Wednesday, April 18, 2018

My Coding Journey: What You Need to Know About Setting and Pricing Your Services

Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick

This week, Skillcrush 300 is all about pricing. The lesson talks about setting the right prices for your services and setting up a service page on your website. Skillcrush also reviews the business development cycle which has helped many freelancers make money. This post will be focused on pricing tech services, but you can use this information to set the prices for any services you want to offer.

Before you take a look at pricing, make sure you have a set niche and ideal client in mind. If you are still trying to figure out what this client looks like, click the link below to get some tips and tricks to finding out the right niche and clients for you. It will also help you set some core services you can start offering to these clients.

==> Click here to read about finding the right niche and ideal clients for your business!

The Business Development Cycle

In order to set any prices, Skillcrush encourages students to understand the business development cycle. This cycle repeats so you stay organized and maintain a constant stream of clients. That means making money. I will also argue that the cycle is a way for any freelancer to troubleshoot their process when things aren't working so they know what they need to improve or change to achieve a specific result.

The cycle can be divided into four parts. These parts are:

1. Freelancers market themselves and identify potential leads. Leads are another way freelancers describe clients. You already got a head start on this with your ideal clients from the previous post in this series. For this step, it is time taking that information and reaching out to potential clients.

2. Once a client is interested, freelancers write a proposal and negotiate the terms of the project. This means talking about timelines, deliverables, and money. The result is freelancers and clients being on the same page and expectations for the project. Many freelancers I've talked to use contracts to make everything clear for both parties what they are suppose to do.

3. Freelancers do all the work. Clients are given scheduled times to review the project as it is being made and give feedback. Freelancers take that feedback and refine the work until both parties are happy.

4. This is just where you repeat with different clients. Freelancers wrap up the project and finish the final items agreed upon negotiation. Skillcrush says ideally as a freelancer finished working with another client, they begin the process with another one. As freelancers get more experience over time, they will have more loops happening at the same time.

This process is different for every freelancer so don't worry if your process is different from another freelancer. Skillcrush actually encourages this since a process that is authentic to you is going to make a bigger impact over one that is identical to what others are doing. One of the ways freelancers do this is making sure their process is on brand. This is another way of saying you should be true to yourself throughout all aspect of this process from client outreach, communication, and the deliverables.

Skillcrush uses their founder Adda Birnir as an example of how this works in action. If you sign up for a Skillcrush e-mail (which I highly recommend!), look at the bottom of Adda's message. Her signature is a sign of who she is and the brand image Skillcrush wants to be known for. This wouldn't work at another office and that is fine since brands are not one size fits all. Each brand is different and uses different strategies that work best for them. All that matters is if it matches her brand which it does.

In order to stay organized and keep all the loops going, freelancers use templates and establish processes to keep everything efficient and repeatable. Think of templates as stencils for artists. Stencils allow artists to repeat the same shape so everything looks the same multiple times. It also saves them time and allows them to use that extra time on other things related to the project.

Pricing is an example of one of the templates freelancers have in place. It is often a starting point on each proposal. Freelancers who know all aspects of their pricing will be prepared for any questions and conversations with a potential client.

How to price your services

There is no right or wrong way to price your services. They actually change depending on a variety of different factors. While there is no right or wrong way to price your services, the ultimate goal is to pay the bills and thrive. This means some experimenting to find a initial rate you feel comfortable starting with.

Pricing will change depending on the complexity of the project, client, as well as other factors. It is is a guessing game, but Skillcrush encourages students to watch how their clients react towards their prices as a test. If a client accepts your rate quickly, you are undercharging and could increase your rate. One freelancer suggested during a webinar raising the prices until a customer says that it is too expensive. This freelancer said this is often the best indicator you found the right price to charge.

Hourly vs. Per Project

The decision to charge per project or hourly rate is a debate often talked about at Skillcrush as well as freelancers. Some strongly recommend charging per project while others recommend doing per hourly rate. Skillcrush encourages students venturing into freelance to charge by the house. The hourly approach allows flexibility and is straightforward with clients.

Hourly rates are help new freelancers customize their prices a bit for each service as they add up a full project budget. One of the great perks to hourly rates is that it gives rough estimates of how long certain tasks are completed. If you aren't sure how long a task is going to be, hourly rates will help ensure you are not overcharging or understanding your clients.

Freelancing is learning a skill so your process will change as you get more experience. This experience will also mean a better understanding of how long projects will take. When you feel ready, you can switch from charging hourly rates to per project. For now, I'll show you how to figure out your hourly rate.

How to calculate your rate

When it comes to figuring out the prices, students are encouraged to round their billable hours to the near half hour possible as well as including extra wiggle room for things that may pop up throughout your timeline. Students can as much padding as they like to their prices. In order to calculate your hourly rate, Skillcrush outlines some steps you can take to find the right rate for you.

1. Research to figure out your starting hourly rate for a service.

Thanks to the internet,  there are plenty of ways to do this. Skillcrush suggests students look at freelance communities, job boards, and other freelancers to get a sense of what their rates are and how they charge for specific projects. These rates are going to vary depending on the location, niche, and freelancer. There are tons of websites available for freelancers with different tools to help you compare freelancer rates and more within your specific niche.

2. Figure out your annual income.

Once you have done your research and gotten a sense of what your hourly rate is, it is time to figure out what this means for your annual income. Understanding your annual income is important not just for pricing, but it is also help figure out to balance your time. This is especially important if you are planning to freelance part time time.

