100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs, 2017 Edition: Nominations Now Open!

100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs

100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs 2016 nominations now open

As you know, we make it our mission here at One Woman Shop to provide solopreneurs with the best possible tools, resources, and community they need to recognize that “going it alone doesn’t have to be lonely.”

And we know we’re not the only ones on that mission. In fact, in 2015, we proved it when we opened nominations for our first edition of the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs, and they started pouring in. Let’s just say it was a tall task to get the list down to 100 when there are so many fantastic websites out there serving solo business owners.

We also know that new sites are popping up every day, and old favorites continue to provide an incredible amount of value — so without further ado, let’s hear your picks for the 2017 edition of 100 Best Sites!

What’s your favorite site for solopreneurs?

We’re looking for the best sites that provide rich, consistently-updated resources for solo business owners on the various elements of starting and running a business. The sites you turn to when you need advice on solopreneur finances. The blogs populating your RSS feeder for when you need launching or email marketing wisdom. The links you visit on the daily for the inspiration to quit your day job, build your side biz, or become location independent. Heck, even the sites you love to visit to give your brain a break so you can come back to your work stronger.

Speak now, fellow solopreneur!

Use the form below to nominate. Numerous nominations are encouraged! Simply submit the form, then choose “Submit another response.” (Oh, and self-nominations count!)

To another year of celebrating a fantastic solopreneur community!

Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds for the Solopreneur

Weekly Finds for the solopreneur

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds – where we scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we think will help your business — and maybe even your life!

Did you know? In 1967, stockbroker Muriel Siebert became the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. Today, Ubiquity Retirement + Savings is proud to be the only 401(k) provider to have more women in leadership roles than men. (It’s just one reason we love them and their SingleK retirement options for solopreneurs.) #FinancialFeminism

FEBRUARY. It’s all too easy to lose the new-year motivation and fall into the winter slump (for us northern hemisphere-ers, anyway). That’s why we love turning to classic reminders to stay motivated like this one from Marie Forleo. (Hint: Focus on what you’re doing, not what you’re trying to achieve.)

First reason we love this timeline of his business from Matt Giovansci: It’s clean and fun to read through. Second: He’s brutally honest about the “overnight success” his “mildly-successful” business achieved in just 14 years. Like everything Matt does, his transparency and humor always get the best of us.

If you’re like me (Sara) and left Hidden Figures completely inspired and hankering for more crazy awesome stories like it, you’ll love this list of must-reads from Brit & Co.

Adding products to our online businesses an appealing way to generate alternative revenue streams. Of course, it’s easier said than done. That’s why we were psyched to see our friends at ConvertKit curate an issue of articles on adding digital products to your biz last month — with thorough posts on the many faces of online products, the complete guide to e-commerce platforms, and much more.

Do you struggle with pricing? (Let’s be serious…who doesn’t?) Well, stop and read this insight from Seth Godin — and maybe you’ll realize that price isn’t the thing you want to be working on right now, anyway.

List-building is all the rage, and while we’re all out studying the best welcome mats, content upgrades, and software providers, we’re often overlooking the obvious: creating a dedicated opt-in page on our site that makes it easy for subscribers to find, and easy for us to link to. Alison Monday of tiny blue orange has us covered in her latest nerd alert column.

Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds for the Solopreneur

Weekly Finds for the solopreneur

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds – where we scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we think will help your business — and maybe even your life!

Fact: “Women are 27% more likely than men to say they have no retirement savings.” That’s why resources like Ubiquity’s Retirement + Savings’ Single(k) is crucial for one woman shops. (And…two thumbs up for their hashtag: #FinancialFeminism)

What can you accomplish in five days? A whole lot when it comes to building a solid foundation of self-care. Whether you want to live and work more mindfully, establish healthy boundaries, or crush your goals, get a free, 5-day email course from Kerstin Auer over at tools for better.

“Ugh.” <-- The standard response from most solopreneurs + creative biz owners when they think about the legal side of things. Luckily, we have amazing resources like Christina Scalera to turn to. We're digging her latest "happy hour" post on what to do once you’ve nailed the legal basics.

It seems like every solopreneur and their mother has a VA (sometimes their VA is their mother…which is totally cool!). Of course, there’s a reason for that. Despite the upfront time investment of integrating a VA into your biz, the benefits are vast — but Indigo Colton shares with us the one benefit that’s often overlooked over on Heather Crabtree’s blog.

