Bring your skills to the market

Chris Esh

About four years ago, when I was getting really tired at my last job, I decided I was going to teach myself code. So over a a number of months, I chipped away at learning code during lunch breaks, early mornings, and late nights. Eventually I got myself to a point where I felt like I could build an okay website. But as I started trying to find clients, I realized I had a huge gap in my knowledge. I had very few business skills. I’d spent all this time working on code, but that was only a tiny little percentage of what I’d have to do to be able to make money by writing code.

So I quickly started listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos, going through online courses, and reading guides of how do you do this whole business thing? How do you find clients? How do you have a client meeting? How do you write a proposal? How do you decide about pricing?

So what you have to ask yourself when you’re learning a new skill, whether it’s web development or any other service-based industry. Is do you figure out how to bring your skills and your talent and your value directly to clients directly to the market? Or do you want to learn a very specialized skill and depend on an employer or some other middle man to connect you with the clients that need your value?

So whatever skill you’re learning, obviously you need to spend a good chunk of time on that technical skill itself. But don’t forget about all the other skills: the communication, the business, the finances, the just soft skills of being a good person that makes people like and trust you.

I think the only reason I’m still in business is not because I came out of the gate really good at code or anything. But because I was, within a few really intensive months and a million hours of podcasts, able to figure out what I needed to do in order to run a business that works, that makes clients happy, and that ultimately is profitable.


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