In order to figure out your annual income, Skillcrush provides students a handy formula to use. The formula is taking the hourly rate you just decided on and multiplying it by the number of billable hours you want to work in a week. Next, you take this amount and multiply it by the number of weeks you work for the total or estimated annual income.

hourly rate [X] number of billable hours you plan to work in an week [X] weeks you plan to work in a year = estimated annual income.

Regardless of your annual income, Skillcrush recommends using this formula to double check your annual income often. Don't forget there are plenty of resources online that advise freelancers on making the right annual income and have tools that can help you find the right amount you should aim towards.

3. Estimate the price for a service

Once you find an annual income amount you are happy with, now you can start working on pricing your services. This amount will be the flat fee for every service you plan to offer. Skillcrush offers another formula for their students to find just the right prices for your services. Simply multiply the number of hours it takes to complete a project by the hourly rate. This will give you the flat fee for that particular service you want to offer.

number of hours it takes to complete a project [x] your hourly rate = price for that particular service

This formula is a great way to check your hourly rate and play around with different hourly rates when you are ready to change them. The goal of this formula is to see if the price seems fair and find the price that you feel is the best fit for charging.

Create a service page

So far you've done all the hard work by figuring out your services and hourly rate. You have a good idea what you want for your annual income. Now it is time to add a services page to your website. The services page will list all the services you plan on offering and details about these offers.

Do not put your prices on your services page! A lot of freelancers and Skillcrush discourage this since pricing changes as you get more experience and you'll be changing how you package your services.  Instead the goal is to have a sense of what to charge so you can describe them on your page and answer questions from interested clients when they ask for a price.

Service pages are going to be different for every freelancer since every brand is going to be different. However, Skillcrush does encourage students to look at other service pages as examples to help them build their own versions. As a matter of fact, if you look closely, many of these services pages have a few similarities. These similarities include a short description of each service, a visual for each service, and a clickable call to action.

Conclusion

Congratulations! You now have your services and prices figured out. With this information, you can start making a services page for your website. If you need help with any of the HTML, CSS, or Bootstrap on your services page, check out the resources page or revisit any of the posts in the My Coding Journey for help.

Next time, Skillcrush 300 review continues with a look at online presence. Online presence is a must for everyone as well as freelancers. This post will share tips on how to brand yourself online. You can get a sneak preview of some of these topics in my upcoming talk this week for Moms Can Code. I'll be speaking Friday morning about becoming a confident coder using social media. Make sure you visit Moms Can Code's official website to learn more and register.

==> Register for #MomsCanCode virtual summit here!

Notes

All images belong to BritishPandaChick..

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Announcements: Moms Can Code, Skillcrush, and More

This week's post is sharing some important announcements here on The Original BritishPandaChick blog. I'm taking another break from the regularly scheduled blog content to share some important changes to this blog, upcoming events, and just clarifying some things about the blog. I will even share some changes planned for Needlework Kits and some sneak peeks coming soon for both blogs. You can read about the last round of announcements in the link below.

==> Click here to read 3 Announcements for 2018 post!

1. Important Blog Changes

I began making some of the promised changes mentioned in this post. I updated the website navigation and added new pages to the site. This includes a resource page with all the resources mentioned during the My Coding Journey. If you like using any of these resources to help you along your own coding journey, start there. I've also added an about page if you want to get to know me a bit more.

The navigation is the only update for this blog. I've changed the comment system so it can be more family friendly. Therefore, I'll be creating a comment policy for both The Original BritishPandaChick and Needlework Kits. These policies will be added to the blog soon at the bottom of the blogs. For now, I'll be screening the comments and publishing them as they come in until I get the policies up on the blog.

Finally, I began updating some of the previous blog posts I've already written on the blog. This included double checking content, adding new information, and updating images. Right now, the blog posts from the First Post and Giada's Short Rib Lasagna Rolls have been revised. I still haven't decided if I want to include these revised posts as part of the blog schedule. For now, I'll post revised updates on Google+ or the BritishPandaChick Facebook page.

2. Moms Can Code Virtual Summit

Moms Can Code is hosting a virtual summit the week of April 16-20. The virtual summit is 5 days featuring 41 different speakers. I'll be one of the speakers talking about my own coding journey and how I've been using social media to build a personal brand. You can still register for the virtual summit. Go to Moms Can Code's official website to learn more and sign up for the summit.

==> Click here to see the Moms Can Code virtual summit page!

3. Skillcrush AMA Webinar

Last week, I was one of the guest alumni featured in the latest AMA Code Your Way to $1k webinar. Skillcrush does the AMA webinars every month which features different alumni guests answering questions and giving information to webinar attendees on how to earn $1k as they code. You can watch the replay below.

==> Click here to watch the April Skillcrush AMA Code Your Way to 1K webinar!

Enrollment has closed on the blueprints, but you can click the link in the button to learn more about the blueprints. You can start reaching out to the customer service team if you like to talk about tech, Skillcrush, and more.

4. Status on Current Blog Series

The My Coding Journey series may get a lot of attention on this blog, but chances are you some are wondering about the other series featured on this blog. These series include Downton Abbey, Once Upon a Time, and Disney Princess. These series were originally ideas for separate blogs, but I have decided to keep them as part of The Original BritishPandaChick for the moment. As 2018 continues, I am planning on giving these series a little bit more time on the blog to balance the content from the My Coding Journey series.

