I’ve spent the past ten years of my professional career in various aspects of adult, technology education. About midway between the start of my journey to now, came: Build Your Own Website. A comic book I collaborated on with my friend, the talented artist and designer Kim Gee. In retrospect, I wasn’t even sure exactly why I wanted to do a comic. I knew that I liked Kim’s comic work and I knew that I wanted to organize my process for how I taught myself web development and WordPress but it was only after I connected the dots looking back that I realize how important that decision was.
“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”
― Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner
My awesome publisher No Starch press sent me a couple copies of the Portuguese translation of Build Your Own Website last night. So neat to see this.
I’m so excited to finally see the finished version of my comic project that I’ve been working on with Kim Gee for the past two years. It’s been quite a job but the finished work is fantastic. I hope that people find this new approach to web tech concepts as fun and entertaining as it is educational.
Here are some pages from the finished product.
via I’m Yours
I got two important things going on right now that I want to share. One is that my Kickstarter Website Bootcamp Adventure Comic is almost at an end. If you want to learn how to build a website in a fun and entertaining way check out this project.
The other is Reboot Workshop. Which is our day long unconference for individuals looking to start their own businesses or get help with their existing ones.
1. Maintain a Network
Last year I did something daring. For the first time in my life, I quit my job and decided to start my own company. If you talk to anyone who has done it before, you’ll know that there’s a familiar story of freedom and sheer terror. It helps to have a network and I knew that I’d have clients who needed help learning how to use their technology. Referrals are a main engine of growth within my company. The majority of my business comes from a direct referral from someone I know, usually through clients that I have worked with in the past. Good service goes viral. One good session with a client can spread to their contacts and eventually to third-level contacts. It’s important to maintain an email list and email updates of what you’re teaching. Let previous clients know about your upcoming classes. Students who’ve taken you classes can turn into clients down the road if you keep them up to date with your current events.
2. Organize Events
When I left my job, I knew that I wanted to make group training a big part of my business. Without really knowing how to go about teaching, I started to organize Meetups to look for potential clients and test out the content of my class. I hung out at a coworking space that had events and was able to meet organizers of meetups that way. That lead to speaking gigs at other meetups and the ability to organize larger group meetings through existing meetups. This sort of IRL long-tail is crucial to getting your name out there. Everyone you meet isn’t always a client but they can become part of your network and generate referrals. Remaining active in groups whether social or explicitly networking-focused gets your name out there and broadens your prospects not only for individual clients but also for prospective students.
Very inspired by Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation
This passage just about sums up what I’ve learned in the past year about curating events while building up my business:
In thinking about networked innovation this way, I am specifically not talking about a “global brain,” or a “hive mind” There are indeed some problems that are wonderfully solved by collective thinking: formation of neighborhoods in cities, the variable signals of market pricing, the elaborate engineering feats of the social insects. But as many critics have pointed out – most recently, the computer scientist and musician Jaron Lanier – large collectives are rarely capable of true creativity or innovation. (We have the term “heard mentality” for a reason.) When the first market towns emerged in Italy, They simply widened the pool of minds that could come up with and share good ideas. This is not the wisdom of the crowd, but the wisdom of someone in the crowd. It’s not that the network itself is smart; it’s that the individuals get smarter because they’re connected to the network.
With fluidity Johnson moves from looking at networks on a molecular and sub-atomic level and then zooms out to look at cities and society. The adjacent possible is a clever principle, one that feels like so intuitive, as I’m reading, I feel as though I’ve known about it all along.
via Boing Boing.