Well, I admit it isn’t easy thinking clearly on an empty stomach.
But my wife and I get by comfortably in our own home on just under $1.5 K / month (well below the FPL) - more than $500, but not by much.
Anyway, My thinking is that being a “jack-of-all-trades” would be best suited for small “mom and pop” sites and these types of clients are the ones that won’t pay top dollar.
While if one is specialized and is better than the majority there is a good chance they can command a higher income.
Not always true, a lot depends on circumstance and luck, but I still think you would do better if you picked something you could really shine at doing and focus you’re time and effort on that.
If you have a paid off home, that is doable. $1,500/month is what a lot of one bedroom apartments go for…
I don’t need top dollar, just realism. Maybe I am not worthy to be in the presence of all of you, but I don’t see how a client can expect a database-driven website, with user accounts, messaging, uploads, and e-commerce for under $10,000.
Put another way, how can anyone expect someone in IT with my experience to make under $20/hour?
In my area, most auto mechanics charge $90-$115/hour. Most body shops are over $60/hour. Most plumbers and electricians probably make $75-$100/hour. Don’t even get me started on doctors and lawyers.
When did IT become low-class, minimum wage-esque?!
But at the end of the day I think I am a very competent developer - even if I can’t compete with some of you.
When it comes to small-to-medium businesses, everyone is in a Word Press mindset and I think that is a bad business move. But the Internet has caused everyone to want things for free (think music and movie) or things that are very cheap.
I’ve got a bunch of thoughts whizzing round my head right now, but as its gone midnight here, anything I might type wouldn’t do them a great deal of justice. One question though, what was your previous line of work? I’d be interested to see whether there are skills there you could use to your advantage.
To get back on-topic a leave discussion of “business” for the other topic
It sounds like you are mainly a Designer.
With the recent impact of Google changing the rules for mobile sites in mobile SERPs and the steady trend of mobile use increasing, I can see only benefit for learning RWD.
Start a topic with a link to your site giving it the site-review tag and I’m certain it will help you a lot in this endeavor.
Then, market yourself as a Designer, no backend stuff, no database stuff, no content writing, no off-site SEO, etc.
It’s good, even somewhat necessary to know those things at least to the point of understanding them, but that doesn’t mean you have to be responsible for doing them.
Let me put it this way… Over the past 25-30 years, I have worked doing management, project management, business analysis, development, QA, and many more roles.
I consider myself chiefly a developer with a strong business background.
And even when I look for “gigs” on Craiglist, everyone wants the skills above that I don’t have.
But you know what a fad-driven society we live in. Companies and people are all caught up in buzzwords and not marketable skills.
I would rather hire someone who is older, but a great problem-solver than someone who is out of school yet has a resume littered with buzzwords. But that isn’t how most people think…
So, sorry for turning this thread into my other thread, but I am trying to figure out…
1.) Is Responsive Design a possible “silver bullet”? (The assumption is I am a good developer/web-developer already.)
2.) Could I learn it and do it without having a smart-phone? (I can’t afford a couple hndred more in telephone bills right now!)
3.) Could I learn it quick enough (e.g. under 30 days) where I could use it to approach small business who want to have a mobile presence?
4.) In general, is there enough demand and $$$ where I could rise above people wanting $500 WordPress websites and maybe make a couple grand per gig?
I don’t want fame or glory - just enough steady income to keep a roof over our head and food in our stomach. (And making more than a waitress or truck driver!)
1.) Yes, but if you know CSS it is easy to learn. So if you think that is something holding you back I would recommend deviating from the absolute truth when asked. Everyone “deviates” slightly from the truth on resumes and interviews anyway – its called marketing and it is expected.
2.) Yes, chrome and firefox box have mobile views.
3.) Yes, again if you know CSS the technical execution of responsive design isn’t difficult to grasp.
