Hi! I'm Joshua Otwell.

Figuring things out...

published10 months ago
2 min read

Some housekeeping.

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"Skills pay the bills…"

That is the jest of it at least.

However, are self-taught or self-realized skills also valuable?

Sometimes I feel I need some form of validation for the skills I've learned on my own as a self-starter or self-taught developer. (I started a thread over on my Substack page about this very topic.)

And honestly, I'm not sure why.

Here are some of the skills I've developed that I want to use. Many (or all) of them I continue to build.

I'm categorizing them as major and minor with major being those I've been working on for more than 3 years (at the time of writing), and the minor skills in a time frame less than that.

  • SQL (MySQL in particular)
  • PHP Backend web development
  • Technical Writing
  • WordPress Webmaster
  • WordPress page builders (SeedProd, Elementor)
  • Carrd landing page or single-page sites
  • Newsletters
  • Email marketing
  • E-commerce (my Kofi and Gumroad shops)

It only makes sense that wherever these skills overlap is an area I can make gains.

I am already producing a great deal of content in 2 similar areas; WordPress blogging on the Digital Owl’s Prose developer blog and publishing a weekly Substack newsletter, OpenLampTech.

Technical writing, MySQL knowledge, PHP knowledge, and WordPress skills overlap in these 2 areas.

I haven’t really found any ways to monetize these particular areas (yet) for any meaningful impact. Both blogging and newsletters seems like a "slow go" type of monetization.

Other interest

Several of my skills already meet in interesting areas that I could turn into lucrative products or services:

  • Newsletter writing
  • Blog posts writing
  • Email writing
  • Building landing pages
  • Connecting landing pages with email sign-up forms
  • Building email sign-up forms and landing pages
  • Building simple WordPress websites and blogs
  • Classified ads for newsletters

The burning questions I have about my skills and earning an income with them that keep me up at night are:

  1. How do I monetize them?
  2. How to I effectively find clients through targeted (or any kind of) marketing?
  3. Which skills do I focus on the most and how to market them?
  4. What if I take on a project that I don't know everything I need to complete?
  5. Do I have the time capacity, mental fortitude, and desire to take on side projects while working full-time with some family commitments as well?
  6. Do I commit fully and just jump in head-on and go for it?

I'll go ahead and state the obvious now. I have a bad case of Imposter Syndrome. (That's a whole other newsletter or series).

I'm interested in a lot of technical things and I'm not 100% sure if that is a hindrance (Shiny Object Syndrome) or an asset.

I know I could be semi-successful at several different things but, should work towards mastering one thing or scope really well.

In the next newsletter, I'll go over goal setting and plans using any or all of these major and minor skills, in order to begin earning some income.

I'll leave you with these 3 links to sources I've read this week and learned something from:

(Cover photo credits: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay)