I always wanted to stay home with my children and I love being with them, but wiping noses and picking up toys over-and-over again is not brain-stimulating work. I needed something to keep my brain from going insane – so during nap time, I taught myself computer languages.
I started from scratch – I knew zero code. I wasn’t computer illiterate – I knew the Microsoft Office Suite – that’s it!
I started looking at job listings, not to get hired, but to see what languages I needed to delve into. Some listings had one set of languages, while other expected a completely different stack. I became overwhelmed. I kept plugging away at FCC, learning React.js, but I felt like I needed to figure out some direction. I didn’t have any programmer friends, but one of my friends, Emily married one and so while at my brother’s wedding, I arranged to meet with Daniel Schuring (Modern Theory) and tell him my story and then listen to his advice. Once again, super helpful. I left there with two courses of action: to learn php/WordPress (just for its popularity) and to create an Upwork profile.
There is a ton of places to learn php/WordPress, but I liked the way the guy teaches at LearnWebCode.com. Some of his classes are free and others cost money – but only like $30 – no student loan needed! Free Code Camp now has a 4 hour php beginners course. I can’t vouch for it, as it was not around when I needed it, but I am sure I would have started there if it were available.
I also began an Upwork profile, not to become a freelancer, but to gain practical experience with live applications and sites. I solicited projects for the Upwork minimum ($3/hour) and I learned so much and met many people who wanted to help me.
I began my first project in December. I worked on projects through February. As I finished jobs, my clients left glowing reviews with five-star ratings. I couldn’t believe it! Like I mentioned before, I had no programming friends, but I wanted to get connected with some people who could help me find a job where I could work and also learn. I put a blurb on facebook and Kim Davis from SparkDawn Media reached out to me. We met and she had great advice about pursuing other certifications and she encouraged me to raise my Upwork rate from $3 to $25. I thought she was crazy, but I went home and changed my rate to $20/hour.
About this time, I received a message from Upwork indicating that I was one short video away from earning a “rising talent’ icon. I honestly had no clue what this icon meant, but the video was about writing proposals and now that my rate was higher, I thought it might be helpful. I watched the video, earned my icon, and wrote a basic proposal and submitted it to several (maybe 10) potential jobs. The next morning, I woke up and after a few messages back and forth, I had 9 jobs! WHAT!?!?! That was Valentines Day and I have not stopped. I kept raising my rate until now, 8 months later, it is $40/hour. I am honest about being a rookie and I am amazed that clients support me!
I now have a few partnerships. I work with the guys at W3On.com. They challenge me and teach me new things on a weekly basis. I also work with Eric Schuster, who owns Fresh Look Web Design. Here are some sites that I created for him. My hustling days are few as my Upwork clients return for website updates or want me to create additional sites or even send me referrals.
Since the summer, I had been wanting to learn more about SEO and take another WordPress PHP class. I purchased this class on Udemy for $12 – Become a WordPress Developer: Unlocking Power With Code. I love how Brad teaches.
In order to make time for these classes, I pushed pause with Eric (FreshLook) and didn’t pursue any new work. I continued to maintain and manage any sites that I created. While paused, Eric asked me about my coding journey and I sent him the link to this story page. He laughed when he saw that he was a part of MY story, but he also commented that $40/hour was too low for my skillset. I truly feel blessed to be so successful at this, so quickly, so I brushed that comment off saying that I was a rookie. He replied saying that it isn’t about experience, it is about what I can do and then continued to tell me that he thought I was worth $60/hour – what?!?!? I thought that was crazy, but then when he continues saying that when I return, that will be my new rate!!! Also while learning, I wanted to pause Upwork invitations. I increased my Upwork rate to $75/hour, and crazy enough – I have had 4 jobs at that rate! I continue to be amazed at this process. I also landed my first $2000 site to build! I am a few hours away from finishing my classes and then I will hit the ground running again! Stay tuned.
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