Who says that you can’t have the best of both worlds? In my case, I can because I do two things that I really enjoy.
One of the things that I was able to do during the pandemic was to explore and further develop some of the skills that I teach to my students because our schedule was shortened, and I didn’t have to commute. This scenario provided me with a lot of free time which I dedicated to web design. This situation arose when I had to create a website for my students as an alternative resource to the Learning Management System that the school provides. Some students were providing excuses that they could not access the assignments and video materials that I produced (yes, I produce my own videos because I want my learning materials to be more personal) because the LMS was down or for some reason, it was showing errors.
So, I decided to come-up with a website for my classes. At first, the objective was for my students to have access, but then later on, some fellow educators who were delivering online classes from other schools started asking if I could share my video materials and other resources. So now, it doesn’t only help my students, but other people as well because everyone has access. I named it teacherbee.org because my last name starts with “B” and my primary teacher told me that I am like a bee because I am very talkative (she was probably right though).
One thing I realized when building my website was that I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to do it as a part-time job. The main reasons for this were to develop my web design skills and to help fellow educators and small business owners who want to have websites of their own, so that they don’t need to rely on social media sites for their online presence. Here are some of the things that I would like to share with you to eventually help you if you are interested in doing the same.
- Read, watch and listen. Once I realized that I really like creating websites, I listened to podcasts that focus on this area. There are so many valuable resources out there that you can acquire to get a deeper understanding about this industry, and you can get first-hand information from the business owners themselves. A podcast that I usually listen to is Resourceful Designer. Mark Des Cotes who hosts the channel provides great advice if you would like to explore this kind of endeavor. I also watch YouTube videos that help me to further my skills and along the way, I have learned a lot. One of the YouTube channels I watch is Living with Pixels and the host provides great information on how to start a web design business. Subscribe to Lynda.com: I have a free subscription because the public library in the state I live in provides a free subscription to this. There is also a lot of articles on the internet that provide resources if you are starting.
- Explore what’s out there. Once you have a better understanding of what you would like to do, whether it’s print design, web design or mobile design it is important to know what’s trending and what are the things that matter. One of the websites that will really help you get ideas which I also share with my students is https://dribbble.com/ Here, you will receive tons of ideas and inspiration.
- Just do it. Register for a domain name and acquiring one is not as expensive as you might think. I used Godaddy at first (it costs me $10.00 for a year including the hosting service) but I didn’t like it so I switched to a different hosting service. The point is that you can’t do it unless you try it. You can start with a simple website using WordPress and use page builder to help you get started. Even if you don’t have coding skills these builders can help you create something.
- Birds of a feather flock together. Join professional networks. There are a bunch of LinkedIn groups and Facebook groups that provide help for fellow members to help you get started. There are also paid ones, but these will surely be helpful to you.
- Spread the word. Now that you have all the ideas and skills that you need, start spreading the news. One thing I learned from listening to the Resourceful Designer podcast was there are several ways you can do this. You can post it on your social media account, or you can tell your friends. Also, you can be your own walking advertisement. Have t-shirts printed with a message that says, “Graphic Designer Here. Talk to me” and wear it or give it to your friends. You can also start creating your own business cards and these can be done very easily with the online layout company called Canva (they have a free subscription to educators) and freepik.com.
I hope that this information will help drive your passion and eventually make you productive. You can visit my website here: balboacreative.com and if you have questions on how I started this journey, please don’t hesitate to contact me at email@example.com