Changing your web host is never a fun (nor an easy) task. So when it came time for us to do it this fall as we outgrew our shared plan on Bluehost, we were super grateful to find this resource on the best web hosting on reviews.com — beautifully broken down into language even we can understand. (Spoiler alert: We’re now on inMotion.)

Coworking. Whether in-person or virtually, it’s one of the biggest solutions to overcoming the potential loneliness of solopreneurship. Geraldine Bedell reports on the worldwide coworking culture over on Digg, highlighting one of many things we appreciate about coworking: “A study by Harvard Business Review found that coworkers believe their work has more meaning.” Yes, please.

We love chatting about Tools We Love — so what better way to end this edition of Weekly Finds than by sharing the latest: Coach. Coach combines software that helps you build, engage, and convert your online audience (think: invoicing, scheduling, and content, all in one system) with expert coaching to help you set and achieve your goals along the way.

Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds for the Solopreneur

Weekly Finds for the solopreneur

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds – where we scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we think will help your business — and maybe even your life!

“I am not your girlboss.” If that statement takes you off guard (after all, #girlboss is pretty much everywhere these days), read this insightful piece from Katie Levans of Charlotte Agenda. Her points are real, fellow bosses.

Hey, moms — we know you’re busy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t start and run a successful business. Monica of Redefining Mom has done it — and shares how to define the type of business you want to start, how to tackle taxes and financial systems, and how to find the time to build it all while working and taking care of your family in her free 7-day email course. Grab it here!

One of our favorite things about affiliate marketing here at OWS is that it gives us the opportunity to share products + services we believe in, in areas that we aren’t necessarily experts in — saving you the time of scouring the internet. Tad, from Marketing for Hippies, agrees with that benefit — but also points out the potential negatives of affiliate marketing, and how he’s chosen to go about it, moving forward. #likeminded

Stuck wondering what you should blog about in your business? You’re not alone. Ashley Brooks of Brooks Editorial has the answer to that — and more — in her new, 64-page workbook, Blogging for Business. And it’s only $15. (For real!)

Choice. It’s a good thing to have, right? To a certain extent — yes. But what happens when it paralyzes us? Barry Schwartz explores the paradox of choice in this 20-minute, classic Ted Talk that we recently rediscovered and couldn’t help but share in our ever-ending quest for solopreneur sanity.

We all know the airplane rule: In case of an emergency, put your own oxygen mask on before you help others. Selfish? Not quite. Caroline from Made Vibrant invites us to “begin dismantling this idea of what it means to be selfish and reassemble it with the understanding that focusing on one’s self can actually be a very positive thing” in this important letter.

If your shelves are feeling a little lonely lately, you’ll want to dig into this: Bookcelerator ranks the top books that “will make you smarter” by compiling upvotes from Product Hunt, reviews from Amazon and GoodReads, and reading time. Check out collections curated by fellow entrepreneurs, find the shortest business books that you can devour in under two hours, and more.

OWS Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush Blueprints (Part III)

OWS Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush Blueprints (Part III)

OWS Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush Blueprints (Part III)

Welcome to One Woman Experiments, where daring business women experiment with different parts of their business in order to find best practices. We hope these experiments help improve your business and inspire you to test-drive new strategies. Have an experiment you want to test out and document? Check out our ideas and guidelines!

This experiment in web design + business building is currently being embarked upon by OWS community member Ashley Rustad, who is on her second Skillcrush Blueprint and is kindly documenting the process for us here! Take it away, Ashley.


(Editor’s note: In Part I of this series, Ashley broke down how a Skillcrush Blueprint works for us as she was completing the Web Designer Blueprint. In Part II, she introduced us to her current Blueprint, the Freelancer WordPress Developer Blueprint. Below is Part III, where we continue to follow her journey!)

To say the second month of Skillcrush’s Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint was packed with new learning and immense progress would be a crazy understatement. It was during the second phase of the Blueprint that I learned all about the WordPress Professional Best Practices: GitHub, command line, child themes, professional workflow, and advanced themes customizations. (Sound like gibberish? This might be the perfect course for you…)

It was definitely a big month of learning. This class has been harder for me than the past classes I’ve taken; I’m still practicing what I’ve learned, and will be for a while. But that’s not to scare you off — let’s jump right into what you can learn in Skillcrush 203 of the Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint so you know if it’s right for you.