Recently Once Upon a Time count down the top Rumbelle moments. Earlier this year, I wrote a post about Snow White for the Disney Princess to test the waters on how I wanted to tackle the princesses. You can revisit these posts below. I plan on feature similar posts for these series including rankings, character studies, and more. Since Downton Abbey and Once Upon a Time are finished, I'll be able to dedicate more time to both of these series.

==> Click here to read the Top 5 Rumbelle Moments post!
==> Click here to read the Evolution of Snow White post!

These series won't be the only ones getting more posts. I'm working on reviewing more workout DVDs and online workouts as well as doing more recipe posts. I'll be sharing even more posts from Needlework Kits.

5. Coming Soon!

I am currently working on a blog post for another craft kit. I already have some plans to do more cross stitch. These kits will be from Dimensions, another needlecraft kit brand. These craft kits will feature Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and his friends. After these kits, I'll be working on a Beauty and the Beast cross stitch needlecraft kit as well as few other felt applique projects.

The My Coding Journey series is currently focusing on freelancing. After Skillcrush 300, my plan is to do another Skillcrush webinar post from the Land Your Dream Job summit. I'm undecided if I want to tackle Skillcrush 105 next or Skillcrush 102. Skillcrush 102 is JavaScript while Skillcrush 105 is Git & Github. If you have a preference on which one you'd like to see next, let me know.

For non-tech related topics, Jane Austen is coming! Jane Austen is my favorite author so I'd like to introduce the Jane Austen novels, adaptations, and more to my blog. Jane Austen won't be the only new series joining the blog. American Girl will also be joining the other series on this blog with book reviews of the BeForever series.

More blog posts about books are in the works. I currently reading First Women: The Grace and Power of America's Modern First Ladies which will become another blog post this year. I am also planning on reviewing more stories from The Selection series and I'll be sharing more from What Color is Your Parachute in future posts.


Conclusion

There is a lot of information in today's post. If you have any questions or have something you'd like to request for the blog, let me know in the comments or send me a message at britishpandachick@gmail.com.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

My Coding Journey: The Secret of Finding Your Ideal Clients and Niche

Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick

Today’s post is looking at the second lesson of Skillcrush 300. Skillcrush 300 is all about figuring out your niche and ideal client. During this post, I’ll share some of Skillcrush’s tips to figure out what niche is right for you and what your ideal client looks like. Once you have a picture of your ideal client in your head, I will review some of the tips for writing a services and positioning statement so you can start finding clients.

Once you have figured out your ideal client and niche, you might feel some doubts about advertising your services and positioning statement. If you start feeling any doubts, don’t forget to check out the last post in the My Coding Journey series in the link below. This post reviews impostor syndrome and shares tips on how to deal with any doubts when they appear. I share some of Skillcrush’s recommendations as well as my own methods for dealing with impostor syndrome.

==> Click here to read some strategies for dealing with impostor syndrome!

What is a niche and ideal clients? 

Skillcrush defines a niche as a small, focused area of specialization. Freelancers define their niche first then select small group of people within this niche to work with. These are your ideal clients. Ideal clients are people who want both your expertise and experiences.

Why freelancers establish a niche?

Before you can start reaching out to clients, it is important to take a few minutes to figure out what your niche and clients you want to focus on. It might seem strange to focus on one group than targeting everyone in the world, but this something every freelancer does. Freelancers who figure out what niche they want to target and what their ideal client are more likely to land clients vs someone who tries to advertise their services to everyone.

Think of freelancing as a giant dart board. When you throw darts at a dart board, you don't target the entire board hoping it hits one spot. Chances are you target a specific area such as the center of the board or a numbered area to score points. By having a specific area in mind you want to hit, you are more likely to hit that spot.

Having a specific niche isn't just a way of ensuring you make money. A clear niche allows you to think about your clients' needs and tailor your services to help them. Clients within your niche will value and understand the expertise you bring. Skillcrush reminds students that clients often feel that their challenges are unique and difficult so a specialist is appealing to them. It reassures them that someone understands them and what they do.

Your niche isn't just good for your clients. It is also helpful for freelancers since it lets them work with clients you want to work with, less competition, and less stress. Freelancers can also generate more word of mouth growth which mean making money consistently. Most importantly it helps build a freelancer's confidence. The challenges a niche faces will be similar, giving you lots of opportunities to figure out the right approach you want to use.

In order to help you figure out your ideal niche, Skillcrush outlines a few questions to help students figure out the right niche for you. The questions are meant to help you define your niche once. Take a look at this venn diagram. The purpose of the venn diagram is to show students where the circles overlap. That overlap is where your niche and ideal clients are.
Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick
Now onto the questions! Below are the questions Skillcrush has students answer in order to help them figure out the right niche. Although these answers to these questions might change over time, the goal of these questions is to serve as a starting point and help you consider what your clients are as well as how you can help them.
  • What industries are you most interested in?
  • What size companies do you want to work for?
  • What sector are you most interested in?
  • Who do you know that could benefit from your expertise?
  • Who are some people/companies that would be a dream come true to work with?
  • Who are some people/companies that can afford to pay you the big bucks?

