Last night after talking with a couple members of our team, I got amped up to issue a challenge to our iThemes customer community (and the broader WordPress web design community as a whole).
I want to give you a disclaimer first though:
I love and care about you. You enable us to do what we love every day by continuing to buy our products and services. I’m forever grateful for that and for you. But love and caring comes with responsibility too. And we’ve been seeing a negative trend for too long and I need to address it as it significantly hinders your own futures.
Here it is:
Honestly … some of you claim to be professional freelance web designers (and charge others as such) … yet have not taken the steps to BE professional, legitimate freelance web designers.
I’m not sure why that is exactly … is it fear, is it time, lack of direction, or simply not wanting to learn?
I’m sorry if that’s a hard truth to swallow … but caring for you means also telling you the truth (and also equipping you with the resources to remedy it which I’m going to point you in the right direction today).
So I hope you take this as it’s meant to be … constructive criticism and a strong, in-your-face bold and passionate challenge to be and do better. Also known as a swift kick in the pants.
So here is the hard truth:
If you want to be a professional (and legitimate) freelance web designer, you’re going to need to commit to two essentials things: 1. learn freakin’ web design and then 2. learn how to run a business!
So on this Friday, let’s unpack that statement and offer resources for you to DO these things so you can accept my challenge and take the next steps in your professional and personal lives.
1. Learn the basics of web design
You cannot claim to be a professional web designer without knowing some very basic, simple things like HTML and CSS.
I can say this because I was a freelance web designer before starting iThemes. At first, it was a challenging learning curve. But nothing worth having comes easy. And this is absolutely essential. It’s also extremely fun when you can hack your own sites!
So if you don’t know and the basic principles of HTML and CSS, then this is your summer challenge – DO IT.
If I can learn them … so can you!
Without these basic tools, you’re going to drown. You’re going to fail. Or your experience is going to be extremely painful. And in the process, you’re going to hurt or hinder your clients.
If you REALLY want to take the next step in your skills and actually learn web design … we’re offering a three-day FREE Introduction to WordPress Web Design workshop next week … we’ve been talking about it for several weeks now. It’s led by Benjamin Bradley, the professor at WebDesign.com, our training division, and we have almost 500 people registered for it.
Sign up for the Intro to WP Web Design workshop … and take a next step.
Can’t make the workshop?
We also have a completed a full (and free) primer of short tutorials on the fundamentals of HTML and CSS at WebDesign.com.
Additionally, check out our extensive and growing library of free WordPress web design tutorials here.
Enter cold hard truth again: If you don’t take the time to utilize these simple and free resources, then honestly, please stop calling yourself a web designer. But please be someone who commits the time and energy necessary to do what it takes to be one.
2. Learn how to run a business
The other imperative is if you’re going to be a freelancer and not an employee … you need to know (and start learning) some basics about running a business.
Particularly, how to be a professional, how to follow-through, how to manage projects and communicate, how to sell your work, how to manage your time, how to invoice and manage your business finances and cash-flow properly among other things.
A couple months ago, I rolled out a draft form of a Business Plan Primer for WordPress Web Designers.
This will get you started … it’s a simple resource for you to think about all the aspects of running your freelance business.
Additionally, I’ve been sharing my experiences running a business at the Entrepreneurship Lab for several months now. Signup for a free trial here. (Yes, it’s a whopping $25 for lifetime access.)
OK, Here’s your deadline for this challenge!
Every good challenge and goal needs a deadline.
So here’s your challenges and deadlines if you’re bold enough to accept it:
- Become proficient in HTML and CSS by Aug. 31, 2013.
- Take this weekend and go through my Business Plan Primer and have your first draft completed of your own by June 30, 2013.
You might ask … “What do I win for doing all this?”
Well, it’s very simple — the pride and accomplishment of taking the next step in your personal and professional lives.
Of taking a next step to being able to call yourself a legitimate freelance web designer.
This is for you …
YOU have to commit to take the next steps. We can’t do it for you. You have to devote and commit the time and energy to BE a professional freelance web designer.
Please accept this challenge in the manner I’ve shared … and take the next steps FOR YOURSELF!
In the meantime, I would love to hear what you think of this challenge, what things are stopping you or holding you back, how you’re going to kick butt and take the next vital steps here in the public comments on this post.
Now, YOU HAVE WORK TO DO … Get going on it!