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Getting on the Radar

Here's one more ridiculous question:

How did everyone first generate income when they first started out? And what things kept you going through any periods of self-doubt that you might have had?

8 Answers

I built a simple web app for sending large files to clients. This was in 2004. It was £199/mo and I was only able to get about four companies signed up. It was just enough income to scrape by.

I soon realized the business was going to fail and pivoted to another biz: simple workshops. We paid a speaker and rented a venue and then made money selling tickets. Topics were web design and dev.

That biz worked out and grew to £1m+ in yearly revenue, which I sold in 2011 to focus 100% on Treehouse.

Thanks for replying, Ryan. I remember you talking about the early product on the Think Vitamin videos, and what a low point that was. I've also remembered your words about staging events and being seen as a expert by proximity. That was when I first heard of Carsonified, through FOWD and seeing that site featured so much as an example of cool design.

So, part of what I've learned is being open to different things, and knowing when to adjust when something isn't working.

I greatly appreciate your input.

Ricardo Diaz
Ricardo Diaz
30,415 Points

I'm still in the early stages of my career but from a "New Guy" viewpoint I would say just get your name out there. Twitter is a good place to start. Display your work, talk to people, and do searches and see if you can help people with questions. Also just being active in popular forums is another good way.

Here is a tip. If you can write great blog posts then nettuts+ is always looking for bloggers to write there. Write a few posts and you can get traffic and recognition. I would also see if the treehouse blog is letting people write for them. I never asked but it will help get your name out there and after about 50 blog posts you would be getting some major traffic heading your way.

I've had good success with just telling my friends and family. So far I've got six sites underway from that.

After a couple sites post them on your portfolio site. Find out what design and development firms are in your area, follow and interact with them on Twitter. Also email them to tell them your intentions.

That way, like a lot of us, you will have steady work til your pet project hits big.

I agree with what others said here about making contacts and helping out anyway you can until you can gain some recognition. You might also try writing an eBook on a topic you feel comfortable with. You don't have to be an expert and can find collaborators to make it easier too! Not only do you get noticed if the book does well, but you can make some decent side income as well.

These are all really good suggestions, and I thank everyone for their insight and input.

For me as a newbie. It was good old friends on Facebook. They hopefully already trust you but will still want to see your abiliteies. A couple logos, then some sites. And of course doing a thing or two for free :)

Deleted User

John do you have a website? I'd like to look at your work?