Look we’ve all been there, man… You’ve got a task to do and you don’t feel like doing it. You put it off… you do the dishes (maybe even clean your entire house), or just play video games and go down youtube’s rabbit hole…
It’s procrastination: pure and simple. You’ve fought it since you were 13 years old and had a 15 page essay to write, due in 2 weeks. But as a dev or a programmer; new or veteran, you’ve got a job to do and you can’t just put things off (for too long, anyway…).
Let’s start off by trying to understand procrastination and then we’ll go into some techniques to combat it…well, ONE technique really but it’s pretty effective. When it come to procrastination there are really 3 problems at play and you could have one, both or all mixed in a cocktail of “I’ll get to it later…”, which is a terrible cocktail cuz it never gets made <baddum-ching>.
1- Fear: Ah yes, that old chestnut… But yeah, fear this isn’t going to work, fear that you’re not going to go anywhere or that you’re missing out on other things, etc, etc. 2- Being Overwhelmed: There’s too much to do, too much to learn, etc… 3- Boredom: This one is pretty insidious. We don’t really have the end goal planned out (the job we’re going to get/money we plan on making, the skill we’ll have learned, etc.).
The key answer for all these problems and procrastination in general is something your mom or even your teacher might have told you (and believe me, I hate to admit they were onto something too)…
…Do 20 minutes a day…
I know it’s so simple you almost have to laugh but it’s true. Doing 20 minutes a day of any activity has so many benefits but I’m only going to list a few here: -It’s an easy to achieve goal. 20 minutes can go by pretty fast and if you find yourself ‘getting into it’ and want to take longer, you can! -You tend to learn much more quickly if you expose yourself on a frequent basis to that activity you need to get done. Some interesting math: 20 minutes a day for 5 days a week (cuz we need our weekends) is 100 minutes. That frequent exposure is going to help your brain learn faster and more effectively than 200 minutes once a week.
I can’t even begin to tell you the length at which this is covered in the VLOG and shameless self promotion: 20 minutes a day is roughly how long the lessons in our courses (link below) are structured for, so don’t have to sit there for hours wondering when it will end with a fried brain. Check it out…after the video game, heh. Enjoy!
Come yung’uns, gather by the fire that I may tell you a story… well more of a walk-through really… The older kids have heard it before and have gone on their separate ways… Now, you’ll hear it and make your choices and go your separate way… I see you’re all fresh-faced and want to make a splash at being a developer but you feel inexperienced and unequal to some of the bigger boys and girls out there. You wonder, ‘what can I do to become a pro ASAP?’ Well huddle ’round the fire quickly and listen, before you start asking yourself why are a bunch of ‘young’ developers huddling around a fire to listen to an old man? Wait, what’s happening, where are we?!
Well, that’s it yung’uns… Any questions or something you need more explanation on, check out this Vlog where we go into detail on all the points and of course, feel free to check out the links below to our courses, you won’t regret it <SHAMELESS PLUG3>. I’m going to go talk to our location director… -Enjoy.
How to get Clients to Produce Content for their Websites?
Clients, man… Can’t live with ’em, can’t make a living without them, amirite?
On your travels out there as a freelancer, you’re going to come across times when clients aren’t are late with, or aren’t delivering the content you need to work with. Maybe you find yourself doing what should be their responsibility or job, just to move things along so you can get to completing YOUR job on time. What can we do?
First off -SHAMELESS PLUG- we tackle this in our “Freelancer Course”; links at the bottom.
Second, essentially, you’re going to need to specify a lot this in your contract. Yeah, I know it’s more work for you to write this out, but it’ll save you so much grief in the long run. For example, something like ‘after the second draft has received approval, I will then need pictures, written content, etc. going forward’ if the content is to be delivered in whatever time you specified (ex: 30 days), work will be halted until ‘content’ has been received, etc.
Third, “gentle reminders” and emails. Clients sometimes forget things, they’ve got stuff going on too… so you email them with a “gentle reminder” (and seriously, be gentle. Use phrases like “at your leisure”, “when you have a second”, etc.), letting them know that you need ‘X’ material to continue. Also, we really do recommend you email them. That way there is a time-stamped copy of the request so they cannot come to you later saying that you were late on the project or anything else. You simply (and calmly) call up the email and show them that you attempted to get the material…
Lastly, unfortunately, this is “par for the course”, meaning that it happens and it’s totally normal if not expected. Have some other projects going on so that when one stalls, you simply refocus your effort the next. Now, fair warning: This does involve time management and juggling, so don’t bite off more than you can chew, especially if more than one of these projects has the capability to suddenly demand all of your attention at the same time…
Check out the video where we into more detail and check out our “freelancer course” link at the bottom so you can benefit from our mistakes experiences in the past, when dealing with client expectations. At the end of the day, it’s best that everyone knows where they stand and what expected of them. Enjoy!