Figure Out Your Services

Once you have figured out your niche, it is time to figure out what to offer your clients. This will become the services. You will have a specific focus for your services, but you can offer other specialties that fit within that specific focus. Many freelancers will offer other tasks that don't quite fit their specific focus, but they are qualified to do.

For example, a freelance web developer would have web development as their key focus. Within this focus, a person can offer building pages, sites, and more for clients. These services all fit under the web development mindset, but are more specific services clients can choose from. I've seen some freelancers offer copywriting, social media, and branding among their services.

Skillcrush helps students decide on what services they want to offer by providing a list of questions to help them figure out what services they should offer. Freelancers do not try to do it all since it isn't fair to both parties. The worse that can happen is you burn out doing too much or do work you don't want to do. Below are the questions Skillcrush recommends for their students.
  • What paint points do they want solved most often?
  • What needs do they have that they've been unable to do themselves?
  • What's the real value you're bringing to the table? (This might me more than the website. This can look like customers, customers who are a better fit, e-mail subscribers, etc.)
  • What other skills do you have that could be valuable to the client?This could be a template that matches a logo.

Create a Positioning Statement

Once you have your services, it is time to write the positioning statement. A positioning statement simply introduces your brand and services to your niche audience. This statement helps you be clear on who you are targeting and help them be successful as possible. Skillcrush sees the positioning statement as a compass since it guides you to the right clients. It is a point of reference freelancers often refer to as they make copy of their sites and social media accounts. Think of it as a summary or movie trailer to why clients should chose you for your project.

A positioning statement looks different for every freelancer. Different niches and clients require different services. Freelancers also have different schedules which can also affect the services they offer to their clients. Regardless of what freelancer you look at, every statement has three things. These items would be ideal clients, needs, and how they meet their needs.

For example, there's a freelance front-end web developer named Jubilee Austen who wants to work within education industry with entrepreneurs. She wants to make websites for online tutors. Her positioning statement might look like the following.

"I want to help tutors get more students by creating easy to navigate websites that showcase their services, testimonials, and promotions."

If you look closely at this statement, the word tutors lets a prospective client know who she is targeting. Mentioning "get more students" lets the client know she understands what their needs are. Finally, the "creating easy to navigate websites" portion of the statement lets her target clients know how she can help them meet these needs.

Conclusion

Congratulations! Now you have a niche in mind and began to form a mental picture of what your ideal client might look like. You can now start figuring out what services you want to offer and creating a positioning statement to help you start targeting them. As I review the rest of Skillcrush 300, you'll be referring back to all this information often and possibly modifying one or both of these as you gain more experience.

I'm giving you a nice break from the series to figure out your niche and ideal clients. When the series returns, the next lesson of Skillcrush 300 is all about pricing. I'll be reviewing some of the most important parts of this lesson including figuring out the right way to price your services to setting up a service page.

Notes

All images belong to BritishPandaChick.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Bucilla Easter Egg Wreath

Today's post is sharing another post from Needlework Kits. This post is looking at the latest needlecraft kit Plaid Crafts sent me last year. Plaid Crafts sent me the Bucilla Easter Egg Wreath craft kit. This is my first Easter theme felt applique kits. I began working on this kit in January and managed to finish the wreath last month. You can see progress I made on the wreath on Instagram.

You can read about my experience making this wreath on Needlework Kits blog by clicking the link below. I share some tips to working on this kit, thoughts, and more. If there are any needlecraft kits you would like to see or cross stitch patterns you'd like to see me make, let me know in the comments. I'll do my best to make them happen.

==> Click here to read full post on the Easter Egg Wreath kit at Needlework Kits!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My Coding Journey: How to Overcome Self Doubts and Impostor Syndrome

Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick

Today’s post begins a brand new Skillcrush course with new skills and concepts to learn. This post is the beginning of many posts for Skillcrush 300: Introduction to Freelancing. Freelancing is a popular way many people get started in tech in order to build their portfolios, network with others, and even an opportunity to earn money as you learn how to code. Freelancing is a skill that can be customized to fit you. Skillcrush 300 is a course meant to show students everything they need to know to start working with clients and earning money.

Now that you know HTML & CSS, you are more than ready to start earning money. That might seem hard to believe, but you are ready to start earning money. Before you can begin freelancing, Skillcrush 300 deals with a developer's worst enemy. This enemy is none other than impostor syndrome and self doubts. The first lesson of this course is about dealing with impostor syndrome and what strategies you can use to help you deal with any of these doubts when they happen to pop up along your coding journey.

Once you've learned some of the strategies for beating impostor syndrome, make sure you go back and review any of the posts in the My Coding Journey series. You can also uses any of the recommended resources in these posts to get other coding practices. I recommend checking out the last post in the series first which is all about some of the networking takeaways from the 2016 Land Your Dream Job Summit.

===> Click here to read 5 networking tips from the Land Your Dream Job Summit!

What is impostor syndrome?

Impostor syndrome is a ongoing struggle everyone faces at some point of their careers. If you ask anyone in tech to share an experience with impostor syndrome, you’ll get plenty of stories from people at all different skills or careers that struggled with it. It doesn’t matter if you are a web developer or an animator at Disney. Everyone experiences impostor syndrome so you aren’t alone.