My major takeaways from Skillcrush 203: WordPress Professional Best Practices

Takeaway #1: Community is key

Skillcrush 203 kicks off with a five-day crash course on Git, GitHub and command line. In all honesty, this section was definitely the hardest for me to learn, but one of the great things about Skillcrush is that they have Mightybell message boards to post on. The community there allows you to learn from others who are going through the same coursework. The collaborative spirit that they promote is great.

Takeaway #2: WordPress customization is endless

Following Git, GitHub, and command line, we really dug into WordPress child themes — which is how you’re able to turn WordPress into an awesome CMS. We learned how to create custom post types, custom fields, and custom archives, and played around with 404 (error) pages, custom about pages, and contact forms. In simple terms, you learn a lot about changing WordPress into exactly what you want it be.

You also learn a professional workflow for setting up/deploying WordPress sites for clients (or yourself). It’s been really fun learning how to deploy a site the correct and professional way.

Takeaway #3: You get “hands-on experience” with a fictitious client

While learning all of this, you work with a fictitious client to get her site re-designed. Instead of getting your typical email from your Skillcrush instructor, you get an email from “your” client. It’s been fun learning this way, and it’s great practice for working with clients in the future. It was definitely different getting emails from the “client,” but I looked forward to the changes. Truth: I’m not sure I’ll always feel that way when working with actual clients.

Takeaway #4: Skillcrush remains career focused

Like every class I’ve taken so far, Skillcrush 203 includes career content sections. In this class, we focused on how to package and price freelance work, find and land clients, and the fast track way to get clients now. The career content sections come in the form of webinars, which are about an hour long each. The ones I have watched so far are super informative.

Who Skillcrush 203 is for

Skillcrush 203 is for the person that wants to take their knowledge of WordPress to the next level to customize their WordPress site, and work with others to build unique sites. Also — if Git, GitHub, command line, mobile optimization, and professional deployment are terms that aren’t familiar to you, this class might just be the perfect fit.

Who Skillcrush 203 isn’t for

If you’re not interested in learning the next level of WordPress or you’re already a pro at customization, this class might not be for you. Additionally, if you’re not interested in working with clients or other developers on WordPress sites, you may not need all of the material taught here.

Are you interested in taking your knowledge of WordPress to the next level?

I’ve learned so much in this Blueprint so far, and while there’s still more to learn, I’m already feeling empowered to truly customize my own site and start working with clients.

If you’re interested in learning more about Skillcrush, check here for more information. You can take the WordPress Professional Best Practices alone, but I highly recommend looking into the Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint, which includes three classes and keeps you on a track that provides context for everything you’re learning. To find out when the next enrollment session is scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Next up for me is Skillcrush 303: WordPress Apprenticeship. I will be learning all about finding, landing and working with a client. Check back here soon for my recap!

What questions do you have about Skillcrush and/or tech skills, in general? Leave ’em in the comments below!

We are affiliates of and may receive commission from sales of Skillcrush Blueprints. As always, we only promote products and services that we love and/or think you might benefit from — and Skillcrush is among the best of the best!

Weekly Finds

Weekly Finds for the Solopreneur

Weekly Finds for the solopreneur

Welcome to One Woman Shop Weekly Finds – where we scour the web to bring you a curated list of posts, links, and resources that we think will help your business — and maybe even your life!

Being a solopreneur takes tenacity, organization, and lot of heart. Being a mompreneur? It takes all of that…and more. That’s why Monica of Redefining Mom built Busy Moms Building Online Businesses — a free 7-day email course that teaches you how to define the type of business you want to start, tackle taxes and financial systems, and find the time to build it all while working and taking care of your family.

Cultivating more public relations opportunities isn’t necessarily at the top of every solopreneur’s to-do list — but that’s not to say it shouldn’t be. PR pro Emma Lawrence gives us 7 surefire signs you need to up your PR efforts. (Personally, we’re big fans of #7. #stretchyourself)

Telling your brand story needs more than just words — it needs design that heightens those words. That’s what Holly Meyer is all about — injecting new life into your brand with the perfect visual design and coaching that lights your fire and sharpens your roar. See her work at Holly Meyer Design, and sign up for her free video series that helps you strengthen your voice.

Service-based business owners: Sick of working with clients that just don’t seem to fit you? It’s about time to make a change. Fortunately, RM Harrison has outlined a process for cloning your favorite client — so that you can do the work you love with the people and companies you love.

