This interview aired on August 23, 2019 with Jessica Chan of Coder Coder. I listened to it in March of 2020. These are my notes and takeaways as they apply to my current place in the journey.

Interviewee background: Came to programming in a roundabout way. Data Entry temp job, ended up learning programming from developers there - from SQL to CSS. Got a web dev job at a web agency. Currently working fulltime as a freelance web developer. Making money right now with affiliate links as well (~$200/month).

📖 $100 Startup - reading this on an international flight inspired Jessica to create coder coder blog to help others.

"People go online to be entertained or to be educated."

💡 Build a business that educates people.

This is how Jessica grew her blog and her social media presence (Instagram, Twitter, Youtube channel):

  • First blog was about how to speed up a wordpress website in 90 ways. A giant listicle, skyscraper post - as she calls it.
  • She hung out in online communities of her potential readers (facebook group for freecodecamp, newbie coder warehouse). Read what people were asking and answered questions. Found out what people where having trouble with then wrote posts about that topic and shared the post in the community.
  • Had a niche in mind and focused on the early beginners. Also front-end teaching based on her expertise - HTML, CSS, JS and responsive.
  • Posted on medium early on. An article she wrote for freecodecamp medium blog "how to be an uncommonly good web developer" grew her domain due to backlinks.
  • Quality not quantity of teaching content - 30 blog posts in 2 years. 300 to 400 instrgram posts. 80 to 90% of traffic from google search.
  • Started something unique with Youtube - she live codes websites and answers questions.

✅ How to decide what topics to write about - write posts that people are already searching for by looking at popular questions on Stackoverflow and such (ex: why your z-index is not working and how to fix it).

💎 Instagram has a vibrant dev community apparently. I did not know this.

💎 Book recommendations work well for posting on Instagram and Twitter as well.

🛠 Teachable - video course creating platform

Learning to code in general - should you learn or should you find someone (Notes for my Sales Safari) -

  • Not everyone would enjoy coding, though could learn to code
  • Hard to guess if you'll like it or not
  • Initially you don't know what you don't know so question marks everywhere
  • Learning is more frustrating than doing. Debugging can become fun once you learn enough.
  • Recommendations for learning - freecodecamp and books by John Duckett on html/css and js/jquery.

More about the person: Always had an entrepreneurial spirit growing up. Married to a video editor and planning to make high quality videos for her youtube channel. Both work from home and she spends evenings and weekends working on coder coder. Her future plans include creating a video course on responsive web design. And eventually having a suite of courses to charge monthly subscription.

Find problems that your audience has and then fix it for them - that's basically what good sales is.

To hear the full story, listen to this episode on the IndieHackers Podcast. Lot of gems here.