Skillcrush defines impostor syndrome as an inability for high achieving people to embrace the skills and accomplishments they have. This makes them feel like they are a fake and unqualified when evidence shows they are 100% qualified for a job or task. There can be tons of evidence showing a person is qualified for a position, but an individual with impostor syndrome will see themselves as a fraud. You know you have impostor syndrome is that you feel like you are playing a trick or feel hesitant about sharing your accomplishments. Some people might believe it was pure luck that got them to where they are now.

Impostor syndrome can strike anyone at any skill level when they least expect it. This mindset is bad for anyone in any career since it is a barrier that keeps people from what they want. These barriers can be a keeping them from performing their job or finding a job they want. It can be especially damaging for underrepresented groups in your industry. Impostor syndrome can give them the wrong impression of the industry and make them feel they don't belong.

One of my favorite examples of impostor syndrome comes from the TV show Scrubs. In the episode "My Way Home", Elliot is nervous about speaking in front of endocrinology experts for an upcoming presentation. She later tells J.D. how she feels and how she's worried about being a fraud when other experts ask her questions since she has been hiding notes all over the hospital just in case the interns ask her questions. J.D. assures that she can do this and shows her she's already an expert due to how much time Elliot reads and studies the material. Watch the clip below to see how J.D. shows Elliot she has nothing to worry about and can tackle any question the experts have.


How to overcome it?

Impostor syndrome does pop up time to time, but Skillcrush does offer tips on what you can do to fight any feelings of doubt you might have. Some of these tips include:
  • Writing all the worries you have in a notebook or a Google Doc.
  • Taking a break and shifting your focus to something else.
  • Reminding yourself that you don’t have to know the answer to everything! We are all human and don't know the answers to everything. Every developer I've talked to admits to googling when they don't know an answer because tech is always changing and there so they are constantly learning new things each day.
  • Face your fears. No matter what the worse outcomes you have in your head, you can recover from these outcomes with grace. In many cases, the things we fear the most aren't as bad as you think.
  • Create a rewards system. Pick a way to treat yourself after you do something scary or intimidating. Need some inspiration? Skillcrush recommends Lara Hogan's donut manifesto (click here to learn more) where she treats herself with doughnuts every time she does something amazing.
Now these tips are great for the short term, but impostor syndrome is an ongoing struggle that will pop up when you least expect it. In order to keep impostor syndrome from wrecking your mindset in the long term, the key is to focus on the positives and train your brain to acknowledge those positives instead of the negatives. Skillcrush recommends these methods for helping train your brain to do this.
  • Connecting with old co-workers on Linkedin and asking for recommendations.
  • Keeping a victory journal and writing down one accomplishment each day. Many developers use the bullet journal method and keep a page just for tracking victories.
  • Make a kudos folder which has things that make you smile or make you feel good about yourself. These can be images of things that make you happy or just a collection of professional items that remind you of what you can do.
  • Remind yourself that you belong in this space and it is your time to shine.
  • Stop comparing yourself to other people. Remember everyone is at different stages and brings different experiences to everything we do. 
Impostor syndrome isn’t easy to fight, but it is worth it and will make you grow into the person you want to be. I admit. The process is going to be uncomfortable. However, if you are working towards any big change, it often feels uncomfortable since you will be venturing outside your comfort zone. Check out some of these graphics I made. They are meant to illustrate how impostor syndrome makes us perceive what we know vs what others know. The first graphic puts an emphasis on what others know instead of what you know.

Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick

Now let's take a look at the second graphic. The biggest difference on this graphic is the emphasis put on what you know and less on what other knows. This graphic also points out other people might overlap on things we might know, but each person is different and brings something unique to a team.

Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick


What I Like to Do

The challenge activity for this lesson is creating a kudos folder. I created a kudos folder in my Google Docs which has screenshots of times I've been featured in e-mail newsletters, certificates I've received, and images reflecting specific accomplishments I've achieved. I was accepted to Google's Grow with Google scholarship program and put the social media graphic in my acceptance e-mail in my kudos folder. I plan on adding the graphics for my upcoming talk at Moms Can Code virtual summit in my kudos folder to remind me of what all I have accomplished in tech.

The kudos folder isn't the only way I battle off impostor syndrome. When I feel any signs of impostor syndrome, I will listen to a couple of podcast episodes. Podcasts are very popular among the developers in tech since its a great way to keep up with what is happening in the industry if you don't have a lot of time. Listening to podcast episodes always inspires me since these are real people who actually made the change into tech. Their stories always remind me that they started the same way I am and if they can do it, then I can do it too.

Community is extremely important in tech and is my go to support system when I need a pep talk. Social media is your friend here. Join a few Facebook groups and reach out to others in the group about any questions or fears you have about tech. All the people I've met in tech are very supportive since everyone is at the same place and dealing with the same struggles.

My go to support network is my master mind group. I formed a master mind group with 3 other Skillcrush alums last year and our group's mission is to "motivate and inspire each other to do the best work possible". We help each other with problems and give feedback on issues we might have been facing. This has resulted in our group launching our very own Facebook group this year. Our Facebook group Brave & Kindred Spirits is about "building community and accountability for women to take risks and achieve goals to help them get the life they want". This way we can help others crush impostor syndrome and be confident.

==> Click here to join Brave & Kindred Spirits on Facebook!