Let’s talk about why the stuff you’ve tried so far hasn’t quite worked yet. There are a lot of tips, tricks and strategies out there, but they only really work when you have clarity on your brand message, know what you do, and why people should care about it. This summer you can finally figure it out with Hey Shenee’s Summer of Clarity. Refreshed already? Us, too.

Speaking of fixing what’s not working — how about getting a pro’s eyes on your website? And not just any online pro, but the one-and-only Sarah Von Bargen (who we lovingly refer to as SVB). Here’s how to borrow her 12,000 daily readers + 7 years of blogging experience and come away with actionable tips that help you rock the internet starting right meow. (She is a cat lover, after all.)

A common question amongst solopreneurs: Do I really need a blog? Valid inquiry, friends. Well, Lacy Boggs — who’s blog is her best sales tool — helps you figure out the ROI of each blog post with this step-by-step formula, so that next time you’re wondering if you really should be blogging as you’re sloughing through that draft, you know the answer.

OWS Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush Blueprints (Part II)

One Woman Shop Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush, Part II

One Woman Shop Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush, Part II

Welcome to One Woman Experiments, where daring business women experiment with different parts of their business in order to find best practices. We hope these experiments help improve your business and inspire you to test-drive new strategies. Have an experiment you want to test out and document? Check out our ideas and guidelines!

This experiment in web design + business building is currently being embarked upon by OWS community member Ashley Rustad, who is on her second Skillcrush Blueprint and is kindly documenting the process for us here! Take it away, Ashley.


(Editor’s note: Last month, Ashley broke down how a Skillcrush Blueprint works for us as she was completing the Web Designer Blueprint. Now, she’s on to the Freelancer WordPress Developer Blueprint, and is letting us following along!)

April was all about transitioning from the Web Designer Blueprint I completed during the winter and beginning the Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint. The first class? Introduction to WordPress. This class is the primer on all things WordPress: It teaches the history of WordPress, how to install it, the WordPress Admin (which includes Posts, Pages, Setting, Widgets, Themes, and Plugins), Introduction to PHP, the WordPress loop, debugging, creating a homepage, QA, launching WordPress, and security.

Also, throughout the course there are “career sections” which include revamping your resume, using Adobe Photoshop, using social media to get hired, and writing cover letters. Needless to say, there is a ton of stuff packed into this first month of the three-month Blueprint. Below, I’m sharing my takeaways, as well as who this class might be a good fit for (and who it might not be).

Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint: Takeaways

I have one overall takeaway that I should share first: This class is the primer for the rest of the Blueprint. That being said, if you already know certain aspects of WordPress, some sections may be more of a review for you than others. That was the case for me.

Takeaway #1 – If you know the WordPress Admin, be prepared for review. If you know nothing about WordPress, there is a big learning curve, but everything is explained very well.

By “knowing” the WordPress backend, I mean you can create a post and page, you know what all the settings are and what they do, you know how to create and organize widgets in the sidebar and footer, you can create menus for the navigation bar, and you can download and install themes and plugins. If that’s all in your wheelhouse, those parts will be a refresher, which was the case for me. But…that’s all I knew.

Takeaway #2 – The bigger learning curve comes with an introduction of PHP. (Already know PHP? This may be a review for you, too, but can be a really good refresher.)

I didn’t know any PHP, which is the programing language that WordPress uses. (It’s amazing.) The Blueprint taught the sections by recording Adda write PHP, having us then copy her on our computer. (It sounds much easier than it is because if you miss one character, it won’t work.) Since this was all new to me, I had to go back and watch a few sections over again to see what I missed. I was never worried about not being able to figure it out — Skillcrush also provides the written out pieces of code to compare against, so I could easily see where I may have gone wrong. Truth: It could be frustrating at times, but when I got it right on the first time, it felt amazing! There was no better thought than, “I’m actually getting this.”

Takeaway #3 – The videos are well done, but be prepared to pause, rewind, and rewatch when it comes to the actual PHP programming.

One thing I didn’t like about the PHP videos is that they went too fast for a beginner like me. Adda is a pro-programmer, so her mind works quickly, sometimes making it hard to keep up with her. Having the video at my fingertips to watch at my own pace meant rewinding to go back and see exactly what she typed. And when all else failed and I couldn’t quite figure it out, the Blueprint provides the actual code to install if I just wanted to move on. Patience is key in learning code.

