Got some questions on Reddit, wrote a response, gonna post it here.
Your life sounds really interesting. I feel like I’m you, now. Also 23, and wanting to make it from the comfort of my computer.
You definitely can. There’s a big need for smart, curious, empathetic people with computer skills right now.
I’m also into web dev, and I’m curious about mixing music and maybe even producing one day(hip hop). Unlike you, I’ve took initiative yet to be employable as a web dev, or anything like that.
Now that you’ve got the idea, it’s possible.
Q: Any advice?
Whatever you give your time and attention to will develop. The trick is that you only have 18 hours in a day, so you have to decide what to invest in to build your life.
Q: What and how did you first learn?
The very first thing I did was google “How to make money from a laptop.” Web-camming wasn’t as popular at the time (I wasn’t in very good shape either), but web design and development came up. I bought a book on Amazon about starting a web design business from home. I was also listening to marketing and business podcasts and reading books and online articles from various web designers.
Q: What design and business podcasts were you listening to?
I quickly realized that most web designers were using Apple computers, so I started listening to Mac Power Users. I was also listening to Mule Radio and a bunch of shows from 5by5. ShopTalk Show was one of my favorites and my first client, and those guys are still rocking. I’d say the quality of the shows now is just as good or better than back then, so a quick google search of “top design or business podcasts” is as good a place to start as ever.
I will recommend the seanwes podcast, Design Life, Developer Tea, Command Line Heroes, Exponent, Overtime, and Radiolab (but there are a ton of amazing podcasters who share what they’ve learned and are awesome).
Q: How did you eventually make the jump from factory job to jr. front end web dev? What were your favorite resources?
This part is actually tricky. In early 2012 I got myself fired from the factory. They had implemented a strict no-cellphone at work policy and I was good at running the machines so I always had down time that I’d use to read and send messages to friends. I just didn’t really care that they didn’t want me to use my phone when I wasn’t busy producing their stupid spark plug boots or head gaskets.
I’d started playing drums with Kolton a few months before and we were already making $400-800 per show, so I was bringing in at least a couple hundred per week from that. I took a part time job at a sandwich shop in Weatherford (called Yesterdays, it’s super good). I also did chores at my parent’s house for extra cash when I didn’t have enough to cover bills.
Eventually I got an unpaid internship at a little web design agency in Fort Worth. That turned into a paid position (8/hour, whooohoooo rich) that lasted about 8 months before the company ran out of money. I found a job doing graphic design work (basic photoshop stuff for a graphic designer) that paid a little better (15/hour).
It was around that time that I reached out to the guys at the ShopTalk Show and asked if I could help them with editing and show notes.
I don’t really have any favorite resources to recommend about that transition, it was a difficult and scary time. I never had enough money and had to live as cheaply as possible, and I always felt like a noob and an imposter.
I learned enough HTML/CSS to get a job at a cool place called AM Design in north Fort Worth. I probably wasn’t good enough to deserve that job, but I think they liked that I worked with the ShopTalk crew.
Q: I’m curious how you managed to learn that and mixing simultaneously, was it tough?
Yeah but I spent a lot of time at home reading tutorials or watching videos, and listening to podcasts non-stop when I was at work or driving or riding my bike around town.
Q: I noticed you shared your tutorials and such below, but what helped you the most when you started out?
Podcasts and podcasters who shared what they learned and spending time developing my skills instead of going out or partying.
Q: What were your favorites books/tutorials/lectures related to web dev, business, mixing, podcasting?
For mixing/podcasts, I’ll point you here: http://thepodcastdude.com/18
For business: https://seanwes.com/itunes
For web dev: https://player.fm/featured/web-development
Just try out whatever looks interesting. You’ll hear a lot of stuff you won’t understand at first, but over time you’ll start seeing the big picture.
Q: How did 5by5 network feel about hiring you with little to no experience?
I actually had a fair bit of experience at the time, it was 2014 and I’d just quit my job at AM because I had enough weekly podcast clients to cover my bills and have a little extra. I knew about editing, mixing and mastering, show notes, content management systems, FTP, and the various other things that go into producing a good podcast.
Q: What did your job responsibilities entail exactly?
The hosts or Dan/Haddie would upload Logic Pro X files to a server that I had access to. I’d download the file, add the music, do basic mixing/mastering, write down timestamps for the sponsors, fix any big mistakes (they marked these so I wouldn’t have to listen to the whole episode), export an MP3, upload it to the CMS, and let the hosts/5by5 know it was ready for review and to be published.
Q: How did you get them to allow you to be a free agent and work on a contract basis with several other podcasters?
They paid me per episode, not hourly. So they were just another client, although they made up about half of my workload. Most podcasts aren’t a full time gig by themselves, but if you get 4-5 weekly shows, it’s def close to being a full-time job.
I’ve always been upfront about my side gigs though. Even now, working for Simplecast, I’m editing Dribbble’s Overtime podcast and another show (although I’m going to have to find someone to take over that second one because I’m running out of time and have things I should be doing instead of basic editing). Basically, if people want to work with me, they don’t get to tell me what I can and can’t do. They can ask nicely (and if I like them and they pay well, I’ll do what they ask), but I don’t respond well to being controlled or bossed around.
Hope that helps! Visit my about page if you’d like to learn more or get in touch.