Developing products and tools to further your career

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My point: Create something of value in your industry to give credibility to your work, and you may find you’ll be getting more career opportunities. (Continue reading for more details…)

My original purpose of setting up this website was as a freelancer, then to launch a business and then to create software and tools and now to what it is now.

Anyway, so back in 2013 (7 years ago), I had the idea to develop several tools to help promote my personal “brand” as I wasn’t good at or interested in much in blogging or engaging much in social media. Which was a good way and still is to gain recognition in your chosen industry (maybe not all industries apply). So, I thought instead I would offer something that people really liked.

HTaccess Generator was born! So, this is a small tool that took only a few weeks to develop and I got a freelancer to write the code for me and I designed the software. At the time I found most generators clumsy to use so thought, it wouldn’t be hard to create an easier one. If my memory is correct it cost me around $500 to make.

After making this I was straight onto the next piece of software, a much more ambitious project. The SEO crawler, which is a standalone piece of software that you run on your desktop and looks for certain types of errors on websites. I had plans to maybe sell it but thought it wasn’t worth the hassle after some time and that it would just help further my prospects. The software was a much bigger undertaking and much more expensive than the previous one. Costing maybe around $15,000-20,000 to make. Seems like a lot to make something for free…

But in the end, it ended up being extremely profitable for me. Not only did I have large companies asking for help from this website. It gave me a lot of credibility when speaking to clients here is a very specific example:

A start-up were looking for consultants and I interviewed / pitched for the task. They printed business cards and I knew that one of the biggest users of the software I had created was Vistaprint, the largest company in this industry in the world. This is what I said to my potential client:

“Vistaprint use my software. So, imagine what I could do for you.” It worked and I was given the work on the spot. I was also probably able to ask/get away with asking for much more money because of this fact. I worked with them for around 2 years so even just this more than paid for my costs in developing the tool. That plus all the other work I got.

If you’re not up for spending years building up a social media profile for yourself or creating content that takes up a huge amount of effort. I would recommend creating something that can be used in your industry.

It doesn’t have to be so expensive, just think of a repetitive task, copy and paste, calculator operation or something that exists you think you could improve. See how much it’d cost for you to make and release it ?

While I didn’t do anything social really for this website I was helped by Jeremy Rivera and Chris Bawden at this task so here is a thanks to them!

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2 years ago

While it is not really mentioned here too much my passion aside from building things ...