Takeaway #4 – It’s not just about learning to code; it’s about learning how to apply it as a career.

The program is broken up into weeks and days. There’s homework each weekday for three weeks, then the fourth week is filled with what Skillcrush calls “Career Content.” These weeks have information-packed webinars about the career side of becoming a web developer.

There are three Career Content sections: revamp your resume, Photoshop & social media, and cover letters. Each of the career content sections have a webinar-style video that’s at least 45 minutes long. Skillcrush includes the webinar slides and sometimes an e-book type of download for further reading. I haven’t actually watched all the webinars yet, but ones I have watched have been super informational and helpful in the career aspect of the class. Since they are webinar style, they don’t have the extra graphics and video quality like the rest of the videos from the class, and I do wish they were divided up into shorter segments since they are so information rich. I would have preferred to watch four, 15-minute videos over the course of a week about cover letters.

Who is/isn’t this course for?

The introductory class of the Skillcrush Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint is great for anyone who has little-to-no knowledge about WordPress and/or PHP. With an introductory level knowledge of WordPress and PHP, this course would be a good review. Since I’d worked with the WordPress Admin in the past, that portion was a review for me, while the PHP section was brand new, and more challenging for me to learn.

Overall, I really enjoyed the course and learned a lot. Learning all about WordPress and PHP are the building blocks of becoming a great WordPress Developer — and I can’t wait to go through the next two courses of this Blueprint. Before long, I’ll be building websites for clients and helping them get their message out into the world.

Stay tuned for next month, when I share the behind-the-scenes of the second course in the Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint: Git, Github and the Command Line.

What questions do you have about Skillcrush and/or tech skills, in general? Leave ’em in the comments below!

We are affiliates of and may receive commission from sales of Skillcrush Blueprints. As always, we only promote products and services that we love and/or think you might benefit from — and Skillcrush is among the best of the best!

OWS Experiments: Learning to Code with Skillcrush Blueprints (Part I)

learning to code skillcrush

learning to code skillcrush

Welcome to One Woman Experiments, where daring business women experiment with different parts of their business in order to find best practices. We hope these experiments help improve your business and inspire you to test-drive new strategies. Have an experiment you want to test out and document? Check out our ideas and guidelines!

This experiment in web design + business building is currently being embarked upon by OWS community member Ashley Rustad, who is on her second Skillcrush Blueprint and is kindly documenting the process for us here! (For those of you who were around this time last year, OWS co-head honcho Sara was test driving the Blueprints — check out her breakdown here. She’s now passed the torch!) Take it away, Ashley.


Starting my own one woman shop has always been a dream of mine. But despite reading this blog for a while and being endlessly inspired by other women solopreneurs, it wasn’t until recently that I decided I wanted to build a business as a web designer.

I’ve always loved working on and customizing my own WordPress sites in the past, but had a barrier to being able to build a business around helping other women with their websites: I needed to learn a lot more about coding and web design beyond what I had taught myself. So I started searching online — and, well, there a lot of places to go! I was completely overwhelmed until I stumbled upon Skillcrush.

Skillcrush is an online coding company teaching a plethora of digital skills. Skillcrush Career Blueprints are each made up of three classes to teach you the exact skills you need to become a web designer, web developer, WordPress developer, Ruby on Rails developer, and more.

I dipped my toes in with Skillcrush’s free 10-day bootcamp: fun, informative videos, interactive lessons, and a dive into HTML. It wasn’t long before I fell in love with their classes. After completing the bootcamp and watching a few Skillcrush webinars, I decided to sign up for the Skillcrush Web Designer Blueprint.

Skillcrush Web Designer Blueprint

In October of 2015, I started the Skillcrush Web Designer Blueprint. Like all Skillcrush Blueprints (except Front End Developer), the Web Designer Blueprint consists of three classes. The Web Designer classes include UX & Web Design, HTML & CSS, and JavaScript & jQuery. All three classes, which run for a month each, were informative and helpful in giving me a jumping off point into web design — especially since I’d never really dabbled too far into any of it before.

