I’ve been there. Maybe you’ve been there too. Maybe you’re there now. It’s the place where you just *know* that you’re super awesome at what you do. You don’t need any help. Help would make you weak and show that you aren’t actually the as awesome as you think you are, right? Winning with the help of others isn’t really winning, is it? Wrong, wrong! In all cases I can think of, it’s the only way to win.
For instance, when you see Michael Phelps win gold, it’s not because he did it on his own. His parents, friends, siblings, coaches, training partners and many more people helped him to get where he was when he broke all of those records. Even in your own life now, I’m sure you can see parallels, even if you’re working on things “by yourself”. If you have a family that supports you in what you do and who possibly puts a roof over your head while you are working, they’re helping you. If you have a significant other who puts up with you working odd hours of the night to finish a project, or sitting on the couch watching TV with your laptop on your lap from time to time, you aren’t doing things alone. I say that to say this: When I look back on all of the times in my life when I thought I won, it’s because a lot of other people either helped or made sacrifices (or both) to help get me where I am today. That’s one of the reasons why I’m writing this blog now, to help to pass on some things that I know. Stop reading this and go thank some of those people for putting up with you.
Now let’s take this one step closer to the business world: If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a pretty awesome person. You’re probably really good at what you do. Since you’re really good at what you do, you know that if you’re going to be really good at something, you’ll probably be really bad at a lot of other things. You might be passable at other things, and even good at a few, but you’re not going to be really good at a lot of things. When I say really good here, I mean top of your field, undeniably good, the kind of good where even your enemies have to compliment you as they curse your name while shaking clenched fists at the sky. Surround yourself with the other people that it’ll take to make a complete team. I didn’t build Are My Sites Up alone. I wrote the back-end and my friend Chris did the design/front-end development. Would it still have launched if it was just me? Maybe. Would it have been half as good or successful? Highly doubtful. If you’re really good at back-end development, you might not be so good at front-end development/design. Find someone who is. Make friends. Conquer the world together. You at least need those skills in the team for the ol’ one-two punch. And you’ll need someone who is good at business, or one (or both of you) will have to learn to dig into that aspect of things as well for you to be really successful. That part, I’m still learning, although I have found that the first step is just getting your ideas and products out there and working. If your product is good, you will get offers for partnerships, ideas for ways that you can grow your product, new markets for your product that you might not have considered or even known of, and much more. The best way to market yourself that I know of is to have a product so useful that people have to pay attention.
Right now is an interesting time for developers, though. If you are good at back-end work and have a good eye for front-end design, you can get far by standing on the backs of giants and starting with a design built on Bootstrap or Foundation. I did that recently with Stunning, and it allowed me to get the actual app in front of potential customers in a couple of weeks instead of having to wait for all of the design work to be done. Now I’m getting a really nice icon made (by a designer that I trust and have worked with before) and I’m tweaking the design based on feedback from real beta users. It feels a lot better to be working on something that people are actually using and to build what they actually need than to be working on something secretly, only to find out that no one actually wants what you’ve built. More on that later.