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Good Luck!

We’ve covered a lot of ground in the last 90 minutes, and I hope you’ve seen that this process is not that intimidating. Yes, it does take a bit longer then jumping right in, but that investment of your time will hopefully result in good things later on in your career.

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Thanks so much for watching this production and I sincerely hope it will help you in your future endeavors. I know you’ve heard me say it so many times (and read it too), but your dedication, discipline and ability to execute will make all the difference.

Three Things to Remember

You will be discouraged and, probably sooner than later, you will also feel defeated before you even start. This is natural and expected, it’s also very human. We can dream the wonderful dreams but when it comes to putting transitioning those dreams into something real it can be terrifying.

But! There is a cure for that feeling of defeat! Can you guess what it is..? It’s broken record time… but the best way to get over your self-doubt is by doing something. Even the smallest step forward is self-propelling.

For instance: right now you might be making lists and taking notes but you haven’t actually done anything substantive. Let’s change that! Seriously, right this very second.

Getting Off the Ground

Let’s say you might have jotted some notes for a business plan, signed up for a few services and looked online for an accountant and/or lawyer. These are great plans - but they don’t amount to executing your vision, so are a few things I want you to do for a first, substantive step.

Register Your Domain

If you haven’t picked a domain yet, do it right now. Here’s the link in case you forgot. Set a timer and pick something in the next 5 minutes. GO.

Once you’ve done that, sign up at Cloudflare and have them serve your site for you. You’ll get a free SSL certificate which is rad.

Setup Your Site

Now, let’s choose a platform for your site. Let’s keep you focused - pick one of these:

  • Squarespace. It looks nice and keeps things simple.
  • WordPress. This is what I use (the OpenLiteSpeed version) for my front-facing stuff. This is a great option as you can use some outstanding marketing tools like Thrive Architect to help you grow your online presence. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, however. WordPress is a great pick just to get off the ground.
  • GitHub Pages. This is a good option if you like playing with HTML and want things for free (which is good)

Pay for Your Services

I have a simple bit of advice for you on this: DO. NOT. OBSESS. ON. FREE.. This is your business and your focus needs to be on getting paying customers to see you and call you. Do not develop a habit of freaking out over $30/month for a service that can bring in thousands. This is easy to do, especially in the beginning.

Can’t Decide? Do This.

Once you’ve decided on your domain and registered it with Cloudflare, click that link above for the WordPress site and create a $20 image at DigitalOcean. Once that’s done and you’re into your site, install these plugins:

  • Thrive Architect. It’s $67 but it will transform the way you think about your site, I promise. You may eventually want to get a Thrive Membership as their themes and marketing stuff is amazing - but for right now let’s get you going.
  • WordFence. Search for it in the plugins directory. People suck and WordFence is a great way to keep them from hacking your site.
  • The Astra Theme. It’s free and comes with some starter templates.

Once your site is up, we need a few pages. Things like the services you want to provide, more about you, your resume and your blog where you’re going to post professional superstar stuff later on.

This can be super hard to conceive, so click this link and go get started.

Enough Reading! Go!

You can do this. I swear you can. I don’t know you personally but I know that our industry needs really good people and if you’re watching this you’re one of those people.

*Only you can make this happen for yourself. Put another way: you are your biggest problem! But I just said you’re awesome so get over yourself and get to work!

Good luck!

  • Becoming a Solo Contractor

    Hello and welcome! Let's kick things off by getting our heads in the right place and understanding what we're getting ourselves into. This could be a life-changing moment for you and having a plan is essential! So let's take a minute and wrap our heads around this.

  • Is The Contract Programmer Thing Right For You?

    Going out on your own is, essentially, turning up the volume on your career. The good parts get better: freedom to choose what you do and when you do it. The bad parts get worse: you will be the worst boss you’ve ever had, and a simple mistake can greatly affect your income.

  • Exercise: Get Organized!

    Everyone has their scheme and their way to get things done and if you're that kind of person hooray! I'm actually talking about something a bit different than a personal To-Do list - we need a methodology and a way that we can ensure that we can execute our vision.

  • Creating Your Business Plan

    We’ll take a look at how a business plan can help solidify what it is we want to do when we go out on our own. We’ll use a simple template, choose a business name and detail the market that we’re about to enter. Finally, we’ll consider where we want this business to end up.

  • Exercise: Business Plan

    We can ponder about our business plan all day long - let's not. Let's execute by laying something down right now, and building on it. You've learned what's in a business plan, now let's put something - ANYTHING in writing and commit ourselves to this vision.

  • Exercise: Business Name

    Naming things is hard and you will either spend way too long on this or way to little. Let's give it a reasonable amount of time and then move on. I'll help you (I hope) by sharing with you how I came up with various business names of my own... then we'll buy a domain.

  • Exercise: Marketing Plan

    At some point you'll need to let people know what you do, that you're good, and that you're worth paying. This is tough stuff, but if you don't do it you won't last long

  • Setting Up Professional Services for Your Contracting Gig

    Trying to run a business on your own is a sure way to burn yourself out. You have to delegate certain duties to online services and third parties. It might seem like an expensive thing to do, but it’s really not.

  • Setting Up Your Finances as a Solo Contractor

    In this section we turn our attention to your new company’s finances. It may seem intimidating, but tracking your income and expenses can be quite easy with simple to use online services.

  • Sample Contracts

    At some point you'll need to let people know what you do, that you're good, and that you're worth paying. This is tough stuff, but if you don't do it you won't last long

  • Growing Your Professional Network

    In this section we’ll look at ways to find your most important client: the very first one! We’ll get out and meet other developers, creating a legitimate network of peers. Finally, the best work is repeat work, so we’ll look at things you can do to make sure you are your client’s go to person.

  • Branding Your Solo Contracting Business

    You need to stand out and make your virtual self look sharp and competent. This isn't about physical looks, it's about how you present yourself to others and the care you take in making an impression. These things matter a lot and they don't take a whole lot of effort.

  • Good Luck!

    We’ve covered a lot of ground in the last 90 minutes, and I hope you’ve seen that this process is not that intimidating. Yes, it does take a bit longer then jumping right in, but that investment of your time will hopefully result in good things later on in your career.

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