What’s in a Skillcrush Blueprint

All Skillcrush Blueprints are set up similarly. Here’s what you can expect:

  • The classes are self-paced. Each morning, you receive an email with a link to that day’s materials (videos, downloads, worksheets) and often a few supplemental materials, as well. You can expect to spend about 30 to 40 minutes per day on the class work. If that doesn’t work with your schedule, you can spend a few hours batching the work each weekend. Since the classes are self-paced, it’s truly up to you.
  • You have lifetime access to the classes, so you can always look back if you get stuck in a later class — and if you fall behind, you can choose to catch up or just pick up where you left off. Honestly? In self-paced classes like this, I don’t really think there is a “behind.”
  • The lessons come with suggested homework for each day, and an interactive platform where you can upload or save what you’ve been working on.
  • Each Blueprint has an associated community on Mightybell where you can turn to get your questions answered. The questions are answered by the designated teacher, teacher’s assistant and other class members. It’s very community oriented.

What do you need before starting a Blueprint?

Depending on the Blueprint, there may be a prerequisite. The Web Designer Blueprint and Front End Developer Blueprint do not have any prerequisites, but all the other Blueprints have a prerequisite of at least knowing HTML & CSS. (Not at an expert level, but a comfortable level.)

Even without a prerequisite, you will need to make sure you have the time to invest in doing the Blueprint. While you can take each differently — for example, on one of the classes, I worked ahead on and learned as much as possible because I was going out of town, whereas another I did the class as I received each email — each one will still require a designated time investment.

Beyond the Blueprint

Skillcrush truly builds a community around each Blueprint. Beyond your Mightybell community, there are also weekly “office hours” held via Google Hangouts, where your teacher can answer any questions related to the projects you are putting together in class.

The teachers are current web designers and developers. Some of the teachers work at other companies, plus teach Skillcrush classes, while some teachers own their own businesses. The teachers are pretty interactive on Mightybell. Your level of engagement on Mightybell is entirely up to you.

In addition, once per month, there is a “Circle Chat” — a big group chat/forum where you can ask questions and meet other people in your class. It’s a great time to meet up and start collaborations, if that’s what you’re looking for.

They also have monthly Master Classes, where they interview someone from the tech industry like Adda Birnir, Randle Browning, and Rachel Papst. They teach classes about writing resumes, social media, project management and more. You also have access to the backlog of Master Classes. The interviews give great insight into the tech industry and have been helpful in teaching new skills like how to transition from a non-tech job to a tech job.

Setting you up for a career

Skillcrush isn’t just about teaching you the skills — they are all about helping you launch a career based on them. Each Blueprint comes with an additional program taking you step-by-step through what you need to do to jumpstart a career in tech, called a Career Path.

The Career Path takes you through building a portfolio, getting organized, and tips and strategies on finding a job. Learning how to create a portfolio and a website to advertise my new skills as a web designer will help me to promote my one woman shop. These same skills can help someone just looking to transition to a new career in tech.

Who the Web Designer Blueprint is for

Skillcrush is a great way to get started if this is the first time taking a class on web design or you’ve just dabbled in web design. The Blueprint is a comprehensive approach to learning web design: It doesn’t just teach foundational HTML & CSS. In the UX & Web Design class, you learn wireframing, user experience, a little Photoshop, and how to create and use sitemaps. (And if you don’t know what any of that means, then the class is perfect for you because you’ll learn it all!) The thing I love about Skillcrush is that you’re not jumping from site to site wondering if you’re learning it the right way or learning it well. I felt comfortable that I was learning what I needed to know to design a website from scratch.

After going through the Blueprint, I now know what I need to prepare for a meeting with a potential client, how to outline a sitemap for them, and where to start on the layout of their site — things I had no clue on before.

Who the Web Designer Blueprint isn’t for

Like any course, one Skillcrush Blueprint cannot possibly teach you everything you need to know about web design. You have to be willing to hit roadblocks and run Google searches.

In addition, if you’ve dabbled in HTML or CSS before or have built a website from scratch, the Web Designer Blueprint may not be advanced enough for you. Advanced Blueprints from Skillcrush include a Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint, Mobile Web Designer Blueprint and Ruby on Rails Developer Blueprint that may be more suited for someone that is familiar with HTML and CSS. It’s also possible to take individual classes, so if you know HTML & CSS, but not UX & Web Design, you could just take that one class.

The team at Skillcrush is great in helping you get on the path you need. If you ever have any questions you can always email someone at Skillcrush or use the chat box at the bottom of the page when you sign in.

Are you interested in Skillcrush?

If you’re curious about Skillcrush and how the Blueprints are run, take their free 10-Day Bootcamp. It will give you a great taste for what the paid classes are like.