Another shocking discovery from the Department of Urban Humanity or “DUH”… Communication skills are a big deal for developers. I know, I know; save yourself the twitter rant but believe it or not it does bare repeating.
Look, we understand, ten or 15 years ago developers were (for lack of a better term), alone in the business world. They were largely left alone to their own devices mostly because businesses didn’t necessarily know or understand what they did…only that they needed their skills if the wanted “an online presence.” And who could developers talk to about their projects, their frustrations and victories? Other developers… So you can see why, historically, some devs might not be in a very “social” mood…
However, unless you’ve been under a rock which was then covered in concrete, lowered into well and then sealed with more concrete, you’d know that “the world went and got itself in a big damn hurry…”(that’s a quote from ‘the shawshank redemption’, which you probably haven’t seen if you were under the aforementioned rock…you should check it out, great film.).
But yeah, devs aren’t the rare birds they once were and neither is their work the stuff of wizardry. Most people/companies know what they want and how to <relatively> get it, or have access to a host of devs who can get it for them… So what’s gonna set you apart? Communication! Your sparkling wit, easy demeanor, and sly and inviting grin as you effortlessly deliver what the client wants and make the necessary changes right in front of them assuring them that not only are you knowledgeable, but so easy to get along with! They’re so lucky they found you and look forward to working with you on all their future projects!
Check out the vid, where we give you personal experiences of these situations and illuminate on the skill on communication. I mean, sure there might be lots of devs who can do what you do…but can they deliver it, like YOU deliver it? Enjoy!
PS- stick around to the end to see footage of the minute before the lich lords attacked and made us their unwilling thralls…
In a word…Yes. Depending of course on the size of the company; massive companies tend to give intense (technical) interviews. “They’ll throw everything at you including the kitchen sink…They have HR departments where they’re ticking off boxes, and there’s a tendency in those circumstances that they’re going to ask you for everything.”
Conversely, smaller businesses “…tend to be more accurate in terms of what the requirements that are stated for the job are, relative to the actual job.” Chances are the ‘iron curtain’ may be pulled back and you’ll even get to talk to the lead developer right away and then you can ask and be asked questions in a little less formal setup…
That being said, there really is no limit to the stuff you could be asked (as we’ll explain in the video), no matter the size of the company. A lot of the testing may not even really be applicable to what you do, for example they may want to test your knowledge of deep algorithms, even of you’re going to be working with a simple/clean code.
All-in-all, it’s not uncommon. In this video we’ll break down some suggestions for making sure you’re not too caught by surprise and even have a little bit of company knowledge to surprise your interviewers with. As we’ve said before know your fundamentals and you’ll always have an idea of what’s going on.
WordPress, is the most popular CMS in the world … and for good reason.
Spoiler Alert: Yes, WordPress did approach us to do this.
Also, SPOILER ALERT: we don’t know how to use spoiler alerts…
It’s not selling out or corporate schilling because we actually believe in and love this product, and are happy to tell you guys about it. It works for us and we hope it works for you, if you need something like this; plain and simple. Yes there are other platforms comparable to WordPress and if you are happy with them, more power to you. But if, you’re curious about it, we think you’ll find what you’re looking for, whether it be style or function.
We could list all the amazing functions and plug-ins right here but it’s easier to just watch the vlog.
That way you can see my awesome sweater-jacket too 🙂
These days, UX and UI are by far the most important aspect of any web app and perhaps, most software written. At least any software that has a visual component.
Let’s get down to it! For those of you on the fence about becoming programmers and are reading this and breathing a little shallow because you have no idea what we’re talking about, “and oh my god, I can’t do this, I don’t know anything…” Breathe, my friend… You are welcome here and all is revealed to those who ask…
UX = User experience. Essentially how a client/customer “experiences” a website. IE: are the articles too bunched up that it hurts the eyes? Are all the buttons the same color? Is the “BUY NOW” button right under the product so you can see it and not have to go looking for it? Etc.
