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Start with something small

Last week, I mentioned that I’m putting together some resources for people who want to learn how to become paid tech educators.

The positive response was pretty overwhelming! If you’re interested, I have a website setup now for Tech Teacher School.

One of the biggest challenges I heard back from folks was around knowing where to even start. How do you put together all of the stuff you know into something useful that people can actually follow along with?

This is something I hear a lot from people learning to code, too.

It can be overwhelming. And when things get overwhelming, you’re a lot less likely to stick with it. My advice for people creating their first learning product is the same as my advice for people learning JavaScript: start small.

Amy Hoy over at Stacking the Bricks recommends creating something that saves someone an hour of time as your first product.

Don’t start with a complete guide to CSS or an “everything you need to know about TypeScript” course or a four-hour workshop. Save someone an hour.

Here are some ideas…

  • A PDF on how to create your first homepage with a Static Site Generator, including some common gotchas or things that people who aren’t senior developers might not know.
  • A short video explaining how the CSS cascade and selector specificity work, and when to use classes vs. IDs vs. element selectors.
  • A cheatsheet of copy/paste snippets to use when creating a service worker.
  • A simple Web Component, with lots of inline comments and a good README or video walk-through.

The goal is to save someone about an hour of time. You can charge around $29-$49 for something like that.

You probably won’t sell many of them. Not because it’s a bad product, but because you’re just starting out, your audience might not be that big yet, and you’re still learning what doesn’t and doesn’t work.

The point isn’t to create a hit product on your first try. It’s to get you creating, just like when you learned to code, so that you can get more comfortable doing it.