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Gabri Cebria
Gabri Cebria

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What you can learn from the tennis GOATS as a freelancer

Being a great freelance developer is a lot like being a tennis pro.

Don’t believe me? Let me explain!

In the 90s, most tennis pros had short and specialized carers.
You had Pete Sampras, who would win on grass. Kuerten would win on clay.

Drop Sampras on a clay court, and he would panic. Same for Kuerten on grass.

People almost considered different surfaces different sports!

Then the GOATS (greatests of all time) came.


  • Federer was a hard court and grass specialist, with the most all-around beautiful and polished tennis technique in history.
  • Nadal was a clay specialist with the best physique and mental strength of a tennis player in history and outstanding resilience.
  • Djokovic was like a mix of Federer and Nadal. Amazing technique, outstanding athleticism, extremely strong mentally. But at first, he was a bit weaker than them.

At first, they were all great, but still kind of limited. Like Sampras or Kuerten had been in the 90s.

They all had their limited styles and surface preferences when they started out.

That's how it was supposed to be at the time.

But the crazy thing is that, with time, they all got SO MUCH better.
Nadal improved his technique dramatically. Federer became incredibly resilient.
Djokovic became the most dominant player of the past decade.
They all learned from each other and became specialized generalists because they adopted a growth mindset.

But wait… what do these players have that the previous ones didn't? And what can you as a freelancer learn from the GOATS? 🤔

The number one thing that you can learn from these great athletes is...

Adopting a growth mindset


The serve is the most important stroke in tennis.
Nadal wasn’t born a good server. When he started out, his serve was mediocre at best.

But this didn’t stop him from working on improving it every day for years. And he became a pretty good server in the end!
He understood innate talent only gives you a head start. And that hard work trumps talent.

As a freelancer, you are a company of one, and companies have departments.

So you need to learn to wear many hats!

There are coding, marketing, copywriting, accounting, and sales departments.

Most of us are pretty good at coding but lag behind in one or two of the other departments.

For example, a couple of years ago I felt like my copywriting skills were subpar.

So, what did I do then?

I could ignore the problem (and suffer the consequences my whole life).
Or I could do what a tennis GOAT would do:
Find a mentor, take courses, and PRACTICE copywriting as much as possible to become a pretty good copywriter.

Which is exactly what I did!

And did I become a world-class copywriter? You bet I didn’t.

But I became good enough, and that landed me great gigs. 💸

The good news is, you don’t need to be world-class in every skill.

But you need to be good enough in each of them if you want to have great results!

That’s all you need to do to be a specialized generalist, and reap the rewards as a GOAT freelancer!

Now you, my friend!

It’s time to check the departments (coding, marketing, copywriting, accounting, sales) of your company, and assess where you shine, and where you have a big room for improvement!

Are you lagging behind at one or two of them? No big deal, if you are honest with yourself and work on it!

You choose to stay narrow, or to become a specialized generalist💪.

You don’t need to become world-class at every single skill. The combination of different skills is what will make you a top freelancer.

Try to be 1% better every day. It’s all about your mindset.

For more advice, hit me up on twitter. You can also join the list for more weekly freelancing tips.


Top comments (1)

gabrilator profile image
Gabri Cebria

What about you? Where do you want to adopt a growth mindset next?