any major waves of panic. I took my driving exam for the third time (!) and finally passed on Tuesday. I boarded a plane to Florida on Friday. And now I’m planning on skydiving tomorrow. 

The funny thing about anxiety is it’s also quite clingy. She has me by the hand and keeps telling me I’d have more fun in my room or laying next to my partner.

Maybe she’s right. But if I don’t throw myself into the world again, how can I ever know? 


🖼 On Becoming a Prolific Creator

This Week: The Brute Uselessness of Yelling at a Plant  

For the love of all that is holy, enjoy the process. 

As creators, following the above is near impossible. Our workspace is digital, meaning we’re constantly exposed to 24/7 hour newsfeeds, instant messaging, and updates from acquaintances who appear to be overnight successes. In other words: patience is not in our DNA. 

As a result, we get very upset when our creations don’t do well online. It goes against everything the internet and social media has taught us. 

I look back at the months of March to early May with a twinge of regret. During this time, I was putting in the work every day with my writing and freelancing business. But the problem was I wasn’t seeing any tangible, direct results. A deserted inbox. Slow Twitter growth. Zero submission requests. 

The monkey in my brain broke all the plates and started running around with its arms flailing in the air. “Your business is going down and it’s all for nothing!”

But as of this week, things have picked up. I got an influx of clients and some incredible job opportunities that I couldn’t be more excited for. I feel like things are really taking off; and I also feel guilty for tainting the previous months with doubt purely because I was impatient. 

The best way to visualize this is to imagine you’re planting a seed. Each day, you pour a bit of water and pat down the fertilizer. You admire each milimeter of growth and take let the plant take it’s sweet time. 

But in the age of Web 3.0, the process instead looks something a bit like this: we sit down, water our plant, wait a day or two, and then begin to freak out. This way of going about things is lunacy. This isn’t how gardening works.

The reason why people love to garden is because it takes time and the reward is in the process. Know your efforts will be fruitful and until then, just go along for the ride, man.

As said by Lao Tzu; ” Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.”

TL;DR 

Don’t fret about the timeline. Recognize everything will come in due time and enjoy the process. 


🥒 Content Diet

Each week, 1-3 resources to help stimulate your noggin. This week we’re going to dive into some well-known substack tech writers. They’re popular and you probably know them already but if it’s quality work why not give it an extra shoutout? 

I. How People in the Philippines are Making Money in the Metaverse by Rex Woodbury in Digital Native 

A mind boggling piece explaining how people in the Philippines are making twice the average monthly income by playing a virtual game. It includes ethereum, blockchain, and cartoonish characters called Axies.

Earning income by playing with something akin to Neopets or Webkinz sounds so bizarre, but this is becoming a very real, mainstream way to make money. These types of games foreshadow future labor structures; ones that will be borderless and take place in the metaverse. 

As Rex explains, 

“With an open metaverse, labor is borderless: workers can make money from anywhere—all they need is a smartphone and an internet connection.

Play-to-earn games reward players who have time and who have skill, rather than players who have money. This creates a more equal and meritocratic digital economy.” 

Cheers to the democratization of the internet. 

TL;DR 

People in the Philippines are making x2 the average monthly income by playing a blockchain-based game with cartoon characters called Axiels. 

II. Shein - The TikTok of Ecommerce - Packy McCormick in Not Boring

If you don’t know Shein (pronounced She-in), let me fill you in. 

Where do I even begin? Shein is like Amazon except it’s mainly women’s fashion. It’s ten times more mysterious and twenty times bigger. It’s a Chinese-based company that has over billions and billions of dollars in capital. But unless you’re on TikTok, chances are you’ve never of it. 

Shein is redefining the fast fashion era. It’s not just ultra fast fashion: it’s real-time fashion. Meaning it can create trendy fashion pieces within days of splashing into the market. 

Packy’s piece dives into the economics of Shein and how they’re so efficient (and secretive). It’s fascinating to read considering Shein is defining the Gen-Z generation as we know it. 

TL;DR 

Shein has conquered its retail competition in an incredibly cutthroat industry by spearheading the evolution of real-time fashion. 


✍🏼 Freelancing Journey

This Week: When’s a Good Time to Go Above and Beyond?

Being a first-year freelancer means that 60% (okay, like 75%) of the time, I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I wonder if that ever goes away. 

This week, I learned another very valuable lesson about (drumroll please)…money. 

Here’s the low down. The other week, I signed a new one-time project with a dream client. They were looking for a writer who could turn a video into an in-depth article. No problem! This kind of stuff is my expertise. 

But here’s the deal. I grossly miscalculated how many words this kind of thing would take. I made the first mistake of not asking how long the video was before I dove into it. So I shot over a ~2,500 words article at X fixed rate. It wasn’t until after the agreement was signed and I received the first half of the payment I found out the video was about an hour long. That’s about ~9,000 spoken words. Phew. 

What ended up happening is I churned out nearly 6,000 words. Literally...I don’t even know how it happened. I was having a good time writing the article and before you knew it it turned into a massive pillar piece. 

I could’ve stuck to the 2,500 word requirement. But a 57-minute video that’s supposed to be turned into a super tactical, in-depth, detailed guidebook in 2,000 words is a disservice. It would’ve been possible, but not high-quality. 

The million dollar question remains: do you charge for more money because you exceeded the word count? 

No.

It’s quite simple. The client didn’t ask me ask me to write double the length after they approved my initial outline. It was entirely my decision to write so much. 

I missed an opportunity here. I could’ve said addressed the creep scope right away, or better yet, try to do a bit of upcharging. 

I could’ve said something along these lines: 

“Hey! I know we originally agreed at 2,000 words at X price. But I’d be willing to turn this into an in-depth, super tactical pillar piece at about 5,000 words at X price. Let me know if you’d be up for that, or if you’d prefer to stick to the base 2,000.” 

When I discussed the ordeal with a fellow freelancer, here’s what he had to say: 

It’s a lesson learned. Sure, I lost some money.

But I learned something valuable and at least now the client knows where I set my bar.

TL;DR

If you go above and beyond, don’t expect to be paid extra for it unless you and your client explicitly discuss it.


Thanks for reading, whoever you may be. 🤗

I’ll be sure in next week’s edition to recount my skydiving experience. Maybe even attach a video if you’re lucky. 

I put in a few hours a week in each newsletter, so if you liked this, share this thing!

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Till next time! 

- Alice 💌