Zak Kann
Business and technology writer • Let me give you a role in your customer’s story • https://zakkann.com

My 31-year journey to an answer

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Photo by Mantas Hesthaven on Unsplash
1-minute summary and behind-the-scenes look for “I Know What I Want to Be When I Grow Up”

It all started when I was a child. As most peoples’ stories do.

In the beginning (or close enough)

At 5, I wanted to be a Pastor. By the time I turned 8, that dream was long gone, but it took me years to admit it out loud.

I was going to be a writer until photography caught my eye.

What about farming? That could be fun.

Science had so many facets that it had to be the answer.


I failed more times in a year than I had in my entire adult life. But I learned from those failures.

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Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

I went into my first startup thinking exactly what every other founder thinks:

After less than a year working full-time with my co-founder on the business, it seems that I was wrong. We did fail. We failed so fast that some of my friends may not yet know that I ran a startup. Maybe I’ll tell them eventually.

People inevitably ask why we failed. I tell them the truth because there is no point in doing otherwise. I have nothing to hide. We could blame it on the market, but that is a cop-out. …


5 tips that took me from constant rejection to a steady income

A woman writing on her laptop computer
A woman writing on her laptop computer
Photo by Daria Nepriakhina on Unsplash

Upwork is a great way to make some extra money as a writer. Unlike some other writing platforms, there is no cost or waiting period for offering your services on Upwork.

They also take care of everything to do with payments, so you don’t need to create invoices, chase down clients that are slow with payments, or handle online payment processing.

The downside to Upwork being so easy is that everyone seems to have created an account. It’s typical for 20+ people to submit proposals for a job. Because of this, many of the jobs end up paying a mockingly low rate. I’ve seen some as low as $0.002 …


By setting rules for myself, I learned to live with one of my greatest fears

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Photo by Fernando @cferdo on Unsplash

Want to know how bad my social anxiety is?

I used to have a process for sending an IM to a friend. You read that right — I didn’t say a stranger. I needed a process to reach out to a friend.

  1. Triple-check the message for potential alternate meanings
  2. Worry about it constantly until I receive a reply. Check back several times an hour to see if I’d just missed the reply coming in.
  3. Don’t look at the reply immediately. That would make it real. I needed to take several minutes before I was ready for that.

That is no longer my process, but the underlying anxiety has not gone away. I struggle every day not to fall back into that trap. …


An in-depth guide covering everything from defining a niche to finding clients

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Why Should You Freelance?

Freelancing is becoming more and more popular. According to Upwork’s 2019 Freelancing in America Survey, 35% of the US workforce freelances at least part-time. And it’s not just part-timers either. The full-time freelancing crowd has increased from 17% in 2014 to 28% in 2019. Freelance data scientists are only a small part of this crowd, but they are also a growing trend.

But popularity is hardly a good reason to change your working style. Here are some better ones:

  • Make some supplemental income — When you are salaried, a 40-hour workweek and a 50-hour workweek generally pay the same. If there is an advantage to your career in working those extra 10 hours for your company, go for it. …


A proven and detailed 5-step process.

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LinkedIn exists somewhere between the worlds of social media and job boards.

So where does the headline fit into this picture — what is the goal of your headline?

The Linkedin headline is your 120-character elevator pitch. Aside from your name, it is the most prominent piece of real estate in your profile and in your LinkedIn search result snippet.

If your headline is generic or uninformative, people have no reason to click through to your profile. Nothing else in your profile matters if you don’t get that initial click.

Your headline is your first and best chance to get people hooked on your story. …


Proving your impact when changing careers, industries, or fields

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Image by Coffee Bean from Pixabay

Do You Need Transferrable Skills for Your Resume?

There was a time when I shied away from giving resume advice. It felt like those ideas should come from an HR professional or someone with decades of experience. I still think you should seek out advice from such sources.

However, my experience has given me a chance to read through several hundred resumes, largely for people looking either for their first job or to transfer either industry or job title. These are the cases where you must rely more heavily on transferable skills.

If you are a computer programmer going from one Python job to the next, transferable skills likely won’t be as important as your programming abilities. If you are a salesperson going from one enterprise sales job to the next, you have proven your job-specific abilities. …


With no coding experience, you can still be online in less than an hour

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Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, there is a lot on your plate. You have customers to keep happy, sales to conduct, taxes to file, and about 3000 other things due before lunch. Even with all of that, you know you need a web presence. It’s the 21st century, after all.

You don’t have days to spend building a full website for your company. Even if you did, there are better uses for your time. In most cases, all you really need is a landing page. With no coding experience needed, a free landing page builder can have your page live in just 1 hour. …


Discovering the real value of entrepreneurship

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Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

There’s no need for a long preamble on this one. You are here to find out how much money entrepreneurs make, so let’s have at it.

#1: Can Entrepreneurship Make You Rich?

Don’t pretend you weren’t thinking about it. Who amongst us isn’t an aspiring billionaire? When we ask how much entrepreneurs make, most of us are secretly hoping that the answer has at least 7 figures in it.

Entrepreneurship offers a veil of mystery that naturally leads to get-rich-quick thoughts. When you have a salaried job, you know how much you’ll be making each year, give or take a bonus. …


How analogies help us learn faster and how specialists and polymaths use them differently

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Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Analogies are like social media networks. We all implicitly recognize their utility by using them, but we complain incessantly about their imperfections.

There are no perfect analogies. This is definitional. If an analogy was perfect, it would actually be a tautology, e.g., water is like melted ice.

I’m five sentences in, and I’ve already acknowledged that analogies are flawed and hated, so why am I hooked on analogies like a fish that just swam too close to some particularly smelly bait?

I’m hooked on analogies because learning without analogies is like traveling across the country without a vehicle — you might get there eventually, but there is certainly an easier way. …

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