What’s next for me

The next step for me is take the Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint. I’ve always loved the WordPress CMS and I’ve always wanted to build sites on that platform. Since Skillcrush has classes teaching all about being a Freelance WordPress Developer and that’s what I want to be, it’s the next logical step. I’ve really enjoyed learning with Skillcrush and am so excited to start my business soon with the skills that I am learning. The WP Blueprint outlines exactly what you need to do build a freelance business, plus the skills to make it happen.

Stay tuned: Over the next three months, I’ll be walking you through the Freelance WordPress Developer Blueprint here on the One Woman Shop blog!

What questions do you have about Skillcrush and/or tech skills, in general? Leave ’em in the comments below!

We are affiliates of and may receive commission from sales of Skillcrush Blueprints As always, we only promote products and services that we love and/or think you might benefit from — and Skillcrush is among the best of the best!

Stuck on Building That Next Big Thing? A Tip: Create What You Need.

Stuck on Building That Next Big Thing? A Tip: Create What You Need.

Stuck on Building That Next Big Thing? A Tip: Create What You Need.

There’s something we mentor our coaching clients and members on nonstop here at One Woman Shop: that you, as a solopreneur, are your first and foremost client.

It seems that without that constant reminder (that everyone needs), it’s easy to keep working in your business and forget that you deserve to work on your business. And it leads to your business often falling by the wayside.

But lately, we’ve seen another reason that it’s important to see yourself as your primary client: because it might just be what you need to get you past that persistent imposter syndrome that digs its claws in and just won’t let go each and every time you’re trying to create something new.

The question you’ll likely be asked

When your inner naysayer does decide to pay you a visit while you’re in creation mode, here’s what you’ll probably hear the most:

“Who do you think you are…”
…to be creating this workbook?
…to be teaching this subject?
…to be coaching these clients?

Fill in the blank with whatever illustrious doubt your imposter syndrome instills in you.

Then, keep this in mind: often times, you’re exactly the person who needs it.

Creating what you need

One of my (Sara’s) favorite authors of all time, Ann Patchett, shared this sage advice in a NY Public Library podcast episode (that was an enlightening, inspiring, and hilarious conversation with Elizabeth Gilbert): “Write the book you want to read.” Likewise, Liz Gilbert preaches in her book, Big Magic, that we need to create for ourselves, not others.

So when you’re questioning who you are to create this, and who in the world is going to listen to what you have to say, be selfish — and create what you need.

Cristina built a 16-page outline for Building Your Online Community nearly overnight because it’s something she’d preached and coached on but knew we could better implement at One Woman Shop.

I, Sara, created Kickstart Your Content because I’ve helped others build effective content strategies and killer blogs, but couldn’t seem to kickstart my own.

And we both went heads down creating our latest product, The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook, because if there’s anything we’ve learned over the past year of intense work at One Woman Shop, it’s that we need all the help we can get when it comes to taking care of our well-being and staying sane as solo business owners.

Put your work to use

The beauty of this approach is this: Not only does it get you past the mental barriers of believing that you’re unfit to create what you’ve set out to build; it also truly solves a problem you have. So once you’re over the hump of creating what you need, practice what you preach and use it.

Go through the lessons of your e-course; hunker down with the workbook; do the work. Not only will you better your business (your #1 client), you’ll also improve what you’ve created when you put it into action.

Take that, imposter syndrome. Who am I to create my next product or service, you ask? The perfect candidate, indeed.

Your turn: What do you tell that pesky imposter syndrome when it’s holding you back from creating?

What You Can Learn from TheSkimm as a Business Owner

theSkimm lessons for business owners

theSkimm lessons for business owners

By now, you’ve probably heard of theSkimm, the startup run by friends and business partners
Carly Zakin and Danielle Weisberg. In case you haven’t: It’s a daily email that rounds up news from around the world in a bite-sized, snarky format. If you’re not yet convinced, keep this in mind: Oprah reads theSkimm every day, they’ve received $6.25 million in funding, and in just two years, they hit 500,000 subscribers.

How does this relate to your solo business, even if you aren’t necessarily looking for venture capital or a business partner?

Here are a few lessons from Carly, Danielle, and the rest of theSkimm team that you can apply to your solo biz:

Make opting in the obvious choice

Shaming your readers? Probably not the best idea. Gently poking fun at them? Gold mine. theSkimm does this by making people feel silly for not opting in. When you land on the site, a pop-up appears with two choices: to click the sign-up button or to click the button that says “No thanks, I prefer to be miserable in the morning.” Kinda makes signing up seem like the obvious choice, right?

