Episode 088: Work for Yourself By Cutting Out the Middleman Says Daniel DiPiazza

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Daniel DiPiazza Rich20Something

Daniel DiPiazza

Daniel DiPiazza increased his effective hourly rate as a test prep instructor from $18/hr to $100/hr by learning how to cut out the middleman.  Now on his third business, he’s learned you need a network of trusted relationships to work on your own.

He started Rich20Something to inspire his peers to explore the path of entrepreneurship rather than the default paths of getting a 9 to 5 job or going back to school.

He says his own entrepreneurial journey began as an actor. He eventually abandoned his acting career for the same reason he didn’t want a 9 to 5 job; he wanted more control over his work.

Daniel found his first business idea by thinking about what marketable skills he had to offer. He was very good at standardized tests, so he first got a job at Kaplan and then started his own test prep business. Today he is building marketing strategies for companies with revenues over seven figures.

Not Complaining for One Week Challenge

Before Daniel and Stephen started recording their interview they discussed how and why they complained. They both committed to not complaining for one week.  Here’s what they learned:

1. They both realized they complain more when they are tired or are feeling overwhelmed.

2. Daniel observed he resorted to complaining as part of his sense of humor.

3. Being more aware of their complaining was a useful exercise to help them reflect on their negative thoughts and what was really bothering them.

Try not complaining for one week and share what you learned with us by posting your comments below or email getunstuck@unstuckable.co!


Key UnStuckable Takeaway

Work for yourself by cutting out the middleman (hint: your employer!)

There’s no doubt the benefit of working for someone else is a steady paycheck and you don’t have to constantly worry about looking for work. However, you are generally paid much less than a freelance or independent contractor who does the exact same work!

Daniel was paid $18/hour when you taught an SAT test prep course for Kaplan. When he created his own course, he raised his effective hourly rate to $100/hour!

Getting started as an entrepreneur is a lot of work, but once you have your system setup, you can not only make more money, but have more control over your time. The key to getting steady work as a freelancer or contractor is to never stop networking or building relationships.

Quick Action to Get Unstuck

Next time you meet someone new, ask them if they can introduce you to someone else they know.

Daniel has built a strong habit for continually developing relationships. Each time he meets someone new he is never afraid to ask to be introduced to some of their connections.

As you ask for introductions, be clear about your goals and how you can help others, so people can connect you with the right people for your needs more easily.

UnStuckable Quotes From Daniel

“It’s so much easier to become an entrepreneur now that it’s not such a far-fetched idea anymore.”

“I’m just trying to figure out how to make money from projects that I really enjoy.”

“Everyone has a skill that can be leveraged for money.”

“Even if you’re a secretary, there is a way to cut out the middleman and work for yourself.”

“Sometimes increasing your hourly rate means increasing the rate and sometimes it means decreasing the hours.”

“People undervalue themselves because they perceive their value as something that as been ascribed to them by a larger organization.”

“Stop thinking of networking as networking and just keep making a lot of friends.”

“No one wants to be friends with the person who is always taking, taking, taking.”

“It’s impossible to get stuck when you have a group of friends and mentors around you that want to see you succeed.”

More Habits & Actions

  • Daniel built up his list of clients for hist first business using the “Marsupial Method,” partnering with a company with the same target market as him, but sold a complimentary service.
  • When he worked for Kaplan he made $18/hour and each student paid $1,000 to take the course. When he created his own test prep course, he charged $300 and leveraged the pedigree brand of Kaplan. He made $10,000 and his clients saved a ton of money for almost the same service!
  • Daniel has learned to reframe the value of his skills to boost his rate by focusing on the real problem his clients want solved. In the case of his test prep company, his clients wanted to get into the school of their choice, not just a good SAT score.
  • The common thread between all of Daniel’s different projects and business are his relationships.
  • Create an online platform as an asset for developing relationships. The larger you make your content archive, the easier it will be to find you online.

Alternative Perspectives

  • Daniel believes in taking risks and asking for forgiveness later if he finds himself in trouble.
  • Corporations and their customers generally value the skills offered by the employees of the corporations at a higher rate than the employees value their own skills.
  • When you work for yourself you can make more money doing the exact same thing you do as an employee.



The Marsupial Method

How to Hack Elance


Calculating Your True Hourly Rate

40% of Americans Will Be Freelancers by 2020

Hey Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan

Questions & Feedback

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Thank you for for your support and let’s get unstuck!