UI = User interface. What the user interacts with to “experience” your product. IE: Touch screens, laptops, phones, etc
I’m not going to lie, these things do overlap sometimes and the blurred lines can make even the most seasoned programmer start muttering curses under their breath, like Yosemite Sam. But instead of separating the two, let’s lean into it. Let’s look at a set of principles that will make all your work in UX (with a dash of UI) streamlined, simple and elegant…
I really recommend watching the video for further explanation because, “there’s a certain set of rules but there’s also a bit of an art to it. …I’m going to teach you some of the rules that I’ve learned over the last few years in terms of designing UX for user interfaces whether it be websites web apps or mobile apps…” …and also I want you to watch the video. Enjoy!
PS – As always, stick around after the chat for a soothing ride that ends up…in a cemetery!!! I know, right?!
…Fair warning: this may get a little depressing but it’s worth it; promise…
Chances are at one point or another you’ve felt the itch. That feeling of wanting a change of [job] scenery, maybe even a new career path. Some of us grab opportunity by the horns and just make that switch, others make a more calculated move that usually involves taking some courses, making some phone calls and waiting for the right time to jump and land on the “terra-firma” of a new career.
Much to the utter amazement of the last group of us who unfortunately feel like there’s no chance; maybe we feel like we’re under-educated, maybe our present job has sucked all the motivation out of us or maybe we’re just scared to fail and fall behind on payments (mortgage,bills,etc.).
I’d imagine the issue becomes especially worse when you’re looking into technology jobs, like a software developer. Our insecurities about our own skill and ability to learn can be almost crippling. We may even ask ourselves what are real benefits of investing myself in this field? Not to mention the time/energy commitment and how much money are we really going to make?
Short (and admittedly somewhat vague) answer: lots of things. But right after job satisfaction, let’s face it: it’s money. How much will do I stand to make? Check out this video and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised…
Also, if you’re wondering how stable a software development job is, check out this page.
The good news is, the more time you invest in learning new skills and competencies, the more money you can charge knowing that you are fully worth that amount <the more you learn, the more you earn>. So get out there and absorb all the knowledge you can. It may take time, it may take more energy than you thought, but it’s worth it and so are you!
Do Web Developers need to Promise Web Sales for Clients?
So you’ve got a client; maybe they’re your first, so you really want to do a good job and WOW them. Maybe they’re not but you’re a professional and always putting your best foot forward. But these clients are asking/demanding something that you’ve never really had to deal with before. They want you to prove the efficacy of your work. They want a tangible return on investment. Maybe you want this job so bad that you decide offer a guarantee that few others in your field can offer…
Can you/should you offer web sales?
Short answer: No. Why would you? That’s not really your job. General rule of thumb: “If you have to convince a business that a website is good for their business, then you probably should move on to another business.” “It’s like convincing a business that having a telephone is going to be good for business, so that the client can call them”. In short it a little crazy, bordering on unreasonable and not you responsibility.
On The Other Hand…
If you’re positive you can deliver on this promise (maybe you’ve even negotiated a tidy 25% of the sales generated from the website on top of your fee), then provided things go smoothly, Cha-Ching! But, would you be about to watch this video if you were 100% sure things were going to go smoothly? All sorts of problems can arise from you not being an expert in the client’s; not knowing what drives sales or their model, to your client booting you and you having no recourse, just to name a few…
We’re gonna look at some of the challenges facing web sales for clients and throw a few tips and strategies your way. And just in case you’re feeling a little anxious by all of this, stick around to the end of the vid where we’ve got a nice little view and a moment of serenity to keep things in perspective. For some of you already in the middle of a bad client web sales drama, take a breather.
Applies to web design and just about any type of programming too!
A HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ALL!!
Let’s start off with a scary premise… You’re starting a project or maybe you’re knee deep in the middle of one and you just feel stuck, or trapped. You’ve become mired in details and trying to be a programming hero, and you feel like you’re going in all directions at once! You need a better way to manage your workflow, young padawan…
In this video we lay out 5 steps to speed up your workflow whether a web designer or a programmer you be! Without too many spoilers, I’ll give you a little taste of what I’m talking about with tip number 4: Get the UI in front of the client ASAP. You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t…) how many programmers and designers want to have this almost completed, work of DiVincian (yes that’s a word now) art to show the client. Nope, “You can mock all this up in HTML and you get the feedback from your client as quickly as possible.” Wouldn’t it suck to build something up and then have to change “…core behavior in your application because the client didn’t quite know what they wanted until they saw it?” Check out this video and free up some more time, money, and sanity for yourself.