You can apply this in your business by utilizing a pop-up that evokes the same emotional response (it probably sounds something like this: “Haha! Welllllll…okay!”) or providing an opt-in that’s so valuable it seems silly not to sign up.

Tell people what to expect

theSkimm markets itself very clearly as a daily email delivered to your inbox at 6am EST. Their tagline is “We read. You skimm,” which notifies potential subscribers that they should expect an easily digestible format.

We’re not saying you should send out a daily email to your community (in fact, that seems like a completely unnecessary undertaking for a solo business owner!), but you too can capitalize on this transparency in your business. We sought to create consistency by scheduling The Hot Seat, our weekly “talk show,” every Wednesday so that people know exactly where and when to find us. Another common example? Marie Forleo followers know that every Tuesday, Marie will post a new episode of MarieTV.

Telling people what to expect isn’t limited to scheduling. Marketing a blog post as a “primer” or “101” instantly tells people that it’s basic, introductory content, just like titling a YouTube video “Quick Tip” indicates — you guessed it — that it’s a short video.

Create an instantly recognizable brand

You’ve probably heard more about branding than you care to know. (No? Then check out our Personal + Professional Branding theme!) But it bears repeating: your images, your colors, your tone, and your formatting should be recognized by your community no matter where you happen to be, online or off — your site, on social media, in the comment areas of other blog, or while giving a live presentation.

We’d wager a guess that any Skimm reader could tell you their signature color (Skimm Blue, as they call it), a few of their memorable subject lines (like Gobble Gobble in honor of Thanksgiving and Espresso Yourself), some of their frequent categories (Quote or Word of the Day, Repeat After Me, Skimm Reads), and their classic first line, “Skimm’d” which is always completed with both cheeky and relatable examples like “over Pillsbury cookie dough,” “watching the Emmys” and “from bed.” They even have a name for their “language”: Skimm-ese.

Capture your own signature pieces and rock those babies anywhere and everywhere.

Speak to your audience

It’s immediately obvious whenever you interact with theSkimm — on their site, on their Instagram account, or in their actual emails — who their audience is: busy millennial women who want to stay up-to-date on world events but don’t necessarily have the time or energy to seek it out. How do we know that’s their audience? They tell us — through that shade of Skimm Blue we mentioned and through references to white wine, “Law & Order: SVU” marathons, Equinox gym memberships, and the US Open.

How can you do this in your solo business? We’ll assume you know who you’re speaking to. Make two lists: one list of things that you identify with and another of things you constantly hear about from your community. In an actual or figurative Venn diagram (love us some Venn diagrams!), find the overlap. This is a version of the method we used to create some of our most popular offerings, like our Solopreneur Sanity Handbook (from conversations about productivity and self-care) and our Location Independence Month (from conversations about the desire of so many in our community to be able to travel and run a business simultaneously).

Make people feel included + incentivize sharing

We personally can’t stand the Mean Girls-inspired graphic circulating on Instagram that says “You can’t sit with us.” We’re opposed to references to exclusion and love the opposite approach: inclusion. theSkimm makes people feel included — and therefore, more inclined to share — in several ways: by mentioning all reader birthdays and by encouraging people to become Skimm’bassadors.

We do the same by allowing people to carry the #OneWomanShopBaton on Instagram, providing a badge that our members can put up on their sites, offering opportunities for members to be featured in the Member Spotlight, and choosing a Member of the Week at random, not to mention special little treats like a chance to win a Starbucks gift card (for a Pumpkin Spice Latte, of course) if you send out a tweet on our behalf.

Find creative ways to loop your community into your mission — and then make it easy for them to showcase their participation by creating Swipe Files of the content you want them to send out, including pre-drafted Click to Tweets, for example.

For goodness sake, make it fun

We imagine it’s a bit of a challenge to make serious world news both informative and fun, but theSkimm does just that. Likewise, teaching people about WordPress, for example, could be incredibly dull, but Shannon of WP+BFF does it in a fun, relatable way. Talking to people about productivity + self-care, like we do in The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook, could feel heavy-handed and boring, but we do our best to make it relatable with personal anecdotes and examples.

How can you make things just a bit more relatable, digestible, and yes, flippin’ fun for your community of clients, customers, and collaborators today?

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