how i built it

Heading to WordCamp US? Listen to These Speakers Ahead of Time!

I’ve been lucky to have some fantastic guests on my podcast, How I Built It (over 100, in-fact)! Many of them are active in the WordPress space, and a select few will be speaking at WordCamp US this weekend. If you’re traveling to Nashville, take some time and listen to them talk shop with me. Whether you’re stuck in a plane, train, or automobile!

Self Employment: Year One Recap

I started my first business in high school, making websites for anyone who’d give me a shot. It was a great way to make money that I carried through college, grad school, and my adult life. I even did it full time a little after college, but lack of benefits and the need to learn more forced me to find a full time job. For pretty much that entire time, the stakes were different – and not very high. I didn’t have anyone except myself to support and I didn’t require too much.

That changed when I got married and had a daughter. I thought my chances at full time self-employment were dramatically lower as a result. However, today marks the anniversary of me leaving my full time job to pursue my side business full-time. I’d like to reflect on the first year.

podcast listeners

How Do You Listen to Podcasts? (Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card)

I’ve spent more than one post on this blog talking about podcast sponsorships. Today, I wanted to talk about podcast listeners. There are a lot of stats out there for website users – where they came from, what they do on the site, how long they stay, and a lot more. While there have been strides in the last few months surrounding stats on podcasts, I feel like I still don’t know much about my listeners. I’ve tried surveys in the past, but they didn’t go well. So I’m switching things up a bit.

Support Me on Patreon!

I’m Doubling Down on Patreon

The first time I learned how to burn a CD was mind-blowing. It was 1999 and YouTube didn’t exist. Most of the web was brochure sites with marquees and hit counters, so there wasn’t a great place for learning how to do literally anything. Instead, my cousin came over and showed me. He brought a blank CD, opened software on my computer, dragged the songs I wanted into this window and clicked, “Burn.” A few minutes later, BOOM. I had my very own mix CD. What jumped out at me the most was how easy it was when someone was there to show me the way. I felt accomplished.

That experience did 2 things for me. It allowed me to have a very successful mix CD business in high school, and it made me realized I just needed to try things in order to learn them. I felt empowered by the fact that someone showed me the way.

I want you to feel empowered too. That’s why I started on Patreon.

How I Launched Creator Courses in One Week

7 months ago I took my business full-time. Being a freelancer for most of my life, and even doing it full-time for a while after college, I thought I had a pretty good handle on how things would work. But as it turns out, the product space is a lot harder to work in than the services space (for me). I’ve lamented over the last few months that it’s easier for me to sell one person on a $5,000 project, than 100 people on a $50 course. But after attending CaboPress and participating in an amazing Master Mind group, I was able to get some perspective and readjust. The Autumn and Winter have been much better than the Summer.

But what does that have to do with a new site I launched called Creator Courses? Everything! I decided that as well as do an intro course on Gutenberg, I would launch a new brand. Here’s how I did it, and why.

Delivering More for Season 4 of How I Built It

Season 3 isn’t wrapped yet, but I’ve already started thinking of better ways to deliver for Season 4, coming in January. When I started How I Built it, I didn’t think I would see the success the show has had. It’s a formidable part of my income, it’s got over 100,000 downloads, and it’s growing in popularity.

When you first start anything, you are just finding your sea legs. Over a year in (and a fun obsession with this project), and I’ve got my bearings. I’m ready to go to the next level.

Happy Anniversary, How I Built It!

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.

What I Learned from Asking, “How did you build that?”

Over the last few months, I’ve interviewed dozens of people, asking a pointed question: “How did you build that?” In that time I learned common tools, business decisions, and generosity. Recently I gave a talk where I went through the most important lessons I learned, and some tools to get the job done.