Finally, there are the motivational quotes or phrases. One of my favorite things to collect are iphone backgrounds. Almost all the images on my phone are just wallpapers featuring inspiring quotes and phrases. I like to set one of these wallpapers on my lock screen and home screen so I can look at it every time I pick up my phone. Some of the great places to look for wallpapers are BuzzFeed, the Everygirl, and Disney. I recommend picking phrases or quotes that make you feel good.

Conclusion

Impostor Syndrome is an ongoing struggle we'll always be battling, but it is manageable. Skillcrush provides a lot of tips on how to battle impostor syndrome and I even shared some tips on what I use to keep my doubts from messing with my head. Feel free to try these techniques and share your own tips on how you deal with impostor syndrome.

I'll be talking more about impostor syndrome and being a confident coder in April for my virtual talk presentation for Moms Can Code. You can learn more by visiting Moms Can Code's official page (you'll see me among the speakers). Register to attend the webinar at the link below and use the code FRIENDS for 25% off registration.

==> Click here to register for Moms Can Code virtual summit!

It is time for another break from the My Coding Journey. When the series returns, I'll be reviewing lesson two of Skillcrush 300. Lesson two is all about finding your niche and why you should figure out what clients you want to work with before you begin freelancing.

Notes

All images belong to BritishPandaChick. Video does not belong to me. Video belongs to Michael Liu.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Once Upon a Time: Top 5 Rumbelle Moments


It is official: season seven will be the last one for Once Upon a Time. Earlier this month, the TV show returned to air the last few episodes of the series for the final chapter. There have been many characters on the show and that means lots of relationships. One of the most popular relationships on the show is Rumbelle. Rumbelle is the fanship name for Rumplestiltskin and Belle. Recently, viewers got a chance to see this couple's happy ending in season seven in "Beauty".

"Beauty" may have been the Halloween episode for the show, but all attention was put on Rumbelle's happy ending and final curtain call for Belle as well as setting up Rumple's motivations for season seven. Although Belle is currently not scheduled to reappear in any other episodes of season seven, creators have been quiet about plans for the series finale in a couple of months and have hinted in past interviews that might not be the last time we see Belle or more importantly Belle and Rumple together on screen one last time.

Rumbelle is my favorite couple in the series and is one of the reasons I watched the show for the past six seasons. Today's post is sharing my top 5 favorite Rumbelle moments on the show. Keep in mind there are my opinions only. If you have a favorite Rumbelle moment, share it in the comments.

*Warning! There will be spoilers in this list!*

If you haven't watched any episodes of the show, seasons 1-6 are available on DVD/Blu-Ray. You can find these online or at your favorite place to get movies. You can also stream episodes of the show to your favorite mobile device. Google Play Store, Hulu, and I-Tunes have all seven seasons available for rent or purchase.

5. Rumple's Phone Call (Season 2)

This list begins with a moment from season two. Rumbelle was separated halfway during season two with Belle losing her memories of her life in the Enchanted Forest and most importantly her relationship with Rumple. Rumple often spent the season looking for ways to restore Belle's memories. During "Miller's Daughter", he is dying from dreamshade poisoning and expresses a wish to call Belle. Even though Belle has no memory of who he is, he gives (what he thinks) are his final words to Belle.

Season two didn't have much of Rumbelle, but this is one of the stronger Rumbelle moments in season two since it gives viewers a chance to learn why Rumple truly loves Belle. "Skin Deep" may have been the strongest Rumbelle episodes, but it rushed over the reasons why this couple might have fallen in love with each other. Creators use this moment to get into Rumple's mind and let him share what made him fall in love with Belle in that episode.

They aren't able to share Belle's thoughts about Rumple due to the circumstances in the story as well as timing. Yet her reaction makes it clear she's touched by his words and how vulnerable Rumple is making himself. Rumple never likes to show any signs of weaknesses and the only times he does are with his scenes with Belle. This moment is a great example of these moments as well as making Rumple relatable to viewers.


4. The Happily Ever After Montage (Season 7)

This moment is actually the most recent. Emilie de Ravin wasn't returning as a series regular, but she did return as a guest star for "Beauty". This episode explores what a happy ending for Rumbelle looks like. Rumple and Belle have been traveling the world for many years as well as searching for a way to get rid of the dark one's powers so Rumple can join Belle in death. This quest leads them to the Edge of Realms where they wait for the answer. This leads to the episode's montage showing them growing old together.

The happily ever after montage was one of the highlights for this episode and what gave some fans faith in the show once again. The montage is inspired and almost identical in format to the one used in Up. There is no dialogue until the end. It is just showing various moments of them living happily with Belle getting slightly older throughout the course of the montage.

The montage is able to tell a large amount of story with music without literally telling the audience what is happening. This is why the montage in Up is so powerful and why this made the montage connect with many of viewers. The music pays tribute to the score used for the one used in Up, but also refers back to the story that inspired this couple as well as the song playing whenever the couple dances in other episodes. It was the perfect balance that focuses on building the emotions for viewers as well as a fitting way to wrapping up the Rumbelle story.



3. The Wedding Rumple and Belle (Season 3)

One of the most anticipated Rumbelle moments fans were waiting for is their wedding. By the end of season three, this wish was granted when Rumple proposed to Belle in "Kansas". When it came time for season three's finale, fans were treated to the Rumbelle wedding. At the end of the episode, Belle and Rumple had a private wedding ceremony in the woods with her father Maurice and Archie as witnesses. As the couple says their vows to each other, clips of the other characters are sprinkled throughout to emphasize specific lines the couple says to each other.