4.) Perhaps but I think a majority of “freelancers” are inexperienced bottom feeders hardly making any money. The notion these days seems to be freelancing is the alternative to not being able to get a real job. Which is completely the wrong mentality but that is the way it is considering the abundance of cheap jobs out there. I see posts day in and day out on this very forum that prove this very reality. Basic questions which someone offering professional services should know and if they don’t certainly are not qualified to be running their own business. People don’t think of freelancing as a business anymore which is the problem.
As much as we argue about different topics, it sounds like what you have to say on this topic is consistent with what I was thinking. You message adds a glimmer of hope to my situation.
What are your thoughts on my OP?
I’ve been room hunting since I got a new job. Found a 2 bedroom place in a BEAUUUUUUUUTIFUL location…1150 a month (split between two people). Can probably get it down to 1100. Whew. Hope I get it. There’s a waterfront where you can kayak, do boating, swim…I want it bad. Applied today.
Lots of driving today.
Your OP is this:
Which I answered.
I’ve read through this thread, and for the most part, I agree with everything that has been said. I do believe you stretch yourself too thin. Get good at something, and make that your skillset. I chose to get good at front-end development, since that’s what clicks for me. I can sell that hell out of that to companies (just did). Perhaps it helps that I’m still young but right now, while you know a lot, you actually aren’t really an expert in anything (if I’m going to be honest.)
I think you should figure out what you’re best at (or what you can market the best) and stick with that. Design was mentioned earlier. Are you a decent designer? All the coding in the world makes no difference if it doesn’t look good and provide a good UI. I understand you think of yourself as a coder, but perhaps consider if your design skills are strong enough (or marketable enough) to switch? Just food for thought.
Government contractor? Good pay? You’re the second person on these forums to have that mentality. I’m not sure where it comes from.
This new job is 2x the money (literally) without me calculating in the possibility of being able to do overtime (government doesn’t let you.)
On the other side of Baltimore so I don’t have to drive 90 minutes to see friends + pay a toll. Now it’s 25 minutes to work, to family, or friends. 25 flat each way (AND no toll). And in a beautiful location.
I wasn’t commenting on pay, just that I was surprised Ryan would leave a job with the Feds - unless you are still with the Feds but in another department. Anyways, happy that at least you are going up in your career!
That is hard to believe. I think you are one of the smartest people on SitePoint, and would think you would command a high salary… Then again, maybe your situation just proves my point about how screwed up IT in the U.S. has become over the last decade… sigh
But I think my strength is doing business logic via programming and database design.
(In my free time, I was working on a website and business before the economy started to get bad. I have written tens of thousands of lines of code and built a pretty complicated database as well.)
I don’t mind doing web design, but I guess I have always seen myself more as a business analyst and developer.
That was my thinking too, and why I started this thread.
It is my hope that my current knowledge and experience with PHP, HTML and CSS only needs to be tweaked so that I can start building “responsive” sites.
If I could leverage my current knowledge of HTML and CSS, and learn how to do basic responsive websites in the next 30 days, then maybe I could start approaching small-to-medium businesses and selling them on the idea for needing a “responsive” website.
It seems like there might be a real opportunity for that?
One thing I did learn this week while looking at websites from local mechanics and construction companies and so forth is that I have an uphill battle if I want to sell people on my “web design” abilities…
You see, @Mittineague, I think I am more developer than designer.
Why do I say this?
Well, I am VERY good at taking complex business processes and using web applications to solve them. On my own website, I have built things like private messaging, surveys, photo uploads, social media, CMS, and so on with good success.
And while the site I built for this local garage looks professional, I wouldn’t say it looks “sexy”.
To be blunt, it is hard for me to compete with WordPress templates galore… Again, my websites look nice, but I wouldn’t say they look like they were done by a graphic artist.
I think my advantage is my ability to make websites actually do something versus just look pretty f that makes sense?
Anyways, what I saying is that I see making a static website more dynamic and making it responsive is something I could be good at - as long as I don’t need to turn into a graphic artist.
Well, some comments might sting for a while. But once you get past the initial cut and look at it objectively there’s no quicker way to become aware of any short-comings that should be addressed. Not the gentlest way to learn, and not for sensitive types, but darn fast and an eye-opener.