You're reading Sentences, etc., a design and development blog by Justin Michael.

The Plan

In my last post I talked about being laid off. When I wrote that post I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. I had no plan.

Now I have a plan.

First, I’ve decided to be radically transparent and document what I’m up to here on this blog. Doing so will provide clarity by forcing me to think deliberately and articulate what I’m doing as I do it. I’m also hoping I can build a bit of an audience, because shipping things to crickets sucks.

Keeping a written record will also allow Future Me to reflect on what went right and what went wrong. Time has a tendency to distort what really happened; the more detail I record here the better.

Most of all, though, I’m hoping that sharing my journey will help you. One of the things I’ve been working on since being laid off is coming up with my own personal mission statement. I’m still tinkering with it, but here’s what I have so far:

Help people succeed using the power of technology and design.

Hoarding what I learn as I go through all of this won’t help anyone. If even a single person learns something, avoids a painful mistake, or makes a better choice because I took the time to share it will all have been worth it.

Second, I realize the most valuable things I have are my knowledge, skills, and experience. I’ve spent years making a living on the web, so I’m going to start this new chapter of my life by teaching people about the foundation of every web page: HTML and CSS. HTML and CSS are the core technologies that power the web, and learning them well opens up a world of opportunities and possibilities.

Specifically, I’m going to start by creating three courses.

The first course is going to be called WP { CSS }, with the tagline, “Bend any WordPress theme to your will with the power of CSS.” If you’ve ever used a theme with limited or no customization options, this course will show you how to make the changes you want using custom CSS (which is a feature built in to every WordPress install since version 4.7, and also available on paid plans). I’m targeting WordPress with this course because it powers 29% of the web, and I want to avoid having the material be too general. However, even if you don’t use WordPress, you’ll still be able to adapt the material to any system that lets you define custom CSS, like Squarespace.

WP { CSS } will be a free email course, and will serve these four purposes:

  1. Make sure potential customers are compatible with my teaching style before they purchase a paid course.
  2. Demonstrate the value and quality of my work.
  3. Help build my audience.
  4. Provide value to everyone, including those who can’t afford a paid product.

At the end of WP { CSS } I’ll invite people to check out my two paid courses, which will cover both HTML and CSS.

My HTML course will be shorter and cost less than my CSS course, but both will be video courses with full transcripts. I’m also planning to offer them together at a special bundle price. My goal is to have the HTML and CSS courses be very high quality, extremely practical, and easy to digest.

I’m going to do all of this under my existing business name: Core Assistance. I’ve set up a quick-and-dirty coming soon page where you can sign up to be among the first to know when all this stuff launches.

I’ve got a few months of runway to get all of this off the ground. It’s going to be an interesting ride no matter how it turns out. If you want follow along subscribe to this blog using the feed, or get new posts delivered directly to your inbox. I already have a number of articles planned that will cover pricing, marketing, productivity, and more.

If you have any questions or topics you’d like me to cover in a future post, just send an email to Justin at this domain. I want to be as accessible and forthcoming as I can be during all of this, so please don’t hesitate to drop me a line.

Let’s do this.