The Rumbelle wedding was the second wedding featured on the show and was the complete opposite of the wedding seen in season one for Snow and Charming. While Snow and Charming's wedding was an extravagant fairy tale wedding, the Rumbelle wedding was kept simple. As a matter of fact, this wedding matched the personalities of this couple and what they might want for a wedding. The simple wedding in the woods is what Belle and Rumple would want and the creative team managed to make it an romantic affair with the combination of the mood, references for the fans, and even the camera angles.

What really makes this moment memorable for Rumbelle is the score. The score sets the entire tone for the moment and is timed perfectly with different clips shown throughout the vows. The music then swells at the moment the couple exchanges their first kiss as husband and wife. Since this moment has clips of other characters mixed in with the wedding, the music is able work together with these moments so everything feels like it connects together.


2. "Skin Deep" (Season 1)

There were so many moments in "Skin Deep" that the episode itself takes the second spot on this list. "Skin Deep" is the Rumbelle origin episode which introduces Belle and develops this relationship. During the Ogre Wars, Rumplestiltskin makes a deal to end the war as long as Belle agrees to come with him as his servant. Belle agrees to the deal in order to save her village. While at the dark castle, she becomes closer to Rumple and the two fall in love.

Although they share true love's kiss, Rumple's lust for power, his own insecurities, and belief Belle was working for Regina aren't enough. Rumple releases Belle, telling her that his power means more to him than his love for her. Regina is aware of Rumple's feelings for Belle and lies to him, making him believe she is dead. Rumple is devastated while it is revealed Belle is still alive, imprisoned under the hospital as valuable pawn Regina intends using someday.

This episode is where it all began for many fans of this couple. This episode was retelling the show's version of Beauty and the Beast. It hits the important elements of the fairy tale, but it also builds the relationship between this couple. A large portion of the episode is just them talking to each other and getting to know each other. These conversations help develop their characters as well as the connection viewers have with them so we can become invested in their story.

All the elements people love about Belle are emphasized in the episode, but we also see the impact she has over Rumple himself. This is seen in one conversation where she talks to him about Baelfire, something Rumple would have never talked about with any other character on the series. I wasn't sure how the creators were going to approach Rumple as their version of the Beast, but I thought they did a good job including some of the elements needed to make him beastly, but developing the traits needed to make him a suitable match for Belle.

1. First Dance (Season 4)

This moment was chosen by fans as one of their favorite Rumbelle moments on the show for good reason. It is so popular that it is often replicated on the show in various ways. However the one fans love the most is the one featured in season 4. In "A Tale of Two Sisters", Belle and Rumple are newly married. They arrive at the sorcerer's mansion to spend their honeymoon. When Belle asks him what he thinks, Rumple uses his magic to transform their outfits and plays "Beauty and the Beast" on the record player so they can have their first dance as husband and wife.

This moment is not just a favorite moment for most fans. It is a favorite moment for the creators as well. During the fan celebration in 2015, this moment was voted the best moment for Rumbelle and the creators explained how they approached this scene as well as how the actors felt about the top moment for their characters. The creators expressed their desire to recreate their version of the iconic dance scene from the original moment as well as creating a joyful moment for this couple.

I think this dance sequence met all the expectations the creators were aiming for. It doesn't just pay tribute to one of the most memorable moments in Disney animation, but it captures the joy the couple is feeling at that very moment. Especially since the viewers know Rumple is lying to Belle and the broken promises will be revealed to her throughout the season. Most importantly, happy moments for Rumbelle don't happen quite often and when they do, the happiness the characters feel comes off the screen.




Conclusion

Rumbelle's relationship has never been easy. There have been many moments for this couple from the good to the bad. This post outlines some of the top 5 of the many Rumbelle moments that have been over the show.

What is your favorite Rumbelle moment in Once Upon a Time? Share your favorite moments in the comments.

Notes

Video clips do not belong to me. Rumple's Phone call belongs to AllAtOncer. Happily Ever After Montage belongs to ABC Television Network. Rumbelle Wedding video belongs to AFluffy Dragon. First Dance video belongs to That Tuba Guy.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

My Coding Journey: How to Network Your Way to a Dream Job

Copyright 2018 BritishPandaChick
This week, the My Coding Journey series is returning to the Land Your Dream Job webinar summit Skillcrush hosted in 2016. The second webinar in this series is all about networking featuring Kelly Hoey. During her presentation, Kelly shares some of the lessons she's learned about networking along the way that helped her make a career change. If you would like more information about the Land Your Dream Job summit, click the link below to review the last post which introduces the webinar summit and shares takeaways from the first webinar presentation.

===> Click here to read the 8 Takeaways from the first webinar in the Land Your Dream Job Summit!

If you aren't quite ready for today's post, check out last week's blog post which wraps up the Free Code Camp's Bootstrap course. I review how to comment your code and labelling the buttons in the jQuery playground. Click the links below to check out my post and see how to finish the jQuery playground.

===> Click here to read the Bootstrap Wrap Up page!

How can I watch all the webinars in the Land Your Dream Job Summit?

Start by clicking the link below to sign up for the webinar recap. Skillcrush will send you an e-mail right to your inbox with all the webinars during the summit. You won't be able to enter the giveaways or have access to any of the resources mentioned during the presentations, but you'll get tons of good information from all the speakers to help you improve your job search.

