Are you a technophobe? Do the letters HTML make you cringe and want to run screaming in the other direction?
If so, I sympathize wholeheartedly. I’m a member of the technophobe tribe myself. Or if not technophobic, at least shall we say that Geek is not my native tongue. Not by a long shot.
Oh, I’ve learned to use a lot of technologies that started off feeling completely unattainable, but it was always out of necessity, and there was much hair-pulling and gnashing of teeth involved.
False belief: you’re either born understanding technology, or you’re doomed to never understand it
I don’t know about you, but I find myself defaulting to the irrational belief that if I don’t automatically understand all of this technological stuff, or if I didn’t get in “on the ground floor” when everybody was a newbie, it is surely out of my reach forever. It feels like I’ve lost the race and might as well just give up.
But then years ago I had an “aha” light bulb moment.
I was about to go through a divorce, and it was quite obvious that my existing business model (in which everything I created was completely by hand — you know, like with pens and brushes and ink and paper and paint and stuff) was not going to pay my bills. It was clear I needed a new set of marketable skills, and since I was already an artist and designer, the obvious direction was computer graphics. But of course I didn’t know any of the tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, web design, they all seemed impossibly out of reach.
I will confess that there was a moment of utter defeated terror. I was that unconfident about my ability to function in this brave new world of technology.
Only then did it suddenly occur to me (because it had to) that the skills that felt so out of my reach were actually things I could learn.
I mean, duh, right? But seriously, at the time this was a huge revelation!
Yes, Virginia, you can learn this stuff!
I immediately signed up for a metric ton of classes through UC Berkeley Extension. (Yes, I know classes don’t actually have physical weight, but my brain was so overloaded with information it felt like they did.) The specter of hunger or homelessness is a big motivator, and I dove into this computer graphics thing with a vengeance. Some of it was easier than I expected (InDesign made complete sense to me and came very easily, so did compositing in Photoshop), some of it the stuff of nightmares (beginning web design almost killed me, and color correction in Photoshop did not sync with my neurons in the slightest). But when it was hard, I just kept plowing through.
Over the years I learned what I needed to know in order to get the job done, and I have to say it has been hugely empowering to be able to do stuff on my own that I’d previously had to rely on others to do for me. Among other things, I learned to:
- create my own website
- scan my artwork myself and do all the fiddling in Photoshop to prepare it for printing
- print my artwork in house, rather than having to outsource it
- create my own WordPress blog, and style it in Thesis (and now working on Headway [yes, that’s an affiliate link — watch for a review after I’ve had more time to play with it, but so far I’m pretty damned impressed])
Once I had a bit of a foundation, adding to it was still challenging, but less painful than the initial climb up the learning curve. As I needed to do more things (and of course when the inevitable upgrade could be put off no longer — argh!), I’d steel myself for another learning curve and start trudging up the hill.
Yes, frequently with hair-pulling and teeth-gnashing, but little by little I’d make the ascent.
The unexpected benefit of being a non-techie
Now I realize that I’ve accumulated a valuable set of skills, not only for making my stuff, but also for sharing what I’ve learned with others! In fact, being a bit of a technophobe by nature actually gives me a distinct advantage in this regard: I know what it’s like to feel intimidated by technology, I know what it’s like to get utterly unhelpful “help” from corners that don’t know how to break things down for someone like me! And because I’m a good teacher — and I speak plain English, not Geek — this is an additional skill I can draw on to share what I know in a way that will ease the path for others.
And you know what’s especially cool? Because this technology stuff isn’t utterly opaque to me anymore, when I face a new learning curve the challenge can actually be (gasp!) kind of fun!
Who’da thunk it?
How this fits in with Living A Creative Life
An important part of living the life I really, really want is connecting with people to help them live the lives they really, really want. That may include putting your special thing out in the world — and online — where you can share its unique wonderfulness. For many creatives, artists and solopreneurs, a website or blog is part of the vision, but the steps to creating your own website feel way too daunting. And getting a professionally designed site can be crazy expensive! Plus when you want to make changes to it you’ve got to shell out more money to have someone else do it for you.
That’s where I can come in.
I’m using the lessons in the Empire Building Kit [affiliate link], the $100 Business Forum, Marketing School and Dave Navarro’s Launch Coach workshops [affiliate link] to brainstorm exactly what I will offer, and Question the Rules [affiliate link] for ideas and inspiration. It won’t be “full-scale, totally customized from-the-ground-up web design,” but it will include a range of services, and it will give clients a website that they can easily maintain and edit themselves, without knowing a lick of code.
I know it will include a DIY version, for people like me, who want to learn to do stuff themselves, as well as an “I do it all for you” version, and probably a premium “I create your site, write your copy and design your header” version. I know I will offer a video tutorial and probably an e-workbook. And I know that the first small group of customers will get it for a ridiculously low price.
How low? Like $13 for the first person who signs up for the most basic “I do it for you” version.
Yeah, you read that right — a fully-functional multi-page WordPress website + blog that you can edit yourself for thirteen dollars! And $26 for the 2nd sign-upper, $39 for the 3rd, etc. The first few may even get a free telephone consultation as part of the deal. The exact details are still in process. I’ll keep you posted.
So my first thing is coming together, little by little.
Watch this space!
If you, or somebody you know, is interested in being a guinea pig in my super-inexpensive insta-website charter group, sign up below and you’ll be notified before I launch, so you’ll get first crack at the crazy-inexpensivest pricing.
(Yes, I know “inexpensivest” is not a word. It just came out of my fingers as I was typing and I liked it, so it stayed. It’s now a word. So there.)
PS – I include mentions of affiliate links, where applicable, because it’s important to me to be transparent on this blog. I only sign up as an affiliate for products that I can recommend with a confidence. Are all of the products I recommend 100% phenomenal with nothing to complain about? No. They wouldn’t all necessarily get an A+ (though some would). But they are all good products that I have gotten a lot of value out of. I always recommend reading reviews — mine (as I post them!) and others — before you buy, and don’t buy anything unless it sounds like a good fit for you. If you do buy something through one of my links, I’ll make some money, and I’ll be eternally grateful to you. And if you don’t buy through one of my links, I’ll never know, so don’t lose sleep over it.