I know it seems early, but the holidays are right around the corner, and with that, the busiest retail season of the year (at least here in the USA). For many, setting up an online shop can be a daunting task. With all the considerations that need to be made (types of products, taxes, shipping, and more), it’s easy to see why. But worry no more! I have a new course that will help you.
Note: this is an update to an article I wrote in 2010, when I went from college to full time freelance.
I started freelancing all the way back in 2002, when my church came to me looking for a website. As a junior in high school, I used
Frontpage, and GMail had yet to grace me with it’s presence. And this seemed like a really good opportunity for me to run
the business I always wanted. I freelanced all through high school and college. It was at the end of my senior year in 2007
that I realized I wanted to keep doing it. So I went to grad school to learn more about my trade, and better prepare myself full time freelancer. I stuck with it for a time but sought full time employment for 6 years before coming back to self-employment.
So what does it take to transition to full time freelancing (from school or employment)? Let me tell you what I’ve learned.
Yesterday, I gave a fantastic webinar on creating an Event Registration Form with Gravity Forms and decided to try something other than Zoom Webinars. I love Zoom and use it for all of my meetings, but my goal for attendees is to make is as easy as possible without the need for them to download anything extra. So far, I’ve looked at 3.
You might know my freelance origin story. It’s one I tell a lot, at WordCamps and on podcasts. I sort of fell into it when I was 15 years old. My church asked if I could make them a website. After I declined, they offered to pay me. Pay me to learn? How could I pass it up! This predates WordPress, so I did everything using Microsoft Frontpage, then moved Notepad++. In 2004, I mentioned to my friend Stephen that I was thinking of building a CMS. He showed me WordPress, and the rest is history. For over 15 years, I’ve been freelancing and have used WordPress for most of that time. I get questions about both topics regularly, and I wanted to create a program for me to help WordPress freelancers specifically. So I created the WordPress Freelance Coaching Program.
Think about the last conversation you had via text or phone. Now think about the last conversation you had in person or via video. Consider the differences. How well were you able to pick up tone or meaning? Were there subtle communications you missed over the phone that you likely would have picked up in person? How much is lost when you’re not looking at the person you’re talking to.
When Steve Jobs presented the iPhone for the first time, he didn’t get up on stage and say, “Hey this is an iPhone.” Instead, he told a story – specifically the story of Apple. He built up the iPhone in terms that people understood. This made for an excellent presentation. It sucked people in, it made them invested in what it was talking about, and ultimately, he announced the iPhone to huge cheers. Steve Jobs knew how to give a great presentation.
Now, I’ve been speaking in front of people for a long time. My first on stage performance was at 7 years old, when I was in 2nd grade. I love being in front of people, whether I’m acting, teaching, or just talking. But giving a good conference presentation takes practice. After professionally speaking for almost 10 years, I know what works and what needs work. Here are my 5 steps to putting together a good conference talk.
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Socratic Method? At The University of Scranton, we loved good old Socrates, so we studied him and his methods a lot. The general idea, derived from how he would debate people, is to ask a series of questions until you get to the truth of the matter. He would often question people until they backed themselves into corners. Another, similar method is the “5 Whys.” You keep asking why until you get to the real root of the issue. The idea here is that you want to solve the right problem, so you need to know what the real problem is.
One year ago today, I launched Episode 1 of How I Built It, the podcast I started to learn from other business owners. I announced it by telling the story of Il Duomo, which I had seen in person 2 months prior. That’s still a great story that gets at the heart of what I’m trying to do on the podcast: learn from other people. I knew when I launched that it would be successful if I got great advice from people who’ve built great things. What I did not expect was the other successes I’ve seen. A year in, I have over 72,000 downloads. Each episode gets downloaded at least 1200 times 2 weeks after launch. And podcast sponsorships have become a major part of my income.