If you would like to watch the recap of this webinar or any of the webinars, you can click the link below and sign up for the webinar recap. Once you sign up, Skillcrush will send you an e-mail with all the webinars. You won’t be able to enter the giveaways or have access to any of the resources they suggest, but will get a ton of good information from a variety of great speakers featured throughout the summit.

===> Click here to get the webinar recap of the Land Your Dream Job summit!

Who is Kelly Hoey?

Kelly Hoey is a speaker and author who regularly talks about networking. She made a career change from a being a law firm manager to an investor and advisor. Hoey’s best known book is Build Your Dream Network. She is a columnist on Inc.com and has appeared on CNBC’s Power Pitch as an investor panelist.

Kelly has addressed several conferences and done projects with well known companies including Coca-Cola, PBS, and New York Life. She found a startup accelerator in 2011 and mentors select starts up through other selector programs in New York City. She is also the chief technology ambassador for the YWCA of NYC’s Geeks Girls Club.

Here are Kelly's Tips!

Kelly shares a ton of tips throughout her webinar presentation. I'm going to share my top 5 favorite takeaways from her presentation.

1. Build up your expertise!

Preparation is an important part of networking. Even more so if you are making a career change. This might mean doing informational interviews or just taking a few courses. When Kelly decided she wanted to make a career change, she knew she needed to build up her own expertise in the areas she was interested in. She did this by reaching out to her network to see what roles had the things she was interested in.

This means doing some homework to learn about the careers you are interested in. Kelly had to network for 18 months until she learned about a job posting for a job she was looking for. In order to get to that job posting, Kelly had to see what these roles entailed and what skills needed. She used this time learning as much as she could about the job she wanted from joining a committee to meet people and learning as much as she could from people she was interested in. She invested lots of time, money, and resources to learn the skills needed for this job.

The moral of her story is expertise is a constant activity from courses and heavy networking in order to make a change. Kelly stresses the importance of combination of skills needed for the position and a good network. A good network isn't just for finding a job. It is something that will help you and get advice from as you start out. This is how Kelly used her network and it was valuable not only for her, but people she was helping since they learned what their competitors were doing.

2. Learn to the art of writing e-mails that don’t require an answer.

One of the most important things Kelly brings up throughout the webinar is staying on top of mind. This means being helpful and providing value instead of expecting a response or even a favor. Doing the simplest thing will make them more likely to remember you later. These messages can be simply sharing a resource that might help them achieve their goals or sending them valuable information that will help them solve a problem.

Although e-mail inboxes can get full and it could take time for someone to get to your message, but it won't be pestering them. As long as you are providing valuable information, you won't be a problem for the other person. The only thing you shouldn't do is mention you are still looking for a job or an broad question like "Will you be my mentor?". Kelly recommends keeping things narrowed and focused since those are the messages that will get people to help you.

3. Understand why you are joining network groups and assess what needs are.

Unfortunately networking groups aren’t a one size fits all for everyone that joins. Some will benefit from the groups while others won’t get the same outcome. Kelly says you need to remember that signing up for these group doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get the benefits. It is a lot more work than what it appears.

Kelly says she got the most from her networking events since she attended every event and helped out at these events from setting up tables to passing out name tags. It is important to be realistic and what your goals are. These goals will help you decide what is the best group that will give you what you need.

4. Every human interaction is networking!

Networking isn’t just going to an event and talking to people. Any interaction we have with others is networking. Kelly encourages participants to think about their signature line in an e-mail, profile pictures on social media sites, and more. These little details are just additions to what would be your business card. Kelly shared an important story of how she moved a woman’s desk at her firm just so two partners who decide who becomes partner. She said she did this to make her visible and her goal was to make her run into these two so they can see her.

Kelly encourages to think about every human interaction and think about ways of improving it. It can be other activities like LinkedIn to social media. Remember you have control when you networking and it is more than conferences or events. This can be things you do both online and offline. If you can’t attend networking events, you can do things online by commenting on a blog post, attending a webinar, or retweeting what someone says.

5. Take advice graciously!

If you aren’t sure what you can provide to others, Kelly suggests just using what other people give advice on and following up. E-mail people that helped you get a job or keep people updated on a resource they suggested. The follow up is the biggest way to give back to anyone.

The follow up isn’t just letting them know where you are in your job search. Follow up is a great way to get feedback on the advice people are giving you and if the recommendations they make are helpful so they can adjust the advice they give in the future.

Conclusion

Networking isn’t easy, but it is something that is becoming much more necessary to find the job you want. Kelly Hoey’s presentation in this webinar is full of tips and advice that will make it much easier. If you are brand new to networking or just want to be better at networking events, you need to watch this presentation.

When the series returns, it is time to tackle the latest addition to the web designer blueprint: Skillcrush 300. Skillcrush 300 is a course called Introduction to Freelancing. Now that you know HTML & CSS, you are ready to start making money with your new tech skills.This post is going to tackle the first lesson in this course.

Links

Skillcrush
Kelly Hoey official website
Kelly Hoey Medium Profile
Kelly Hoey LinkedIn
Kelly Hoey Twitter

My Coding Journey: What You Need to Know About Setting and Pricing Your Services

Copyright 2018 The Original BritishPandaChick This week, Skillcrush 300 is all about pricing. The lesson talks about setting the right...